AH, the RASS – spoken of reverentially and still one of the great ballads of the Cuban cigar songbook.
For the uninitiated, a RASS means nothing at all, but spend more than a few cursory moments observing the cigar scene and you will hear this simple, yet superb cigar mentioned with a wistful sigh by cigar fans with taste the world over.
RASS stands for Ramon Allones Specially Selected – an instantly recognisable cigar that looks and tastes like nothing else in the entire portfolio. Why do we love it so? Firstly, it is one of the best-value Robusto-sized cigars in the Havana stable. We don’t really know why, but it is and, at the time of writing (just in case Habanos decides to increase prices in line with NASA or something in the meantime) they remain so.
One of the most glorious things to come out of recent news of ever spiralling Cuban cigar prices is Laurence Davis making us feel better with the information that the wonderful, the mighty, the praiseworthy RASS has gone up by a mere 60 pence. 60p! That, my friends, is an absolute win.
The RASS is also alluring. It is a simple, yet elegant-looking stick, more often than not in a gorgeous light shade of chocolate and is softly box-pressed, meaning it is gently squashed into a four-sided affair, rather than a spherical one. The shape makes no difference to the smoking of the cigar, but it looks wonderful and feels just right in the hand. That’s simply the way it is.
And the taste? Ramons tend to be on the fuller side, without all the bark and bluster of, say, a Bolivar. They are bold but elegant, powerful but smooth. Hints of sweetness allay the power and the resultant cigar is one that pushes you to savour and smoke slowly. You feel you can utter quote-worthy wisdom when you’re mid-RASS; the mind wanders, the right hemisphere of your brain is engaged and previous problems become beautifully simple riddles resolved.
Another wonder of the RASS is that it is currently in stock. That in itself is a cause for celebration in these trying times. If you’ve never smoked one before, we are jealous, for, like the man (or woman!) who has never read Lord of The Rings, or listened to BB King Live at The Regal, or eaten a fresh oyster, or danced with a beautiful woman, we envy the gamut of emotions you are about to experience for the first time when you do so.
And if you are an old hand at this game, we know that you will need no second invitation; your next RASS awaits you with limitless patience and no judgment; awaiting that special moment in time when it is destined you two must meet and, briefly, become one.
Do not miss an opportunity to smoke a RASS – it is one of the great wonders of the world.