Ramon Allones Specially Selected (RASS) Cigar Review

One of my favorite cigar formats is the Robusto because it generally packs a lot of flavor and takes about ~45 minutes to enjoy making it great for after lunch, after dinner, and/or enjoying with friends. The Ramon Allones Specially Selected consistently tops the list as one of the top in its class. This Cuban puro rated an 82 by Cigar Aficionado in its August 2009 magazine and is consistently highly rated by many other online cigar aficionados here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Being so highly rated by so many, I knew I couldn’t go wrong with the RASS; my thoughts inside.

Ramon Allones Specially Selected (RASS)

Origin: Cuba
Format: Robusto
Size: 4.8 x 50
Ring: 50
Wrapper: Cuban
Filler: Cuban
Binder: Cuban
Made: Handmade
Smoke Time: ~45 minutes
Price: ~$7.56, box of 25

Appearance & Construction

One of the very first things that stuck me upon opening my RASS box of 25 is the build quality is the most inconsistent of all the Cubans I’ve seen so far. No less than 3 of the 25 sticks had at least one defect or another from a broken wrapper or hastily rolled wrapper to poorly applied triple cap; perhaps I was just unlucky. Although when you reach in and grab a good, it’s damn good looking and feeling. The Colorado wrapper is a rustic brown color with few veins; it has less veins in the wrapper than compared to the H.Upmann Magnum 46.

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The RASS exhibits a slight box-press, no where as well done as the Padron 1964 Anniversary Series cigars. There are very few noticeable soft spots when gently squeezed and looking at the foot of most of the RASS, it’s well packed with tobacco. There isn’t an issue with the draw, very easy to take in bellows of smoke. One thing I found interesting is that 2/3rds into the cigar, the cigar starts getting more spongy when squeezed unlike the other Cubans I’ve had, which continue to stay stiff when squeezed. So far, I haven’t noticed any issues with it. Of the four RASS I smoked so far, the third one had a very loose draw that felt like sucking air through a large straw; I should have figured that would be the case upon inspecting the foot and noticing that it wasn’t rolled as tight. It wasn’t until about the last third before the draw started to tighten up and become more smokable. Quality control on the box of 25 of the Ramon Allones Specially Selected (RASS) is lacking.

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It's very easy to get an inch, if not more of ash sticking to the cigar

All four of the RASS I’ve smoked so far, I’ve found I’ve had to correct the burn many times as the RASS seems to burn unevenly, an issue I’ve never had with the Montecristo Edmundo. The RASS typically takes me approximately 45 minutes to smoke from beginning to nub. I’ve not had them go out on me.

I should also mention that the cigar box is absolutely gorgeous! The only other cigar boxes that are perhaps nicer than the RASS are ones by Cohiba. The artwork is very detailed on the cedar boxes from the Ramon Allones brand name inscribed repeatedly along the outer edges of the box to the colorful artwork that adorns it. The lid is held closed with a single small golden nail. After you splice the official Cuban state seal and the Habanos S.A. chevron, you pull the lid directly up and there is the official green and white warranty card. Underneath is a cover that is permanently attached to the box bearing the Ramon Allones seal with the first thirteen cigars nicely laid out with the cigar band properly facing up. Underneath those thirteen is a thin cedar sheet with the crescent cut in the upper right hand, when removed, will reveal the remaining twelve RASS cigars with a single white cardboard placeholder in the thirteen slot. The presentation I must say, is nothing less than beautiful.

Flavor

20091126-Ramon-Allones-Specially-Selected-Cuban-Cigars-009 (Large)The one thing I’ve been reading about the Ramon Allones Specially Selected cigar is that it really young in taste and needs to be aged at least a few years to get it’s full potential. The box code on the RASS I have is March 2008 and I’m hoping that I can manage to keep my hands off a good number of them and let them sit in the humidor for at least another year and see if it gets better.

I found the pre-light draw to be bland: hints of tobacco and slight pepper, but that changes after a few puffs once lit. The most noticeable taste, to me, is the chocolate. There are also cedar and earthly tones.

One thing I found very pleasing about the RASS is it stays creamy, even right up to the nub, with no hint of harshness or harsh aftertaste but it doesn’t have the complexity of taste as the Montecristo Edmundo, my favorite cigar at the moment.

Value

From what I hear, a box of 25 for the RASS runs about ~$189 USD making it $7.56 per stick which isn’t too bad for a ~45 minute smoke. A couple of years ago, the RASS used to run for $135, which was an excellent price!

Conclusion

20091126-Ramon-Allones-Specially-Selected-Cuban-Cigars-012 (Large)If the option was available, I would purchase a RASS box despite the occasional construction issues and the burn issues; there seems to be a bit of inconsistency between each stick in a box, at least for ones dated in 2009. I should note that for about the same price, one could get a box of the Montecristo Petit Edmundo (1-inch shorter than the Edmundo, and slightly shorter than a Robusto but thicker ring) and get all the great flavors that the Edmundo has to offer.

The RASS is a very good smoke when you get a good stick and it never hurts to have a few sticks lying around in the humidor.

Ramon Allones Specially Selected Cuban Cigar Gallery

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