The Vegas Robaina Famosos is a regular production cigar from Habanos S.A. The brand is one of the youngest brands in the Habanos portfolio with its introduction to the world of cigars in 1997. The Famosos is a Hermoso No. 4 vitola that offers a perfect balance between mild and full bodied cigars. With youthfulness, vigor and unique characteristics, Vegas Robainas embodies the independent spirit of its name-sake, Alejandro Robaina. Vegas Robaina, though not originally well received, has blossomed into a brand that is coveted by Cuban aficionados around the world.
The cigars reviewed for this article were rolled and boxed in July of 2020 and received in January of 2021. The box was stored in an air-tight container, kept at 62 percent relative humidity, and about 68 degrees Fahrenheit (the temperature of my home). As I do with most younger cigars, each cigar reviewed was dry boxed for roughly four hours before smoking.
VITOLA: Hermoso No. 4
SIZE: 5″x 48
BOX CODE: Factory Code BSM
STRENGTH: Medium to Full
Gifted by an acquaintance
On the patio in my backyard.
All three in February: two cigars one morning and the last on an afternoon.
Coffee with a splash of cream and sparkling water.
A chilly 37 degrees in the High Desert of California for the morning and mid-40s in the afternoon.
Listening to Stuff You Should Know, one of my favorite podcast.
RELEASE TYPE Regular Production
ORIGINALLY RELEASE DATE Released with the brand’s introduction in 1997
Typical Box Size: Dress Boxes of 25
Production Totals: Unknown
o Famosos Hermosa No.4 (5″ x 48)’
RESEARCH & BACKGROUND INFO
- The brand is named for one of the most celebrated Cuban tobacco famers, Alejandro Robaina.
- Vegas Robaina is one of the few post-revolution brands that have been introduced by Habanos S.A.
- This is the first Habanos S.A. cigar to be named after a tobacco grower. The first name of the brand Vegas, or vega (Spanish for field), pays homage to the land where this specific blend of tobacco is grown.
- Alejandro Robaina was one of the only Cuban Plantation owners to independently maintain a plantation after the revolution.
The band design has remained unchanged since its introduction in 1997. This band is one of the more modern looking bands and a complete divergence from what I associate with a typical Cuban cigar band. There are none of the classic bright colors, heraldic figures or ornate designs — only simple design and function. The band is an overall light brown, golden ivy weaving over both the top and the bottom borders. There is an “R” for Robaina centerd on the band with a gold ring border and two tan sections flanking the left and right side of the central gold ring. Even with this simple design, there is a bit of elegance to its simplicity, both eye-catching and inviting.
Each one of the cigars in this box is beautifully constructed. Every cigar is a uniform shade of Colorado Claro, with a slight toothiness and a slight sheen. There are some noticeable veins on the wrappers but not enough to classify it as rustic in appearance. The cigars are firmly packed and have a nice balance in the hand, with no under-packed areas throughout the entire length.
The aroma on the wrapper is overwhelmingly dry grass and honey. As obvious as it sounds, there is a very nice fermented tobacco scent; it reminds me of tobacco curing barns growing up in the south. There isn’t much noticeable difference from the wrapper to the foot. There is a slightly drier note added to the grass but nothing substantial.
The cold draw has a very nutty flavor, very reminiscent of an unsalted mixture of cashews and almonds. It’s also very dry and almost woody, similar to the smell you would get from of walking around an old lumber yard.
LIGHT & DRAW
Cut: Guillotine cut with a Xikar Xi3
Fire: Soft flame light with a Colibri Julius
With the quality construction of these cigars, there isn’t a need to take off much the end cap. I removed roughly 2mm and the draw is perfect, open with just enough resistance to keep me from overheating the cigar. The Famosos lights as expected with no issues. Remember that if you plan to use a soft flame, it takes some getting used to. Be sure to be patient and take your time.
Smoke production on the Famosos is atypical for most Cubans. The smoke is a bit more dense than usual and continues to flow off the cigar well after it has been sat down. Smoke is a bit dry on the palate but has a very velvety mouthfeel.
>> Citrus Zest, Dark Chocolate, Nougat
The Famosos starts off like your typical Cuban. The flavor is mild, with some woodiness and a cream component that rounds off a slight sourness. The aftertaste is clean, with some light cedar notes and a dry finish. The retrohale is the most enjoyable aspect of the first third. The almond nougat, creating a soft and sweet feel/flavor.
After opening up more in the first third, the previous sour note develops into a nice orange zest, bitter dark chocolate starts to emerge and some of that nougat is beginning to develop on the palate. There is also a noticeable increase in the black pepper on the retrohale.
The mouthfeel is still dry with an aftertaste of unsalted roasted almonds and a pepper tingle on the back of the tongue.
>> Cream, Dark Chocolate, Honey
The ash on this cigar is absolutely perfect. There has been no flaking, the color is a beautiful light gray and the segments resemble a stack of coins. These are all signs that this cigar was grown, cured and rolled with skill and care. The burn is clean and has not required any attention.
The flavors are still in the same vein as the previous third. The citrus zest note has melted into the background, the dark chocolate and honey have become the dominant flavors, with an added creaminess binds these two flavors. This makes for a wonderfully balanced profile, which is important as the strength begins to ramp up from medium to full.
The aftertaste is still on the drier side. Cedar is still the dominant flavor with some added sweetness and almost zero pepper tingle.
>> Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Black Pepper
The ash finally fell in one solid chunk just in the beginning of the last third, driving home the quality of the Vegas Robaina brand. In way of flavor, most of the sweeter notes from the first and second thirds have completely faded. In their place, even bolder flavors like black coffee, earth, bitter dark chocolate and pepper have completely taken over. There is also some heat accompanying the bitterness, which can be interpreted a sign of youth in most Cuban cigars.
The mouthfeel has become more savory, taking away a lot of the dryness that was predominate for the majority of the cigar. The retorhale is overwhelmingly black pepper and almost too much to enjoy.
RATING & FINAL THOUGHTS
This is a robusto that should be in everyone’s top five Cuban robustos. Flavors are pronounced and complex with the spicy start, a chocolate and cream middle, and a bold and youthful finish. Perfect to pair with that cup of joe and just the right balance to enjoy any time of day.
This cigar was one of the best constructed cigars that I have smoked in some time. The ssh was solid, with a beautiful blue gray hue, and no flaking to speak of. The burn was straight the entire cigar with no correction required during the entire smoke. The cigar lasted for roughly an hour and fifteen minutes, and I am a slow smoker.
0.70 / 0.80 … Craft & Aesthetic
0.35 / 0.50 … Pre-Light Characteristics
0.50 / 0.50 … Lighting Process
6.50 / 7.70 … Smoking Experience
0.35 / 0.50 … Personal Enjoyment
COMPLIMENTS & CRITIQUES
Exactly like the title says, this is one robusto that should be in the humidor of anyone who enjoys Cubans, especially robustos. The construction is impeccable, the flavors are complex and captivating, and they aren’t hard to find in stock. They can definitely benefit with age, given two or three years the complexity remains, but the mongrel tannic notes in the last third start to fade out. Even in it’s youth, it is not a cigar to be overlooked. Do your present a future and self a favor: Grab two boxes, age one and enjoy the other in the meantime.