Cigar review: Cohiba Spectre or Show me the money

Cigar review: Cohiba Spectre

First let’s report what General Cigar tells us about this blend.

The artisans of Cohiba are proud to unveil COHIBA SPECTRE, a small batch release unmatched in the world of handmade cigars. This extraordinary expression of Cohiba speaks of luxury and prestige, embodying painstaking fermentation and aging techniques employed exclusively in this rarefied offering.

Spectre features eight varietals of tobacco, showcasing a broad spectrum of growing regions, soils and microclimates. In all, five countries of origin are represented, elevating the smoking experience to the point of transcendence.

Jhonys Diaz, master blender for Cohiba said, “Cohiba Spectre is like the finest Bordeaux wine. The tobaccos we selected are the product of ideal climatic conditions and a passion for tending to the tobacco at every step of the process. Through proprietary aging techniques, these tobaccos have developed in flavor and complexity, resulting in a smoking experience that cannot be otherwise be replicated.”

The wrapper is a rare Ecuadorian Sumatra. During the curing process, a small percentage of upper-priming leaves developed a unique reddish hue and were set aside for deeper aging. These extraordinary leaves underwent additional fermentation lasting six months, during which time the tobacco’s flavor became profoundly more elegant. Ultimately, only eight barrels of wrapper tobacco were deemed worthy of adorning Cohiba Spectre.

The blend speaks to the highest art of tobacco mastery. Dominican Piloto Cubano, aged in tercios since its 1995 harvest, is configured at the center of the bunch, flanked by Nicaraguan Esteli leaves from the 2011 and 2014 crops. The hand-selected Nicaraguan leaves were aged in Spanish Sherry barrels to impart a rich aroma and a delicate undercurrent of sweetness. A trio of Honduran leaves (Olancho San Agustin from the 2002 crop, with Jamastran and La Entrada from the 2011 crop) form a circumference of complexity, lending earthy notes and subtle spice to the blend.

This is a cigar of refinement, one with aesthetics and construction that can only be described as flawless.  As such, a mere 180 boxes of Cohiba Spectre have been produced, and the exquisite cigars are made by just one roller, Ms. Xirolma Céspedes and one buncher, Mr. Ruben Dario Perez Peña. Representing a combined expertise spanning nearly five decades, these artisans are renowned for their exceptional dexterity and meticulous attention to detail.

To maximize the flavor of the tobaccos contained within, Cohiba Spectre has been made solely in a 7.25” x 54 format. The cigars are presented in a circular red and silver box, in which ten cigars are housed.  A box can be purchased for $900, and individual cigars selling for $90.

I am jittery before I review this cigar. With a price tag of $90.00 MSRP, this is the most expensive cigar that I will have ever tasted. Maybe I should wear white gloves and a tuxedo just to feel the part. 

Cigars of this price range and exclusivity are made for several purposes in my opinion.

A. To showcase the skills of the cigar company elite blenders. 

B. To create a buzz worthy project we will all be talking about.

C. To open up a new avenue to test how much the public will fork out for a cigar.

D. Because the cigar company have the resources to put out such an exclusive cigar.

Let’s try it this way. If we did not know what the MSRP of this cigar was, would we still be talking about and say it is a great blend?

As this not a blind tasting, and as I always comment, how and where I smoked the cigar does not impact my subjective judgment. The folks at General Cigar sent me the cigar gratis for review.  I am not sure the Spectre can be purchased at your favorite B and M or an on-line store.  The General Cigar website might help you find this product if you are so inclined to purchase it.

 

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IMG_3680.jpgTheir press release explains the wrapper, binder, filler contents. My  focus will be based on my usual criteria.

Where and When Smoked: Los Angeles, Ca. 9/2/2018

Appearance/Construction: A beautifully crafted cigar with an oily feel. Reddish, brown wrapper set to match the artfully done dual cigar bands. No apparent construction issues or flaws.

Flavor/Taste and Aroma: An immediate sweet hit of caramel, toffee and nuts. There is a pepper influence but not overly spicy.

First third: The cigar further develops to a striking combo of earth and coca. The spice is still moderate. 

Second third: A continuation of the first third with a more powerful but still smooth take of pepper. The blend is very pleasing on all accounts.

Final third: Now we get the black pepper spice totally mixed with the rest of the blend. All this is a palate pleaser. My wife noted the aroma of the cigar and totally liked it. I usually do not notice the aroma in most of my smokes. 

Smoking Characteristics: The cigar burned cool, mostly even with a slight uneven show  of the burn line about 3/4’s in. Not an issue overall. No relight or problems with this at all.

Conclusion/Overall Impression: A top flight cigar but would not put it in the best of the bunch I have smoked this year. Will be very curious how other cigar smokers rate the Spectre. 

Final Thoughts and the Numbers: Take away the price point and would definitely rate as a product worth smoking and purchasing as a one time event or special occasion.  Should you pay full freight for the cigar? If you had the cash , yes, otherwise no.

Appearance/Construction: 4.5 out of 5

Flavor/Taste and Aroma: 4 out of 5

Smoking Characteristics: 3.8 out of 5

Overall Impression: 4.1 out 5

A superior cigar for sure, it’s your call about the cost.

Keep smoking

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