Cigar Review: Mi Havana’s Un Nuevo Reino (by Alex Gonzalez) in 3 words: Enigmatic, Light, Regal
Un Nuevo Reino – “A New Kingdom” – this is the kind of name that catches your attention. An audacious name for a cigar, perhaps, but one that signifies the level of confidence and ambition held by its creators, Raul Reyner of Mi Havana Cigars in Los Angeles, CA and Alex Gonzalez, the esteemed Cuban roller from Hotel Comodoro Cigar Shop in Miramar, Havana. Despite their relatively young ages, both of these men have already proven to be serious influencers in the cigar world.
Raul, 31, was born in Cuba and is a third generation Cuban roller. He founded Mi Havana Cigars in 2014, which has developed a cult-like following in the Southern California cigar scene with distinct blends like 7 Kingdoms (known as 7K), which was awarded #1 boutique cigar of the year by Cigar & Spirits magazine in 2018.
Alex was also born in Cuba and started his education in cigar rolling at the age of 19 at the premier Laguito Factory in Havana. Now 33, Alex is one of the most highly-regarded young rollers in Cuba, gaining distinction as the house roller at Hotel Comodoro following the retirement of the legendary Crisantos Miranda in 2014.
Un Nuevo Reino is a new line in the Mi Havana family of cigars, blended exclusively by Alex Gonzalez (AG for short) for Mi Havana and produced at Raul’s factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.
Alex explains that he had the “full freedom to select the blends and the raw materials” for his namesake cigar. It is worth noting that up to this point in his career, Alex has been known exclusively for his creative Habanos blends.
He says, “Sometimes for people it is impossible to believe they’re smoking a cigar from Alex and the cigar is not Cuban. It’s like a shock for everyone in the cigar business. But when they smoke the new blend, the new line (Un Nuevo Reino), they feel the cigar has something from here (Cuba), and I am proud of that.”
He adds, “My idea was to create something special and something premium, with nice quality and a nice price.”
The band on the cigar is a great symbol of their collaboration, showing a shield with characteristic elements of both the Nicaraguan and Cuban flags. The shield is topped with a Spanish crown that Raul half-jokingly said represents the shared imperial past of these two countries under Spain, but also perhaps reflects the royal ambition of Un Nuevo Reino itself. In the center are the initials “AG”.
It is available in 3 vitolas: the “Prince” (5×50), the “King” (6×54), and the mighty “Emperor” (7×58). The Prince and King are both constructed with Habano Claro wrappers, whereas the Emperor is wrapped in a slightly darker Habano Oscuro.
All three vitolas have Criollo 98 seed binders from the Condega region of Nicaragua and long fillers from Jalapa and Esteli, fermented and aged for 1.5 years to achieve a smooth and sweet flavor profile that is uncommon for Nicaraguan tobacco.
Un Nuevo Reino Cigar Review
I had the privilege of smoking and reviewing the Emperor, which is befitting because it was developed with more size and power specifically with the American consumer in mind.
This cigar is an enigma that takes you on a journey
I will start by saying that the flavor profile of the AG Emperor, from start to finish, is enigmatic in a very, very good way. The aroma of the wrapper and taste of the dry draw was unmistakably that of fresh raisin bread.
Upon first light, my senses were bombarded with honey and toasted bread notes with a tingly cayenne spice in the back of my throat. Yet just one inch into the stick there was a sudden transition to a light citrus and lemon zest coupled with an intense habanero-like spice on the retrohale that was somewhat reminiscent of Tajin seasoning.
Then at the midpoint, there was another startling transition to deep wood-like flavors with hints of dark fruit (dates, perhaps) and roasted coffee beans that carried through to the end.
The journey progressed through various interesting stages starting from Yang (light, honey, citrus) to Yin (dark, rich, coffee, tree bark, molasses), with a consistent backbone of sweet bread and cayenne pepper leading the way.
How Alex and Raul managed to achieve this particular flavor profile from Nicaraguan leaf is a testament to their expertise and creativity in blending, as well as to the quality of tobacco they sourced for this project.
The Emperor is big on flavor, yet light and transparent
Despite the richness of flavors contained in AG’s blend, there is also a persistent “lightness” to this cigar that really helps to balance it out. First of all this is a mild, or at most mild-to-medium, strength cigar, so the nicotine levels are definitely on the lighter side.
By design, the smoke put out by this stick is not thick and creamy like other Nicaraguan cigars, but is rather smooth, fresh and airy. This is because one of Alex’s goals with Un Nuevo Reino was to create a blend that was similar in style and flavor to the Cubans he rolls at his shop in Havana. The finish is also very short, almost transparent, leaving an extremely mild (and pleasant) residual taste on the palate between puffs.
What this means is that the Emperor is damn near perfect for just about any occasion, whether it’s with your coffee in the morning or with a tumbler of your favorite spirit late at night.
True to its name and roots, this cigar is regal
Un Neuvo Reino is an ambitious name that exudes a certain amount of confidence. I mean, to name your new line of cigars “A New Kingdom” is to build pretty high expectations. All around, my opinion is that this cigar lives up to its name.
The construction of every AG I’ve ever smoked (which right now is two of each vitola) is an A+ , which speaks to the experienced rollers and quality control team they have in place at the Mi Havana factory in Nicaragua. I’m talking flawless wrappers with tight seams, a perfect draw every time, and a razor sharp burn line with thick white ash that holds on for several inches at a time.
This is coupled with a complex flavor profile that takes you on a consistent and carefully crafted journey each and every time. In other words, you know what you are getting out of AG’s Un Nuevo Reino – a unique premium cigar experience that will simultaneously settle you down and rock your world.
As Alex says, “The best cigar is not the most expensive. It’s the cigar you enjoy – that you smoke with your friends. That’s exactly how we think about our cigar.”
I couldn’t agree more. This is the kind of cigar I would enthusiastically share with my friends on any occasion.
Steven is a father of 3, a scientist by profession, and a cigar enthusiast by hobby. His first cigar was (regrettably) from a gas station at age 18, but his palate has grown over the years to appreciate the sophistication and crafted experience of premium cigars.