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Staff Reviews

Cohiba Black Staff Review

Tom O. O's picture

Tom O.

I’m smoking Cohiba Black, a dark and strong-looking cigar from one of the most famous Cuban-legacy brands in the world, and I’m reviewing a 5.5-by-50 Robusto that comes in a glass tube. The history of Cohiba cigars dates back to 1965 when Fidel Castro smoked a cigar from one of his bodyguards and enjoyed it so much he insisted on creating a factory to produce it. Of course, there are big differences between the Cuban vs. non-Cuban Cohiba cigars that we can legally buy in the States. Let’s find out how the extra-dark Cohiba Black tastes and performs.

The word “Cohiba” means tobacco in the language of Cuba’s indigenous Taino people. The Cuban Cohiba brand wasn’t available for sale to the public until 1968 as Castro previously had them made for his personal consumption and to pass out as gifts to dignitaries. The Cohiba cigars we buy in the U.S., sometimes called “Red-Dot” Cohibas due to the logo on the band, however, are produced and distributed by General Cigar Company, the parent company of Macanudo and several other Cuban-heritage brands made for the U.S., including La Gloria Cubana, Punch, Partagas, and Hoyo de Monterrey.

Cohiba Black Robusto cigars come in a sleek, black box of eight cigars. A Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, almost as dark as the box, surrounds a Dominican binder with Dominican and Mexican long-filler tobaccos at the center. Cohiba Black cigars are produced at General’s massive cigar factory in the Dominican Republic. Although non-Cuban Cohiba cigars aren’t nearly as costly as Cuban Cohibas, they’re still expensive, and Cohiba Black is no exception at over $25 per cigar.

When I tear the seal off a fresh glass tube cradling a jet-black Robusto inside, an aroma of charred wood and licorice emerges from the foot. After slicing the cap of the cigar’s seamless wrapper and pulling a few cold draws through the head, chewy notes of charred wood and pepper create a formidable first impression. The draw is not entirely even, though, which becomes apparent after I fire up the foot and a wavy burn develops in the first minutes.

In most cases, a well-made premium cigar will self-correct as the ash forms and the burn progresses. I’m finding the Cohiba Black requires more attention and touching up with my torch lighter than I’m accustomed to. After ten minutes, the Cohiba Black Robusto settles into a better performance. The flavor is respectable but not outstanding. Charry and semi-bitter notes of hickory and cocoa come through, but the profile is too tangy and acidic at times. It tastes unbalanced.

Throughout the middle, the burn stays on track while hints of raisin and licorice offer more complexity. I expect the cigar to deliver a sweet taste considering Cohiba Black is finished in such a dark Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. However, the flavor becomes chalky in the final third when I remove the band.

As I power through the nub, Cohiba Black redeems itself at moments with creamy notes of nuts and black cherry, but the aftertaste is tarry. I’m relieved to reach the end of this hearty Robusto and plan to revisit it another time, perhaps with a stiff bourbon or a darker spirit to see if that opens up the profile a bit more.

The Cohiba Black Robusto isn’t my favorite Maduro, but I’m not afraid to tell you to add one to your next order to try it for yourself and decide how it stacks up against the best tubos cigars you can smoke today. However, the biggest drawback of Cohiba Black is the price. When you’re spending over twenty-five bucks for one Robusto, it’s understandable to have high expectations. Buy one on a day when you’re flush with cash and unlikely to scrutinize the bill. You’ll be better off for it.


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