Cigar Aficionado

Reserved Cigars

I had the chance to unofficially smoke the Cohiba Gran Reserva last night during a private dinner at La Guarida restaurant in Centro Havana, and I almost fell out of my chair. I was really blown away by the richness and power of the smoke. It had such great length with coffee, tobacco and dark chocolate character that filled the mouth. It had the classic freshness of the Cohiba brand as well.

I can’t wait to smoke it again tonight at the Gala dinner at the Festival Habano. I will save my final judgment until tomorrow. But this could be the perfect young cigar. I heard that it comes in a special box of 15 cigars, and they will sell for close to $50 to $60 a cigar.

As I have already written, the special Cohiba is the same vitola as the Cohiba Siglo VI. It’s called the canonazo in the factories, and it measures 52 ring gauge by 5 7/8 inches. The regular production Siglo VI is my favorite cigar made on the island. It’s no accident that I chose the Siglo VI as my prize when I won the Habanos Man of the Year award a couple of years back.

The Gran Reserva was under heavy lock and key a few weeks ago at the Partagas factory in Old Havana, where it was made. This is, indeed, a rare smoke. I assume that the blend of tobacco for the cigar was perfected in the blending room of Cohiba’s mother factory at El Laguito before the production was initiated at Partagas. Check out my video on what it looks like inside.

Last night I also happened to smoke a Montecristo No. 4 Reserva (released in 2007), and I was impressed with how much better the cigar was from a year ago. It was very spicy with an herbal and light pepper character. I remember being slightly underwhelmed with the smoke a couple of years ago, but it is outstanding now. The big problem is the price—it’s very expensive at about $600 to $800 for a box of 20 smokes, depending on the market.

I have also been smoking a number of the Partagas Serie D No. 4 Reservas, which were launched in 2005, using all tobacco from the 2000 harvest. Here is one of my tasting notes: Fresh and bright draw with strong tea and honey with hints of dried flowers on the nose that follow through to a full and rich palate with an almond and spice character. Long and very rich. Still needs to come together. 93 points, unblind.

I am getting into these Reserva smokes. Just wish I could afford more of them—like so many other things right now.

"Hi James. I envy you are in Cuba. I was ther in january 2008 and 2007 and plan to go to the next festival 2010. Two questions. Have you smoked the limited editions for 2009? and have you smoked the new Cohiba Sublimes? are they really worth the price of US$100 per cigars?REGARDSLUIS from Colombia .South America" —February 28, 2009 10:45 AM
"thanks for the commentary James. Wondering if you knew when the cohiba Gran Reservas will be available for purchase. " —February 27, 2009 19:27 PM
"That's right James, rub it in!!! :) Seriously, sounds like a great trip and a fantastic smoke!" —February 28, 2009 15:52 PM