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The Cohiba brand is synonymous with luxury, sophistication, and unparalleled quality in the world of cigars. Renowned globally, Cohiba cigars are considered the pinnacle of the cigar-making art, often deemed the most prestigious and sought-after cigars available. This article delves deep into the rich history, unique features, and cultural significance of the Cohiba brand, offering a comprehensive guide for both aficionados and newcomers.

A Rich History

The origins of the Cohiba brand date back to the 1960s in Cuba. The story begins with a twist of fate when a bodyguard of Fidel Castro offered him a cigar rolled by a friend. Castro was so impressed by the quality that he ordered more for his personal consumption. This led to the establishment of a secretive factory, El Laguito, dedicated to producing cigars exclusively for Castro and high-ranking government officials. These cigars were eventually branded as Cohiba, named after the Taino word for tobacco.

As the exclusive cigar for Castro and his inner circle, Cohiba quickly gained a reputation for excellence. Over the years, the brand’s mystique grew, fueled by its association with the Cuban government’s elite and its inaccessibility to the general public. This exclusivity only added to the allure of Cohiba cigars, making them a coveted item for those in the know.

In 1982, Cohiba cigars were released to the public for the first time, coinciding with the World Cup held in Spain. This move marked the beginning of Cohiba’s journey from a secretive, exclusive product to a global luxury brand. The public release allowed cigar aficionados worldwide to experience the exceptional quality that had previously been reserved for only a select few.

Key Milestones

  • 1966: The Cohiba brand was officially established as a private label for Fidel Castro.
  • 1982: Cohiba cigars were released to the public for the first time, coinciding with the World Cup held in Spain.
  • 1992: The brand celebrated its 500th anniversary of Columbus’s discovery of the New World with special edition cigars.
  • 2006: Cohiba Behike series was launched, further elevating the brand’s status.

Unique Features

What sets Cohiba cigars apart from others is a combination of meticulous craftsmanship, exclusive tobacco blends, and stringent quality control. These elements come together to create a smoking experience that is unmatched in the industry.

Tobacco Quality

Cohiba cigars are made from the finest tobacco leaves grown in the Vuelta Abajo region of Cuba, known for its perfect climate and soil conditions for tobacco cultivation. Only the top 5% of the tobacco produced in this region is selected for Cohiba cigars. This selective sourcing ensures that each Cohiba cigar is made from the highest quality tobacco, contributing to its exceptional flavor and aroma.

The Vuelta Abajo region’s unique terroir imparts distinct characteristics to the tobacco, making it highly sought after by cigar makers. The combination of rich soil, optimal weather conditions, and traditional farming techniques results in tobacco leaves that are rich, flavorful, and aromatic. This terroir is a key factor in the unparalleled quality of Cohiba cigars.

In addition to the superior quality of the tobacco, Cohiba employs a rigorous quality control process to ensure that only the best leaves are used. Each leaf is carefully inspected for texture, color, and aroma before being selected. This meticulous attention to detail at every stage of production is what sets Cohiba cigars apart from the competition.

Triple Fermentation Process

One of the unique aspects of Cohiba cigars is the third fermentation process, which takes place in wooden barrels. This additional step is believed to give Cohiba cigars their distinct smoothness and complexity. The triple fermentation process helps to remove any harshness from the tobacco, resulting in a smoother, more refined smoke.

The first two fermentation processes are standard in cigar production, but the third fermentation is what sets Cohiba apart. This extra step allows the tobacco to develop deeper, more complex flavors, enhancing the overall smoking experience. The wooden barrels used in this process also impart subtle notes of oak and other natural flavors to the tobacco.

The result is a cigar that is not only smooth and enjoyable but also rich in flavor and complexity. The triple fermentation process is a testament to Cohiba’s commitment to quality and innovation in cigar making.

Experienced Torcedors

The cigars are hand-rolled by the most experienced torcedors (cigar rollers) in Cuba. Each roller undergoes rigorous training and must have a minimum of 10 years of experience before being qualified to roll Cohiba cigars. This level of expertise ensures that each Cohiba cigar is crafted with precision and care.

The art of cigar rolling is a skill that takes years to perfect. Torcedors must master the techniques of rolling, cutting, and finishing cigars to achieve the perfect balance of draw, burn, and flavor. The experience and skill of Cohiba’s torcedors are evident in the consistency and quality of each cigar they produce.

By employing only the most experienced torcedors, Cohiba ensures that its cigars meet the highest standards of craftsmanship. This dedication to excellence is a key factor in the brand’s reputation for quality and luxury.

Product Range

Cohiba offers a diverse range of cigars, each with its unique flavor profile and characteristics. This variety allows cigar enthusiasts to find the perfect Cohiba cigar to suit their preferences and occasions.

Classic Line

  • Lanceros: Known for its slender shape and rich, complex flavors.
  • Coronas Especiales: Offers a balanced smoke with hints of cedar and leather.
  • Robustos: A robust and full-bodied cigar, perfect for seasoned smokers.

The Classic Line represents the traditional essence of Cohiba cigars, offering a range of sizes and shapes to cater to different tastes. Each cigar in the Classic Line is crafted with the same attention to detail and commitment to quality that defines the Cohiba brand. The Lanceros, with its slender shape, provides a long, elegant smoke, while the Coronas Especiales offers a balanced and nuanced experience. The Robustos, on the other hand, delivers a full-bodied and intense flavor, making it an ideal choice for seasoned smokers.

Siglo Series

Launched in 1992 to commemorate Columbus’s discovery of America, the Siglo series is lighter and more accessible than the classic line.

  • Siglo I: A petite but flavorful cigar, ideal for a quick smoke.
  • Siglo II: Offers a smooth, creamy smoke with a hint of spice.
  • Siglo VI: The largest in the series, providing a rich and luxurious smoking experience.

The Siglo Series is designed to offer a more approachable and versatile smoking experience. Each cigar in this series is crafted to deliver a smooth and enjoyable smoke, making it suitable for both newcomers and seasoned aficionados. The Siglo I is perfect for a quick and satisfying smoke, while the Siglo II offers a smooth and creamy experience with a touch of spice. The Siglo VI, being the largest in the series, provides a rich and luxurious smoking experience that is perfect for special occasions.

Behike Line

Introduced in 2006, the Behike line is the most exclusive and expensive range offered by Cohiba.

  • Behike 52: Features a unique medio tiempo leaf, adding depth and complexity.
  • Behike 54: Offers a perfect balance of strength and flavor.
  • Behike 56: Known for its full-bodied, rich profile, ideal for special occasions.

The Behike Line represents the pinnacle of Cohiba’s craftsmanship and innovation. Each cigar in this line is made with the rare medio tiempo leaf, which adds a unique depth and complexity to the flavor profile. The Behike 52 offers a rich and layered smoking experience, while the Behike 54 provides a perfect balance of strength and flavor. The Behike 56, with its full-bodied and rich profile, is ideal for those special occasions when only the best will do.

Cultural Significance

Cohiba cigars have transcended their status as mere tobacco products to become cultural icons. They are often featured in films, literature, and art, symbolizing wealth, power, and sophistication. Celebrities, politicians, and business moguls worldwide have been spotted enjoying Cohiba cigars, further cementing their status as a luxury item.

In Popular Culture

  • Films: Notable appearances in movies like Scarface and James Bond series.
  • Literature: Featured in various works by renowned authors, often symbolizing the epitome of luxury.
  • Art: Depicted in paintings and sculptures as a symbol of the high life.

Cohiba cigars have made their mark in popular culture, appearing in iconic films, literature, and art. In movies like Scarface and the James Bond series, Cohiba cigars are often associated with powerful and sophisticated characters. In literature, they are frequently mentioned as symbols of luxury and refinement. In art, Cohiba cigars are depicted as part of the high life, representing wealth and status.

The presence of Cohiba cigars in popular culture has helped to cement their status as a symbol of luxury and exclusivity. They are often seen as the cigar of choice for those who value quality and sophistication. This cultural significance has contributed to the enduring appeal and desirability of Cohiba cigars.

How to Enjoy a Cohiba Cigar

To fully appreciate a Cohiba cigar, one must understand the art of smoking a cigar. Proper preparation, smoking techniques, and storage are essential to getting the most out of your Cohiba experience.


  1. Cutting: Use a sharp cigar cutter to make a precise cut.
  2. Lighting: Use a butane lighter or cedar matches to ensure a clean light.

Proper preparation is key to enjoying a Cohiba cigar. Using a sharp cigar cutter ensures a clean and precise cut, which is essential for a smooth draw. Lighting the cigar with a butane lighter or cedar matches helps to avoid any unwanted flavors that can be imparted by other types of lighters.


  1. Puffing: Take slow, deliberate puffs to savor the flavors.
  2. Pairing: Pair with a fine spirit like whiskey or cognac to enhance the experience.

When smoking a Cohiba cigar, it’s important to take slow and deliberate puffs to fully savor the complex flavors. Rushing the smoking experience can lead to an uneven burn and diminish the overall enjoyment. Pairing the cigar with a fine spirit like whiskey or cognac can enhance the flavors and add to the overall experience.


  • Humidor: Store in a humidor with 65-70% humidity to maintain freshness.
  • Temperature: Keep at a stable temperature between 65-70°F.

Proper storage is essential to maintaining the quality and freshness of your Cohiba cigars. A humidor with 65-70% humidity ensures that the cigars remain in optimal condition. Keeping the cigars at a stable temperature between 65-70°F helps to prevent any fluctuations that could affect the flavor and smoking experience.


The Cohiba brand represents the zenith of cigar craftsmanship, offering an unparalleled smoking experience that is rich in history, flavor, and cultural significance. Whether you are a seasoned aficionado or a newcomer, a Cohiba cigar is a journey into the world of luxury and refinement. Understanding its history, unique features, and how to properly enjoy and store these cigars will only enhance your appreciation for this iconic brand.