Ramon Allones RR Estupendos Asia Pacific 2006 release – Colosia Amontillado - Oakridge Meunier Rose 2016
Is there a more popular cigar for Regional Releases than Ramon Allones? There are bucketloads of them. Why is that? Is it because the brand is not considered good enough for regular Limited Edition releases, so they make do with Regionals? And if so, does that mean that Havana ranks Regionals below Limited Editions? Who knows?
I'd go so far as to venture that no other brand is used as often for Regionals as RA, which I suspect few would have guessed when the program started. Of course, I could sit down and go through and count the split between brands and find out just which of them is most used, but we all know I am not going to do that. And these days, when the idea of fact-checking for articles has become a farce, why bother? It is now in print, so it must be true.
I can’t claim to have tried them all (I mean all the RA RRs) – the thing about Regionals, is that it is difficult to keep up as so many get released to weird parts of the world where one dare not venture, like Angola, Lichtenstein, Surinam and England (are there any North Korean Regionals?). Still, one does one’s best.
And in the spirit of not fact-checking and making broad generalisations, may I say that the RA Estupendos is the very best of the RA Regionals; indeed one of the best of all Regionals; and one of the very best RA cigars of all. And now that it is in print, it must be true (well, I think it is, whether in print or not).
Wherever it ranks, it is a cracking cigar. I have a feeling (and thankfully he never reads these Kenfessions so I can get away with saying it) that Rob put me on to these way back when. He does get it right occasionally (okay, and keep this to yourselves, far more often than not – if only he had not convinced me to buy those Monte C’s, he might have a near perfect record). I must have liked them as I bought a truckload of them. Actually, I think what happened was that I tried them on his recommendation and liked them. Bought a Cab. Then I think we did a video and I completely forgot that I had already bought them. So bought another Cab. Felt stupid at the time, but very wise these days. I think, and no doubt many will immediately correct me if I am wrong, that these were not generally well received at the time. Can’t think why.
For me, this was all honey, hay, sesame seeds and bran. Tight draw but an okay one. Moved into a hint of white peaches and then lots of nougat. But quite a firm draw. Finished all honey and peaches and cream. Hard not to be very happy with that. 94+!
To match, went the usual two very different drinks.
Dave Bicknell is one of our best winemakers – known as Carlos because he was so late for work on the first day when starting at de Bortoli’s in the Yarra Valley as a very junior assistant to the assistant (now runs Oakridge) that when they finally saw him coming up the drive on his bike, he was pedalling so fast that he reminded them of Carl Lewis. Sparkling Meunier from the 2016 vintage, as a rose style, is perhaps not is most famous wine – the Pinots and Chardies rule – but it is a delicious and bright style with lovely red fruits and raspberries. Hint of fruit sweetness and a slippery texture (90). A perfect outdoors or summer drink. The brightness and freshness worked well with the cigar. Why people persist with reds is beyond me – yes, almost every video has us drinking red but that is only because Whipcrack bleats like a wounded goat if he doesn’t get his red.
The second drink worked even better. Colosia Amontillado. From a fantastic family sherry house (I remember them well as had a great visit there a few years back – grab any you see and their sherry vinegar is also stellar), this was a deep cold gold colour, complex, with notes of dried honey and walnuts. Had balance and length and was nicely weighted. Love the texture and the delightfully nutty flavours (92). It made for a cracking match. That hint of honey under the nuts was like fingers in a glove for the cigar.
A thoroughly pleasant experience all round. And as it is in print, you can believe it!