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Famous Cuban Cigars: Cohiba Medio Siglo

J. Bennett Alexander Alexander's picture

J. Bennett Alexander

The Cohiba Cuban cigar, once a nearly unobtainable object of desire, now has many different shapes and sizes, and is sold in almost every cigar shop outside the United States that can get its hands on Cuban cigars. The proliferation of the brand, in part motivated by the instinct of the Cuban cigar bureaucracy to strike while someone will pay real money, is part of the motivation for the introduction of the Cohiba Medio Siglo in 2016. The other part is that cigar smokers seem to always want something new, even if it is largely the same product in a different-sized tube.

What Is the Cohiba Medio Siglo?

The Cohiba Medio Siglo, 4 x 52, is the seventh vitola in Cohiba’s Linea 1492 or Linea Siglo. It’s a Petit Robusto that takes the girth of the Siglo VI, a Toro at 5.875 x 52; and the length of the Siglo I, a Petit Corona at 4 x 40, to make a new shape. Another reason, perhaps, that the Medio Siglo was created was to have something to show off at the Habanos Festival in 2016.


The flavor profile of the Medio Siglo is firmly on the medium strength level shared by its brethren in the Linea 1492. (Some would argue that this line is a bit stronger than the original Cohiba line. Sure, but not by a lot.) The advantage, perhaps, that the Medio Siglo has is its girth. This allows for a lot of tobacco to be put into a  small cigar and the draw is substantial. The burn is usually quite even and slow. This is a pretty cool – as in temperature – smoke. When it first came out, the cigar delivered a good amount of pepper, then became creamy and a bit flowery. The finish can be nutty with hints of sweet spices. In subsequent years, the complexity seemed to grow, with notes of coffee and cocoa making an appearance, along with some sweet nuts and spice. The wrapper seems to have gotten a touch lighter, but retains a pleasant toastiness.

Take Out a Mortgage!

If you’re looking to buy a Cohiba Medio Siglo, you are going to pay handsomely for a small cigar. That’s no surprise. It’s a Cohiba, Cuba’s cigar rock star. At our benchmark store, James J. Fox in London, this is a US$40 cigar. In Havana, they’re about half the price, perhaps a bit less. In Mexico, I’ve seen this cigar priced high and low. Well, low relative to London. I’ve bought some, just to try, for about US$25 each. The best price I’ve heard about, from a friend whose job he cannot publicly divulge, is at the duty free shop in Beirut’s airport. A box of 25 went for about US$415, or a little more than $16 a cigar.

Once Again, the Cohiba History

If you follow our reporting, you are probably already reasonably familiar with the history of the Cohiba brand. You know that Fidel Castro bummed a nameless cigar off a bodyguard one day around 1966 and liked it so much that he set up a production facility in 1968 for a Lancero version to be made. He called it Cohiba, the Taino Indian word for tobacco. Castro used the cigar privately to give to diplomats and important government officials. The legend of the secret cigar grew. Cuba couldn’t resist putting the brand into the market. In 1982, the first Cohibas hit the shelves. They were the Panetela, Corona Especial and the Lancero. In 1989, the Cohiba Robusto, arguably the best Cohiba over the years, was introduced, along with the small Exquisito and the Espléndido Churchill. All of these comprise the Cohiba Linea Clasica, or Classic Line. Today, Cohiba has six different lines, including the Behike and the Linea 1492.

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