Reviewed by Wynne Hunkler
Vintage: Nov. 2004
Each time I see one of the recent Cohiba vitola close up, I am hypnotized by the glistening, gold-embossed lettering on the new bands. Befitting of "the jewel" of Habanos cigars, this particular band is wrapped around the flagship of the Cohiba brand, the Esplendido.
The wrapper is smooth and almost completely free of visible veins on the surface, which is coloured with a golden-tan shade and a slightly darker bunching of filler leaves at the foot of the cigar. Clipping the opposite end revealed the same familiar pattern of "bunched" filler leaves at the head with immediately revealed the same honey-like, manure aroma of fine quality Cuban tobacco.
Drawing through the cigar before lighting it produced a delightful flavour of creamy, rich tobacco with a barely detectable hint of spice. After evenly heating the foot of the cigar, I placed it in between my lips to savour that first draw of toasted tobacco ... no bitterness, no bite ... just a smooth, creamy flavour reminiscent of the Cohiba blend.
For such a young cigar, I expected a slight bitterness at the start; however, from the first to the last draw, I found nothing but pleasant, rich flavors with subtle complexities as the flavors shifted ever so slightly from buttery to almost sweet, bringing back memories of the butter-cream icing spice cakes my mother used to bake for my birthday each year.
The cigar burned perfectly with a wonderful draw, producing mouthful after mouthful of soft, balanced flavors. The dark gray ash was highlighted with pale white streaks, as the first fragment dropped off after about two to three inches.
Although the underlying creamy flavors continued to develop throughout the entire cigar, subtle flavour changes became apparent at every inch or two. Toasted tobacco flavors and a mild nuttiness appeared and disappeared as the smoke entered my mouth and left through my nostrils.
I thought the North Texas heat (about 100 degrees on my back porch) would surely have a detrimental affect on my experience, yet I was so wrong. Even as the sweat drizzled from my brow, I continued to enjoy the full, rich flavors of this wonderful Habanos. Not wanting to put this cigar down, I continued smoking until my lips began to heat up and my finger-tips slightly singed.
I fully understand how the Cohiba Esplendido is one of the most sought after cigars in the world. As delightful as this cigar was at such an early age, I can only imagine how sublime it will be after several years of aging. If you have never tried one of these fabulous cigars, I encourage you to try one when the opportunity arises. You will not be disappointed.
Reviewed by Tim Mezick (June 2003)
Recently I purchased a 3 pack of Cohiba Esplendidos. The packaging is quite nice a convenient way to bring a few excellent cigars to a extraordinary event such as a wedding, which is what I did. After the cocktail hour a few drinks and a fine meal I settled down to a glass of fine port and drew my package of 3 Cohibas, the ooohs and ahhhs and bulging eyes could be seen and heard around me. I opened this package of tasty treats and with one jerk of my hand slid one up out from the box.
It was such a lovely sight to behold. I rolled the cigar in my hand a bit finding no soft or hard spots it seemed flawless to the touch, I then proceeded to smell the length of the cigar to find it had a sweet pleasing aroma, I only hoped that it would taste as fine.
After carefully cutting the cigar I lit a small cedar strip off the candle which laid on the table and ever so slowly rotated the foot of this beauty slightly below the flame toasting it into a warm glow.
My first draw on this cigar was like a dream, it was not overpowering yet not mild by any standard, full with flavor rich with hints of leather and cedar and a slight sweetness like the aroma I had experienced earlier, the cigar held a metallic colored grey ash almost beyond belief with a perfect razor sharp burn. As I continued to enjoy this fine treat others had complimented and inquired about the sweetness of the aroma from my cigar .at the halfway point, the flavor of this beauty began to develop into a slightly stonger taste with hints of chocolate along with a creaminess which was building up in the back of my throat, when the cigar had reached about two thirds I hated to let it go out but didn't want to ruin my experience with this fine cigar , its finish was nothing short of spectacular leaving me satisfied yet longing for another, cake was now being served but, I had to pass on that, as another Esplendido was awaiting me in my suit pocket.