George Rico, owner of Gran Habano, explained to me that during each harvest season, he pulls aside the top 10% of the yearly crop and ages it for 7-8 years. after curing and fermentation. The resulting aged leaf is what is used in the company’s Gran Reserva line. In the case of the Gran Habano – Gran Reserva 2012 the leaf was harvested in 2012 hence the name. Although it is not stated on the brand markings, it should be noted, the Gran Reserva, is an aged blend of the company’s Corojo No. 5, which is the company’s strongest blend.
The blend itself is described as:
- Wrapper – Nicaragua
- Binder – Nicaragua
- Filler – Costa Rica & Nicaragua
Unlike the Corojo No. 5, that is expressed in just about any vitola that fits your need, the Gran Reserva is expressed in 5 popular vitolas, each packaged in 20-count boxes:
- Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46) MSRP $8.10
- Gran Robusto (6 x 54) MSRP $8.60
- Imperial (6 x 60) MSRP $9.40
- Czar (6 x 66) MSRP $11.10
- Grandioso (7 x 70) MSRP $11.50
For this review, I sampled the Gran Habano – Gran Reserva 2012 Corona Gorda.
The first thing that catches your eye when looking at the Gran Habano – Gran Reserva 2012 is the large cedar sleeve that wraps the cigar. It has the phrase “GRAN RESERVA 2012” burned into it numerous time. The sleeve removes easily and exposes a dark brown, well constructed specimen of a cigar. It has a decent oily sheen, is light on veins, and is finished with a well applied triple cap. There is no skimping on packing in this as it is firm to the touch from head to foot.
Besides the outer cedar sleeve, there is a primary band that uses the same red, gold, and white motif as the Corojo No. 5 but instead states “Gran Reserva Gran Habano 2012”. There is also a thin, red satin footer band, that declares this as the 2012 vintage.
Running the barrel under the nose I picked up a mild cedar note, which is to be expected from being packaged in a cedar sleeve. The foot however had a rich earthy note.
Slicing the cap right across the shoulder, I proceeded to take some cold puffs, that initially offered earthy notes and then, the more I cold puffed it, there was a light citrus that enticed the palate.
I used a double flame torch to warm the foot and get it to a even orange glow as I drew in the first puffs of creamy smoke that offered notes of bread and malt with a medium amount of pepper on the retro-hale. You know what to do, settle back and let me break this one down and turn it to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Bread and malt notes start the journey through a thick creamy smoke
- Medium amount of pepper hits the nose on the retro-hale
- Cedar notes begin to join the profile
- Medium grey ash has forms on a thick char line
- Coffee and cream notes enter enter making this even more pleasurable
- Sweetness to the cream notes as mild citrus notes lay in the background
- Ash fell with slightly off centered burn cone
- Spice starts to build with a bit more earthiness near start of second third
- Flavors stay consistent through second third – not much development but ever so enjoyable
- Smoke volume has been full from the start
- Slight off burn in the final third
- Cocoa notes finish the journey
- Medium to Full in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 40 minutes
Overall, the Gran Habano – Gran Reserva 2012 Corona Gorda was most definitely an enjoyable cigar that delivered a full and complex array of flavors. The flavors and aromas were well balanced as it transitioned from stage to stage. The flavor reach its peak in the second third and stayed enjoyable down through the final third where a delectable cocoa note finished the experience. It did have a slightly off centered burn cone when the ash fell and a slight off burn deep in the final third. Slow burning and never requiring a touch up, I find this to be a box worthy cigar and rate it a 92.
Point Deductions: (1) Medium Grey Ash; (-1) Off Centered Burn Cone; (-1) Slight Off Burn; (-1) Slight Jag in Burn
Bonus Points: (+1) Buy a Box; (+1) Complex Flavor Profile