Vitola de Galera: Prominentes
Vitola de Salida: Gigantes
Dimensions: 49 RG / 7 5/8 inches
Presentation: Dress Box/ 25
Vintage: May 2010 / ALS
Age When Tasted: 5 Yrs
If there is one cigar in the world that can truly make me wax poetic, it’s Ramon Allones Gigantes.
I can’t think of a better cigar, in my opinion, than an aged Gigantes.
Of course taste is subjective, but that’s where I am putting my stake in the ground.
My dream world would be one in which I had the time and leisure to savor only Prominentes (Double Coronas). But, that is a dream…
Only a handful of other brands currently offer the Prominente in their portfolio: Hoyo De Monterrey, Vegas Robaina, Punch, Partagas, and Saint Luis Rey.
And they are all amazing.
Why so special?
In my book, they are the perfect size in terms of girth (49 RG) and length (7 5/8) to my taste. Hold one in your fingers and you will agree.
They are meant to be savored slowly. You can get 2 hours out of a Double Corona if you do it right (one gentle puff and a roll of the fingers once a minute or so). And as time is the ultimate luxury, it makes them a true luxury item. I believe (correct me if I am wrong) that the Prominente vitola was created sometime in the 70’s–a time when smokers could spend more time on a cigar. .
They are rolled only by the most skilled torcedors, always utilize the very finest leaves (including the largest wrapper leaves which are most prized) and are masterfully blended.
I had my first Gigantes on my birthday quite some time ago. I sat outside on the balcony of our room at the Ventana Inn, a glass of champagne in one hand, and a lovely Gigantes in the other hand (I’ve mentioned in a previous post how a good vintage champagne is the perfect foil for a cigar) and it was heaven. I wanted that moment to last forever.
I pulled this particular vitola from a box from 2010. 5 years of age is a good staring point with this cigar. I’ve found that any earlier, and it just smells and tastes like it isn’t quite done releasing the natural chemicals of the fermentation process. It’s like that with all Ramon Allones cigars.
The scent of the foot is leather, cocoa, bitter chocolate, and earth. The wrapper tastes slightly tangy and rich in my mouth. The feeling in the hand is like I am holding the scepter of a king.
An even char of the foot, a soft blow around the foot to ensure the cigar is lit and..then that first puff.
I’m off and running.
All Prominente’s start out very subtly. The smoke has about 8 inches to travel before it reaches your mouth, and that means that you get a sense of the notes of the cigar, but must wait patiently for things to unfold. You also need to get your cadence down. Very important. If you rush one of these babies, you will end up ruining it.
The flavors will also develop and intensify in a way that all other cigars don’t. Over the course of 2 hours, you get three very distinct, drawn our phases that keep your palate intrigued and waiting for the next.
As I move gently through the first phase of this cigar, the aroma as the smoke passes my lips and curls up my nose is earthy, dense, and rich. Tastes a bit like a lightly truffled demi-glace.
The burn is really nice and the ash is nice and even.
Further in, I am starting to think about a dish a buddy and I made with a few quail we had shot in the woods of Northern Michigan. After plucking the birds were hung in the fridge for a few days and then grilled very quickly over an oak fire before being placed in a pan of smoking hot clarified butter and cooked till rare to slightly medium rare. We took the birds out, hit the pan with a touch of white wine, scraped off the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, and added a touch of reduced duck stock, some butter, and chervil.
We spooned the sauce over the birds and had had an indescribably delicious meal.
My point in all this? The second phase of this cigar is all about woodsmoke, crisped skin, black peppercorn, and light herbs.
As I move further through, things intensify a bit in the last third. Leather, toffee, spiced nuts and burnt caramel. And something I always recognize with all Ramon Allones cigars, and for that matter, Saint Luis Rey as well.
Kinda like a thick New York Strip grilled over a hot fire, the fat blackened around the edges.
What’s not to love about that?