5th Anniversary Review: Cohiba Robusto Reserva (2003) Wednesday, Jun 23 2010 

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Country: Cuba

Today my humble little blog turns a whopping 5 years old. In internet years that is old. Sites on the internet come and go like leaves in the wind and it seems to be especially true of cigar related blogs. Considering that, I am rather proud of my little corner of the internet and how long it has managed to hang on, or more accurately perhaps; how long I have managed to hang on and stay committed to keeping this thing going. So today I celebrate 5 years of cigar reviews and mediocre writing with a very special smoke that my readers helped me to pick. During the first half of June I posted a poll asking my readers to help me decide which cigar I should review to mark this special milestone. There were 5 stellar cigars to choose from and in the end the Tatuaje Reserva SW Maduro was just barely edged out by an equally special Cohiba Robusto Reserva from 2003. So here we go, to celebrate Matt’s Cigar Journal’s 5 Year Anniversary, I give you the Cohiba Robusto Reserva…

In 2003 Habanos, SA release a special edition box of Cohiba cigars.  It was the Cohiba Selección Reserva and it contained 30 cigars in an assortment of sizes including six robusto sized cigars.  To see photos and get all the vital statistic of the cigars that came in this box check out the Cuban Cigar Website by clicking here.  I find it a very useful reference for information on Cuban cigars.  My sample was very generously given to me by Brother of the Leaf who happened to own a bar in Denmark.  I had always hoped to make it over there and check out his bar and smoke a cigar with him but as it happens we have lost touch and I am not sure where he is anymore.  I have been saving this very special cigar for a special occasion and I am happy to be finally putting it to flame in celebration of 5 years of blogging about my passion for fine hand made cigars.

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This Cohiba has a very classic looking wrapper like light brown leather.  It is adorned with a normal Cohiba band and a second black and gold band displaying the Reserva designation.  The draw is absolutely perfect.  I used Gordon Mott’s  “Three Match Technique” to get the cigar lit.  Right from the very start this cigar is smooth and buttery.  There were creamy notes of vanilla and hint of citrus with a nice floral aroma.  It wasn’t long before it starts to change up.  The flavors became woody and leathery with a bit of spice and I started to get a bit of salt and pepper on the lips.  The aroma is still very floral.  Underneath it all is that classic Cuban earthiness and twang.  Half way through and this is already one of the most amazing cigars I have smoked.  There are flavors I can’t even figure out how to identify.  As I made my way through the smoke the cigar kept changing.  there were flavors of coffee, nuts, vanilla, honey, fruit, leather, and more.   There was lots of that Cuban earthiness mixed in as well and the cigar went from sweet to spicy and back to sweet, the flavors always smooth and creamy on the palate.  The flavors were full and rich but never overpowering and it had only a mild nicotine punch.  The cigar was an absolute joy to smoke from start to finish.  I can’t imagine a better choice of cigar to celebrate my blogs 5 Year Anniversary.

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Cohiba Siglo I Tuesday, Jun 23 2009 

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Country: Cuba
Size: Très Petit Corona 4.0″ x 40 ring

Cohiba is one of the most famous cigar brands in the world.  Thanks to the United States trade embargo with Cuba and General Cigar’s appropriation of the trademark in the US market, it is also a brand name surrounded by a lot of confusion.  There are a surprising number of people out there including some who consider themselves “cigar smokers” that fail to understand that the famous Cohiba, the Cuban version, in no way shape or form is related to or similar to the Cohiba that is for Sale in the US.  The matter gets even more muddled when you bring into the conversation the other company that was making Dominican Cohibas.  I believe this third company was called “Cohiba Caribbean’s Finest Cigars”.  The cigar bands on this company’s version of the cigar more closely resembled the famous Cuban cigar band whereas General Cigar’s Cohiba band is very different.  General’s Cohiba is commonly referred to as “Red Dot” due to the red dot that fills the letter “O” in Cohiba on their bands. General Cigar sued Cohiba Caribbean over the Cohiba name and won.  Cohiba Caribbean was ordered to stop sales and production of their version of the Cohiba cigar.  To take the story to Soap Opera proportions, Cubatobacco, the Cuban company that owns the original and some would say “real” Cohiba brand has sued General Cigar over the trademark and is seeking to had the courts stop them from branding and selling cigars with the Cohiba name.  That suit has gone back and forth for a while and as far as I know is still ongoing.  I did see an interesting post about it on The Stogie Guys’ website that linked to an actual court opinion that had ruled in favor of Cubatobacco.  General had planned to appeal.  I don’t know where that battle stands today but I assume it is still on going.  What all this drama boils down to is this…Your Dominican “Red Dot” Cohiba has nothing to do with the famous Cohiba brand.  It just happens to bear the same name.  Other than that the Dominican Cohiba probably has more in common with a Macanudo.

I will refrain from delving deeper into the origins of Cohiba but I do want to take a moment to share some information on the Siglo line, because after all, eventually I’ll get to talking about the cigar I smoked which was a Cohiba Siglo I.  I’ll keep it short, mainly because I only know what Min Ron NEE tells me in his book, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Post-Revolution Havana Cigars.  The Siglo Series was introduced in 1992.  According to MRN it is speculated that the line was created to fill the void left by the discontinuation of the Davidoff marca.  All of the Siglo line is reportedly milder than your standard Cohiba.  There is actually an italicized note from MRN saying that going over the draft of the book, his Cuban consultant that was working with him confirmed it is true that the line was created to fill that gap left by Davidoff.  I can say that while milder than a Cohiba Robusto, the Siglo I is not a mild cigar.  I have never had the pleasure of a Cuban Davidoff, so I have no personal knowledge of how the Siglos compare to the cigar they have replaced in the Habanos catalog.  The Siglo I comes in cardboard packs of 5 or 10, in 3 packs of tubos, and in varnished Slide Lid Boxes of 25 cigars.  The one I am smoking today was a gift from a very generous friend so I have no idea what type of packaging it spent the first part of its life in.

Lets start off with appearance.  The Siglo I is a très petit corona, or if you like to use the official Habanos, S.A. factory names for the vitolas, then you’d call it a perlas.  It measures a diminutive four inches in length and a thin 40 ring gauge.  The wrapper is a little darker than what I have seen on the standard Cohiba line and this specimen has a small water spot on the wrapper.  It sports a triple cap like all Cuban parejos do.  A little bumpy and rustic looking, it seems well filled and exhibited a nice firm draw before I lit it.  With eager anticipation I used the “Three Match” technique to get this cigar lit.  The technique is much easier on a smaller cigar like this than it is on a thicker robusto or a long double corona.  A few puffs in and I immediately realized my mistake.  I decided to light this cigar up much too early.  There were moments of harshness and a grassiness that told me this cigar could have used some time aging, probably a year or two at least to settle in.  You could definitely see this cigars potential to be stellar though.  There was an underlying creaminess to it and perhaps some notes of roasted nuts complimented by a vague hint of sweet tea.  Those flavors only occasional came through as the more vegetal and grassy flavors of youth dominated the smoke.  I really wish I had been more patient with this one.  I think once it has a chance to settle down this would be an very excellent medium bodied smoke.  Patience is a must though if you want to find that out.

Cohiba is one of the most famous cigar brands in the world.  Thanks to the United States trade embargo with Cuba and General Cigar’s appropriation

of the trademark in the US market, it is also a brand name surrounded by a lot of confusion.  There are a surprising number of people out there

including some who consider themselves “cigar smokers” that fail to uderstand that the famous Cohiba, the Cuban version, in no way shape or form is

related to or similar to the Cohiba that is for Sale in the US.  The matter gets even more muddled when you bring into the conversation the other

company that was making Dominican Cohibas.  I believe this third company was called “Cohiba Carribbean’s Finest Cigars”.  The cigar bands on this

company’s version of the cigar more closely resembled the famous Cuban cigar band whereas General Cigar’s Cohiba band is very different.  General’s

Cohiba is commonly referred to as “Red Dot” due to the red dot that fills the letter “O” in Cohiba on thier bands. General Cigar sued Cohiba

Carribbean over the Cohiba name and won.  Cohiba Carribean was ordered to stop saels and production of thier version of the Cohiba cigar.  To take

the story to Soap Opera proportions, Cubatobacco, the Cuban company that owns the origional and some would say “real” Cohiba brand has sued General

Cigar over the trademark and is seeking to had the courts stop them from branding and selling cigars with the Cohiba name.  That suit has gone back

and forth for a while and as far as I know is still ongoing.  I did see an interesting post about it on The Stogie Guys’ website that linked to an

actual court opinion that had ruled in favor of Cubatobacco.  General had planned to appeal.  I don’t know where that battle stands today but I

assume it is still on going.  What all this drama boils down to is this…Your Dominican COhiba has nothing to do with the famous Cohiba brand.  It

just happens to bear the same name.  Other than that you Dominican Cohiba probably has more in common with a Macanudo.

I will refrain from devling deeper into the origins of Cohiba but I do want to take a moment to share some information on the Siglo line, because

afterall, eventually I’ll get to talking about the cigar I smoked which was a Cohiba Siglo I.  I’ll keep it short, mainly because I only know what

Min Ron NEE tells me in his book An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Post-Revolution Havana Cigar.  The Siglo Series was introduced in 1992.  According

to MRN it is speculated that the line was created to fill the void left by the disconinuation of the Davidoff marca.  All of the Siglo line is

reportedly milder than your standard Cohiba.  There is actually an italicized note from MRN was alble to confirm with his Cuban consulatant on the

book that says he was ablr to confirm it is true that the line was created to fill that gap left by Davidoff.  I can say that while milder than a

Cohiba Robusto, the Siglo I is not a mild cigar.  I have never had the pleasure of a Cuban Davidoff, so I have no personal knowledge of how the

Siglos compare to the cigar they have replaced in the Habanos catalogue.  The Siglo I comes in cardboard packs of 5 or 10, in 3 packs of tubos, and

in varnished Slide Lid Boxes of 25 cigars.  The one I am smoking today was a gift from a very generous friend so I have no idea what type of

packaging it spent the first part of its life in.

Lets start off with appearance.  The Siglo I is a tres petite corona, or if you like to use the offical Habanos, S.A. factory names for the

vitolas, then you’d call it a perlas.  It measures a diminutive four inches in length and a thin 40 ring guage.  The wrapper is a little darker

than what I have seen on the standard Cohiba line and this specimine has a small water spot on the wrapper.  It sports a triple cap like all Cuban

parejos do.  A little bumpy and rustic looking, it seems well filled and exhibited a nice firm draw before I lit it.  With eagar anticipation I

used the “Three Match” technique to get this cigar lit.  The technique is much easier on smaller cigar like this than it is on a thicker robusto or

a long double corona.  A few puffs in and I immediately realized my mistake.  I decided to light this cigar up much too early.  There were moments

of harshness and a grassiness that told me this cigar could have used some time aging, probably a year or two to settle in.  You could definetly

see this cigars potential to be stellar though.  There was an underlying creaminess to it and perhaps some notes of roasted nuts complimented by a

vague hint of sweetness.  Those flavors only occasional came through as the more vegetal and grassy flavors of youth dominated the smoke.  I really

wish I had been more patient with this one.  I think once it has a chance to settle down this would be an very excellent medium bodied smoke.

Patience is a must though if you want to find that out.

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