The Cohiba brand is a relative newcomer as it was introduced in 1968, initially developed as a cigar for presentation only by officials of the Cuban government. In 1982 it became available for the world to appreciate. This brand could be quite rightly called the flagship of the Cuban style of cigar. Only the best leaves from 10 farms of the Vuelta Abajo region supply Cohiba, the only brand to employ three fermentations! This cigar is very expensive, but until you have tried "the Cohiba" you will not understand the multi-layered, velvety nuances of flavour that are possible. Aromatic, rich but never overpowering. Cohiba remains the “King of the Cubans”.
The Flavors of Cohiba Cigars
Cohiba Cuban cigars have one of the most refined flavors and distinctively smooth aroma of all the Havana cigars. The tobacco used in Cohiba cigars is some of the finest grown in Cuba. They are taken from first-class plantations in the San Luis and San Juan region, in the Pinar del Rio province.
A very unique feature about Cohiba is the tobacco used to make the cigars undergoes through three fermentation processes. While this process may be costly and time-consuming, it gives the tobacco leaves a very soft texture and unique flavor. It is this third fermentation process that gives Cohiba cigars their finesse and refinement.
Cohiba began with the cigars smoked by a bodyguard of Fidel Castro's named Bienvenido "Chicho" Perez. Castro noticed he often smoked a "very aromatic, very nice" cigar. When asked by Castro what brand he smoked, he replied that it was rolled by a friend of his who would give him some of these special cigars as gifts.
The man in question was a cigar roller working at the La Corona factory in Havana named Eduardo Rivera. Castro approached Rivera about rolling cigars for him personally and set him up with five other rollers in a former diplomatic mansion in a suburb of Havana known as El Laguito (Spanish for "the little lake"). Later, the factory became the first cigar factory to be staffed entirely by women torcedoras (cigar rollers).
The cigars were reserved for Castro himself, other high-ranking Cuban officials, and were commonly presented to foreign dignitaries as gifts. Castro himself is reputed to have been particularly fond of the long, thin cigars rolled for him, especially the sizes that would become the Lancero and Corona Especial.
To coincide with the 1982 World Cup being held in Spain, Castro decided to release his personal cigars as a premium cigar brand for public consumption. When it was first launched in 1982, the Cohíba marque consisted of three vitolas or sizes: the Panetela, the Corona Especial, and the Lancero. In 1989, three more vitolas were added (the Robusto, the Exquisito, and the Espléndido) and together with the first three vitolas are referred to as the Línea Clásica.
In 1992, in comemoration of Christopher Columbus and his voyage to the Americas, Habanos SA launched the first sizes in what it calls the Linea 1492, with each size named for a century that has passed since Columbus' discovery. The initial launch included the Siglo I, Siglo II, Siglo III, Siglo IV, and Siglo V, with a Siglo VI added in 2002. A long-standing rumor is that the original Linea 1492 was a replacement for the Davidoff marque that recently ceased production in Cuba (as each of the first five "Siglos" corresponded to a size in the Davidoff line-up).
Outside of the regular production lineup, Habanos SA regularly releases limited release Cohíba cigars for such events as the annual Habanos Festival, brand anniversaries, and their annual Edición Limitada release of limited edition special sizes of their various cigar brands wrapped in a darker vintage leaf.
Cohíba also produces two machine-made cigarillos: the Mini and the Club.
Habanos SA also leveraged the renowned Cohiba brand name throughout the years and have produced Cohiba cigarettes since 1987 and Extra Cohiba Cognac since 1999.
As of late 2006, Cohíba has released four different Edición Limitada Cohíbas: the Pirámide in 2001, the Double Corona in 2003, the Sublime in 2004, and a remake of the Pirámide in 2006.