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Cigar Review: Gran Habano Gran Reserva #5 2011 Gran Robusto

22 Apr 2019

In 2015, Gran Habano—the Florida-based operation of the Rico family—announced a few changes to its portfolio. Chief among them was the introduction of the George Rico S.T.K. Miami Zulu Zulu Mas Paz Edition, which is made in Miami, features design work by artist Mas Paz, and benefits an orphanage in Bogotá, Colombia. Gran Habano also added a few sizes, discontinued a vitola in the G.A.R. Red line, and changed some packaging.

Five years before all these changes, in 2010, the Gran Reserva #3 line was introduced, showcasing well-aged tobaccos from 2008. The cigar was a success, and it spawned a few follow-ups: Gran Reserva #3 2009, Gran Reserva #5 2010, and Gran Reserva #5 2011.

The latter is the latest and only Gran Reserva to be featured at the Gran Habano website (since the cigars are produced in limited quantities, presumably there’s no reason to market the previous Gran Reserva lines). It is offered in five formats: Corona Gorda (5.1 x 46), Gran Robusto (6 x 54), Imperial (6 x 60), Czar (6 x 66), and Grandioso (7 x 70).

It goes without saying that Gran Reserva #5 2011 skews large and thick. Frankly, only two of the sizes even pique my interest: Corona Gorda and Gran Robusto. Today I’m reviewing the latter, after having smoked three samples.

Like its brethren in the Gran Reserva #5 2011 line, the Gran Robusto sports a Nicaraguan wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and Costa Rica. It is made at Gran Habano’s GR Tabaqueras Unidas factory in Danlí, Honduras.

After removing the beefy cigar from its cedar sleeve, I find a firm, dark specimen that’s dry, toothy, and marked only by thin veins. The densely packed foot showcases pre-light notes of green raisin and coffee grounds. The loosely applied band of red and gold slides effortlessly off the cigar. After clipping the head with a double-guillotine, I find a clear draw that imparts a little spice on the lips.

There’s a lot of tape holding the cedar sleeve and foot ribbon together. If you’re patient enough to peel in all away, though, you can use the cedar to light the cigar—a time-honored tradition I’ve always found to be pleasant. Plus, since the Gran Robusto has a large ring gauge (54), the cedar is helpful in thoroughly establishing an even light from the get-go.

Once underway, the flavors are medium- to full-bodied with notes of espresso, char, black pepper, cedar, and a bit of warm tobacco sweetness. Cocoa powder and creamy cashew help to add balance. After about an inch, the spice and char recede and chocolate and nuts become more prominent.

The voluminous, cool smoke keeps the body (now decidedly medium) and spice at bay, making room for flavor. The taste is also not inhibited by the physical properties, which are admirable. The burn is straight, the white ash holds well, and the draw is smooth.

The final third isn’t much different than the rest of the cigar, save for the introduction of some cayenne heat in the background. And that’s ultimately the biggest knock on this otherwise fine cigar: It tends to overstay its welcome. I don’t dislike the core flavors, but I’m also not sure the offer enough to warrant such a significant time commitment.

That makes the Gran Reserva #5 2011 Gran Robusto a difficult cigar to score. But score it I must, and I’ve settled on a rating of three and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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