Cigar Review: Reinado Cigars Returns with the Grand Apex

For those of you who have been smoking cigars for a few years, the name Reinado Cigars may sound familiar. That’s because between 2010 and 2014 Reinado Cigars was making a name for themselves in boutique cigar circles. Their Core line and Grand Empire Reserve lines were highly rated and well-received throughout the cigar community. Here is a great write up on Reinado by Cigar Coop. Then Reinado Cigars quietly just disappeared. The reason, family. Antonio Lam, the man behind Reinado Cigars, decided to take care of his father who was diagnosed with dementia. 

After six years away from the industry, Antonio had a gut feeling that it was time to come back and re-introduce Reinado Cigars into the industry. This time, Antonio teamed up with Aganorsa Leaf and developed the Grand Apex. The Grand Apex pays tribute to his father’s climb from an entry level position at Chase Manhattan Bank to vice president. There is a very good article on Reinado’s return announcement here.

OVERVIEW

VITOLA:   Robusto Extra
SIZE:   5-1/2″ x 52

ORIGIN:   Nicaragua
FACTORY:   Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A

WRAPPER:   Mexican San Andres
BINDER:   Nicaraguan
FILLER:   Nicaraguan

STRENGTH:   Medium-full – Full

SOURCE:   
Reinado Premium Cigars

ENVIRONMENT

WHERE:   
My patio

WHEN:   
September 27 @1:30pm

DRINKS:   
Ice Mountain Bottled Water

WEATHER:   
86° and 34% humidity

WHAT’S ON:   
The sounds of neighbors finishing up home repairs.

PRODUCTION

RELEASE TYPE  Regular Production

ORIGINALLY RELEASE DATE  August 2021

TOTAL PRODUCTION
Typical Box Size:     Boxes of 20
Production Totals:  Unknown

VITOLA BREAKDOWN
o  Robusto Extra  (5-1/2″ x 52)

BAND DESIGN

The bands for the Grand Apex are a departure from the original bands used by Reinado in 2010 – 2014. The bands used by Reinado before had an old-school Cuban feel to them. The new bands went in a decidedly different direction. I spoke with Antonio Lam for an upcoming podcast (available everywhere Oct. 15), and he said that he wanted to give the brand a “more modern look.” The only thing kept from the original branding is the crown.

The band is a “power blue,” according to Lam, with black and white accents. It prominently features the name of the cigar on the front of the band and the name of the company in white. The back of the band sports the Aganorsa Leaf logo in white.

PRE-LIGHT OBSERVATIONS

CONSTRUCTION
The Mexican San Andres wrapper is absolutely gorgeous. Its dark, toothy, and inviting. It is with a visible sheen of oil. The wrapper is rough to the touch and full of veins. There is one visible seem that wraps around the Grand Apex.

AROMA
The Grand Apex has an intoxicating combination of barnyard and sweet tobacco wafting from the wrapper. The foot gives up just the slightest scent of fruit.

COLD DRAW
The cold draw has just a hint of hay but it is almost completely drowned out by the strong tobacco note that almost punches you in the mouth.

SMOKING EXPERIENCE

LIGHT & DRAW
Cut:  Xikar Xi3
Fire:  Xikar Tactical 1
The cap of the Grand Apex yields effortlessly to my Xi3. I begin to toast the foot, somewhat impatiently as I’m excited to see what the Grand Apex has in store for me. I light the Grand Apex and my sense are immediately bombarded with pepper and spice on the first few puffs. 

SMOKE
The smoke is plentiful and creamy from the Grand Apex. It’s thick and almost chewy as it fills my palate. I sit back and smile.

FIRST THIRD
>> Chocolate, Leather, Black Pepper

Once the pepper and spice die down, there is a creaminess that shines through with the Grand Apex. The retrohale is straight pepper, and stings the nostrils in the best of ways. Rich notes of chocolate and nuts  are met with a buttery avocado oil. Baking spices and pepper continue to belt out their part of the harmony. An earthiness and the taste of leather linger on my palate. There may be just slightest hint of fruit lurking beneath the surface. The burn line is fairly uneven, but it isn’t a problem…yet. The ash is white with a few streaks of gray and black. It’s a beautiful juxtaposition to the dark Mexican San Andres wrapper. It is compact and not the least bit flakey. A salty note breaks through as the chocolate note fades. Pepper and spice still rule this first third of the Grand Apex. The burn has corrected itself. This is, so far, a full-bodied and full-flavored cigar experience. The retrohale is a beautiful black pepper note.

SECOND THIRD
>> Coffee, Nuts, Baking Spices

The middle third of the Grand Apex starts with deep coffee note, followed by leather and a mustiness. The fruit that was lurking underneath in the first third is nowhere to be found. There is still a creamy element to the smoke, but the buttery component of the first third is gone, as well. The burn line is not the straightest, but poses no issues. This middle of the cigar seems to have gone from a forte to a piano. It’s still medium-full in boldness but more controlled and, dare I say, refined. The retrohale is mild when compared to the retrohale of the first third. Notes of nuts, coffee, and baking spices dominate this middle third. The ash is less stable here, but not flakey. The smoke is still creamy. There is a sweet tobacco note that rides in the undercurrent like a supporting solo voice that binds everything together.

FINAL THIRD
>> Espresso, Dark Chocolate, Baking Spices

The final third of the Grand Apex begins ramping up in flavor. Espresso, baking spices and licorice are the order of the day. The retrohale smacks of white pepper. The smoke is still so creamy that I feel like I could almost chew it. The sweetness has melted into a citrus note that brightens the richness of the espresso. The final third is a bit more robust than the middle third, returning the Grand Apex to its full-bodied brilliance. Dark chocolate begins to add its voice to the choir of flavors. Baking spices continue their dance on my palate, as the dark chocolate morphs into a rich milk chocolate note. The burn line is straight and the ash is slightly flakey as it falls into the tray. The Grand Apex ends with notes of chocolate, coffee, nuts, white pepper, and baking spices.

RATING & FINAL THOUGHTS

FLAVOR PROGRESSION
The Grand Apex starts off strong and lets you know that it isn’t playing around. With strong notes of chocolate and leather the first third sings. The middle third serves as the interlude with notes of coffee and nuts. There was a definitive slow down before the final third unleashed a powerful chorus of flavors. While the middle third did seem a bit more subdued than the first and final thirds, it wasn’t out of place.

BURN EXPERIENCE
If I had one complaint it’s that the burn line was never razor sharp for me on any of the Grand Apex that I smoked.  However, none of them needed touched up or re-lit. In fact, every time the burn line ever seemed to get too out-of-whack, the Grand Apex always self-corrected.

RATING BREAKDOWN
0.78 / 0.80 … Craft & Aesthetic
0.49 / 0.50 … Pre-Light Characteristics
0.50 / 0.50 … Lighting Process
6.90 / 7.70 … Smoking Experience
0.43 / 0.50 … Personal Enjoyment

COMPLIMENTS & CRITIQUES

THEY’RE BACK!

I honestly feel like the Grand Apex is a statement from Reinado Cigars. That statement is, “We’re back.” More than that, it’s a statement of love. A son’s love for his father, and a cigar geek’s love of the leaf. The Grand Apex has subtlety and nuance without compromising rich, bold flavors. It does a nice job of keeping the smoker interested without being too in your face…well, mostly. Those first few puffs demand that you pay attention to the cigar. The first third sets the tempo, while the middle third sets up the final third, and the final third pulls everything together in a way that will leave you wanting more. 

SIMPLY STOGIES RATING:  9.1 / 10.0

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