|Regius Damaris Gran Toro|
The Regius Damaris is a cigar that was released by Regius of London earlier this year. The Damaris is a significant release for company owner Akhil Kapacee because it marks the first maduro release by the company. To develop this cigar, Kapacee took an approach similar to what he did when he developed the Regius Seleccion Orchant – namely work in collaboration with a retailer. For the Regius Damaris, Kapacee worked with Jim Thomas of That Cigar Place in Houston, Texas. The cigar started out as a shop exclusive for Thomas and now is making its way toward a wider distribution. Since Regius Cigars has come on the scene, the company has been doing some outstanding releases. In this author’s opinion, the Regius Damaris stands among the best of them. This is a grand slam home run and one of the best releases in 2014.
Back in June both Kapacee and Thomas were guests on Episode 99 of Stogie Geeks. Thomas explained to us the genesis behind the Damaris project:
“My consumers gravitate toward a larger ring gauge and a lot more full body of a cigar. Akhil and I know each other for a while and we were talking about the U.S. market and what works there. I was commenting to him about what I noticed the trend is in the U.S. and in Texas. So we started talking about how we could make a cigar that would keep up with the traditional line that the Black Label establishes for Regius and still be something a little more full-bodied.”
The cigars were made with aging in mind. The cigars are packed slightly wet. This allows the tobacco to age better. The flavors are in there for longer and Thomas even commented to us that he feels the cigar increases in strength over time.
Kapacee described the Regius Damaris as one of his “fusion” projects. Namely, keeping to the traditional profile reminiscent of Cuban cigars, yet making adaptions to satisfy the American market.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Regius Damaris and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The blend of the Regius Damaris consists of a San Andres Mexican wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. Thomas commented on this to Stogie Geeks as well.
“So we started playing with the blends and I came down here (Esteli, Nicaragua) for a while and we (Thomas and Kapacee) worked together on this; and we came up with something that I think really works nicely. It’s a Mexican San Andres wrapper which I always loved. It gives that nice – a little bit of cocoa flavor to the cigar; but it’s not harsh. It’s not one of those intense maduro types that sometimes you see on the market. We started off with that and there ended up with a very nice blend of Nicaraguan tobacco. I was surprised we could come up with something from Nicaragua that wasn’t so strong and overwhelming. We ended up with a cigar that is actually pretty smooth to be what I consider a maduro cigar.”
Wrapper: San Andres Mexican
The Regius Damaris is currently available in one size – a 6 1/2 x 56 Gran Toro. This exemplifies the Fusion project of keeping to the traditional profile of Regius, yet making adaptions (i.e. the larger size) for the American market.
The San Andres wrapper has a roasted espresso color. Upon closer examination, there is some darker marbling. There is a light sheen of oil on the wrapper. There are some visible veins and visible wrapper seams. The wrapper itself has a rugged look – adding to the charm of the cigar. There is a thick pig-tail cap on the cap.
There are two bands on the Regius Damaris. The primary band is the same that is found on the regular production Regius of London – “aka Black Label” line. This band has a black background with some gold trim. In the center of the band is the text “REGIUS” in red font with gold trim. There is a gold crown above the text and several gold-colored adornments on the band. Below the text is a gold ribbon with the text “ARBITER ELEGANTiE in an etched on it.
The secondary band sits just below the Black Label band. It is blue in color with two gold stripes. In between the gold stripes is the text “DAMARIS” in gold font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As opposed to pulling the tail off this cigar, I opted to place a straight cut and remove the cap in its entirety. Once the cap was clipped, I started the pre-light draw of the Regius Damaris. The dry draw of the Damaris was very much classic for a San Andres Mexican wrapper as it produced a mix of coffee and earth notes. There was also a mild spice present on the dry draw. Overall I considered this to be a good pre-light draw. At this point, I was ready to light up the Damaris and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
Right out of the gate, I detected some cocoa and white pepper notes. There was also a nice coffee note that I picked up on the after-draw. Meanwhile the white pepper spice was also present on the retro-hale. The cigar was living up to what Thomas said about the cigar being smooth.
As the Damaris moved into the middle of the first third, the flavor profile really took hold. The cocoa notes in the forefront became multidimensional with an additional sweetness. The best analogy I could draw is now these notes had a chocolate cake-like flavor. At the same time, the Damaris maintained its “tobacco taste”. The white pepper notes became a background flavor and were joined by some nut flavors.
During the second third, the Damaris still maintained the chocolate-cake like notes. As the cigar progressed into the second half, the sweetness from the chocolate started to diminish and the pepper notes began to progress to the forefront.
By the last third, the chocolate-cake like notes became more of a classic coffee flavor. The pepper notes were now also present in the forefront. While there was some more spice on the retro-hale, I also picked up some of the nut flavors on the retro-hale. This is the way the flavor profile came to the end. The end of the cigar had some spice, yet no harshness and still maintained its smoothness. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The Regius brand has really established itself as one that releases well-constructed cigars. The Regius Damaris lives up to these standards and this is reflected on the burn and draw. The burn remained relatively straight from start to finish. There were times there was a slight curvature to the burn line, but the burn never got off-kilt. Overall the cigar needed a few touch-ups, but not an overwhelming amount of touch-ups. The resulting ash was firm with a nice silvery – gray color. The ash came off the cigar in nice clean chunks. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn on the Regius Damaris|
The draw was outstanding with the Damaris. This was not a draw that was too loose nor too tight. There was a decent amount of smoke production produced by the Damaris. Overall, this was an enjoyable smoke to puff on and a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
Typically I find that Regius Cigars fall into the medium / medium plus cigar range for both strength and body. While Thomas said this cigar did increase in strength over time, I still found the strength to be in the wheelhouse of what I expect from Regius. I found the Damaris started out medium strength and by the second half, it had progressed to medium to full. I found the body of the Damaris to follow a similar pattern. The Damaris started out medium-bodied and by the second half, it had progressed to medium to full-bodied. The strength and body of this cigar balance each other very nicely – with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
As I mentioned at the beginning, this could be the best release by Regius to date – and there have been some very good ones. Thomas was right on the mark in terms of the cocoa notes and smoothness of this cigar He was also right on the impact of the San Andres wrapper. My criticism of the San Andres wrapper cigars is that it tends to overpower and overwhelm a blend – but not such the case with the Damaris. The Regius Damaris is an absolute textbook case study on how to work with San Andres wrapper. Once again Thomas is right on the mark when he says this does not overpower the wrapper. I am curious to smoke this over time and see if the cigar does increase in strength. In the meantime, this cigar is an absolute must have. I’d recommend this to experienced cigar enthusiasts, but would not discourage a novice from trying. As for myself, this cigar is not only box worthy, but it’s one I would fight Chuck Norris for.
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Assessment: 4.5 – Fight Chuck Norris for Them
Source: Cigars Provided by Manufacturer / Retailer
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Episode 99
Stogie Feed: n/a