Cigar Review: Reyes Family Premier


Size: 5×50, Robusto

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra Maduro

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaragua (Condega & Jalapa)

Strength: Full

Price: Box of 20, $118.99

Grade: 8.6

ReyesFamilyCigarsLogoAt nine years old, Don Rolando Reyes told his father and siblings he wanted to be a tobacconist. Born in Las Villas, Cuba in 1924, Rolando was trained by Silvio Santana of the Tabacalera Pequeña in Zulueta. After years of training, in 1938, Rolando began work at Pinar del Rio at the Jose L. Piedra Cigar Factory in Guanajay. He later worked at the H. Upmann Cigar Factory and the Jose Gener & Batet Cigar Co. At just 21 years old, Rolando established his own factory, Los Aliados, in Havana. The communist government Rolando was under learned of his skills and tried to force him to work in the El Rey del Mundo Cigar Factory, which he refused to do and, as a result, was forced to work in the rice fields.

In 1971 Rolando immigrated to America and worked textiles during the day, while still rolling cigars at night. Soon after, he built a small cigar factory and renamed it Cuba Aliados. He temporarily lost rights to the name but regained it in 2004.

In 1984 Rolando moved his operations to Miami, after an unsuccessful move to the Dominican. However, just four years later he relocated once more, this time to Honduras, where the conditions reminded him of Cuba.

Over 200 rollers produce over 75,000 cigars per day out of Rolando Sr.’s Honduran factory, where they roll Reyes Family Classic, Vintage, and Premier, Cienfuegos, Cuba Aliados, Puros Indios, and the bundle smoke Roly. During all the years of owning the Honduran factory, Rolando Sr. never grew or used Honduran tobacco in his cigars, but he was finally convinced to do so. The land had only been used for the factory, growing vegetables, and maintaining livestock. The first seeds were planted a year ago without Rolando Sr. knowing, so expect some new blends in the future!

You can learn more of the Reyes’ rich history online.

The Reyes Family Premier was the first cigar released under the new company name, no longer known as Puros Indios, which changed when Reyes Sr. handed over the reigns to his grandson, Carlos Diez. One of the first things Carlos did was change the name, logo, and add this new line, which is also available in a Classic and Vintage. So, with a lot of history behind us, mostly because we’ve never reviewed a Reyes cigar, let’s toast this Premier!

Pre-light, 1.5:
The wrapper on the Reyes Family Premiere leaves a lot to be desired. The seams are not tight, veins are prominent, and there is an evident patch job about halfway down. The cigar is spongy in places to the touch, but the dark oily wrapper is inviting to the eye. The pre-light aroma is of warm tobacco with a sweet spice at the foot that leans toward cinnamon. The cold draw is very loose with notes of charred oak and some sweetness on the finish. The band is intriguing and I like the color scheme, which fits the dark wrapper on this smoke quite well.

Burn, 1.6:
The Robusto cut, toasted, and lit well, but with a very loose draw. The ash is solid white but flowers a bit about two thirds of the way in. The smoke temperature is very warm and I attribute this too the loose draw.  The cigar requires no touch up or re-lights and burns relatively even for the duration of the smoke. But the heat on this cigar, along with the flowering ash, did not create a grade A experience.

Flavor, 2.7:
The first puff produces notes of warm sweet tobacco with a hint of coffee. The first third continues this trend but I detect notes of caramel and a surprisingly creamy finish. The second third shows an increase in spice, which is still warm and sweet, with notes of roasted coffee in the background. The last third stayed the course as above but the spice mellowed a bit and it produces mouthfuls of rich tobacco on the palate for the finish. A great flavor profile, very rich and creamy.

Overall, 2.8:
If you like a warm and quick smoke, this is a good one for you. Typically when I smoke a cigar with a loose draw, it feels a bit airy, but the in this case the smoke was still very rich, which I attribute to the blend of Nicaraguan tobacco. Not a bad smoke at the price point above, but steer if a warm temperature or loose draw is a peeve for you.

(Total: 8.6)

Question of the Day: What are your smoking plans for the weekend?