Cigar Aficionado

Havana Corner: A Darker and Better Cohiba?

Cohibas will be sold next year with a maduro wrapper, according to an announcement last week from Habanos S.A., the global marketing and distribution company for Cuban cigars in Havana. The organization would not say which shapes, or vitolas, will be available in maduro. Habanos called the new creation a "third line for the brand," following the classic and 1492 Cohiba selections.

Habanos says that the dark wrappers were produced through a natural fermentation process and aged for a minimum of two years. It emphasized that most other maduro wrappers in the world are produced in an artificial way (not true), but that the "process for Cuban maduro is 100 percent natural."

The company added that the new wrapper will "give unique character" to the already the prestigious brand.

Just how unique remains to be seen. Cohiba has already been seen in maduro wrappers, or at least something very close. The Edición Limitada 2003 Cohiba Prominentes (double corona) was already a great success. It was a dark, rich smoke with all the power and class of a normal Cohiba but with a touch of the exotic at the end thanks to the aged, slightly darker wrapper.

(Habanos also announced that the new limitada line for 2007 will be vitolas under the Romeo y Julieta, Hoyo de Monterrey and Trinidad names, but it didn't elaborate on the exact cigars yet.)

It's always been a little unclear to me if the limitada line is maduro or not. I have heard from Habanos representatives that the line is not necessarily a darker wrapper than normal but that it is simply a more aged wrapper. But generally speaking, the limitada wrappers always look darker to me.

Historically, Cuban maduros were even darker than anything I have seen in the limitada line. I have a few boxes of Partagas La Flor de Partagas Rhein Selecta No. 13 (1982). The cigars measure about 32 ring gauge by 6 inches, and the bottom of the boxes are printed with the word Maduro. The wrapper has a dark, black-coffee sort of color. And the cigar is very, very rich and flavorful despite being so thin.

I can't wait to see what the new Cohiba line will look like and how it will smoke.

Click here to see this year's limitada line.

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