Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My WS Victory Cigar: Cohiba Siglo IV

Name: Cohiba Siglo IV
Brand: Cohiba
Factory Name: Corona Gorda
Size: 143mm (5 5/8 in)

Ring: 46
Weight: 11.41 gr.
Presentation: Banded bundle of 25 in a varnished slide-lid box

Info: Cohíba is a brand for two kinds of premium cigar, one produced in Cuba for Habanos SA, the Cuban state-owned tobacco company, and the other produced in the Dominican Republic for General Cigar. The name cohíba derives from the Taino word for "tobacco". The Cuban brand is filled with top-quality tobacco which, uniquely to Cohiba, has undergone an extra fermentation process; it is a type as well as a brand.

Cohíba was originally a private brand supplied exclusively to Fidel Castro and high level Cuban government and communist party officials. Often given as diplomatic gifts, the Cohíba brand gradually developed a "cult" status. It was released commercially for sale to the public in 1982.

Cohíba began with the cigars smoked by a bodyguard of Fidel Castro's named Bienvenido "Chicho" Perez. Castro noticed he often smoked a "very aromatic, very nice" cigar. When asked by Castro what brand he smoked, he replied that it was rolled by a friend of his who would give him some of these special cigars as gifts.

The man in question was a cigar roller working at the La Corona factory in Havana named Eduardo Rivera. Castro approached Rivera about rolling cigars for him personally and set him up with five other rollers in a former diplomatic mansion in a suburb of Havana known as El Laguito (Spanish for "the little lake"). Later, the factory became the first cigar factory to be staffed entirely by women torcedoras (cigar rollers).

The cigars were reserved for Castro and other high-ranking Cuban officials, and were often presented to foreign dignitaries as gifts. Castro himself is said to be particularly fond of the long, thin cigars rolled for him, especially the sizes that would become the Lancero and Corona Especial.

Castro decided to release his personal cigars as a premium cigar brand for public consumption when the 1982 World Cup was held in Spain. When first launched in 1982 the Cohíba marque consisted of three vitolas or sizes: the Panetela, the Corona Especial, and the Lancero. In 1989 three more vitolas, the Robusto, the Exquisito, and the Espléndido, were added; the six are referred to as the Línea Clásica (classic line).

In 1992 Habanos SA launched the first sizes in what it calls the Línea 1492, commemorating Christopher Columbus and his voyage to the Americas, with each size named for a century since Columbus' discovery. The initial launch included the Siglo I, Siglo II, Siglo III, Siglo IV, and Siglo V, with a Siglo VI added in 2002. A long-standing rumor is that the original Línea 1492 was a replacement for the Davidoff marque that recently ceased production in Cuba (each of the first five "Siglos" corresponded to a size in the Davidoff line-up).

Besides regular production, Habanos SA regularly releases limited release Cohíba cigars for such events as the annual Habanos Festival, brand anniversaries, and their annual Edición Limitada (limited edition) release of special sizes of their various cigar brands wrapped in a darker vintage leaf.

Cohíba also produces two machine-made cigarillos: the Mini and the Club.

Habanos SA have used their Cohiba brand name for non-cigar products, manufacturing Cohiba cigarettes since 1987 and Extra Cohiba Cognac since 1999.

As of late 2006 Cohíba had released three different Edición Limitada Cohíbas: the Pirámide released in 2001 and re-released in 2006, the Double Corona in 2003, and the Sublime in 2004.

Appearance: This is another pretty looking Habano. Evenly packed and without a blemish, the milk chocolate colored wrapper that graced this cigar looked good enough to eat. A great example of fine premium cigar construction.

Pre-Light: The pre light clip was a breeze. A quick pre light draw produces notes of tangy tobacco and sweet coffee. The pre light bodes well for things ahead.

Burn/Draw: As one would expect, looking at the construction of the cigar, this stogie was a dream to smoke. The burn line was razor straight from the beginning and was never an issue after initial lighting. The draw was perfect, offering the tiniest bit of resistance that helped keep the burn cool, while allowing for the production of volumes of cool, flavorful smoke. The ash was mottled grey and black and held well past an inch. From every aesthetic aspect I could think of, this cigar was a dream to smoke.

Flavors: The first thing that hits you when you light this cigar is the fact that this cigar is medium in strength. Anyone who has smoked the regular Cohiba line knows that they can be powerhouses on occasion. Well it seems the Siglo Line is a bit more refined. In my case I have to agree with this assessment. Now the flavors! On top of a nice base of that beautiful Cuban earthiness that we have all come to love many a note wafts. At first there is this great tangy tobacco note. About a third of the way in the cigar is a symphony of sweet and rich notes. Milk chocolate, sweet creamy coffee, and cinnamon. Almost a desert in smoke form. Over this final third the sweetness abates a bit, but the desert spices continue, cinnamon, nutmeg and the like build toward a glorious finish. this was a very luxuriant smoke, and if you can get your hands on one, comes heartily recommended.


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