Date Reviewed: March 17th, 2011
Cigar Date: February 2010 (Festival release)
I reviewed the unbanded pre-release version of this cigar when we first started Habanophiles.com, but now I’ve gotten in the banded Festival released cigars to try! I’m still waiting for full boxes to hit an affordable section of the regular market to finish the trio of reviews I have planned for this cigar… but I figured I had given enough rest, to these Festival releases, that they were at least ready to be tried!
My Jeep needed some repairs… and one of my favorite local brick and mortar (B&M) cigar lounges is quite literally two doors down from my favorite vehicle service shop! I brought a bunch of fun stuff with me to smoke while I waited on the Jeep job… and even brought a bunch of different things to drink (Arizona has a law prohibiting most tobacco retailers from selling food and/or drink… but you can always bring your own!). My wife and I had stopped into one of our local coffee shops for some breakfast and coffee (the owner is a friend)… and I still had about two-thirds of an iced caramel-vanilla latte left when I reached the shop…… so I reached for the Cohiba 1966 as my first smoke over the rest of my coffee.
The wrapper on this thing was dark, oily and rich for a Cuban cigar… though, again, not quite as dark as virtually all non-Cuban maduros tend to be. The wrapper was very silky smooth, but looking at the foot didn’t reveal a ton of complexity in the blend (though that’s certainly not always a perfect prediction of flavors to come)… and I’m alwasy a sucker for a good pigtail cigar! Pre-light aromas carried some definite leather, earthiness and cedar notes, most of which were also present in the draw before lighting… but a little bit of a bitter flavor showed up on my lips that sometimes comes with maduro wrappers.
Lighting up brought on a ton of earthiness and a lot of leathery aromas… but that bitterness was still hanging on my lips. The coffee I was drinking worked pretty well to cleanse the palate of the cigar flavors each sip… but hung onto my palate too long, so I started adding some cool Voss water to the mix after every trip to the coffee cup. That really helped everything be clear and ready for each puff!
About an inch in, some of the bitterness dissipated on my lips, but that initial earthy punch was also mixed with some grassy notes. About half way through, that bitterness was back and… for me, anyway… really drowned out a lot of the flavors I was trying to concentrate on. There was also a hint of spice at the back of the throat, but only really there on the retrohale.
Throughout the entire smoke, the flavors hovered around a little bit of dark chocolate, bold earthiness and hints of cedar… all with tons of smoke that carried those leather scents the whole time… and all with a mild bitterness hanging on my lips. It’s not a short smoke by any stretch… and it’s also not very complex; nothing really changed smoking all the way to a nub! I did have a couple slight burn corrections to manage… but the draw and burn went mostly well. By the last third or so, I was burning pretty unevenly… but I didn’t want to overcorrect and waste any wrapper flavors, so I just let it go a bit slanted to the nub…
Final Notes: I’ve smoked through four of these cigars now… a couple pre-releases and a couple Festival releases. As a Cohiba lover, I’m still left a bit disappointed. One of the four (the one I smoked before this one) seemed to have just a bit more flavors present… but none of them have been very complex at all…… and all of them have brought along some mild grassiness and bitterness that drown out everything else taking place on the palate.
Aging Notes: Simple formula on this cigar: Grassy Earth + Bitter Maduro = needs age!!! Even with age, though, I’m not sure that one-dimention is going to get much more complex (though it’s certainly possible that maduro wrapper will help refine the whole cigar into a better tasting experience than it has now). When texting with a buddy about HIS experience with the Cohiba 1966… he said, “There was something about it I couldn’t put my finger on… I chalked it up to fresh grass. They don’t scream aging potential… More like you HOPE age works.” I can’t say I disagree…… but I DO hope!