Priced and positioned as luxury goods, Cuban cigars can be quite quite expensive, especially in countries like England and Canada. But if you’re willing to pay even more, Habanos S.A., the worldwide distributor for Cuban cigars, offers premium smokes with vintage-specific tobaccos. They come from a selection of cigars classified as Reservas and Gran Reservas. According to Habanos, Reservas contain tobacco aged for three years. Gran Reservas contain tobaccos aged for five years.
In February, sources say that the Cohiba Robusto Reserva will be introduced at the Habanos Festival. It has the same dimensions as the classic Cohiba Robusto, only with three-year-old tobacco. Most cigars in the Reserva and Gran Reserva program are classic sizes easily recognized by cigar enthusiasts and emblematic of the brand.
Reservas were first released in 2003 when Cuba created the Cohiba Selección Reserva, a box-set of 30 cigars all made with tobaccos from 1999. Then, in 2005 the market saw the Partagás Serie D No. 4 Reserva. It cost a bit more than normal Partagás Serie D No. 4 cigars, but the smoke performed well in the Cigar Aficionado blind tastings, and was awarded Cigar Aficionado’s No. 5 cigar of 2005.
Aside from the vintage tobacco, a few things make Reservas and Gran Reservas stand out on the shelf. Firstly, these cigars come packaged in hinged wooden boxes finished with a thick, luxurious, black piano-lacquer finish—similar to the Cohiba Behike boxes in the market today.
Cuba's Reserva and Gran Reservas
|Brand||Year of Release|
|Cohiba Selección Reserva 2003 (Various Sizes)||2003|
|Partagás Serie D No. 4 Reserva||2005|
|Montecristo No. 4 Reserva||2007|
|Cohiba Siglo VI Gran Reserva||2009|
|Montecristo No. 2 Gran Reserva||2011|
|Romeo y Julieta Churchill Reserva||2012|
|Partagás Lusitania Gran Reserva||2013|
|H. Upmann No. 2 Reserva||2014|
|Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchills Gran Reserva||2015|
|Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 Reserva||2016|
|H. Upmann Sir Winston Gran Reserva||2017|
|Cohiba Robusto Reserva||2018|
Secondly, the Reserva band is very distinct. It was also redesigned for the 2005 release. What was once a fairly nondescript band in 2003 became a highly stylized silver-and-black design with distinct fonts two years later. The flashier Reserva band was created by Dennis Hernandez and is still used today.
Though another Reserva was released in 2007, the first Gran Reserva hit the market in 2009—the Cohiba Siglo VI Gran Reserva. The Gran Reserva sports a gold-and-black band designed by Nelson Alfonso, who is also responsible for the most current Cohiba band designs.
When it came out, the Cohiba Gran Reserva retailed for £85 (about $111). By comparison, regular Cohiba Siglo VI cigars were retailing for £29 (about $38) each—a nearly 200 percent markup.
The Reservas and Gran Reservas tend to score well in Cigar Insider and Cigar Aficionado, and each release is guaranteed to have a resale value, as these special smokes tend to appear at auctions being sold for many times the original price.
There is no word yet on the price for the upcoming Cohiba Robusto Reserva release but one thing is certain—the cigar will not be cheap.
This article first appeared in the November 7, 2017 issue of Cigar Insider.