Pre-Release Gran Habano La Conquista Pre-Lanzamiento 2016 | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan, Costa Rican, & Colombian
Size: 6 x 54 “Gran Robusto”
Body: Full
Price: Undetermined
Humidor Time: 2.75 weeks.



Today we take a look at the pre-release of the Gran Habano La Conquista Pre-Lanzamiento 2016. (Pre-Lanzamiento translates to “Pre-Launch.”)
Thanks to George and Natasha Rico for the samples.
According to Natasha, this cigar name may change when it comes to market. I’ve tried one and it is stupendous. Something to look forward to.

Box Size: 20 Cigars
From Natasha Rico:
“Gran Habano introduces its TBD pre-release line of cigars, a beautifully-blended cigar that will treat the smoker’s palate to a spicy, peppery, and long leathery finished delicacy. From the novice to most sophisticated smoker, this pre-release’s refinement is certain to romance and captivate the senses.

“Other comments: The final name has not been finalized. We are also in the process of finalizing the bands and packaging. We are working with someone new for this particular project who worked in Cuba designing bands for their brands. This line will look very different from all the other Gran Habano and S.T.K. lines.”

From Natasha in a message to me on Face Book:
“Hi Phillip, it’s Natasha. How are you? I never did a press release for La Conquista. What you have received is a pre-release that we are using for retail tasting events and we are sending out to bloggers. I’m waiting for George to finalize the packaging and bands to do the press release with photos. So far, it’s looking very nice!!! Take care!”

A stout, good looking stick. An oily russet brown color, with touches of pumpkin, that is mostly silky to the touch but has areas of tooth.
Seams are tight. Very few small veins but a couple large ones.
One cap is round and the other is flat. But all are triple caps impeccably applied.
The cigar is solid with a perfect amount of give.
The cigar band is ornate and gorgeous. Very old school.


SIZES AND PRICING (Prices Undetermined)
5 x 52 Robusto
6 x 54 Gran Robusto
6 x 60 Imperial

From the shaft, I smell orange citrus, floral notes, dark bittersweet chocolate, cedar, sweetness, barnyard, and dried fruit.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell dark chocolate, black pepper, citrus, dried fruit, cedar, and cream.
The cold draw presents flavors of jalapeno pepper, chocolate, coffee, sweetness, cedar, nuts, and some barnyard.

We start off with a mix of chocolate, spiciness, cream, coffee, nuts, malts, something unusually sweet, cedar, and herbal notes.
That sweetness that I can’t describe is totally unique to anything I’ve tasted before. I’ll get it as long as it maintains its presence.

Strength starts out at medium body. The draw is spot on.
The sweetness is a combination of molasses, maple syrup, and pecans. Strange, I know.
There is something else on the tip of my palate that gives the Gran Habano La Conquista Pre-Lanzamiento 2016 a very unique quality.


The blend starts off quickly with becoming quite complex. This is a completely different animal from other GH blends. I don’t mean good or bad. What I mean is that it seems to have hit the high premium market flavor profile and complexity. Having no idea what the cigar will cost, I’m expecting either a $15 stick or a surprise $9 stick.

Caramel enters. A nice toastiness arrives. The pepper lays at the back of the palate in just a perfect strategy. Something constant but not overwhelming; complementing each puff.
There is a very Cubanesque approach to the blend. I think this component is what has been eluding my description.

This is a very slow smoke and not a single construction issue.

As I near the second third, here are the flavors: Creaminess, spice, chocolate, coffee, sweetness, malts, nuts, toasty, cedar, syrups, and fruit. The fruitiness has been the elusive flavor because of its complexity. It’s just not a single or duo of fruits. It is mixed with cream; almost like a yogurt.

Our move is now two days away. Charlotte and I have become planks of wood from the strain of packing and throwing away stuff we don’t need. Getting bags of old papers ready for the professional shredder, and stuff to take to the dump. Living in a two story house with a basement has become a curse. I came upstairs from the man cave around 7 last night and found Charlotte slumped over on the couch. Out. I went back stairs and the last thing I remember was the clock said 7:30. We are too old to do this by ourselves. But it is almost over. The move, not us.

Smoke time is 40 minutes.
Strength moves to medium/full.

The flavor profile expands dramatically. I get new elements of vanilla and root beer. Root beer was the missing flavor I couldn’t get my palate around earlier. I thought it might have a root beeriness but it was very mild and wasn’t consistent.


Back when I was a teen…when the dinosaurs fought each other for the sweet leaves on the top of the trees, there was an A & W Root Beer Drive-In on every corner. On a hot summer day in So Cal, there was nothing like being served a frozen, frosty glass mug of root beer.

The Gran Habano La Conquista Pre-Lanzamiento 2016 is an excellent blend. While the flavors are pretty darn good, I do believe they could use some tweaking to put them more in the forefront from the start. This blend should hit you with a sledge hammer right from the get go. Instead, it creeps up on you. I prefer an explosion rather than a gradual build up.

The blend is very smooth. The spiciness continues to lie in the background. I would like to see it more powerful.
The chocolate is on its way out. So is the coffee.

I reach the halfway point.
Smoke time is 55 minutes.

A sip of water and the root beer flavor washes over my palate. It brings out the creaminess. The sassafras is very upfront as well. It brings herbal notes to the forefront.
Natasha told me this is a full bodied cigar. Based on the gradual push of flavor, complexity and character, I am guessing that won’t happen until the last third.
With more humidor time, all of things I wanted in this blend will probably come to fruition.


The complexity is going Bozo crazy now. I taste root beer, creaminess, herbal notes, pepper, nuts, and matzos with butter shmeared on them. I threw in the last flavor because I’m hungry and we are living out of a big cooler since we sold our fridge last Saturday.

After yesterday’s disastrous review, it is nice to see a char line that doesn’t need touch ups. And a stick that has zero construction problems.

The Gran Habano La Conquista Pre-Lanzamiento 2016 is gearing up now for its grand entrance. Flavors are becoming intense. And highly recognizable.

Sir Paul is coming to Milwaukee July 8. I’ve never seen my hero play live. And at the prices they are charging, I doubt I ever will. Prices range from $100 for lawn seating to $8927 for the rear reserved seats. The lawn seats are so far away from the stage, you might as well park your car and walk over to the arena and stand on the sidewalk and just listen.
This guy has more money than two Trumps. Why he doesn’t make his concerts affordable is beyond me. There are so many big artists that charge just a flat fee that allows everyone a chance to go to the concert. But not McCartney. I guess he is still paying off new prosthetic legs for his ex-wife.
Back in the mid/late 1960’s, we would go to concerts and pay $3.50 for front row seats.
One of my all-time favorite concerts was seeing Simon & Garfunkel opening for the Mamas & Papas in the round at Melodyland in Anaheim.

Back to the Gran Habano La Conquista Pre-Lanzamiento 2016. I believe as I pass the halfway point, I am getting the blender’s intent. And what you will taste once the cigar has had a few months of humidor time. Still, I’d like more spiciness.
I don’t think the Gran Habano La Conquista Pre-Lanzamiento 2016 will be an inexpensive cigar. The flavors and complexity are those of a master blender. Which comes with a price.


Chocolate, coffee, malts, caramel, and the spiciness return. Big time.

Smoke time is one hour 10 minutes.
Strength hits a very strong full body.

The first half was a prelude to the unveiling of the second half’s quality.
Damn! This is one might fine tasting blend. The sweet caramel mixes nicely with the root beer. So does the creaminess.

The funny thing is that this might not be the final blend. The Ricos want to make the blend even better than this blend. Lawdy, lawdy, lawdy, Miss Clawdy.

I’m thrilled that this is such a slow smoke. Balance is perfect. And what a finish! Long, chewy, and chock full of flavors.
I’m sitting here smacking my lips like a dog to experience the finish.

I will base my rating on the supposition that I allowed the cigar to humidor age much longer. The last half, and last third, are so special and enticing that I’m sure, with time, the Gran Habano La Conquista Pre-Lanzamiento 2016 will start off with a bang.

The Doors are playing on the Classic Radio station on TV at the moment. I saw them in 1969 at the L.A. Forum. But I had to pay big bucks: $7.50. LOL.
Every flavor mentioned is blasting away. I can’t wait to see what the final blend will be if this is only the test model.


Nicotine shows up. I see dead relatives motioning me to skip to my lou down the lighted tunnel towards them. But I resist. After all this hard work to pack the house up, I intend to live to settle into our new place.

I received a press release from GH yesterday. Their new cigar is called La Coleccion de Elegancia. A high premium that they are taking orders for now. I will post the press release today.

Based on what I taste so far. And the cigar blend gets tweaked later before release; I can easily see this cigar in my Top 25 Cigars of 2016.

I can say, unequivocally, that this is the finest GH cigar blend I’ve smoked. Kudos George and Natasha.
Keep an eye for this new blend. It may not be released using the current moniker but you can always contact me for confirmation.

Since we got that loan from the pay day cash place, there has been a black Cadillac sitting in front of my house with two guys just sitting there. And they don’t have necks. Gulp.

Out of nowhere, I get a very strong black licorice flavor. “Yummy, yummy, I got love in my tummy.” Did I leave out a “yummy?”
Many thanks to the Ricos for sending me samples. This was a helluva cigar!!
Final smoke time is one hour 35 minutes.


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1 reply

  1. A&W….Frosted glass mugs of root beer…fried clams….beautiful young girls on roller skates taking your order. ..just when you needed it most after smoking a big doob.
    Ahhhh the good old days.

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