So many new things are happening in the world of Cuban cigars. Every year we see very exciting new releases, whether it be Limited Editions or Regional Editions, cigar smokers are presented with exciting possibilities not yet in their humidors. 2012 saw Cohiba introduce the first figurado in their regular production line. Wearing a new band complete with Taino head and holograms, this Piramides is giving the public a rich, full flavor experience comparable to the 1966 and Behike line. Although slightly smoother and maybe not as big and bold, this new Torpedo is going to raise the bar once again for Cohiba, giving those who appreciate a full flavored cigar a very exciting new option.
This 54 ring gauge and 6 1/8 inch cigar is an example of fine craftsmanship which results in a perfect draw and razor sharp burn. Initially you’ll be able to notice Cohiba’s trademark grassy presence as you taste loads of honey and cedar. As the cigar burns, the taste of leather becomes present and then this sweet and complex flavor slowly builds in strength into an elegant and memorable cigar experience. Maybe not as overbearing as the more powerful Cohibas released in recent years, this Piramides will recruit new Cohiba followers who may usually choose a Montecristo No 2 or H Upmann No 2 when opting for this vitola (size).
Very exciting things are also happening for my favorite cigar shop the Vancouver Cigar Company. They are located in the Autoform Exotic car dealership and it is Vancouver’s perfect marriage of high end vehicles and Cuban cigars. The Cohiba Piramides Extra is sitting on the front of a 1974 Karmann Ghia 2 DR Coupe, a vintage car perfect in every way. Its not often enough you get to be in a showroom with Maseratis and Montecristos, this is the beginning of a new chapter for the Vancouver Cigar Company and cigar smokers in Vancouver. With numerous humidors in this outlet we may soon be seeing one of the finest selections of Cuban cigars in the city.
As angelic as the cherub in the picture may seem, the real heavenly experience starts when you light the also displayed Cohiba Siglo I. I’m not sure there is another Cuban cigar in that small size ( 40 ring gauge and 4 inches long- “Perla” factory name ) that can compete in flavour and construction. Speak to anyone who is a Cuban cigar lover and they’ll tell you that Cohiba, who gets first pick of all cigar tobacco in Cuba, has raised the bar with this small cigar and leaves all others in the dust when it comes to taste.
Although you won’t be getting much more than 4o minutes of relaxed smoking time with the Siglo I, what you will be experiencing is a beautiful spicy bomb with an herbal beginning and slight notes of cocoa and pepper. When young these can be a bit sharp,which is an attractive proposition for veteran smokers with a passion for strength, but when aged these beautiful little cigars obtain a creaminess that is very pronounced.
I’ll never forget my first Siglo I. We were in Havana, Cuba and I visited the second story cigar shop in the Hostel Conde Villanueva. Sidestep the peacock on the ground floor and make your way up the stairs and you’ll be greeted by the most beautiful aroma as you walk into the shop which sells authentic handmade Cuban cigars. The walk in humidor is stocked with some nicely aged Cubans and the staff was somewhat friendly and helpful. Hey, thats Cuba for you.
I didn’t have a lot of time so I sat in their bar to the left of the front door, ordered a rum, clipped the cap and had the best 40 minutes of our Cuban holiday. Did I smoke cigars in Cuba that I enjoyed more? Probably, but my point is that I was met with more complexity than I had expected for a 40 ring gauge cigar and it went so well with the dark rum.
The construction was perfect, the ash was white as snow and even to this day I get taken back to a great holiday whenever I light this cigar.
Got a call to go down to LA tomorrow for a few days. Back home Thursday… I’m always up for a trip to California since its a lot warmer than Vancouver right now but more than that, I’m very excited to visit a few tobacco shops to see if I can get my hands on a few cigars.
Canada has some of the highest sin tax in the world and Canadians end up paying twenty five dollars or more for a cigar that Americans pay six dollars for.. I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but its true. I’ll be going to Santa Monica and from what I’ve read, there are a few cigar stores that have a nice selection of Dominicans, Hondurans and others that aren’t even available in Canada.
One that I’ll be looking for is the Arturo Fuente Opus X. Wow, what a great cigar, and from what I read, it is a cigar that isn’t available at all times of year so I guess ya gotta be there at the right time and the right place.
Last point I want to make is…… Will I be taking any Cohibas with me???? Nope, no way!!!!
A few summers back we had an awfully hot stretch in Vancouver in the month of July. You know the kind of day when everything in the house is hot hot hot and you go to bed at night with windows open, you are laying on top of the covers and toss and turn for the majority of the first few hours of sleep. You may ask as to why we don’t have an air conditioner.. Save your breath.. This is Canada and days like I just described don’t really happen that often, so what would be the point??
The one thing that had me more concerned than anything was, how safe the temperatures in my cigar humidors were in case any cigar beetle eggs should incubate and start growing a little colony of young bugs who would be gleefully munching away on my cigars.. I couldn’t have that.. I’ve spent too much on Cuban cigars and that would be a tragedy.
I decided to put the humidors ( well, 2 of them ) in a plastic Coleman cooler, and on a daily basis, include a little ice pack, stuffed in the side, to keep the temperature down. It worked great and I believe I dodged a bullet as far as bugs go. Yeah, it was a bit of work but I felt that the effort was more than worth it and sleep came easily after I knew that my cigars were safe.
Something happened in the following months that actually had me wondering about my good fortune and made we wonder if any one else is doing the same as me. I kept the humidors in the cooler and noticed that the moisture level in both humidors was staying very very even, so much so that I started seeing a bit of plume forming on my cigars. Something right was happening….
Instead of putting humidifier pucks into the humidors themselves, I simply added the humidification devices in the cooler beside the humidors, keep the lid of the cooler closed and a great environment for aging cigars was in place. After doing a bit of research, I read that cigars need oxygen and if left alone without opening the lids on the humidors, problems could start. No problem, because I’m always at the humidors, checking quite a few times a week for humidity levels with my digital hygrometer and the cigars are, quite often, getting a breath of fresh air…..
Huh, who knew!!!
Much has been written about the Cohiba Behike since last year’s release of the beautiful trio of larger ring gauge cigars containing the medio tiempo leaf. Initially the Behike was introduced in 2006 and rolled, exclusively by one roller, or in this case the “torcedora”, Norma Fernandez. The original Behike at a 52 ring gauge and 7 1/2 inches long was in a humidor of 40 cigars and only 100 numbered humidors. Thats a lot of rolling …. and rolling….. The more I hear and read about this woman, the more impressed I am by her stature in the Cuban cigar industry. She was given the task of blending and designing the cigar that became the most expensive in the world. Originally these cigars were around $440 each but I’m guessing that when auctions come up in our future, we’ll be seeing these initial prices skyrocket.
I smoked a few of the Behike 52′s last summer and creamy and sweet were the first two descriptions of the flavors, this cigar had in it’s profile, popped into my mind. I had a wonderful time smoking this smallest of the three and although my mind was always on the price, I felt that I truly had something special burning in my hand. I remember looking at the 52′s wrapper and remarking to myself that I had never seen a cigar so perfectly rolled, so smooth and free of any large veins and with a color and sheen that easily showed that Cohiba had raised the bar in cigar production.
The Behike 54, which I smoked a few months later had all of the wonderful visible characteristics of the smaller 52 but with flavors that had more power, more complexity and more evolution as the cigar progressed. The 52 and the 54 had slight similar flavors but the richness of the 54′s chocolate and creamy coffee notes had me guessing which other Cohiba cigar, or cigars, this middle child could be compared to. The Maduro series always captivates me whenever I smoke one, the Genios being my favorite and for a while I found myself comparing, very slightly, some of what I was tasting in the Behike 54 to that other series… But only for a moment, these are very different lines in Cuba’s prestigious brand and the similarities are few.
The Behike 56 was again a beautifully constructed cigar and, as before, I felt a bit of sadness as I clipped off the pigtail cap and lit the foot. I feel great pride and adoration for cigars like the Behike whenever I lift the lid of my humidor and gaze upon them as they rest and age, surrounded by the beautiful aroma of Cuban tobacco and Spanish cedar. But really, why do we go through all the trouble of obtaining fine cigars, quality humidors, hygrometers that give you accurate moisture readings without actually smoking these handmade Cuban products?
The first few puffs of the Behike 56 were mild but complex, again revealing what I had tasted in the 52 and 54 but it didn’t seem to have the strength as the middle size cigar. Here is where I will probably get in trouble with a lot of you who have smoked the 56. I will be the first to admit that in order to be an authority on the subject of judging this cigar, perhaps smoking 15 or 20 ….. Or 1,500 to 2,000 of these large ring gauge cigars would be a proper place to start but I’m simply offering what I noticed. The 56′s flavors evolved very nicely as the cigar burned into the second third but I kept remembering what the 54 had to offer and I wondered if I am alone with my observations in comparing the two. The one thing I DID notice was that the 56 might have needed more time in the humidor, more so than the smaller two. Of course, any Cuban cigar only improves with age but I remembered being quite blissful during the smoking period of the 52 and 54. The 56 had me asking myself more questions about it’s youthfulness and wondering what it’s future would reveal after a year or two of rest.
Volumes could be filled with everyone’s opinions of these three cigars, and I’m only one person, but the more I read about last year’s Cohiba release, the more I see that I may not be alone with what I’ve discovered. The one thing I DO know is that I feel very fortunate in knowing that I’m able to buy, smoke and lose myself in the flavors of the Behike whenever I feel wealthy enough to go to the Vancouver Cigar Company and pick up a few. I feel sad whenever I read about people getting counterfeits of this cigar but feel fortunate that I have a reputable source for a cigar of this calibre.
If you have any opinions you’d like to share, please leave a comment..
Ever wonder if a Cohiba tastes better in Cuba??? Would the moist tropical air affect the taste and give you more than if you were smoking the same cigar, let’s say, in Montana?? Probably !!! But if thats the case then it would probably taste the same in Miami since its only a handful of miles away. I love Miami with it’s beaches, sun and stone crab.. I could go on for a while about stone crab but this is a cigar blog!
While smoking cigars with a few buddies a few days back, the topic of how cigars taste in Cuba came up and all who had been there seem to agree that cigars have an incredible taste in the country of their origin. I guess to some degree I have to go along with that because I remember smoking cigars from the Siglo series, the Maduro series and Non-Cohiba Cuban cigars. To be honest, they were all great but I was drinking a lot of rum from breakfast onward so everything was great.
I DO remember that cigars tended to burn a bit slower in Cuba, not much, but definitely noticeable. The air is heavy and moist, warm and to die for. Holidays tend to do that to you, your senses are heightened and everything is beautiful. Maybe not having a care in the world and no cel phone has a lot to do with it! My cel stayed in the hotel room safe and got turned back on when we landed in Canada.
Lately I’ve been hearing a bit about Monsdales… Can anyone shed a bit of light on those cigars??
Its that time again in Canada when the Canadian Country Music Association or CCMA has it’s annual Awards weekend where it showcases country music and it’s performers with a series of musical workshops, a gala dinner where awards are given out to industry people and a televised awards show the following evening which spotlights the winners in various categories. This is one of the most exciting weekends for country fans and industry alike because of the many late night jams played by the best pickers in Canada and of late, bands like “Jetty Road” from Australia, who’ve been performing and lighting up Canadian stages in the last few years.
These evenings are, most often, in local bars and rooms which are focused on live music with stages, lights and great sound in place and ready for an onslaught of maniacal country music folks hellbent on having the most fun they’ve had all year. This year will be again a meeting of musicians, TV personalities and producers now realizing that cigars are yet another thing that they have in common, will take place for 4 days in Hamilton Ontario. This event moves from host cities in the west to the maritimes and this year’s event will will be very close to it’s association’s home town of Toronto.
Many great cigars will be passed back and forth and a whole bunch of drinking will take place. One can only imagine the stories that will be told over breakfast tables this year. I know that I’ll be seeing friends who play music and friends that are more involved in the technical end of things as well as producers that I sometimes only run into once a year.
As well as sharing Cuban cigars with old smoking buddies I always try to convert new smokers over to the cigar way of thinking… Yeeeeehaaaaaw!
Ever notice what people leave around tee boxes, fairways and greens more than anything else?? Well from my experience, I’ve seen Cohiba cigar butts more than any other brand.. Funny isn’t it! But its true!! Now and then I run into a cigar butt of a golf course that has a different band on it but I think that its not as frequent as that very recognizable gold, black and white band!! I also believe that maybe we’re looking at a Canadian syndrome as well since you may not see as many littering a US course but I could be wrong.. I think its also something that changes from course to course.
Food is something that never seems to last long on the fairways on a golf course, in Vancouver we have crows.. very .. very..very smart crows that know the inner workings of a golf cart and can recognize what is edible and what isn’t although I have seen a crow fly away with my buddy derek’s cigarettes and lighter… They’ll take anything !!! Next spring I’m going to talk to my accountant and ask him if I can claim a few of these crows as dependents.. Really !!!
I still haven’t been able to get my hands on this year’s Cuban contribution to the cigar smoking world, the Cohiba 1966… I can only go by what I’ve read so far and from what I’ve seen I think that we’ll have a winner here… The Siglo line from Cohiba attracted a whole army of new cigar enthusiasts and I’m wondering if the 1966 will do the same… I’ll give you more of a detailed report after I get to light one up!
Father’s day is an occasion where many sons and fathers get together and either knock a golf ball around, catch a fish or two, share advice and light up a great cigar after dinner. This time of year is usually busy at cigar shops where sons purchase their father’s favorites and Cohiba is a brand that sells very well. This time of year is perfect for sitting out on the deck with a cigar in one hand and a glass of something potent in the other because of the warmer weather that has finally arrived. The winter months are a royal pain for many cigar enthusiasts, with the winter and icy winds that blow a chill deep into your bones and insure that your cigars burn unevenly. Many space heaters take the terrible chill out of countless garages and work shops during the winter months, a guy has to do all that he can to get the most enjoyment out of a premium cigar.
My father is NOT a cigar smoker, NOT a cigarette smoker and the glare I get from him whenever I light one up in his presence is something that I’ll always remember but I do it anyway. Funny how we tend to sacrifice almost anything, including a parent’s approval, to enjoy a wonderful cigar with family. I have a sister who is a cigarette smoker and we’ve shared a lifetime of laughs and memories around a community ashtray. I’ll never trade those moments for the world. When I was younger I used to compare smokers and non-smokers and wonder what made people tick and why some smoked and some didn’t .. For a great number of years I told myself that I preferred the company of smokers to almost anyone else but as I get older I’ve relaxed my harsh judgements and see people for what they harbor within.
I can’t see any cigar on a day like this to be better than a Cohiba for it’s classic taste and full body. The original Cohibas before the Siglo series with their grassy profile are a favorite of mine but in recent years I’ve learned to enjoy the Siglos and can see that for every occasion there is a need for different flavors and strengths. The world is made up of millions of different personalities and needs and adapting to the moment is what I’ve been striving for lately. I guess we’re all looking for a balance.
Happy Father’s Day !
As I’ve written not too many posts ago, the Falls in Chiliwack is one of our favorite golf courses in the Lower Mainland and the last few days saw 12 of us golfing buddies having the time of our lives with golf, LOTS of alcohol and great Cuban cigars. This course has some beautiful houses you can stay at on the first tee box and we tied up 3 of these homes for our annual golf tournament.. Let the fun and games begin..
Our great buddy Derek Wong came with coolers of food for one of the best meals we’ve ever had after a twilight round on the first day. Some guys go beyond anyone’s expectations when it comes to a good time and Derek helped to organize the meals and the tournament’s trophy, KP and Long Drive competition markers..
The first night was a booze-fest with many jokes, much yelling and loud cavorting into the night but one of my favorite moments in the day’s activities was the cigars that followed our great meal…. Cubans were brought out on to the deck and with drinks in hand we started tasting and comparing some wonderful cigars.. Those who took part in this activity all had to come to the same conclusion that when comparing cigars which were some Partagas, El Rey Del Mundo and Cohiba, it was a Cohiba Siglo V tubos that won the hearts of every smoker there… Now this is a tough competition especially when you consider that my Partagas Lusitanias which had been aging for a few years was in the mix.
I was totally impressed with the Siglo V with it’s medium strength that revealed a beautiful Cohiba grassiness and smooth delivery that won hands down.. Derek, who was gifted this cigar earlier in the year, hadn’t tasted one before and was saving it for this golf excursion.. Needless to say, this cigar will be on his wish list whenever anyone of our friends goes to Cuba again..
I think that I’ll have a hard time thinking about any other cigar for the next few days… I was really blown away!