A few weeks ago I was contacted by a fellow named Richard McArthur who is in the process of bringing a line of popular Panamanian cigars to the United States. The cigars are called “Regusto”, which according to the company’s new (and yet incomplete) website translates to “to taste again or repeatedly”. Intrigued at the prospect of a new cigar from Panama, I told him I’d be happy to give them a shot. (I found out later that though they are made and currently sell in Panama, the cigars don’t actually include any Panamanian tobacco.)
The background of the Regusto sounds a little like an adventure story, featuring a fast-talking, hard-partying Cajun, a cigar cigar smoking uncle from Texas, and a mysterious Cuban exile known as “Don Migel”. The Cliffs Notes version of the tale is, Richard was introduced to the cigars while partying with “the Cajun” in Panama, and brought some back for his girlfriend’s uncle. When the uncle preferred them to his favorite Montecristo No. 3, Richard set about tracking down the maker, Don Migel, and made a deal to with him to distribute the cigars in the United States. Along the way he undoubtedly racked up a lot of frequent flier miles.
At the moment, the cigars have limited availability here in the States, but at some point in the near future, they will be sold via the Regusto Cigars website, in seven sizes: Churchill, Torpedo, Corona Gorda, Coronita, Robusto, Sublime (which I believe will feature a maduro wrapper) and Canonazo.
Now let’s see which is more interesting, the back story, or the cigar itself.
Size: 7 x 49
Smoking Time: 2 1/4 hours
Source: Samples from Regusto Cigars
Price: MSRP $8.00
The Regusto Churchill samples I burned for this review were free of both bands and obvious imperfections. The light natural Ecuadoran wrapper had a nice sheen to it, and almost all the veins were spider web thin. Another thing I liked about this stick is that they’ve kept the ring gauge under 50, making it a very comfortable cigar to smoke.
All the cigars felt consistently firm and well packed with tobacco. The wrapper smelled like a combination of dusty hay, light compost and cedar, and the cold taste had light creaminess to offer.
The string of good burns continues with the Regusto Churchill. Solid, light ashes and no need for return visits from the lighter to keep it combusting evenly. The only beef I had with this cigar was that the draw was a little snug in one case, and the smoke seemed a little thin, particularly in the first third. However, the rest of the sticks drew nicely, so it appears to have been the odd man out.
The Regusto opened up creamy with a malty sweetness, and light touch of nuts and spice. The first third remained creamy, but the malty sweetness faded, and was replaced by light cedar, toast and bready flavors.
Around the beginning of the second third, the sweetness returned and was nearly butterscotch in nature. At this point, the cigar was very creamy and often syrupy, with light cinnamon and cedar notes in the finish. But as before, the sweetness began to fade a little way in, and bread, toast and cedar started peeking through the creamy profile.
By the time I burned into the final third, the cedar was the dominant element. The creaminess that had been been so consistently present appeared occasionally, but it tended to be a little ashy and paper-like. There was also vegetal note to the smoke toward the end.
Richard tells me that the price isn’t set in stone and that he has been advised by some that he should bump it up a buck or two. I would advise against that. The cigar industry is very competitive, and the economy isn’t in the best shape at the moment. An eight dollar newcomer will fare better than a ten dollar one, even if the newbie is worth the extra money. Based on my experience, I’d say the eight dollars is a fair price for this Churchill.
A common mistake that new cigar manufacturers make when getting into the business is taking a decent cigar, slapping a ten plus dollar price tag on it, and marketing it as the end-all-be-all of super-premium cigars. That does not seem to be the case with Regusto. It’s a reasonably priced, well made, mild to medium-bodied cigar with an enjoyable flavor profile. Will it be a hit with consumers? Only time will tell, but it is worth giving a shot.
Flavor-wise, the Regusto Churchill reminds me of the kind of cigar I smoke occasionally early on in the day. So it wasn’t surprising that the sticks I burned in the morning or afternoon were enjoyed more than those smoked in the evening. I probably won’t buy boxes of Regustos, but I could see keeping some around for the morning coffee or a leisurely afternoon smoke. If you prefer lighter, creamier cigars, keep the Regusto in mind.
Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Perhaps
Recommend It: Yes
Tower of Burn
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