Given that the Cohiba brand has reached its
50th anniversary this year, it feels quite apt to smoke a
Cohiba for you, and a vintage one at that. I won’t bore you with
the history of Cohiba but I’m sure you know it was created
exclusively for Fidel Castro in 1966. Initially there were only
three sizes rolled - the favourite sizes for El Commandante. The
Lancero is a classically elegant cigar and a format I love to
smoke. As the both the New World and Cuba continue to make larger
ring gauge cigars, I find myself seeking the opposite and smoking
50 and below ring gauge cigars. There’s more skill required to roll
a slender cigar and the blends are slightly different for a
slighter smoke as well.
In any case, I’ve found a cellophane wrapped Cohiba Lancero from
the mid-80's in my humidor. Cellophane wrapped Cuban cigars were
the norm from the mid 1930's to the early 90's. In 1992, the
procedure changed and cellophane wrappers are now only used on
machine made cigars. As I have learned, cellophane wrapped cigars
age remarkably well and are now sought after by collectors (machine
made and handmade versions).
A pigtailed cigar just oozes elegance and style. This type of
cap finish was only used on the best cigars by the best rollers.
The band is circa 70-90's and is printed not embossed. The initial
smell of the tobacco is a little muted, not earthy and woody like
some cigars I've smelt from the 60-80's. This may be the cellophane
effect. I press the cellophane and as I push out the air I can
distinctively pick up a strong sweet cocoa aroma. A sign of things
The wrapper is typical of Cohiba and although it doesn’t have an
oily shine like a fresh cigar, it’s a fine wrapper with just a
couple of thicker protruding veins. The colour is even throughout.
The old band looks resplendent on this cigar. The cigar feels in
good condition with just the right amount of spring to the touch. I
use a straight cut and I'm happy that the cut is clean and there
isn't any damage to the cigar, which can happen on older cigars as
they dry out a little. I normally moisten the cap in my mouth with
older cigars, this often helps the cutting process to make sure the
cutter doesn't crack the cap.
"There’s more skill required to roll a slender cigar and the
blends are slightly different for a slighter smoke as well."
The draw is a little tight and the pre-draw flavour has a slight
menthol note. I light up with my DuPont Defi-Extreme lighter. I
think I'm a little unlucky with this cigar as it's definitely more
on the tight draw side but I will persevere for all The
The cigar starts with a little uneven burn but, I am smoking on
a terrace with the retractable roof open. I just rotate the cigar
and hope it catches up. Smoke production isn't great due to the
tight draw. The flavour is a little light in the first third – but
one should always be patient and not judge a cigar from the first
inch, it needs time to really develop. The ash falls after an inch,
I do get that distinctive Cohiba taste as the finish is smooth and
round but not the strength I expected.
Entering the second inch there's a little pick up in flavour.
The head of the cigar is very tight and I think that's the root
cause of my difficult draw. The rest of the cigar is softening up
as I smoke which is normal. I’ll resist cutting to see what
Half way through there's a noticeable flavour change. The
strength has picked up and there's a sudden hit of grass. Wow. The
burn has evened out without touching up and the ash is firm and
In the final third I've made a thin recut and that's helped the
draw a little. There's definitely some nicotine left in this cigar.
My lips are tingling a little. The flavour is still a medium at
most and there's a sweet nuttiness coming through. The retro hale
is very smooth which is normal with older tobacco. I always find
with young cigars, the nasal burn stops me from doing it many
times. Woody and nutty, yum! Although the draw has been testing, I
really have to recommend trying a cigar like this or the Corona
Especiales. There’s an old world elegance to smoking a slender
gauge cigar which you don’t get from smoking something like a Texas
Lancero (Alec Bradley 70 x 7”). Of course, each to their own - this
is just my personal opinion.
COHIBA LANCEROS CELLOPHANE WRAPPED
The Cohiba Lancero looks magnificent in this format and you can
easily imagine Castro reaching for one of these in his breast
pocket. Don’t be fooled by the cellophane, it doesn’t mean it’s
cheap. The overall look of the cigar is first class, particularly
the pigtail cap. The wrapper is fine, has even colour throughout
and just a few veins. The ash is a decent soft grey.
It was let down by a tight draw which I struggled with initially
and perhaps I should have recut sooner rather than later in this
instance. Admittedly as a slower smoker, it wasn’t the end of the
world, but after two thirds I was tiring from the effort required
to draw. The cigar did everything except draw well. The cap was
well made and was firm throughout with no soft spots which would
indicate under filling.
SMELL AND TASTE: 8/10
Like a good racehorse, the flavour and development of this cigar
waited till the last few furlongs before coming in to its own. It
was a long wait for the flavours to develop, but they did grow into
exactly what you would imagine an aged Cohiba to taste like. Aged
Cuban tobacco is a delight to smoke; it really does get better with
time, the longer the better. There are those who say that ageing is
just hype and that it makes no difference. I won’t argue with this,
but until you undertake a side-by-side smoke comparison you can
never truly know how a cigar will change over time. Personally, I
would always recommend trying an aged smoke, you never know how it
might surprise you.