The long wait is apparently over.
Cigar shop owners and distributors tell Cigar Aficionado that all three sizes of Behike—Cohiba's ultra-luxury, highly rated and greatly desired cigar brand—are returning to retailer shelves after roughly an 18-month hiatus.
In a recent interview, Fernando Domínguez, the director of premium brands for Imperial Brands, the partner with Habanos S.A., Cuba's tobacco monopoly, said: "We will see Cohiba Behikes in the marketplace very soon." His prediction has come to pass.
We surveyed leading Casas del Habanos around the world, from London to the Middle East, from Hong Kong to Havana. Only two major shops surveyed didn't have the cigars in stock, the Casa del Habano in Hamburg, Germany and the Casa in Cancún, Mexico, but the owner of that store said the cigars should be reaching there soon.
The Behike BHK line was launched in early 2010 and quickly gained wide acclaim among cigar connoisseurs around the world. Collectors snapped up the new cigar almost as quickly as it became available. The first question often asked upon entering a cigar shop was, "Do you have any Behikes?"
The BHK 52 is the smallest of the three sizes in the line at 4 3/4 inches by 52 ring gauge.The BHK 52 earned Cigar Aficionado's Cigar of the Year for 2010, with a score of 97 points. The other sizes are the BHK 54 (5 3/4 inches long by 54 ring) and BHK 56 (6 1/2 by 56).
Dominguez confirmed that poor tobacco harvests over the last few years had led to the shortages of Behikes. "It's about the crop. Tobacco, at the end of the day, is an agricultural product. It's subject to the weather. The weather conditions—the climate—has not been very good over the past few years."
Dominguez also confirmed that "One of the characteristics of Behike is a new leaf that we added, medio tiempo. It comes from the two top leaves of the plant, that are more difficult to get. That's the reason that explains the flavor, the taste and the scarcity in the raw material. That explains the limited quantities."
If Dominguez's explanation is accurate, the Cubans should be credited with holding Behikes off the market instead of trying to meet demand with less special tobaccos.
Don't expect to get any of the Behikes on the cheap. In Dubai duty-free, the Behike BHK 52 sells for $35 and in London for $67.33. In Havana, the 52 size goes for an almost affordable $25.