Cigar Blog 101

Cigars and cigar aficionados discuss their favorite cigars, humidors, cigar accessories and more.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

3 Regular Guys Review: Cohiba Extra Vigoroso

Cohiba seems like it has been a staple on the scene even longer than it may have even existed. We all know the original origin of the brand, blended specifically for Castro, Fidel not Raul, to hand out as diplomatic gifts, but the Cohiba brand we’re concerned with is General Cigar’s Cohiba manufactured in la Republica Dominicana.

The standard Cohiba, sometimes called a red dot because of the red circle inside the “O”, entered the market in 1978. That specific cigar was the one that established the name and defended the mystique of a Cohiba brand cigar.
As seems to be the case with most things, tastes changed, and in response the Cohiba was re-blended in the 1990s to craft a slightly more rich and robust cigar.

The Red Dot was not destined to be alone for long though and now has three siblings: the Cohiba Black is wrapped in a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper; the Cohiba Puro Dominicana is as it sounds, a purely Dominican cigar; and the cigar the 3 Regular Guys reviewed, the Cohiba XV.

The Cohiba XV gets its acronym name from eXtra Vigoroso, because cigar legend Daniel Nuñez blended the XV to be the fullest bodied Cohiba to date. So, we gave it a shot and found out for ourselves just how tough the XV can be.

Seemingly true to any cigar that has ever donned the Cohiba band, they are all visibly attractive cigars. The XV has a beautiful wrapper leaf that is well-cured and displays veining that reminds you this is a natural product made from the leaf of a tobacco plant. Colm debated with himself if it was a Spanish Rosado leaf or a Sumatra, and, allegedly without looking it up, settled on the Sumatra diagnosis. He is entirely correct, as this is an Ecuadoran grown Sumatra leaf and bears that leathery color and shading so typical of this plant. We all remarked on the good looks of this cigar.

Corona Chris enjoyed the pre-light aroma and Scott noted that the cigar seemed very well constructed with a clean cap. The cap held up well to the cut; or even two cuts. Colm thought the initial draw on this stick was a bit too tight so he re-cut and resumed smoking. The second cut did the trick and mostly alleviated the difficult draw. This is also a lesson that, while you don’t want to make a habit of it, it is safer to undercut a cigar and then touch it up with a sharp cutter than to cut too deep and be smoking through a straw.

Taste-wise we had some disagreements on our experiences. Corona Chris noted some surprise that the XV was as mellow and smooth as it was with an almost Maduro flavor, but a quick check of the ingredients list will identify that flavor as coming from the Connecticut Broadleaf binder. Scott’s and Colm’s take on it was a bit more trying. The XV started out quite strong. We were open to this since it has a Sumatra wrapper and Ligero filler. However there was a harshness to the otherwise citrusy taste. After the first half-inch the cigar mellowed and smoothed out considerably as the blend seemed to come together.

The 3 Regular Guys all found some issues with the consistency of the flavor to the XV being too variable. When the Cohiba XV is smoking steady through the middle ¾ of the stick it is a fairly bold cigar. Be mindful that there is a heavy flavor to the aftertaste, but having smoked these on the job we lacked the option of strong libations. When smoked with a heavy dose of Cuban coffee or something with a nice proof-rating, like Lagavulin, you might actually be grateful for that strength of finish to stand up to your drink.

Cohiba XV is definitely extra strong compared to the Red Dot you know so well. Just the contrast of a Sumatra wrapper compared to the old standby sweet and smooth Cameroon sets those two cigars apart. But, if you are a true Cohiba fan you have little option other than to buckle up and give this stick a try. An aggressive cigar might appeal to you quite nicely otherwise it’s not a bad thing to give your tastebuds some zesty variety. Go smoke it yourself!

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