How To Choose The Right Por Larrañaga Cigar
How To Choose The Right Por Larrañaga Cigar
With a history stretching back nearly 200 years, Por Larrañaga are now the oldest Cuban cigar producing brand and have been producing cigars effectively continuously since their founding in 1834. Though the brand’s fortunes have grown and receded numerous times over their incredible tenure, with much critical acclaim being appended to them in the 19th century and their feat of creating ubiquitous appeal to smokers at all levels of pricing by maintaining a range of luxurious sticks for their more affluent clientele alongside more modest, agreeable vitolas for the everyman, Por Larrañaga have always been a force to be reckoned with, and though their range of offerings may have contracted significantly in the mid to late 20th century the brand is steadily bouncing back with a renewed vigour and all of the poise, grace and style they were long renowned for.
However, the rebuilding process has been consigned mostly to the brand’s selection as the brand of choice for a whopping 18 Regional Edition releases, but that doesn’t mean their core range of offerings, albeit slight, is any slouch. In this guide we’ll be walking you through the intricacies of their four mainstay vitolas and exactly what each of them bring to the table for fans of both chunky robustos and the more slender, elegant vitolas alike!
So without further ado, lets begin with:
The Petit Coronas, known in the factories of Cuba as a Mareva, is one of the most widely produced and highly beloved formats of cigar and has been since the popularisation of the Parejo (straight sided), many iconic vitolas such as the Montecristo No. 4, Cohiba Siglo II and Bolivar Tubos No. 2 share this same size, though one of the most highly sought after expressions of this vitola remains the Por Larrañaga Petit Corona.
Measuring in at a 42 ring gauge with a length of 129mm (5 ⅛”), the Por Larrañaga Petit Corona isn’t overtly impressive in terms of its dimensions, it’s the delivery of flavour that remains its biggest selling point and has endeared it to generations of smokers as the decades have rolled along.
Something of a conundrum compared to its peers, Por Larrañaga’s iteration of the Petit Corona is a fairly mild and aromatic offering when you take it at face value, but when paying attention to everything it brings to the table it’s easy to get lost in the subtle layers of complexity embedded in the stick. Depending on the age of the stick you’re sampling, there can be an inherent sweetness present in the Por Larrañaga Petit Corona, very reminiscent of honey, backed up by a very pleasant nuttiness akin to walnuts. This is all underpinned by a backbone of intriguing earthier notes, bringing brown toast, light cedar wood spice and a piquant hint of saltiness, making the Por Larrañaga Petit Corona an excellent vitola for smokers at virtually any degree of experience in sampling Cuban cigars, aided along tremendously by the fact that it manages to maintain an excellent balance of quality and price!
Which brings us along to another highly sought after Por Larrañaga offering with a more slight ring gauge.
Por Larrañaga Montecarlos
One of the last few of a soon to be sadly lost vitola format, Por Larrañaga’s Montecarlos is a Slim Panetela, known in the factories of Cuba as a Deliciosos, bearing a svelte 33 ring gauge with a not inconsiderable 159mm (6 ¼”) length. The current iteration of the Montecarlos that we see today is actually a reimagining of a pre-revolution vitola formerly made by machine with short-filler tobacco, where the modern iteration is made by hand with long-filler tobacco and a slightly sleeker ring gauge.
Elegant in every sense of the word, the Por Larrañaga Montecarlos brings many of the same traits as the Petit Corona, albeit with a sweetness more reminiscent of caramel than honey and more robust earthy notes including a very present creamy coffee motif, soft peppery notes, leather and a more pronounced cedar spice.
One complaint often raised by fans of the vitola pertains to the cigar’s habit of going out if not regularly and patiently puffed upon, though the occasional relighting is a small enough inconvenience to be negligible whilst enjoying such a tremendous vitola!
However, there’ll certainly be no qualms about relighting either of the next two stogies we’re going to be examining as we move on to:
Released in 2014, the Por Larrañaga Picadores is another revival of a much beloved vitola from the brand’s history with a slight tweak for modern fans. The Picadores that we see today takes the form of a Hermosos No. 4, a tragically overlooked quasi-robusto size weighing it with a 48 ring gauge and a length of 127mm (5”), and is the only vitola in the brand’s catalogue which doesn’t bear their iconic and immediately recognisable all gold band, instead being adorned with a very striking red, gold and white band. These excellent sticks are however reserved for sale by La Casa Del Habanos and Havana Cigar Specialist stores, making them a little harder to come by.
In terms of delivery of flavour, the Picadores shares many of the hallmarks of the other two vitolas we’ve just looked at, except the sweetness manifests itself in more of a baking spices motif, with many enthusiasts insisting that there’s a generous helping of cinnamon present in the flavour profile. Personally, I also find the Picadores to be lighter and more aromatic than other Por Larrañaga vitolas, with a very fresh aspect that borders on floral, yet the overall smoking experience is still very well balanced and thoroughly enjoyable, especially for a heavier ring gauge cigar.
Which brings us to the final entry in this guide, and the most recently released vitola from the brand. Another heavy ring gauge delight known as:
In keeping with the growing trend among modern cigars smokers and their penchant for sticks with heavier and heavier ring gauges, the Por Larrañaga Galanes was introduced. An entirely new and unique vitola size in the Habanos portfolio, the Galanes is slightly chunkier than the average robusto, and a little shorter too, measuring in at a 52 ring gauge with a 120mm (4 ¾”) length, making it the heftiest stick ever introduced into the Por Larrañaga standard range.
Very well received upon release, the Galanes smokes like a dream (though there have been a handful of reports of some wrapper leaves requiring touch-ups with a lighter while smoking), offering a flavour profile resplendent with brown toast and honey, much like its smaller sibling the Petit Corona. This is bolstered by salty notes and hints of cashew, leather, cedar spice and balanced out with a delectable oaky finish.
If the Galanes is anything to go by, we can ideally hope that renewed interest in the Por Larrañaga brand will thrust it back into the public eye and see a whole new generation of fantastic vitolas be created for future generations to enjoy!