Size: 4.875 x 50 Robusto
Price: $7.92 from Cigars of Habanos
Today we take a look at the Ramón Allones Specially Selected (2015).
I received a few sticks from a close friend.
“The Ramón Allones Specially Selected was originally released in 1980 and was produced at the Partagás Factory (Fernando Perez German).
The actual brand became a reality in 1837 due to a partnership of Ramón and Antonio Allones. As companies go, so did this one and a long line of owners took over, one after the other. The current owner is the Cifuentes Company.
The non-Cuban cigar is manufactured by General Cigar in Honduras.
Cigar bands have changed over the years. This one made its debut in 2006.”
Cigar Aficionado proclaimed this cigar its #2 Cigar of 2015 with a rating of 96.
From their web site:
“When it comes to Cuban cigars Ramon Allones isn’t exactly a household name, as it’s one of the smaller brands coming out of Cuba, but Habanophiles know it well. It’s also a cigar that fans of more full-bodied tobacco tend to reach for, and the Specially Selected is probably the most recognized vitola in the Ramon Allones portfolio. Not that the portfolio is terribly large—over the years, official deletions have whittled down the brand to a mere three sizes.
“Ramon Allones is as rich in history as it is in flavor. Founded in 1837, it’s one of the oldest brands still produced and is credited as the first manufacturer to decorate its boxes with ornate, branded labels. Other cigar companies naturally followed suit and now, more than 150 years later, the branding of cigars and cigar boxes is commonplace.
“What is less common, however, is the amount of complex character that the Ramon Allones Specially Selected delivers. The cigars we originally smoked and rated earlier in the year were from a box stamped with a 2013 production date. The Specially Selected cigars we revisited for the Top 25 test were from 2014—and they were quite magnificent. Forget, for a moment, that these cigars are supposed to be strong and rustic by reputation. While there is indeed an intensity to these cigars, the Ramon Allones Specially Selected smokes of 2014 are also dynamic and, at times, elegant. Each puff is layered with earthy espresso bean but notes of marzipan and citrus show the cigar’s more sophisticated side.”
The RASS is not a thing of beauty as most Cubans are not as well. It has a sandy, dusky wrapper that nearly looks Connecticut. It is full of wrinkles, bumps, and lumps. The triple cap is expertly applied.
Seams are tight but the stick is full of veins and discoloration. I smoked a darker one prepping for the review than the one I review today. This recent outing had a very toothy sensation while this stick is smooth as a baby’s tush.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW POINTS:
The shaft smells of sweet milk cocoa, heavy sweetness, barnyard, malt, a wonderful floral note, and red pepper.
The clipped cap and foot bring big doses of very dark chocolate, creaminess, red pepper, thick sweetness, stronger floral notes, cedar malt, and earthiness.
The cold draw tastes of hay, leather, sweetness, chocolate, and earthy tobacco
The sample sticks have something in common: a tough draw. Each one has required the use of my PerfecDraw cigar poker. A few in ’n’ outs and you can drive a bus through the center of the cigar. (Promo code: Katman gets you 15% off).
First puffs display an array of pleasant flavors. A heavy salted caramel enticement initially greets my palate followed by sweet cedar, milk chocolate, molasses, honey cashews, creaminess, and lightning bolts of red pepper.
Strength hits a potent medium immediately.
As I only have a few, I felt it was prudent not to watch them dwindle away while ascertaining if the sticks are ready to smoke as lighting up a 2015 Cuban might be too soon. Clearly, it is not.
It starts with an explosive, impressive, expression of complexity and deep character. Nuances and delicacies are flying through air with the kinetic energy of subatomic particles and vanilla flavored neutrinos. I majored in astronomy in college before I switched to structural engineering. I wish I hadn’t been talked into changing. But I found the math skills required far outweighed the skills needed for engineering.
The stick has closed up on me, the cigar goes out, and out comes the PerfecDraw cigar poker once again. I’ve found, in my limited experience with Cubans that I see a pattern with the rolling being substandard.
The burn is only so-so requiring constant attention to avoid any pending disastrous run issues.
Lemon zest appears in the mist as a gorilla stares me down looking a lot like Sigourney Weaver.
The sweet cashew transitions into a thick and gooey marzipan. I love that stuff. So does my lovely kraut wife so it is usually in the house. It’s a German thing.
The creamy caramel really shines now. Without puffing, I can taste the subtlety of the delicious wrapper just by resting my lips on the cigar.
An outstanding countenance of malts endeavors to make their voice heard.
I know the Cohiba Behike 52 and the Montecristo #2 are the most popular blends for Americans; but I’m partial to the Ramón Allones Specially Selected.
I like that one doesn’t need to humidor rest the RASS for 4-5 years; like most Cubans… before you can smoke them. The RASS is usually good to go in a year or so…depending on the production year of course.
There is a hot biscuit and peppery gravy element now making its debut. The RASS is really black pepper heavy.
Coffee shows up and makes it a Denny’s Grand Slam. Where’s the bacon? (Growing up and even as an adult, the first thing folks would ask finding out I am a Jew is if I ate bacon? I always proffered a quizzical look and responded with the wisdom that bacon supersedes all religious commitments. Thank goodness that Jews don’t believe in hell.
The heavy molasses element becomes a nice floral honey flavor. Nice. I feel like a big fat bumble bee swimming in a vat of the stuff.
My last stick found the cigar poker enough to make the huffing and puffing of an old man minimal. This review stick is so over packed, that short of dynamiting it, it remains a tough draw.
Strength goes quickly from medium to medium/full.
Smoke time is 30 minutes.
Here they are: Creaminess, black pepper, chocolate, coffee, honey, citrus, almonds, toasty and buttery, cedar, and floral notes.
Strength remains at medium/full.
The draw has improved enormously with the char line issues disappearing. Construction finally springs free from the less than stellar rolling debacle.
The Ramón Allones Specially Selected (2015) definitely deserved CA’s rating and position in its top 25 cigars of 2015.
The natural sweetness presents a component like fresh cotton candy. Or better yet, cotton candy flavored rich vanilla ice cream.
The RASS goes from 0-60 in just a couple of minutes hitting the sweet spot almost immediately…and it continues on its upward trajectory until my brain begins flashing red signaling an imminent explosion. No worries. I spread plastic on the floor. I hate leaving Katman brains on the floor after a joyous review for Charlotte to clean up. I can hear her curse under her breath as she uses her hand vacuum.
You can’t beat the price of the RASS. You get a lot of bang for your buck with this blend. It ain’t as fancy as showing off your Cohiba or Monte but there is a shit load of enjoyment emanating from its guts.
This is a beautifully designed blend. There has been a constant flow of transitioning flavors that heighten the deep complexity of the RASS. The finish is demonic.
I smoked one a couple days ago in prep for this review and clearly each stick matures on its own timetable. This particular cigar is way ahead of the prior stick. Bursting with complex flavors specifically designed for the most discriminating palate.
I hit the halfway point after 45 minutes of smoke time. This blend opens like a budding flower as the tobacco wafts away into the ether.
I get a lot of emails asking about which online Cuban cigar stores are safe. Everyone has their favorite but I’m partial to Cigars of Habanos. Feel free to comment on your favorite source.
The complexity has the density of about 1018 kg/m3. That’s the same density as a burger from George Webb.
Flavors are morphing into a ball of spewing lava while I sunbathe in all its glory just before I’m consumed by fire.
As Woody Allen once said, “Sex without love is an empty experience … but as empty experiences go, it’s one of the best.” Smoking the RASS is like having sex with a call girl who knows her stuff. When I first met Charlotte, she introduced me to her best friend who made a part time living as a call girl. This woman was 6 feet tall, blonde, huge boobs, and just gorgeous. She took me into her bedroom and showed me her hobby: photography. On the walls of her boudoir were dozens of nude photos of herself. All I could do was gulp in admiration. I liked her a lot.
Surprisingly, I get a hint of black licorice. Don’t remember tasting this in previous RASS sticks.
Creaminess and sweetness rule the universe like a black hole eats your lunch.
The minor coffee element is now more Café con leche. A creamy sweet concoction.
Smoke time is one hour 5 minutes.
Strength is now full. Much more to my liking and in my wheelhouse of preferences.
Nicotine kicks in. And I have no idea where my crash helmet is.
This blend is a bloody killer of a cigar. I’m smoking my last one and I will be left with only fond memories of Boner-Ville.
The smooth attack is causing my body to shudder as I am inundated by incredible flavor and character; my boxers accidentally fall around my ankles in support of this masterpiece. I lost 65lbs since April of last year. I gotta get some new boxers. (Try and get that picture out of your head).
All previously described flavors are in place. I take a sip of water and get a slight root beer flavor. With all the creaminess on board, it is now a root beer float.
The RASS is a cigar you want to finish up in your pipe so as to squeeze everything the blend has to offer.
I use a cigar roach clip to finish off the cigar.
Smoking Cubans is a real test of manly discipline and patience. The blends I have smoked took years to accomplish the blender’s intent.
I’m going to double down on CA’s rating. They nailed it. I do believe I shall best Cigar Aficionado by one point using my incredibly complex rating system. I developed it using the Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
Final smoke time is one hour 40 minutes.
And now for something completely different:
My beloved L.A. Dodgers were in the World Series playing the Yankees. I had a solid, but crazy, group of friends and we watched every game together.
“This Series had two memorable confrontations between Dodger rookie pitcher Bob Welch and the Yankees’ Reggie Jackson. In Game 2, Welch struck Jackson out in the top of the ninth with two outs and the tying and go-ahead runs on base to end the game. Jackson would get his revenge in Game 6 by smashing a two-run homer off Welch in the seventh to increase the Yankees’ lead from 5–2 to 7–2 and put a final “exclamation point” on the Yankees’ victory.”
That evening was the night that Welch had struck out Jackson. And SoCal was jubilant. We were at Richie’s and his wife Delores’ apartment in the Belmont Shore area in Long Beach. Belmont Shore was right off the beach and was like a cross between the Sunset Strip and Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs.
Attending the event was me and my girlfriend…plus another couple I can’t remember. Doug Page was there. An original human being…The living embodiment of the Big Lebowski. He always had a cocktail in his hands whether he was driving his old Volvo or sitting on the couch. My other solo buddy was an old high school friend, John Turner.
Doug became a good buddy whom I met from playing volleyball at the beach every weekend. Back in our late 20’s, we were sleek, tanned and good looking. Now we all look like raisins.
The game had ended and we were celebrating, drinking tequila and smoking doobs. John announced he was making a booze run and off he went into the streets where a massive celebration was in full gear.
He returned with Dodger’s pitcher, Bob Welch, in tow. We literally fell out of our chairs.
John had found a drunken Welch in a bar next to the liquor store on 2nd St. where the action was in Belmont Shore.
He then convinced Welch that a hip and happening party was going on and he dragged him over to us. Hip and Happening? We were 8 people and literally sedated from weed and booze.
There were three couples, (And John and Doug) listening to music and getting sloshed.
Welch plopped himself down in a chair opposite the couch, leaned back in the chair until it rested on its back two legs and propped his feet up on the coffee table. Delores did not like this one bit.
Welch was completely shit faced and began telling us gossip about the Dodgers. Then he started complaining how they didn’t treat him right. He bitched about Dodgers’ manager Tommy Lasorda….and how someone else got a snazzier sports car than he got, etc, etc, etc. Poor Welch.
Then he started bitching about John’s description of our hip and happening party. He became really rude. He called our wives and girlfriends skanky bitches. Richie, who was from Philly, was a tough dude and got up and knocked Welch’s chair out from under him.
Welch was a big guy. And he shook the apartment with the thud his body made.
He got up and was ready to fight. He was in shape and 21. We were all nearing our 30th birthdays and not in shape like this athlete. This guy was bad news. But one does have to take into account he was only a kid at the top of his game…and had no idea how to cope.
We later learned that Welch was a full blown alcoholic which got him traded to the Oakland Athletics in 1988.
John held Welch back and I held back Richie. Welch kicked over the coffee table spewing drinks and bowls of chips and dip everywhere.
And then he sat down again.
We all looked at each other in wonderment. This can’t be happening. Here was the star of the L.A. Dodgers on the night they beat the NY Yankees and all we wanted was for him to leave.
My very timid, and meek, girlfriend spoke up first and asked him to leave.
Welch went into a tirade and cursed at us in a nonstop blue streak. It took John, Richie, Doug and I to move his body to the door where we could still hear him swearing at us as he stumbled down the street.
I have some more gossipy baseball stories to be discussed.
My wife was in her mid-20’s and a flight attendant for Lufthansa Airlines. But still a German citizen. She became engaged to San Francisco Giants’ ace pitcher John Montefusco. They were engaged for two years but then she found out about his serial cheating and dumped him.
She got to go to all the baseball private parties. Remember Steve Garvey? He was the squeaky clean Dodger. Every kid wanted to be Garvey. Charlotte told me stories about the guy and I couldn’t believe my ears. He was a serial skank underneath the All American image his agent developed for him.
But then at some point, Garvey got his dick stuck in the wrong place and was caught by his wife; red handed. She took everything.
Garvey was the worst, according to Charlotte, in terms of fucking around openly at the “In” parties. Charlotte watched him grab a young girl by the ankles on the 5th floor balcony of a San Francisco hotel and let her dangle upside down while she screamed in terror. He was repeating the mantra, “Fuck or fly. Fuck or fly. Fuck or fly.”
Charlotte also told me how many baseball players would go down to Central America and smuggle coke back to the States so they could peddle the stuff and make some extra scratch.
I actually saw Dodger Dusty Baker at a friend’s house in Long Beach coming out of the bedroom as he just scored some coke. He quickly made his exit when he saw me. I don’t know how much he thought he was disguised but wearing an official Dodgers warm up jacket didn’t help his disguise.
Of course, all of the players smuggling coke had hangers-ons that would distribute the dope for them. All the baseball players had to do was get the stuff on the plane and bring it home and make a killing. This went on for years…maybe still does.
As I tired of the music business, Charlotte grew tired of Lufthansa and being hooked up with a snake for a fiancée. So she bolted to South Lake Tahoe with a friend and began managing a well-known club along the lake’s shore. That’s where I met her in 1984 while managing a band from Long Beach but based out of Tahoe.
The first time I met her was while we were setting up the band’s gear at her club. She came downstairs to where bands played to say hello to the guys that played there often.
She sat down and my jaw dropped as I listened to her swear like a longshoreman. I was told later that I just stared at her, not blinking, listening to the filthiest mouth I’d ever heard on a woman. I fell in love instantly.
It nearly killed her not swearing once our baby Katie was born. But by the time Katie was 13, she could no longer control herself and I will give you three guesses how long it took for our impressionable teen to pick up on it being OK to curse like someone squashed by an elephant.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS