El Galan Reserva Especial Habano | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 5 x 52 “Robusto – Airosos”
Body: Full
Price: $6.80 MSRP ($6.00 at Cuenca Cigars)





Today we take a look at the El Galan Reserva Especial Habano.
Thank you to Miguel Castro for the cigars.

They can be had for around $6.00 from my friend Ana at Cuenca Cigars. Tell her the Katman sent you.

I couldn’t find more than one review. So I don’t have much background from the usual new sources. I believe it was released after the 2015 IPCPR trade show.
I smoked one after receiving it about a week ago and it was definitely a New Breed style of blending. It was pretty damn good.
I haven’t had to dry box a review cigar in quite a while. But these cigars were received a bit damp so I give them 48 hour breathing time.

Factory: El Galan Cigars S.A.
Regular Production.

From the Antillian Cigar web site:
“Brand spankin’ new cigar from El Galan! El Galan is a brand by master blender Felix A. Mesa who owns his own cigar factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Many of our own new Sosa brand of cigars are made out of El Galan’s factory. The Reserva Especial is a full Nicaraguan cigar: Nicaraguan wrapper, binder and filler. All cigars come beautifully box-pressed. Comes in four sizes: Airosos, Apuestos, Gallardos or Obesos. Not only is this design spectacular, but the cigar is delicious. A medium to full cigar, you are truly missing out if you don’t add this one to your humidor.”

Cigar Snob Magazine rated it a 92 and made it No.18 on their Top 20 Cigars of 2015 List.

Nice looking soft box press. The wrapper is an oily chocolate mocha color that is silky smooth.
Seams are tight. Few veins. Solid cigar with the proper give.
Sort of a sloppy triple cap.
A dual cigar band. Bright fire engine red that identifies the brand and the secondary merely saying the brand and blend. Also fire engine red with gold and white lettering.

5 x 52 Robusto “Airosos” $6.80 MSRP
5.75 x 54 Robusto Extra “Apuestos” $6.90 MSRP
6 x 52 Toro “Gallardos” $7.20 MSRP
6 x 60 Gordo “Obesos” $7.40 MSRP

From the shaft, I smell spice, ginger, coffee, cedar, barnyard, and floral notes.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell strong bittersweet cocoa, red pepper, floral notes, coffee, cedar, barnyard, ginger, and wet wood.
The cold draw presents flavors of spice, coffee, spice, sweetness, cedar, creaminess, and chocolate.
I’m somewhat verklempt this morning. I use two cigars for photos. I use my preferred cigar for nose sniffing. And then I clip the cap. And I light the wrong cigar and can’t figure out why I can’t get any draw on it. Du-oh!

The draw is perfect.
Flavors spew forth: Strong red pepper, creaminess, chocolate, malts, cedar, baking spices, and coffee.

The spice begins to build in only a minute or two until it is a Pepper Bomb. Yeah, baby.
I love that Garcia-like pepper bomb start to a cigar. It wakes you the shit up.

Had to stop and run taking the garbage bins out for pickup this morning. We live in this big duplex and our neighbors are a family of Do Nothings. Two boys in their mid 20’s that work minimum wage jobs while they spend their lives in college accomplishing nothing. The father brags about how smart they are yet they are so lazy, they live at home at 24 and 25. Nice kids but dolts. The wife has been deathly ill for 10 years and all this man wants is for his wife to die. And he is desperately waiting for his parent’s to die so he can get his inheritance.

They used to be nice people. And share the responsibility of taking four bins of trash out and three bins of recyclables. Now I have to do it all: Take them to the curb and return them when the time is right. And they know my back is in small crunchy pieces. I swear it’s like living next to a Seth MacFarlane family.

So now I’m huffing and puffing from running to get it done before the trash guys show up.
I’m calm now. Moe, Larry, Cheese, etc.
Strength is a tad over medium body.


If nothing else, it allowed the El Galan Reserva Especial Habano to rest in the ashtray and the burn to even out.
Flavors are just fucking gorgeous now. The malts make a huge impact on the individual flavors.

No what this blend reminds me of? A well-aged Liga Privada No.9. No shit. For a fraction of the price.
This is a great cigar!

My only criticism is that it needs several touch ups to the char line.
I don’t remember having that problem with my first one a couple days ago. But it was also damper than this 48 hour dry boxed one.

The El Galan Reserva Especial Habano is making a great impression on me. I love everything about it. It has that wonderful balance of being aged perfectly so that every flavor is bold yet nuanced. The El Galan Reserva Especial is very complex at just over 1” burned.
The finish is amazing.

Caramel shows up in heavy doses. So does golden raisins. A nougat element falls into place giving the blend a chocolate candy bar note. Like an expensive chocolate truffle.

Charlotte’s employer, Buddy Squirrel, has an enormous selection of the most decadent chocolates you’ve ever seen. And they have a box of sugar free chocolates. A pound for only $32. Charlotte brought me boxes home for about three weeks straight until I told her to stop because the Maltitol gave me the shits. That specific artificial sweetener tends to do that.

Here they are: Chocolate Rye Malt, Cara Munich Malt, Coffee Malt, Flaked Oats Malt, and Honey Malt. (See Malt Chart).

The complexity of the El Galan Reserva Especial Habano is rich and delicious. Thank you, thank you Miguel for sending me some of these brilliantly blended cigars.
The El Galan Reserva Especial Habano should really go on to “THE KATMAN’S TOP 25 CIGARS OF 2015.”
Strength moves to medium/full.
The char line calms down and seems to be working in tandem with the rest of the perfect construction.

Smoke time is 25 minutes.
Strength seems to be moving above medium/full body.

Yeah, I’m right on this one. If you love the No.9, you will love this cigar.

If you go to Cuenca Cigars, ask to speak to Ana Cuenca. This woman is just about the classiest broad in the cigar biz. (That’s my Frank Sinatra speak). She is so nice and has been a real supporter of the Katman, that I would like you to give her some business.
You can purchase singles, 5 packs and 24 count boxes.

The El Galan Reserva Especial Habano is well packed but it is such a great blend, the time is flying by. I have my DeLorean parked out back.


I’m kvelling. Such a meshugenah crazy cigar blend.
I know this is a travesty and bordering on treason, but I think I like the El Galan Reserva Especial Habano better than the Liga Privada No.9.

This blend gets immensely better with each puff. Have I thanked Miguel? You are one of my most important guardian angels.

I’m not even halfway through the El Galan Reserva Especial Habano and flavors are dripping down my leg. It oozes flavor. It oozes complexity, perfect balance, and a perfect finish.
Yeah, it will take the place of the Enclave by AJ Fernandez at No.14. I will change it after the review.

Here are the flavors in order: Creaminess, malts, red pepper, coffee, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, baking spices, cedar, more malts, raisins, cinnamon, nougat, and very nutty and toasty.
That’s some kind ‘a spicy meat’ a’ ball! Most of you are too young to remember this TV commercial. From the 70’s I believe.

I do believe the El Galan Reserva Especial Habano is giving me super powers.

“Let My Love Open the Door” by The Who. Charlotte left for work. I cranked up the TV Classic Rock TV channel. Great start.
The halfway point. Smoke time is 55 minutes.


If you’ve tried the El Galan Reserva Especial Habano, you know why I’m raving about it. If you haven’t tried it, please go to Cuenca Cigars and give Ana some business.

“My Sweet Lord.” The magical flavor profile qualifies for Super Flavor Bomb. If any cigar I’ve reviewed that I named a flavor bomb deserves it more than any other; it is the El Galan Reserva Especial. And after only a week or so of humidor time.

Felix A. Mesa must have been standing next to Robert Johnson when he made a pact with the devil to make him the best guitarist in the world. So, Mesa must have a DeLorean as well as this happened circa 1930’s.

Sosa is a very good cigar line, depending on the blend, but the El Galan Reserva Especial Habano shines above them all.

I will try to keep track of this man and someday be able to buy his blends. He also blended the wonderful DOÑA NIEVES. Antillian Cigars sent me press releases to publish but they never followed up with the cigars. Back when it came out, I bought some and was blown away.

The other blends in the El Galan line are: Maduro, Natural, Campestre, and the Mini Campestre. I’d love to try them all. Check out the El Galan web site.

And Cuenca Cigars carries them all. I have to finagle some from Ana.
I’d love to try the El Galan Reserva Especial in the Maduro version. I bet it’s a killer.

Smoke time is one hour 15 minutes.
Know what’s great about this cigar? I smoked it as the last stick of the day the other night and it nearly had all the qualities I am experiencing this morning.

“Rocky Mountain Way” by Joe Walsh. Damn. This song is the reason I became a fretless player. I saw a video of Walsh playing the song live back in 1973. This cooler than shit bassist played a fretless and was swaying to the music like a pro. I wanted to be him. It took another 7 years before I was able to get up the nerve to buy a fretless but once I did, I totally understood what made Walsh’s bassist sway to the music. There is nothing like the sound of a true fretless. And I’m not talking about the new electronic gizmos that make a fretted bass sound like a fretless. And this led me on my journey to buy my Dobro electric upright in 1986.

I want to try the Reserva Especial in the 5.75 x 54 Robusto Extra “Apuestos” size next. This review size is good but I want more.
Transitions are amazing. Never letting up. Never leaving me disinterested. It has my full attention.
Strength is full body.


Jews aren’t supposed to have tattoos. Supposedly, we can’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery. But I thought the hell with it and got my ink back in 2005. A traditional old school tat. Notice I put the bass clef and a Star of David on it as well. I’ve told Charlotte I want to be cremated and my ashes sprinkled in the waters between Long Beach and Catalina Island. (We’re not supposed to be cremated either but it’s much cheaper than a traditional burial.)

I have zero complaints about the El Galan Reserva Especial Habano. It’s about as perfect a blend for my palate as possible.
I think I have one or two left. Not sure.
You have to try this stick. And again, please give Cuenca some of your business.



And now a final word on this subject:

I posted something yesterday describing my revised diagnosis. The dumb ass doctor made a cavalier diagnosis based on no background information from my other neurologists. Shame on her.

So now, I’ve lost at least a year of treatment because of the lackadaisical attitude of my doctors. They don’t know what they don’t know.

Look, this is very serious.

Rather than dwell on it, I prefer to live a full life to the best of my ability.
The illness is very rare. Figures.

But, at the moment, I’ve chosen not to disclose it because I don’t want any pity. And I don’t want the words “The Katman” and my illness spoken of in the same sentence. This is not the legacy I want.

Life is so short. And it should be packed with as much joy and fun and camaraderie as possible. I’ve made so many pen pal friends as a result of my web site. I’m blessed.

And as long as I have cigars to smoke, I can get through the rough spots. Cigars are everything to me at this juncture of my life. They are the focus of my happiness.

The new meds will be disgustingly very expensive and Medicare only pays 80%. And some tests and meds, they won’t pay for at all.
So, at this point, I have no idea what I will be able to afford. Probably none.

Still, I think I’m very lucky. I’m 66 in a few weeks. Other than my skydiving accident, I’ve never suffered anything serious; health-wise.

And my wife and daughter are both healthy and happy. That’s all I need to be happy in this life.
In a bizarre way, it’s finally good to know what’s wrong with me. Takes a lot of frustration and pressure off me. The wondering was driving me crazy. And not being taken seriously by my doctors was incredibly frustrating.

Now I can focus on what’s important.

I love cigars. I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing. And thanks to the readers who have filled the coffers, I can chain smoke cigars. I have an obsession that includes having a cigar in my hand all day long. It calms me. Almost a Zen thing.

I have a friend named Fred who is losing his battle with life. He is a big cigar smoker and I’ve helped him out a lot because he can’t afford to buy them because his health care is outrageously expensive.
Now he lies in an induced coma in the hospital clinging to life. His wife doesn’t think he will leave the hospital.

Now that’s scary. I am grateful that I am lucid enough, at the moment, to be able to enjoy cigars. To enjoy my family. To sit in my cave, watch movies, and smoke cigars.

I’ve had a rich life. I had an extraordinary musical career. And I’ve documented as much as I can remember right here on this site.
So, I’m good.

On my last day, February 10, I will formally thank all the folks who stood in my corner and gave me the stool to sit on while waving a towel in my face.
Thanks everyone. I love you all.


P.S 9:00PM the same day. As I was watching Chris Matthews on MSNBC at 6PM, he had a back and forth with a Bernie Sanders backer. A young congressman from Texas who clearly t’weren’t that bright. Matthews got irritated by his remarks that Sanders would provide free health insurance; birth to death and free college. When the young congressman could not reply how these things would be funded, Matthews told the young man that “…doctors don’t even want to take patients with Medicare anymore. What kind of healthcare do you think the American public will have?”
I’ve been saying this ever since Medicare became my sole health provider. One gets sub par treatment and docs seem to be schooled in how to get rid of Medicare patients toot suite. That’s all.

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2 replies

  1. So that’s why my dad and granddad went so ballistic when I started getting tats back in the 70s (first one was an identical little rose to KISS’s Paul Stanley’s. Proper Jewish boy). I was like, you guys were in the fucking NAVY, YOU should have’em up and down your arms, not me! For all their “Radically Atheist Jew” identity I think they were secretly holding onto some… tradition.

  2. Smoking a Reserve especially right now reading your review. It is everything and more that you stated in your review. Received this one through my cigar sampler I get from Thompson Cigars every month. Definately better than many of the more expensive cigars I have tried. Try one you won’t be disapointed!

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