|Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition
The Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition is the third line to be released by Antonio Lam’s Reinado Cigars. Back in October, 2013, Lam was a special guest star on Episode 69 of Stogie Geeks and confirmed to us that an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper project was underway. This is a very different cigar that Reinado has released in the past in that not only is this the company’s first Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper release, but it is also the first non-Nicaraguan puro to be released. For the Ecuador Edition, Lam used his highly successful Grand Empire Reserve (maduro) line as a base and went his successful petite lancero size (which scored the highest on Cigar Coop of that line and #2 Line Extension for 2013). Recently, I’ve had an opportunity to smoke a pre-release of the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition Petite Lancero. Reinado continues to do outstanding work and Lam and his company don’t miss a beat in tackling this new territory for them.
One thing Reinado has done to differentiate itself is by using its own (and undisclosed) unique fermentation process – which he incorporates into the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition. In addition the company has two other cigar lines – the core Reinado line and the Grand Empire Reserve Premium Collection. 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. Last year, prior to IPCPR we named Reinado as one of our 2013 “Five Boutiques to Watch.”
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition Petite Lancero and see what this cigar brings to the table. As we do with pre-release cigars, we will default to our pre-review format to share our thoughts and perspectives. Once the cigar is released to retailers, we will revisit this cigar and provide an assessment rating and score. This write-up was based on a single cigar smoking experience.
The Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition features Nicaraguan binder and filler that has been blended and fermented using the company’s signature process. The Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper has been aging three years.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
At this time the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition is being released in one size – a 6 x 38 petit lancero. Lam has said that further line extensions are planned.
The cigar is packaged in boxes of ten.
The Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition has a light brown wrapper with a fair amount of oil on it. There are some bumps, visible veins, and visible wrapper seams on the cigar, but I wouldn’t say this has the rugged look of the maduro version of the Grand Empire Reserve Petite Lancero. The cap has a spiral pig-tail on it.
|Spiral cap of the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve
The two bands on the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition are identical to the other Grand Empire Reserve line cigars. 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.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
I went with my usual practice of a straight cut despite the fact this spiral cap could have easily been pulled off. Once the cap was clipped, I moved into the pre-light draw stage. While I detected some notes of cedar which had sweet taste to it. There also was a subtle fruit note I picked up on the dry draw. Overall, I considered this to be a very good pre-light draw experience. At this point I was ready to light up my Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition and see what the overall experience would bring to the table.
The start to the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition surprised me early on as I was treated to a mix of pepper and cedar spice. The cedar spice notes soon moved to the forefront where they exhibited more of a “sweet spice” quality to it. The pepper receded to the background where it was joined by notes of nut and cream. The retro-hale also produced a cedar flavor early on.
Late in the first third, the cream notes increased and joined the cedar notes up-front. The cedar and cream notes would alternate in intensity in the second third. The cedar still seemed to have more of an edge during this stage of the smoke, but the cream notes made their presence felt. The pepper and nut notes remained in the background. By the second third, the pepper became more prominent on the retro-hale displacing the cedar flavor through the nasal passage.
Toward the last third, the pepper moved up into the forefront joining the cedar and cream notes. The last stages of the cigar saw more in the way of spice from the pepper and cedar, but it was not overpowering. The end of the cigar produced a nub that was slightly on the warm side and soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
I found the Ecuador Edition to be a well constructed cigar and this was reflected in the burn and draw. The burn line remained sharp throughout the smoking experience requiring minimal touch-ups. The resulting ash was firm with a white color. The ash itself was not prone to flaking or flowering. The burn rate was ideal. Except for a little warmness toward the very end, I found the burn temperature to be ideal for the majority of this smoking experience.
|Burn of the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Editon Petite Lancero|
The draw to this petite lancero was outstanding. It was not too tight and not too loose. – making this an enjoyable cigar to puff on from start to finish.
Strength and Body
I’ve mentioned a few times this year that back in 2011 there was a plethora of new Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade cigar releases. Many of them were trying to create cigars pushing the envelope in terms of moving out of the mild to medium range for strength and body. 2014 seems to be a year where many companies are getting back to basics with their Ecuadorian Connecticut shade releases and the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition is no exception.
I found the Ecuador Edition to start out mild to medium in both strength and body. It remained in that range for the first two thirds of the smoke. Both attributes did gradually increase and by the last third, I found both had crossed the threshold into the medium range. I found both the strength and body to complement each other perfectly with this cigar – with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
I’ve also been saying that going into the IPCPR 2014, we could be seeing a return of a large amount of Connecticut Shade wrapper releases. At the same time, the lancero is also figuring prominently into many companies plans. The Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition brings together the best or two world and it does it quite well. This cigar is one to keep an eye our for once it hits retailer shelves. The cigar has great flavor and great complexion and I think there is some great potential with this blend in other sizes. This is a cigar I’d recommend to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast looking for something milder but flavorful. As for myself, thesis a cigar I’d definitely smoke again.
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st 2/3), Medium (Remainder)
Body: Mild to Medium (1st 2/3), Medium (Remainder)
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