“So, Suckling, what do you think of Behike?” said Oscar Basulto Torres, the Cuban president of Habanos. I had just finished the BHK 52, which was in a black lacquered box with two other examples of the new Cohiba range. Participants of the fancy dinner were supposed to take them home as a memento of the evening. I couldn’t wait! Besides, it was my journalist duty to smoke them.
I already smoked a Behike 56 that fell into my hands a few days before the debut dinner of the blockbuster range. As I explained in former blogs, the robust BHK Cohibas use a full leaf in the blend of medio tiempo, which is stronger than seco but not as strong as ligero. In any case, the full leaf of medio tiempo delivers loads of richness and flavor in all the Behike range.
“I will give you my Behike 56, if you score it 100 points like you did the Cohiba Siglo VI Gran Reserva last year,” he joked. I wouldn’t be drawn on the score. He gave me his cigar anyway.
“You don’t have to give it 100 points,” he added as he walked backed through the smoke to the head table. “Just 99.8 would be fine.” I am not sure he was joking completely.
I am not allowed to score young cigars in my columns or blogs, because the magazine does that in blind tastings. However, I don’t think that Basulto’s evaluation of the BHK 56 is that far off. I smoked another one during the dinner and it was even better than the one I smoked at lunch a few days before.
I love the thick ring gauge and the blast of coffee, tobacco and dark chocolate. I love the way the cigar turns to honey and flowers with milk chocolate about halfway through smoking. It reminds me of the great young cigars of the early 1990s, when I was just starting to go to Cuba and I would buy and age boxes in London and Havana. The rich cigars need a little age to mellow the intense, ligero led blend. I think of the first range of Cohiba Siglos with a touch of Bolivar and Dipolmatico as a blend for the Behikes.
I also smoked the BHK 52, the smallest of the Behike trio. And I was amazed how different it was from its big brother, the BHK 56. It was so much more approachable and aromatic with a fresher, lighter palate profile. I prefer the BHK 56 for the long run, but the BHK 52 is a fabulous smoke now, delivering a sweet palate of tobacco and an almost-citrus rind character that turns to pears and apples with cedar and tobacco undertones. There is no need to wait on this cigar.
The evening included the usual Habanos Man of The Year awards for cigar production, sales and communications, as well as the sale of humidors for the Cuban Health System. The humidors are more like pieces of furniture with 250 or 300 special cigars. The auction of six pieces raised just over $1.1 million, which was down slightly from this year.
But the event was festive, fun and delicious—and nobody could complain about the cigars being handed out—not to mention the smokes for the evening that included a Cohiba Maduro 5 Secretos, Cohiba Coronas Especials, Cohiba Siglo VI, and Cohiba Behike BHK 56. I wonder if anyone smoked all the cigars that night in one sitting?