Wide boys

With con­nois­seurs now de­mand­ing fat­ter cigars, we sam­ple a se­lec­tion of lim­ited edi­tion Ha­banos that fea­ture 54 ring gauges and above

Virtuozity - - Cigars -

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.

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