Cuba has a new look for its most famous cigar band.
Cuban Cohibas bearing an upgraded cigar band are making their debut in cigar shops. The upgraded and much larger band features a Behike-style hologram and golden Taino Indian head, placed center stage in the field of black-and-white squares that sit above the word Cohiba. That group of squares has been expanded, from five rows to nine, and a line of extra gold on the top has also been added.
It's a more modern, ornate and beautiful band, built to both sharpen the look of Cohiba and to make it more difficult for counterfeiters to make a copy. Holograms defy conventional copying techniques and are elaborate and expensive.
The band adorned Cohiba Robustos presented to Cigar Aficionado by Habanos S.A. in Cuba during last week's Habanos Festival. Retail shops in Cuba still have stocks of Cohibas bearing the old band. Some retailers, such as those in Mexico and Switzerland, reported having them in stock, while others did not. Expect cigars with this band to appear soon as they make their way through the retail channels.
The bands are going on the Cohiba Clásica line of traditional Cohiba sizes (Esplendido, Robusto, Lancero, Corona Especiales, Panetela, Exquisito and Pirámides Extra) as well as the Cohiba Linea 1492, referred to as the Siglo Series of numbered vitolas, from Cohiba Siglo I to Cohiba Siglo VI.
The cigar band, which is made by Vrijdag Premium Printing in the Netherlands, made its first appearance on the Cohiba Pirámides Extra, a new addition to the Cohiba line that had its market debut in 2012. It then appeared again on the Cohiba Robustos Supremos Edición Limitada 2014.
Cohiba Behike BHK cigars, the first Cuban cigars to be made with the hologram, have been sold since 2010.
Counterfeit Cuban cigars remain a persistent problem in the cigar industry. To keep abreast of the genuine product, visit Cigar Aficionado's Counterfeit Gallery.