Chances are if you were smoking small company, small batch, or boutique cigars between 2010 and 2014, you encountered a brand known as Reinado. However, the label has pretty much disappeared from shelves. In this piece, we take a look at the brand and some of the offerings it has brought to the table.
Reinado is a brand that was based in New Jersey and founded by Antonio Lam, owner of Cubanero Enterprises. Lam partnered with the Agros Tabacos Industriales factory in Nicaragua to handle his production. His brand’s differentiating factor was a proprietary fermentation process that enhanced the flavors in the blends he created. The name “Reinado” is Spanish for “reign.”
Lam debuted his first blend at the 2010 IPCPR Trade Show, the self-titled Reinado. It was a Nicaraguan puro originally released in three sizes: Robusto (5 1/2 x 50), Torpedo (6 1/8 x 52) and Churchill (7 5/8 x 48). The following year, at the 2011 IPCPR Trade Show; two line extensions: Habanito (4 x 38) and El Emperador (6 x 60) were added.
The original Reinado release developed some traction, especially among small batch, boutique smokers. This success led Lam to start on his next project, another Nicaraguan puro, but this time in a box-pressed format. In 2012, the resulting project, the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve was announced. By this time, the brand was affectionately referred to as the “Reinado Empire,” and the name stuck.
The Reinado Grand Empire Reserve (GER) made its debut in a 5 x 55 box-pressed Robusto (officially called Elegidos), and the cigar became Lam’s signature release at the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show. The brand was sometimes promoted in social media circles under the name “#reinadoempire.” There was no sophomore jinx here as the GER was well received by consumers and media. The cigar would land on both Toasted Foot and Stogie Review‘s top ten lists for 2012.
The success of the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Elegidos led to expansion into a full line, the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Premium Collection. Four additional sizes were added including Box Pressed Toro (6 x 52), Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46), Gordo (6 x 60), and a Limited Edition Petite Lancero (6 x 38). While the Toro was box-pressed, the other three sizes were rounded. Production of the Petite Lancero was limited to 250 ten-count boxes. Once again, the GER line received acclaim including a Top 5 rating from Seth’s Humidor for the Petite Lancero and a Top 10 rating from Casa Fumando for the Corona Gorda.
Going into 2014, Lam had his next project in line. This time he would aim to bring an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper offering into the portfolio. This project would be known as the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador. Given the first two Reinado lines were Nicaraguan puros, the Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador was a particularly anticipated release.
The Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador would be released in one size – a 6 x 38 Petite Lancero. The cigar had an official launch at the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show. Later that year, the cigar was incorporated into the Westside Humidor 5th Anniversary Collection that paid homage to the film Reservoir Dogs and would be dubbed “Mr Blue.”
In 2014, things seemed to be going in the right direction for Reinado. The brand now had three successful lines. Before the release of the Ecuador, Reinado had entered into a distribution agreement with wholesale distributor Alliance Cigar where Alliance would distribute the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve line.
However, in 2015 the brand quietly began to retreat into the sunset. There was an exclusive release to the Cigar Geeks Forum, but that would pretty much be Reinado’s swan-song. Both the cigars and company’s social media presence pretty much disappeared. Today in 2018, you may find some Reinado cigars still on retailer shelves, but that is becoming increasingly difficult. Most importantly, Lam and Reinado made three excellent lines and should not be forgotten as one of the better smaller brands that hit the cigar market.
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop