Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Petit Lancero

The Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Petit Lancero was one of three line extensions introduced by Reinado their Grand Empire Reserve (GER) line at the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show.  In addition to the Petit Lancero, a corona gorda, and a box-press Toro were introduced. Back in 2012, Reinado had launched the first vitola in the GER line which was a box-pressed robusto called Elegidos.  The Elegidos showcased the promise of this line as it finished as an Honorable Mention in our 2012 Cigar of the Year countdown.  Today, we take a closer look at the Petit Lancero  While the Grand Empire Reserve line has a common set of blend components, I’ve found each vitola delivers a unique cigar experience from the others.  In the case of the Petit Lancero, this is the size that stands at the top of the mountain for Reinado.  This is without a doubt a money cigar for Reinado – and one that I truly enjoyed. 

Last month when we reviewed the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Toro, we provided a little context on Reinado Cigars:

Reinado Cigars was founded by Antonio Lam. The company is preparing to celebrate its five year anniversary next year.  The company’s focus has been around making Nicaraguan puros. Reinado has differentiated itself by using its own (and undisclosed) unique fermentation process.  The company has two cigar lines, the core Reinado line and the Grand Empire Reserve line.  Lam has been methodical in building these lines and has not expanded too fast.  The result is products that have been well-received in the marketplace.  This year, prior to IPCPR we named Reinado as one of our 2013  “Five Boutiques to Watch.”

In terms of the Petit Lancero, this is also Reinado’s first limited edition offering.  While the other sizes of the Grand Empire Reserve line are core, the Petit Lancero is being limited to a production of 250 boxes of 10.

Without further ado, let’s break down the Reinado Grand Empire Petit Lancero and see what this cigar brings to the table:

Blend Profile

The Reinado Grand Empire Reserve blend is a Nicaraguan puro.

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Select Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

The Grand Empire Reserve line now has four vitolas that are available, with a fifth on the way. While we will focus on the Petit Lancero for this assessment, we mention the other vitolas for completeness.  The line is now being referred to as the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Premium Collection line.

The release of the Petit Lancero and the Corona Gorda were the first two rounded frontmarks of the Grand Empire Reserve line.

Limited Edition Petit Lancero: 6 x 38 (10 count boxes – only 250 boxes produced)
Box-Press Toro: 6 x 52 (10 count boxes)
Corona Gorda: 5 5/8 x 46 (10 count boxes)
Elegidos (Box Press Robusto): 5 x 55 (20 count boxes)

Lam was also recently as guest on our Stogie Geeks podcast.  On that show he confirmed a fifth vitola – a 6 x 60 will be added to the line.
Appearance

The Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Petit Lanceo has a coffee bean colored wrapper with some dark spots.  The lancero seems to show a little bit of colorado red to it.  The surface of the wrapper has a slight amount of oil on it.  There are several visible veins and visible wrapper seams. The wrapper also had a slight ruggedness to it – which gave the cigar some charm.

There are two bands on the Grand Empire Reserve line.  The primary band  is the traditional Reinado band – which is one of the underrated band designs in the industry.  It has a red, gold, and white color scheme.  There is a shield in the center of the band. Surrounding the shield there is a red circular background.  Above the shield it has the text “REINADO” in white font arranged in a semi-circular fashion.   Below the shield is the text “NICARAGUA” in a smaller white font also arrange in a semi-circular fashion.  The band itself has gold trim on the top and bottom.  There is white and red striping on the left and right side of the band.  There is also a red field that sits over the striping on each side of the band.  On the left side is the text HECHO A MANO” in white font siting on the red field.  On the right it says “AL ML” in white font sitting on the red field.

There is a secondary band that sits just below the primary band that is unique to the Grand Empire Reserve line.  The band is gold with the text “GRAND EMPIRE RESERVE” in black font. There is a black pinstripe above and below that text.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

As I usual do before most of the cigars I talk about on this web-site,  I went with my usual choice of a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was successult clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw.  The dry draw started with some coffee notes, with a bit of a sharper pepper spice. Overall I considered the pre-light draw to the Grand Empire Reserve Petit Lancero to be excellent. At this point, I was ready to light up this cigar and see what else was in store.

Flavor Profile
The start to the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Petit Lancero started with a mix of black pepper and natural tobacco notes.  As the pepper subsided, some coffee notes emerged.  The coffee, natural tobacco, and pepper notes were all even for a short time before the coffee notes finally moved out in front.  While the pepper subsided into the background, it could be prominently detected on the retro-hale.
As the cigar experience progressed through the first third, the flavor profile expanded.  The coffee notes developed a slight mocha taste to them.  Meanwhile the natural tobacco in the background took on some citrus sweetness.  There were times that the coffee flavor could also be detected with the pepper on the retro-hale.
When the Petit Lancero moved into the second third, the coffee/mocha notes were still in the control.  The black pepper was a close secondary note.  The citrus/natural tobacco notes were in the background – but they were more distant.   I found all of the flavors all balanced each other nicely.
Later in the second third, the pepper notes would join the coffee/mocha notes in the forefront.  By this time the natural tobacco sweetness had transitioned into a full-fledged citrus note.  This is the way the flavor profile held until the end of the smoking experience of the Petit Lancero.  The resulting nub was slightly soft, but cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The Grand Empire Reserve line has produced some high quality cigars from a construction standpoint.  This has been reflected in the burn and draw as this line has scored nicely.  The Petit Lancero is no exception.  The burn line remained relatively straight from start to finish. There were a couple of points where the burn line did get a little jagged, but the Petit Lancero was never in danger of canoeing or tunneling.  The resulting ash was firm.  It had a light gray color with some darker streaks in it.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
Burn of the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Petit Lancero
The draw was excellent as well.  It was not too loose and not too tight – making the Grand Empire Reserve Petit Lancero a low maintenance cigar to puff on.

Strength and Body

When I assessed the Grand Empire Reserve Toro, I found it to be dialed back in terms of both strength and body compared to when I first smoked a pre-release of the Elegidos.  At that time I could not attribute if this was because of the vitola change or because the tobaccos being used were more mature.  Since that review, I have revisited the Elegidos and have now assessed he Petit Lancero.  For both of these vitolas (including the Elegidos), I found the strength and body in-line with the Toro.  As a result, I’ll infer this is due to the maturing of the tobacco in the blend.

From a strength perspective, the Petit Lancero is not going to be a nicotine bomb.  It will start out medium strength.  By the last third, the strength picks up just enough to move this cigar into the medium to full strength range.  As for the body, the flavors had some nice depth to them.  I assessed the Petit Lancero as being a medium to full-bodied smoke from start to finish.  In terms of strength versus body, I found the Petit Lancero to be a cigar where the body has a slight edge over the strength.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned at the start of this assessment, the vitolas of the Grand Empire Reserve do a great job at each delivering a unique cigar experience.  In terms of the Grand Empire Reserve Petit Lancero, this vitola is going to have a little more of a gritty flavor profile – particularly in the first third.  The influence of the Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper can definitely be detected on the tongue and in the nasal passages.  The “grittiness” gives the Petit Lancero a little more of a rough feel – and that’s not a negative.  In fact I think that somewhat what sets the Petit Lancero apart from the other vitolas.   This is a cigar I would easily recommend to both novice and experienced cigar enthusiasts.  I’d also encourage somewhat who has smoked the other vitolas of the Grand Empire Reserve to try this in the petit lancero format because they will be in for a treat.  As for myself, this is not only a cigar I’d smoke again, but one that I would recommend a box purchase for.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Last 1/3)
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Excellent
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
Score: 93

Source:  The cigar for this assessment was provided by Reinado Cigars.  The sample received was in order to provide feedback.  Cigar Coop is appreciative for the samples, but in no way does this influence this write-up.