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Review: Cohiba Gran Reserva (Siglo VI) Release: Grand Reserva (Tobacco from 2003, released in 2009) Vitola: 52RG * 150mm (5.9”) Canonzao aka Robusto Extra Production: 5000 boxes of 15 cigars made. (75,000 cigars) Box Code: Unknown http://www.cubancigarwebsite.com/brand.aspx?brand=Cohiba#190_Gran_Reserva_Cosecha_2003 Date: Saturday June 21, 2014 Start Time: 4:10PM EST Reviewers Notes: My style of cigar reviewing is “open”. I try to jot down what I’m experiencing with every draw. When you see a “/” consider that a break in between puffs. What I leave out in fancy prose is made up with observation. Consider each segment a play by play. This style works for me. I hope you enjoy it. Background: In 2009 Habanos S.A. releases the first of it’s Gran Reserva series. And to ensure some “buzz” they went ahead and chose Cohiba to kick off this party. The release consists of 15 Siglo VI’s to a box. The tobacco within is from the 2003 harvest. The filler, binder and wrapper has been aged for five years, then rolled into cigars. At over $100/cigar upon release, they were an expensive proposition. Nonetheless, they sold out. Expect to pay at least double on the secondary market. Pre-Light Notes: Visuals: Gorgeous. light Colorado wrapper, firm roll, excellent triple cap, wrapper has a very low grit to it, almost smooth with a nice shine to it too. Aroma at cold: The wrapper has a sweet , honey like aroma with a touch of cocoa. Holding the foot close to my nose, the aroma is similar, only more pronounced. A clean punch reveals a classic divot style cap.. Good evidence that this was rolled by a skilled individual. The draw is firm I shouldn’t have any problems. Time to light this up. 1st Third The first puff is toasty and bready with a hint of sweetness / trademark Cohiba grassiness with a cocoa finish the next few puffs / tasty tangy notes ensue, rich nutmeg, I’d say / the draw is excellent / hints of cocoa really pleases the palate / tangy tobacco notes again, slight hint of chocolate on the finish / smoke output is good, not overly present / cocoa flavour more prevalent now, this is a really great start / so tangy / nice hint of cinnamon / a hint of spice now / more cocoa / medium bodied at this point / very smooth and refined on the palate / savoury notes appear, almost “meaty” / more bready notes / slight hints of nutmeg and some cocoa / flavours are more on the rich side 2nd Third opening puff is dry nuttiness, almost dusty / savoury notes / more nutty flavours / cocoa reappears, I welcome it back / it continues for the next 3 draws / rich tobacco flavour now / a few tangy draws, slight citrus note on the finish, never had that in any Cohiba / very tangy flavours on the next draws, almost similar to how tannins in wine behave on the finish, it’s good mind you, it adds to the overall profile and balance of the cigar / more dry nuttiness / a slightly fruity note for change, interesting / more fruit, almost like the fruit notes you get in a nice red wine / a hint of sweetness mixed with oak/woodsy flavours, has a bit of sharpness to it, very cool / Reserva band takes a hike / back to some nutty flavours, hazelnuts I’d say / the aroma off the cigar is almost like sauteed mushrooms though I don’t taste that at all / some more tangy tobacco / a few more puffs to finish off the third results in dry, nutty flavour 3rd Third some tanginess to start off the third. This has been very different from all the Siglo VI’s I’ve smoked. The oldest ones I’ve smoked are from 2009. I found them to be full of honey sweetness, on the palate and in the air. I haven’t had that in this / wow, some very strong tobacco flavour comes out of nowhere, not sure if that’s the blend or some kind of tar buildup / I do a bit of a purge, flavours are not as strong, but certainly stronger than the 2 previous thirds, still enjoyable / more nuttiness with a cocoa finish, not a bad thing IMO / nice, really rich flavoured draws now, cedary, meaty. / nutty flavour is stronger, the finish is tangy / just getting better on this third, it’s become very rich smoke, the previous two thirds while tasty, were more subtle in flavour, discernible, but subtle, its ramped up big time / more of that “red wine” finish / rich toasty tobacco / a quick swig of water to cleanse the palate, let’s see what the next few puffs bring / beany flavour, similar to what I taste in the BHK54 / beany again / tangy, cedar notes now / more beans, slight anise finish, this third is really delivering the goods / beans again, slightly meaty flavour too / tangy tobacco / Both bands are off at this point / nutty flavours with a hint of sweetness, sadly, not honey / nuttiness again / more nuttiness, a cedary flavour lingers on the finish / dry nuts / the tobacco has been sneaking up on me, feeling a bit of it now, not head swimming strong, but definitely there / correction, I do feel it, the cigar has taken on heavier flavours now / going to end up nubbing this / the flavours / some more anise / beany notes / starting to feel the heat from the burn / tangy notes, really changing it up at this point, not a boring cigar / a quick swig of water / slightly tarry taste, might be pushing it at this point, the aroma is very meaty / tangy tobacco hit / one last puff yields another tangy hit / done Finished at 5:53PM EST Final Words I’ve smoked a fair amount of Siglo VI’s over the past few years. They’re either been super sweet or just “decent”. The majority I’ve smoked have come from two different 2009 cabs. Both have yielded cigars that performed differently. This is my second CGR. My first ever was smoked in Havana, Sep 2012. The first half was super rich and flavourful, the second a disaster, which I believe had to do with a lot of wind resulting in a weird burn and too many relights for my liking. My second foray into the CGR was a far better experience. The first half though was the polar opposite. It was subtle and refined. Not until the final third did the cigar really ramp up. Side note. As I type this, the nub is giving off a dark chocolate aroma and I can sense that in the aftertaste. Very interesting. Given the exclusivity of this cigar, the expectations are high. Is this the best I’ve smoked? No, early 70’s Davidoff’s and Sir Winstons trump this stick. But given the difference in age, it’s hardly a fair comparison. Come November 2014, my 2009 Siglo VI’s will be officially 5 years old. That still puts them 5 years less the age of the tobacco which comprises the CGR. I’d love to fire up a 10 year old Siglo VI to see how it compares. The CGR is technically 10 years old by now. Overall, this was an excellent cigar. It did not exhibit that honey sweetness I’ve come to love in my Siglo VI’s but it was still a very enjoyable experience. This is definitely a refined cigar. It’s a great roll, great tobacco and smoking it was a pleasure. On it’s own merits, without considering the cost of entry, I’m going to give it a good score. Price / performance wise though. I’m torn. There are a lot of cigars out there that can give a similar experience. The basic Silgo VI, the BHK54, the Esplendido a Sir Winston, etc. You’ll spend considerably less for a very similar experiencere. However, this is a Cohiba, it’s limited and it apparently contains the best tobacco harvested in 2003. Therefore, people will want it. I really enjoyed the CGR, though I would prefer to chase down aged cigars. With that said, I have no regrets other than being a bit “poorer” for putting this one to flame. Score: 94