In keeping with the latest addition to The Smoke section, I thought I would post my own review of a Cohiba product:
These “miniatures” from Cohiba are just that – miniature cigars. They are slightly larger in width and length than your typical cigarillo. These classy smokes are beautifully packaged: each miniature cigar, which rests on a thin plane of cedar, is individually sealed in an easily removable plastic slip, and has its own Cohiba band. These bands, however, are not securely fastened, and often fall off in the process of removing the plastic slip.
A little history of Cohiba: This particular cigar was patronized by Fidel Castro himself, and the brand has become synonymous with the Platonic form of “The Cuban Smoke.” Here, in Castro’s own words, is how the Cohiba came about:
“I used to see the man [Castro’s bodyguard] smoking a very aromatic, very nice cigar, and I asked him what brand he was smoking. He told me that it was a special blend, but that it came from a friend who makes cigars and he gave them to him. I said, let’s find this man. I tried the cigar, and I found it so good that we got in touch with him and asked him how he made it. Then we set up the house [the El Laguito factory], and he explained the blend of tobacco he used. He told which leaves he used from which tobacco plantations. He also told us about the wrappers he used and other things. We found a group of cigar makers. We gave them the material and that is how the factory was founded. Now Cohiba is known all over the world.”*
The brand Cohiba now represents two entities: 1) the Cuban state-owned cigar factory of Habanos S.A., which produces the true Cohiba’s in Cuba, and 2) the American factory, General Cigar Company, which operates out of the Dominican Republic and produces Cohiba cigars for the United States.
The Cohiba Red Dot series, to which these Miniatures belong, is made with Dominican Cuban-seed fillers, rare Indonesian Jember binders, and savory African Cameroon wrappers. The cigar has a medium to full body, rich flavor, smooth taste, and redolent aroma; the draw is very easy. The first half of the cigar has a toasted nutty flavor which gradually crescendoes into a warm pepperiness. This little cigar surprisingly takes about 20-25 minutes to smoke, much longer than your average cigarillo, which is a testimony to its craftsmanship. I strongly recommend this smoke for those times when your fingers are itching at your lighter, but you simply do not have the leisure to enjoy a full, drawn out fumigation.
Nota Bene: As a veritable “miniature” cigar, this little fellow is not exempt from the smoking commandment of “Thou shalt not relight the cigar, which thou hath let go out.” Relighting it results in a very unpleasant bitter taste that overwhelms the whole cigar.
*Marvin R. Shanken, “A Conversation with Fidel,” Cigar Aficionado, vol. 2, no. 4 (Summer 1994), pg. 50.