COHIBA – THE BRAND
By Sapna Kakkar
It’s no secret that Cohibas are the most sought after cigars in the worlds. They are synonymous with luxury and up there with the brightest diamonds and aged rare whiskies. The fact that there is such a huge gap in the demand and supply of Cohibas, makes it more enticing to most.
It seems fitting that the name Cohiba comes from “COIBA” which is what the natives or the Taino People called bunches of tobacco leaves that Columbus first saw being smoked by the original inhabitants of Cuba – the earliest known form of a Habano.
Cohiba is the flagship brand of Habanos. It came about accidentally in 1966 when the then President happened to walk past his bodyguard who was smoking a cigar produced and rolled by his friend. Fidel Castro enjoyed the aroma and taste so much that it led to him setting up the El Laguito factory where Cohibas were rolled only for him and other diplomats. It was only in 1982 that the cigars were released to the general public in very small quantities. Soon the pigtailed thin and long (lanceros) Cigars became an icon depicting Castros time. Some might say almost as iconic as the beard, heavy boots and military green fatigues.
Cohiba also happens to be the only brand of Habanos that undergo an additional fermentation in barrels. This unique process produces a special aroma and flavour you will only find in Cohiba. This explains much of out our excitement to open a fresh box of sealed Cohibas. Now, if we could only find a way to bottle it up and use it daily!
There are our Lineas in the Cohiba Portfolio – The first is Linea Clasica that has cigars like Cohiba Robustos, Cohiba Esplendidos, Cohiba Piramides, etc. Then came in the Linea 1492 (the year Cuba was discovered) or the Siglo series. The third line is The Línea Maduro 5 that boasts a dark maduro wrapper leaf specially aged for five years and most recently, the Línea Behike, which is the most exclusive line from the Cohiba series as it uses a fourth very rare leaf in its filler blend called the Medio Tiempo.
The leaves for Cohiba are the “selection of the selection” from the 5 finest Vegas de Primera in San Juan y Martínez and San Luis districts of the Vuelta Abajo zone. The funny thing is that no one knows which farm from the Pinar Del Rio region provides the actual leaves for Cohibas. This is a trade top secret. Of course, you’ll always have a friend who has a friend who has an uncle who claims it’s his farm but so far this remains a mystery.
Incidentally, this classic brand was also the first commercial brand to bring out a 60 ring gauge cigar in its portfolio to celebrate its 50th anniversary by taking out the gorgeous and limited 50th Anniversario Cohiba Humidor.
After all this, if you still think that you would get a Cohiba or less than Rs 1500 a stick, let me tell you – we have a special place in our hearts for you dreamers and hopeless romantics. 🙂