Cigars of The Year 2015 No.2 - Ramon Allones Specially Selected
When it comes to Cuban cigars Ramon Allones isn’t exactly a household name, as it’s one of the smaller brands coming out of Cuba, but Habanophiles know it well. It’s also a cigar that fans of more full-bodied tobacco tend to reach for, and the Specially Selected is probably the most recognized vitola in the Ramon Allones portfolio. Not that the portfolio is terribly large—over the years, official deletions have whittled down the brand to a mere three sizes.
Ramon Allones is as rich in history as it is in flavor. Founded in 1837, it’s one of the oldest brands still produced and is credited as the first manufacturer to decorate its boxes with ornate, branded labels. Other cigar companies naturally followed suit and now, more than 150 years later, the branding of cigars and cigar boxes is commonplace.
What is less common, however, is the amount of complex character that the Ramon Allones Specially Selected delivers. The cigars we originally smoked and rated earlier in the year were from a box stamped with a 2013 production date. The Specially Selected cigars we revisited for the Top 25 test were from 2014—and they were quite magnificent. Forget, for a moment, that these cigars are supposed to be strong and rustic by reputation. While there is indeed an intensity to these cigars, the Ramon Allones Specially Selected smokes of 2014 are also dynamic and, at times, elegant. Each puff is layered with earthy espresso bean but notes of marzipan and citrus show the cigar’s more sophisticated side.