As many of you know each year Habanos release regional limited edition cigars and often these come out a little late. The 2011 UK Regional only came out earlier this year, around the time of the Diamond Jubilee. So we can either call this the 2011 UK Regional as Habanos do, or the 2012 as it actually was.
So the 2011/2012 UK Regional was a Bolivar and a first for the UK i think. From this release onwards the extra band says Gran Bretana and not Reino Unido as all the previous had, this caused some annoyance with our friends over the Irish Sea, for obvious reasons.
As soon as these came out we got our initial supply of 3 boxes, the max we can order in the first week or two. One of these boxes stood out from the rest, due to the over oily wrappers and i love a oily looking cigar. This oily box was put out for single sales and i quickly whipped up another box for my aging humidor at home.
From the inital reviews and impressions i read/heard on these, i waited to try it. 4-5 months was long enough to allow this one to settle in Humidor. Done get me wrong, no hints of ammonia from the cigar, i just like to wait. The shape also interested me, a slight tapering at the foot gave this a half finished Cuaba feel or even a Dutch Bolknak look. The shape has been classed as a Birtanicas Extra by Habanos and will forever be known as this in the factories for years to come.
But less about that and down to the important stuff, the smoke it self. The wrapper was amazing, only small spindly veins and almost perfectly smooth. The foot has a wonderful toasted tobacco aroma and that distinctive Limited Editition aroma. The leafs filled the cigar evenly and to the feel, it felt well made through and through. The cut revealed the same consistent filling at the head and i was eager to light it up. The pre-light was packed full of roasted flavours with a hint of sweet woods. The draw felt a little firm, but having not smoked many of this Vitola (shape) it put it down to that.
The narrower foot made the toasting easy, a few turns under a long match. Then i hit a snag when it came to drawing to get her going, it took 3-4 draws to get a mouth full of smoke and the first 1/2″ was rather musky. Nothing came over ion the prelight or on smelling the foot, i suspect its the oils on the wrapper, once i was past the tapering end she lost that musky taste. The first half of the cigar was smooth and very creamy with a very delicate hint of spice. The first half continued much the same with hints of sweet cedar and almost caramel like flavours coming through
The final half was joy to smoke, the cream was divine with caramel, cedar and good dollop of dry spice. I did encounter a few burn issue with the final half, but nothing that really made it bitter or harsh. I did find in the final 10 draws or so, that the distinct bitter Bolivar flavour actually came through. Based on other reviews, the Britanicas has a reputation for being a full flavoured, i however found it a little lighter than i expected. The final 2-3 draws produced a caramely and bitter, spice that i didnt want to end.
I have never been the biggest Bolivar fan, the Gold Medal was a stunning smoke though. I feel that i should have gone for one a little less oily and maybe waited a little longer to try this. With a few years on them i can see the burn being a little better and the initial flavours a little less musky. On the whole these are a cracking smoke, so creamy with gentle spice and complex woody notes. I always feel that Cuba lacks the powerful spice in its Ligero leafs, especially when you consider power found in the Nicaraguan leaf.
Construction .. 8/10
Burn .. 7/10
Flavour (1/2) .. 7/10
Flavour (2/2) .. 8/10
Overall .. 7.5/10