Partagás Edición Limitada Series No. 1: Worthy Of The Limited Edition Name?
by Ken Gargett
A little while ago, we looked at one of the three Limited Edition program releases from Habanos for 2017 (yes, time passes differently in Cuba): the Cohiba Talismán, a truly stellar cigar by any standards.
Since then, the Punch Regios de Punch has arrived, and now the third of the trio, the Partagás Series No. 1, has hit the shelves.
Havana has all manner of special releases, limited offerings, grand reserves, aged cigars, one-offs, and more in addition to its standard releases, but none have been quite as successful as the Limited Edition (Edición Limitada) program.
It began in 2000 and, with the exception of 2002, has seen two to five new cigars each year. More details of its history are available in Believe The Hype: The Cohiba Talismán Limited Edition 2017 Cigars Are Spectacular, but basically these are high-quality cigars released in small numbers from famous houses, but in a size/shape – the vitola – that is not standard for that house (some, such as the Cohiba Pyramide, have been so successful that they have found their way into regular production).
Partagás has proved a very popular brand for this program, this new cigar being the tenth, from commencement to the 2017 releases. Romeo & Julieta has had nine, as has Montecristo. Others have appeared less regularly.
This latest cigar is known at the factory as a Nobleza, with a ring gauge of 52 mm and length of 138 mm (Robusto Extra, for another name).
It bears the traditional double band of the program and comes in boxes of 25 with a slide lid. As is also traditional for the program, the leaves used to roll these cigars have been aged for at least two years and sourced from the Vuelta Abajo region in Pinar del Rio – considered home to the finest tobacco on earth.
The wrapper is the familiar darker color lovers of the Limited Editions have come to expect, and the cigar certainly looks impressive.
There is, of course, bad news: the pricing for this program now sits firmly in the upper echelon; the makers are unashamedly targeting the wealthy collectors. The early days of the program were very different with pricing being extremely competitive.
I have always believed that this was “toe in the water” stuff from Habanos at the time, and when it had confirmed the demand and success of the program, prices soared. Usually, the quality more than justifies the prices and sometimes even exceeds it.
This time, I’m not so sure.
The cigar is still very young and so a certain leeway can be granted, but there are plenty of young cigars that impress. The flavors here are undoubtedly imposing, and the cigar is reasonably powerful from the outset.
That richness and power does dip as one moves into it. The initial impression is chocolate, spices, and sweet paprika.
The flavors are roasted meats, warm earth, burnt coffee beans, some chocolate, and more. As it moved toward its conclusion, there was more of a sweet coffee and slight caramel note.
Indeed, if there has been a criticism of the Limited Edition program it is that often the flavors do not reflect what one expects from the house, even if the cigars are very good. No such debate here for me – this cigar nicely weaves the Partagás DNA with the richness we expect from Limited Releases.
I have heard the same from others who have enjoyed this cigar, while a few felt the opposite. It does seem that there is some variation in these. There was some harshness on the finish, but it would be wrong to be critical of this in such a young cigar.
My main issue was that the cigar required endless relighting, attention, and maintenance through the entire time of smoking. Discussions with those familiar have revealed they encountered similar issues. Not with every single one, but at least in a majority.
If one is paying high prices (and the ultimate cost will depend on local taxes, retailer markups, and so on), one deserves better.
For me, this is the least of the three Limited Edition releases from 2017, though very few cigars were ever going to match the glorious Talismán.
Please don’t misunderstand, it is a very fine cigar (the relighting issues aside) and I’d be happy to have a box or two in the humidor. I just think that I could use the money much more effectively.
Two boxes of the standard Partagás D4, which has never let anyone down, would be my choice. Of course, many won’t care. They collect the series and good luck to them.
If these construction issues prove isolated – always possible – these could turn out to be worthy of the Limited Edition name.
Just not yet.
For more information, please visit www.habanos.com.
Quick Facts Partagás Edición Limitada Series No. 1
Ring gauge: 52
Length: 138 mm
Bands: standard double Limited Edition 2017 band
Packaging: slide-lid box of 25 cigars
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Also published on Medium.