Review of Cuban Cohiba Cigar
By: Gary Manelski
After a limited respite from federal regulations that even prohibited vacationers from bringing Cuban cigars back into the United States for only personal use, Cuban cigars are once again illegal in the U.S. (refer to Cuban Assets Control Regulations). In addition to being prohibited, Cuban cigars are often counterfeited and are also very expensive, especially the Cuban Cohiba brand favored by Castro in his prime. In general, the quality control of Cuban cigars is also suspect, and construction issues are not uncommon. Note that Cohiba cigars sold in the U.S. by General Cigar are not made in Cuba, and do not contain any Cuban tobacco.
We do not typically review Cuban cigars on this website. Not only are they expensive and hard to come by these days, you never know if you're getting the real deal. However, since I was given a Cuban Cohiba Edicion Limitada 2014 cigar by a fellow cigar smoker prior to the ban being renewed in September 2020, I was curious about the authenticity and price of the cigar and decided to search online before lighting up and attempting to write a review.
Again, although it is illegal to import Cuban cigars into the United States, you can still find online retailers located abroad who are willing to ship cigars to the U.S. And just like brick and mortar retailers and online street vendors who are located abroad, you never know if you are getting the real thing from online/mail order merchants, either. Although procuring Cuban cigars is beyond the scope of this article, your best bet is to deal only with official La Casa del Habano retailers. However, we do not condone violating the laws of the land just to smoke a Cuban cigar. Anyway, prices for Cuban cigars can vary dramatically online. They don't come cheap, even the fakes. Expect to pay $50 to $100 per stick for many of the top brands, and a lot more than that for the most desirable smokes.
Cigar Aficionado has published several articles about fake Cuban cigars. In this article, you can learn how to spot a fake Cuban Cohiba by examining the band. Although the band on my Cohiba Edicion Limitada 2014 appears to pass all the tests, I was still not convinced that it was authentic. Further research revealed that this particular cigar was produced in only one size (5 x 58), but the length of my cigar was over an inch longer at 6.25”. So is it real or fake? I think we all know the answer to that question. But enough of a prelude, time to fire it up and find out if it is any good or not.
The cigar began with a slight peppery taste that quickly faded after a few puffs. After that, there was not a whole lot of flavor other than typical/average tobacco. I've smoked a few Cuban cigars before, including Cohibas, and this cigar did not taste anything like Cuban tobacco. The cigar was medium-to-full bodied, and the taste wasn't anything special during the first 10-15 minutes. Then the cigar went out and after a couple of relights, the flavor went from average (at best) to bad, and then to worse, all within about 10 minutes. It became a struggle to keep the cigar lit, but it wasn't worth smoking beyond this point anyway. I put the cigar down after about 30 minutes, and only attempted to smoke it that long because of the Cohiba brand's reputation, but this one was not a real Cohiba, it was just a big FAKE!
There is really no way to prevent this from happening to you, especially if you order online from an overseas vendor (also risking the cigars being confiscated by the U.S. Government). There are steps that you can take to improve your odds of getting authentic Cuban cigars, but for me, it is not worth the trouble, risk, nor expense.