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.

Cruzado Elitas Tuesday, Nov 11 2008 

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Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
Size: Corona 6.0″ x 44 ring

The Cruzado is the newest creation from the man behind the immensely popular Illusione cigars, Dion Giolito. This new line is billed as being medium-bodied/medium strength in comparison to the full-bodied, powerful Illusione. Apparently to tone down the blend Dion chose to use the viso leaf instead of using ligero. Viso is the priming right below ligero on the tobacco plant.  The Cruzado is made at the same factory as the Illusione, at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras. They are available is six sizes:
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  • Avalitos 4″ x 46 – petit robusto
  • Dantes 5″ x 48 – robusto
  • Domenicos 5 5/8″ x 46 – corona gorda
  • Elitas 6″ x 44 – corona
  • Marios 7″ x 47 – churchill
  • Marelas 5 5/8″ x 46 – perfecto

One thing about this line that immediately jumps out at me is the ring gauges.  Not a single one of these cigars breaks 48 in ring size, not even the perfecto.  I applaud this.  In an age where big, fat, jaw breaker cigars with 50+ ring gauges seem to be all anyone wants to make, I am happy to see a line of cigars made in more traditional sizes.  I happen to think that cigars in the 42 to 48 range of ring sizes is ideal, allowing for an optimal marriage between the filler blend and the wrapper leaf.  I am very excited to see the smaller ring gauges in this line of cigars and I look forward to trying all of them.

First up is the Elitas.  A 6″ x 44 corona, this seemed like the perfect place to start.  Afterall, you can’t get more traditional than the Corona.  I am going to use a word, probably more than once, that I am beginning to feel I over use a bit, but it is the best word I can come up with in those situations that I use it.  Rustic.  The Criollo wrapper on the Cruzado is very rustic looking.  It is rumpled looking, dark, and bumpy.  It has a strange little pigtail on the head.  It almost looks like a half-pigtail.  Like they started to give it a pigtail cap and then just decided, “nah, never mind” and clipped it off leaving just little stub of the tail behind.  The band has a medieval look too it.  The silver looks more like steel and it is trimmed in gold that looks more like riveted brass.  The font used to spell out Cruzado looks like it was lifted off of a knights coat of arms.  All told it is a cool looking stick.  I feel like I should be wearing some shades to be cool enough to smoke it, ha ha.

My initial draw delivers a blast of pepper and spice.  This is supposedly a medium bodied cigar which makes me chuckle because this cigar has the volume turned up to 10, full bodied at least at the start.  As I worked my way into the smoke it does settle down a bit but this is still a full bodied smoke and it packs a nice little punch in the strength department as well.  The flavors are spicy with a slightly sweet finish, full of earth and leather.  There are flashes of chocolate and something else I can’t identify.  Maybe a slight tinge of citrus.  What a complex flavor bomb.  Not even half way through the cigar and I am blown away by this smoke.  Chocolate, spice, earth, and a sweetness I cannot place keep swirling in and out with each puff all capped off with a long satisfying, citrusy finish.  I have never smoked a cigar like this.  It is truly unique.  This is as good as any super premium cigar I’ve tried.  Thick clouds of smoke billow out with each draw and the aroma is rich and decadent.  The Burn and draw were perfect.  The only negative thing I can say about this stick is the that the ash splits and curls off.  tapping it frequently is a must to keep the ash out of your lap.

From start to finish this is an amazing smoke.  This is nothing like an Illusione which is an outstanding cigar in its own right.  Dion has come up with a completely different cigar with the Cruzado and it is a spectacular cigar.  The Cruzado was billed as a medium bodied cigar, flavorful but a little less robust than the Illusione.  If you ask me this is as full and strong as an Illusione if not more so.  This may be the best cigar of 2008 and is possibly the best cigar to come out since the Tatuaje Brown Labels hit the scene.  It is a MUST try.

Rating – A+

Related Posts:

Illusione ~cg:4~ Monday, Apr 7 2008 


Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Corona 5-5/8 x 46 ring

The Illusione line of cigars are a somewhat unknown brand that is rapidly gaining in popularity. It won’t be long before everyone knowns about this Nicaraguan gem. The Illusione is the brainchild of Dion Giolito who is a veteran of the cigar industry. He wanted a cigar that hearkened back to the days before the Sandinistas took power in Nicaragua and nearly destroyed the cigar industry there. Since there was nothing like that available in the market, he went out and created the cigars he wanted. In an unusual twist, this Nicaraguan Puro is made in a factory in Honduras. Just another unique fact about this unique cigar. The Stogie Guys have a great interview with Dion Giolito that is a very good read. I recommend checking it out.

The Illusione ~cg:4~ is a good looking corona with a smooth dark brown wrapper topped with a cuban style triple cap. It is packed full with nicely bunched tobacco giving the cigar a good solid feel in my hand. The aroma of this cigar is rich and decadent. I could spend 5 minutes just sitting here smelling it, but the real fun is smoking a cigar so I put it to flame. Initially it is very spicy and thick. A cloud of white smoke fills the room with an amazing aroma. One of the most striking things about this cigar is how wonderful it smells both pre-light and during the smoke. It really enhances the experience. After the initial spice, my palate was filled with a robust toasted tobacco flavor with notes of leather and an underlying spiciness. In the last third of the cigar it started to develop a unique bite that is hard to describe. The ash is very dark and a bit flaky. I had to correct the burn a couple times when it went crooked and wouldn’t correct itself.

This is a very good smoke that I’d rate as one of the best in its price range, running $6 to $7 a pop. I want to say this is a medium bodied smoke if a bit on the fuller end of medium, but I wonder if that perception is skewed by the amount of full bodied, robust cigars I usually smoke. I have a feeling that to someone who typically smokes milder cigars, they would tell you this is a full bodied, more robust cigar. Whatever you want to call it, it is a top shelf cigar at a mid-shelf price.

Rating – B+

What others say about this cigar:

Keeper of the Flame
Cigar Stars

Montecristo No. 5 4×40 Friday, Dec 22 2006 

Country: Cuba
Box Code: Unknown

What a little flavor bomb! This is one of the most robust flavorful cigars I’ve smoked. It had an intense earthiness to it with cocoa on the finish. The burn was kind of all over the place, but it always corrected itself. It is amazing how much flavor is packed into this little cigar. I would say this is probably one of the best, if not the best, tres petite corona I’ve had. It is a fantastic quick smoke.

Partagas Short 4.25×42 Saturday, Apr 29 2006 

Country: Cuba
Box Code: SIH Feb 05

It’s my Birthday so I woke up this morning and went the coffee shop with the newspaper and a Paratgas Short out of my new wine cooler humidor (birthday present). It is a beautiful sunny morning. What perfect start to my 32nd.

This little cigar has blown me away. It has a beautiful creamy brown wrapper an is well filled, firm with no soft spots. Th cap clipped perfectly revealing that little Cuban dimple in the head. It took a light perfectly. Right off the bat this cigar comes alive. The best way to describe it is creamy and smooth. It has very pronounced flashes of vanilla and a coffee bean finish. It paired perfectly with my morning coffee. When you finish this cigar, it leaves you with an almost overwhelming desire to light up another. The burn was even and the ash held firmly to the cigar. I nubbed this thing, almost burning my lips. I just didn’t want to put it down. With just one year on these it is already a fantastic smoke, I almost can’t wait to see how good these babies get with some age on them. My biggest challenge is going to be keeping my hands off them so that I still have some left a year or two down the road. This cigar made me stop to think why it is I smoke anything else. I am convinced I am going to need to pick up a 50 cab of these.

It was a absolutely perfect start to my birthday.

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