While Cuba is likely not the birthplace of the cigar, it certainly is the place we most associate cigars and cigar tradition with.
Cuba brought us the modern vitolas, most of the world’s most popular brands, some of the greatest cigars and in many ways it’s home to a less prestigious cigar industry tradition: shipping delays.
Cuba’s Edición Regional program has been plagued with enough shipping delays that about half of the releases for any particular year don’t actually ship until the following year. This has extended out to regular production items, Colección Habanos releases and now the Reserva and Gran Reserva series.
This trend is relatively new and it started with the cigar being reviewed today, the H.Upmann Reserva No.2.
The Reserva and Gran Reserva series are the annual flagship release from Cuba. Reserva cigars see Habanos S.A. take a particular cigar from a global brand—Cohiba, H.Upmann, Hoyo de Monterrey, Partagas, Romeo y Julieta and technically speaking José L. Piedra—and create a special vintage release. The concept is quite similar to the vintage offerings of Champagne in that all the tobacco comes from one year–a cosecha–and is reserved for high quality leaves. The tobacco is then aged for a minimum of three years before the cigars are rolled.
Cuba claims, like with Champagne, that it will only offer a Reserva or Gran Reserva release if the tobacco is good enough, though, given the consistency of the line in recent years, it seems it’s not following it with the strictness of most producers in Champagne.