Pre-release Cohiba 1966 Edicion Limitada 2011

Pre-release Cohiba 1966 Edicion Limitada 2011

Date Reviewed:  March 2nd, 2011
Cigar Date:  February 2010 (bandless pre-release)

In the spirit of true brotherhood-of-the-leaf, I am fortunate enough to know someone that was willing to send me a handful of the Cohiba 1966s before they’re even released… and before they even have bands (never fear… banded ones are on the way as well)!  After a few days rest, I just had to light one up!

As most of you know, 2011 is the 45th anniversary of the Cohiba brand… originally only able to be obtained as a gift from the Cuban government.  Measuring up at 6.5 inches long and a 52 ring gauge, you can see how gargantuan it looks against other Cohiba favorites like the BHK52, Robusto, Siglo VI and Gran Reserva:

The wrapper is darker and more oily than your standard Cohiba… resting somewhere between your darker Siglos and Maduro 5s… and carries the very typical rough Cuban-esque veiny texture.  I almost want to call it maduro-ISH in that the wrapper is obviously fermented and matured (“maduro” is “mature” in Spanish), but not quite to that dark, rich, oily maturity level one grows accustomed to seeing with a lot of non-Cuban maduro wrappers.

Every single one I examined has three perfect vueltas, a Cuban pigtail and the wrapper feels extremely silky (my buddy Brad, who smoked one alongside me, said “velvetty”).  Looking at the foot, there was no real recognizable sign of ligero filler or a separate blended leaf in the center but it certainly appeared tightly rolled!

Before lighting, the cigar itself carries aromas of earth, cedar, leather and a hint of nuttiness that kept me smelling the foot trying to pin it down (to no avial, mind you… “nuttiness” is the best I can do).  The pre-light draw was phenomenally smooth and carried some serious earthiness and cedar undertones with it… all with a tiny bit of bitter tang on my lips.

As I lit up, that bitter tanginess was much more evident and the overall flavor was a blend of earthiness and cedar… all with a bit of sweetness, believe it or not.  There’s also a bit of spice present at the back of my throat (Brad noticed it more heavily than I).  The real winner, thus far, were the leathery aromas present… you know… that rich cigar smell that makes all of us CigarNuts say, “Mmmm,” as if we’re eating our favorite meal!

Within an inch or so… some of the bitterness began to dissipate and lent itself to a more balanced flavor profile that all of a sudden included a tiny bit of coffee.  Maybe that was there the whole time and I just wasn’t tasting it because of the tang?  Already, though, I started experiencing some uneven burn issues and the typical Cuban grey ash actually began to flower on me:

As I smoked it further down, I would correct a couple times and re-light once (problems both smokers had)… all issues I’ve typically run into with slightly underfilled cigars…  Apart from that, nothing much changed as I progressed through the smoke… I’ll be shocked if anyone ever uses the word “complex” to descibe the Cohiba 1966 (though “consistent” isn’t always a curse word either)…… but I did end up with a little nicotine buildup at the head that I gave an extra cut past at about halfway through and, when I did, the flavors came through a bit better and it took somewhere close to an hour and a half to finish off.

Final Thoughts:  I’m truly left just a bit disappointed.  The appearance is fantastic… the draw is great… the flavors are there…… but it’s just…… decent.  Some might say “good,” for their palates, but I don’t expect many “great” reviews coming from smoking these away.  For the money they’re expected to cost… and as much as I love the Cohiba line… I guess I was just expecting too much out of their 45th anniversary limited release, ya know?  The flavors are good and consistent, but certainly not powerful… and I was already bored with it by the back third.

Aging Thoughts:  The aforementioned bitterness can somewhat be chalked up to a mature and fermented wrapper… but I felt like some of the tang still needs some age to dissipate and blend better with the filler.  Without knowing for sure, my guess is that a good deal of aged tobacco was used in this blend… but the whole thing still needs more time for it all to age together and hopefully it will refine into something more delicious than it is now!  Put ‘em to sleep, boys!