With connoisseurs now demanding fatter cigars, we sample a selection of limited edition Habanos that feature 54 ring gauges and above
Cohiba Edicion Limitada 2014 Length: 127, Ring Gauge: 58
The Cohiba Edicion Limitada 2014 was announced at the 2014 Festival del Habano, and it represented the Cuban tobacco giant’s desire to really take the big-ring stick game by the horns.
The wrapper is slightly darker than you’d get on a normal Cohiba, but it’s hardly Maduro-looking. Instead, you just get a warm, oily brown wrapper with few visible veins. Light up, and the initial flavours you get are heavy cedar and nuts, though there’s a little bit of bitterness in there, too. That’s taken care of as you make your way through the first third, as they’re balanced out against lighter floral notes and distinct flavour of green tea.
In the second third, the bitterness returns in the form of a coffee- like flavour. It’s interesting, but perhaps doesn’t sit as well with the mix as in the first third. That said, there’s plenty more to like at the half- way mark, which yields yet more floral notes and a strong uptick in the base cedar flavour. It’s possible to detect leather as well, making this a complex yet satisfying smoke.
That said, the good times don’t last, and by the final third, you’re looking at a reasonably full-bodied profile that might be too strong for some smokers. The leather and the cedar remain, but that bitterness really comes to the fray as you make your way towards the end. It’s still got a hint of coffee to it, but it’s a little overpowering all the same.
Cohiba Coleccion Habanos 2008 Length: 184, Ring Gauge: 54
This Sublimes Extra was released as part of the 2008 Habanos Collection ‘Book’ series—a new special release size for Cohiba that was met with widespread approval. And when you get your hands on one, you realise that the packaging alone is worthy of the praise that this cigar has had layered on it.
The initial draw is light and open, suggesting that the cigar isn’t as densely packed as the weight promises. In terms of taste, you get the same initial flavours as the pre-light aroma—hazelnut, earth and vanilla. About an inch in, you get a hint of grass, too, but the overwhelming pleasure from this cigar is the fact that it produces such big plumes of creamy, tasty smoke—it’s classic Cohiba at its core and it’s just pleasant.
This is a good thing, because it’s a good 45 minutes before you get half-way through the cigar. By the time you’re halfway through, and well into the second third, more of the sweet notes become more obvious—it’s all honey and sugar, with a refreshing hint of grass on the finish. Cocoa is also present there, though it comes intermittently.
Things carry on in much the same way throughout the final third. The strongest flavours are cedar, honey and leather, though there’s a bouquet of background flavours including the grass and cocoa, which are most obvious. You do notice, however, that the cigar goes pretty quickly during this period—it’s all-too-easy to gobble up all the goodness, meaning that the final third is gone before you know it. Shame, because the 2008 is a beauty from start to finish.
Bolivar Edicion Regional Emiratos Arabes Unidos Length: 164, Ring gauge: 54
The Bolivar ‘Emiratos’ was launched in 2010—a double robusto that promised all of the medium-bodied goodness of a classic Bolivar, but with a little more in the way of flavour for the discerning Emirati taste bud.
The first third is flavourful and mediumbodied, giving off notes of earth, leather and cedar. Peppery notes come in as an after-taste to every puff. Certainly, it’s a stunning medley right from the beginning, and as you make your way through the first third, you’re taken on a rollercoaster ride of coffee, chocolate, cedar and vanilla.
In the second third, it’s more of the same, but perhaps the espresso notes are a little stronger here. And as you make your way down, the chocolate notes from the first third are morphed into a slightly more bitter note of cocoa. Moving into the final third, the earth and cedar notes become a little stronger, and things get spicier. However, it’s balanced beautifully, meaning that, when you eventually put it out, you’re left disappointed by the fact that the experience is over.