Origin : Cuba
Format : Seoane panetela
Size : 5" x 33 ring gauge (126mm x 13.10mm)
Price : ~ € 11.80 / $ 14.50
More info about purchasing Cohiba cigars...
Cuba's Cohiba Exquisitos is one of the great panetela cigars of the world, well-deserving its name & its price, offering solid cigar strength, superb construction and quality, and an impressive flavour-rich experience via its slender package.
Tho elegant & trim in appearance, this is a serious stick with a good deal of power, superbly made by the Cohiba torcedoras who roll this cigar with expert care. With its slow even burn, its power, and its subtle but richly-arrayed flavours, it is a fully satisfying Cuban cigar experience for those who open themselves to its charms.
Nowadays, people tend to begin sampling Cohibas through the medium-strength Siglo line developed more recently, with its several corona vitolas - but the Exquisitos belong to the original and stronger Clásica line. (The other two Cohiba ranges, are the also-medium-to-full strength Maduros, and the full-strength pricey thick Behikes.)
Amongst the 20 or so regular-production Cohiba cigars, no less than 6 are in panetela-range ring gauges - the 26 ring gauge Laguito No 3, this Exquisito in 33, the Lancero and Corona Especial in 38 - all from the Classic line - and the Siglo I and Secreto Maduro in 40.
Cohiba was personally developed by the late Fidel Castro, the story goes, after he sniffed a quality home-made stogie puffed by one of his bodyguards. The Comandante himself preferred narrower ring gauges, particularly 38; the Exquisitos was added to the line in the 1980s, when Cohiba expanded from being a diplomatic gift cigar, to being the Habanos ultra-premium marque available to the general public.
Tho there are sometimes parallel vitolas to the Cohiba sticks in other Cuban brands, particularly Montecristo, the Cohiba tobaccos are said to benefit from a unique extra phase of fermentation in barrels, and the Cohibas are indeed distinctive in flavour and impact.
Another great virtue of Cohibas is the construction quality on a different level than other Cubans, often rivalling that by the quality mavens at Davidoff, and the Exquisitos certainly falls into that superbly-rolled category, especially remarkable in a 30s ring gauge.
One thing I see when buying an Exquisitos, is that it's often rolled a little thicker than its official 33 ring gauge, sometimes more toward 35-36. Soft-firm balance is always nice to the touch, the wrapper usually good-looking, the cap well-applied.
Aroma at the lighting end, sweet and pleasant, tends to be mild, not hinting at the surprising strength ahead. Pre-draw is tasty and sweet, with some saltiness and spice.
After lighting, one quickly feels this is a first-class Cuban smoke. Lovely flavours show themselves, on one hand subtle, but in totality rich - hay and honey, cedar and a touch of caramel, soon some toastiness. There is some pleasing saltiness and tang, one feels the Cuban earth here.
By the end of the 1st third, one can feel the strength and satisfying headiness, that this is a full Cuban smoke, one is lacking for nothing here. Another flavour wave can arrive at this point, such as that of hot chocolate with nuts amidst the scent of a wood fire.
Draw in the Exquisitos tends to be perfect, and with the arrangement of the tobacco leaves here yielding so much flavour and interest, I often think of the hard-working Cuban torcedoras at Cohiba, grateful for their excellent work and skill.
The Exquisitos is substantial and solid inside, despite the narrow ring gauge; for much of it, one can typically enjoy quick follow-up puffs without overheating it.
In the middle third one gets a little more strength, and perhaps less sweetness for a time, a bit more of hay and field and toast, with the sweeter notes occasionally returning. And then one can have another flavour burst, such as one suggesting a creamy cappuccino.
Beyond the flavours and senses, what is here ultimately and fully in the Exquisitos, is something a bit beyond words, that uniquely dreamy, thoughtful, and relaxing state of mind, that comes in a special way in a fine cigar, and very distinctively in a Habano.
This strong tho slender cigar can supply a perfect kind of balance for some moods, and it is one of my very favourite Cubans for that reason. The price seems quite fine for the experience one feels assured of having.
In the final third with the Exquisitos, there tends to be some darker flavours, coffee and dark cocoa. And it is here that being a small tho heady cigar does begin to show some stress. In the last third, one can get some harshness from one's eager puffing, tho pauses and purges - exhaling thru the cigar - do bring quick restoration of the cigar's excellence. One can also be rewarded with a large new wave of nutty flavours here.
Toward the nub one can get a bit of roughness, but I have no complaint given the substantial superb experience that has gone before. I typically say good-bye whilst some flavour remains, the better to keep a positive taste-memory of the whole experience.
Burn tends to be slow and even through most of it. For my slow-puffing self, I can sometimes top 40 minutes with the Exquisitos. Ash can be quite grey, not pointed, and often doesn't hold long given the stick's slender girth.
It is to me, a much more interesting cigar than the Siglo I Perla (40 x 102mm), the lowest-priced Cohiba where people often start in this brand. But to me there's no comparison - the stronger, longer, albeit thinner Exquisitos, is my choice for 2 euros more.
This is a powerhouse compared to the same-ring-gauge, delicate Romeo y Julieta Julieta (33 x 120mm), despite the size similarity. The one rival to the Exquisitos amidst the Cubans, in size plus power, would be the Bolivar No 3 (34 x 125), a fine, quite pleasing stick, but not in the same exalted category.
For me as a panetela guy, the Cohiba Exquisitos is a masterpiece. I do notice the price when I buy it, given that some other good sticks I like are half the cost ... but when I smoke an Exquisito and smile afterwards, I have no complaints whatsoever.