Thursday, January 01, 2015

Quai d'Orsay Belicoso Royal - Regional edition (France)

On my last trip to Paris, I stopped by the Duty-Free cigar shop at the airport and was shown a box of cigar I had never seen before: Quai D'Orsay Belicoso Royal, Torcido exclusivamente para Francia - rolled exclusively for French market.

It was not my first encounter with the Quai D'Orsay brand, as you may remember. I was however seduced once again by the beautiful combination of the brown wrapper and the orange ring.

The salesgirl clearly knew how to talk to men like me... the words "limited editions", "our last box", "France exclusive" worked like magic and I was already reaching for my wallet... to buy the whole box. Now that the box is mine and the thrill has gone (so to speak) it is probably time to be more critical about the whole thing. Quai d'Orsay is a brand created by Habanos group (the Cuban cigar state owned monopoly) for the French market and at the request of the French authorities. So the idea that this format (Belicoso) in particular is produced for French market only is confusing since all Quai d'Orsay cigars supposedly are. Truth be told, this production should be labelled limited edition (which it is, see below pictures only 2000 boxed were produced), than regional edition.

The legend has it that then minister of finance Valery Giscard d'Estaing wanted France to have its own exclusive Cuban cigar brand. He mandated the SEITA (French state owned tobacco monopoly) to seal the deal with the Cubans... This limited edition is also there to witness 40 years of collaboration between the brand Quai d'Orsay and SEITA.

"Hey Mr. President, wouldn't it be brilliant to have our own brand of cigars, don't you think?"

I have started smoking these stogies and will share soon some of my comments.



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