Throughout my years of smoking Cuban cigars I have been lucky enough to meet some wonderful people through this shared passion. The cigar community is filled with people who are generous with their time, their friendship and – perhaps best of all – with their collections. Terraces and lounges the world over will see aficionados, some who have been friends for years and some who have been friends for mere minutes, exchanging and gifting cigars to each other. A few months ago I was reunited with one such friend, whom I first met several years ago on a smoking terrace in London. Luckily for me, he is one of the most generous cigar smokers I know and, after a few hours’ catching up, was kind enough to give me a very rare gift – the El Rey del Mundo Petit Compañia, Regional Edition for France in 2009.
The cigar itself is a petit piramides of 5 inches by 50 ring gauge. Smoking time was around 45 minutes. As only 8,000 boxes of these cigars (each holding 10 sticks) were originally produced, finding them today is incredibly hard – to receive one which had been aged so carefully for 13 years was a wonderful surprise.
- The wrapper leaf had some veins and grain to it, and there was a slight unevenness to the filling.
- Save for a brief moment at the beginning of the smoke which saw the cigar take a second to warm up, the draw was excellent.
- Completely perfect burn from start to finish.
- Thick, compact, and silvery-white all the way along.
- Not always as plentiful as one might like, but far from disappointing.
- For a cigar to have survived un-smoked for as long as this one had is unusual, so the chance to explore how the flavours are affected is exciting. Much of the character of El Rey del Mundo was still very much evident, with a smoothness born of the maturity of the stick. It was delightful to smoke.
- The considerable age on this cigar definitely had equally considerable effect on its flavour and performance, thankfully in a positive way. The Regional Edition programme is popular because it creates so many of these treats and limited pleasures for us to enjoy at the time or down the line, and the El Rey del Mundo Petit Compañia was a perfect example of this. One hopes that a few more boxes have been hidden away by aficionados somewhere.
Final Score: 91/100
- Aged cigars are generally well-kept in traditional cedar humidors, and the flavour always confirms this. As with most cigars I have sampled which were over 10 years old, cedar was the immediate note. The first few puffs gave little else to savour, but quickly the cigar opened up to provide more of the grass and hay usually associated with El Rey del Mundo. The sweetness of all three combined was impressive, but mellowed as the cigar progressed into the middle third. Here a warm butter shortbread flavour took over the majority of the work, still backed up by the cedar and blended with a gentle nutmeg spice. The final third saw that nutmeg develop into a richer cinnamon, and the body of the smoke increase slightly. Still the cedar remained, a constant reminder of the length of time this cigar had been cherished before finally being lit by me.