A friend of mine brought a few Cohibas back from a trip out of the country. He was less than impressed, so I tried one of the remainders on Saturday night.
I can’t say much about the blend. I assume Cuban seed in most, if not all, components. It was a torpedo, with a gold and yellow, embossed Cohiba band. “Habana, Cuba” in cursive script below the brand name. A dark wrapper, though not a maduro. Firm construction, easy light, smooth draw.
Taste… S’alright. Thick, heady smoke, but no remarkable flavor notes. No spice, no kick. In all, a fairly middle-of-the-road, premium cigar. But then again, Cohiba hasn’t been one of my favorites to begin with.
Here’s the thing. You want to know why people get so excited about Cuban cigars? Because the U.S. of A. says “You can’t have any.”
Cigars are all about the tobacco and the blend, but there’s nothing magical about Cuban tobacco. Sure, Cuba’s in a great climate and has the right soil, and blah blah blah, but when it comes down to it, taste is still subjective. Some brands are going to put together a really killer Cuban-blend cigar, while others are going to roll up and band some cheap leaves and call it a day. Some of them will end up in a quality cigar shop where they’re cared for until they’re sold, while others are going to get tossed in a box on a convenience store counter.
For example, a Cuban Romeo y Julieta I had some time ago kicked ass, but I tend to like their brand anyway. Some unlabeled smokes another friend purchased while vacationing on a beach in Mexico? Garbage.
Don’t get caught up in the hype. If you encounter some pre-embargo Cubans in a shop somewhere, I feel you’re going to pay a premium for their scarcity as much as for their brand and quality. Check out the brand, check out the blend, decide if it’s worth the novelty.
If not, stick to what you know and like. You won’t regret it.