EL REY DEL MUNDO vs POR LARRAÑAGA

by on 17 June 2017

El Rey del Mundo

El Rey del Mundo is the name of two premium cigar brands, one produced on the island of Cuba for Habanos SA, the Cuban state-owned tobacco company, and other produced in Honduras by the Villazon family.

History

Believed to have been created, along with Sancho Panza, by German businessman Emilio Ohmstedt in 1848, El Rey del Mundo (King of the World in Spanish) was at one time the most expensive and prestigious cigar brand in the world.

Spanish businessman Antonio Allones took over the brand sometime around 1882 (a rival version of the brand’s history claims the brand became defunct after Ohmstedt’s death and Allones re-registered it, but cigar connoisseur Min Ron Nee maintains the brand was passed to Allones from Ohmstedt’s company, based on records stating Allones as the owner of El Rey del Mundo from as early as 1873). Under Allones, the brand reached the height of its worldwide prestige. In 1905, Allones’ company was bought by the Díaz Hermanos y Cía venture, owned by Cándido Vega Díaz (supposedly the namesake of Don Cándido cigars), which was later renamed the Rey del Mundo Cigar Co. to reflect its most famous asset. Production moved to a factory at 852 Calle Belascoain in Havana. The company also produced such famous brands as Sancho Panza, Rafael González, and Don Cándido.

Production continued after the Revolution and the brand maintained its popularity through the 1960s and 1970s, but as the world taste started to run towards stronger cigars, the milder El Rey del Mundo brand began to lose its status as a foremost brand of Cuban cigars. Despite its loss of popularity, El Rey del Mundos cigars are still prized for their mild, complex flavors, with the Choix Supreme, Grandes de España, and Demi Tasse sizes being particularly popular among connoisseurs.

Vitolas in the El Rey del Mundo Line[

The following list of vitolas de salida (commercial vitolas) within the El Rey del Mundo marque lists their size and ring gauge in Imperial (and Metric), their vitolas de galera (factory vitolas), and their common name in American cigar slang.

Hand-Made Vitolas

  • Choix Supreme – 5″ × 48 (127 × 19.05 mm), Hermoso No. 4, a corona extra

  • Demi Tasse – 3⅞” × 30 (98 × 11.91 mm), Entreacto, a short panetela

  • Grande de España – 7½” × 38 (191 × 15.08 mm), Delicado, a small panetela

  • Lunch Club – 4⅝” × 40 (117 × 15.88 mm), Franciscano, a petit corona

  • Petit Corona – 5⅛” × 42 (130 × 16.67 mm), Mareva, a petit corona

Por Larrañaga

Por Larrañaga (meaning by Larrañaga) is the name of a cigar brand produced in Cuba for Habanos SA, the Cuban state-owned tobacco company, as well as a non-Cuban line of cigars produced in the Dominican Republic and Honduras for Altadis, a division of Imperial Tobacco. Por Larrañaga cigars have been in continuous production in Cuba since 1834, longer than any other Cuban cigar brand.

History

Cuba Production

Por Larrañaga was registered in 1834 by Ignacio Larrañaga, a Spanish immigrant who came to Havana in 1825. Larrañaga established his first factory at 58 San Miguel Street in the city. By the end of the 19th century, Por Larrañaga had become a well-known premium cigar brand producing both expensive and inexpensive cigars. In 1920, the company purchased a larger factory building for $100,000 on Carlos Tercero (Carlos III) Street in Havana.

In 1925, after years of labor interruptions and labor shortages Por Larrañaga became the first factory to make machine-made cigars, after importing new rolling and wrapping machines from the USA. The new technology could use high quality Cuban leaf and produce a cigar with an acceptable draw for only about 25% of the cost of a hand-rolled cigar, and a machine operator could be trained in two weeks as opposed to the years of training required to acquire the skill needed to rapidly hand-roll a cigar. Por Larrañaga’s decision to introduce automated cigar making on the island resulted in strikes and a boycott by factory cigar-rollers, and Por Larrañaga was forced to return the machines to the seller.

In 1960, the Cuban revolutionary government nationalized all cigar companies including Por Larrañaga. At the time of the revolution, Por Larrañaga was the sixth largest producing Cuban brand. Production was moved from the building on Carlos III Street in Havana to the La Corona factory at Avenida 20 de Maio.

Up until the 1970s, Por Larrañaga remained a respectable and popular premium cigar brand. In the 1980s production fell dramatically and due to trademark litigation in the 1990s, export of the brand was reduced to only a few countries. For some time the brand was reduced to almost entirely machine-made or hand-finished and was mainly sold in Canada and the Middle East. Since 2002, all vitolas are totally hand-made, using either long-filler or short-filler leaf sourced from the Vuelta Abajo.

In 2006, Habanos produced a few thousand boxes of Por Larrañaga Lonsdales (a discontinued vitola much mourned by aficionados of the brand) for release in Germany. The cigars were packaged in 25-count dress boxes and marked with a special second band that read “Exclusivo Alemania” (Germany Exclusive).

Cigar Aficionado’s December 2006 issue reviewed its first Por Larrañaga outside of its “Connoisseur’s Corner”. The petit corona selected scored 91 of 100 on the CA rating scale.

Non-Cuban Production

Rights to the brand in the United States were acquired by Altadis U.S.A. In 2016, the company announced it would be manufacturing a new line of non-Cuban cigars under the Por Larrañaga label.

Vitolas in the Por Larrañaga Line

The following list of vitolas de salida (commercial vitolas) within the Por Larrañaga marque lists their size and ring gauge in Imperial (and Metric), their vitolas de galera (factory vitolas), and their common name in American cigar slang.

Hand-Made Vitolas

  • Montecarlo – 6 14” × 33 (159 × 13.10 mm), Delicioso, a slim panetela

  • Panetela – 5″ × 36 (127 × 14.29 mm), Veguerito, a short panetela using short-filler leaf

  • Petit Corona – 5 18” × 42 (130 × 16.67 mm), Mareva, a petit corona

Edición Regional Releases

  • Lonsdale (Germany 2006) – 6 12” × 42 (165 × 16.67 mm), Cervantes, a lonsdale

  • Robusto de Larrañaga (Asia Pacific 2007) – 4 78” × 50 (124 × 19.84 mm), Robusto, a robusto or rothschild

  • Magnifico (United Kingdom 2007, 2008) – 6 34” × 50 (171 × 19.84 mm), Partagás No. 16, a double robusto

  • Belicoso Extra (Asia Pacific 2008) – 5 12” × 52 (140 × 20.64 mm), Campana, a belicoso

  • Los Andes (Peru 2009) – 5″ × 50 (127 × 19.84 mm) Petit Pirámide, a petit pyramid

  • Valioso (Switzerland 2009) – 6 18” × 52 (156 × 20.64 mm) Pirámide, a pyramid or torpedo

  • Robustos (Germany 2010) – 4 78” x 50 (124 x 19.84 mm) Robusto, a robusto or rothschild

  • Encantos (Asia Pacific 2010) – 6 34” x 43 (170 x 17.07 mm) Dalias, a lonsdale

  • Opera (France 2015) – 4 78” x 52 (115 x 20.64 mm) Petit Robusto*

  • 5000 limited edition numbered boxes of ten

UK Regional Specialities Release of Por Larranaga Magnificos

Launched by Hunters & Frankau on the 1st November the Por Larranaga Magnificos is a Habanos Regional Speciality exclusively for sale in the UK (English Market Selection). Coming in at 6 34” by 50 ring gauge it was rolled to reproduce the size and flavour of the 1970s Por Larranaga Magnum.

Only 1400 limited edition numbered boxes were made with 1000 tens and 400 boxes of twenty-five.