Overpriced brand-name cigar: Thou Name Is Cohiba Robusto

Cohiba is one of the cigar brands that need no introductions. The flagship brand of Habanos S.A. and the personal brand to Dictator Fidel Castro, Cohiba is the cream of the crop for Cuban cigars and you certainly pay top dollar for that.

As the Robusto is my favorite cigar vitola, it should come as no surprise that the Cohiba Robusto would be a cigar I would be interested in. I have looked forward to having one for a very long time and opportunity came knocking. Here are my thoughts.

Construction

I’ve read from a number of sites that construction issues plague Cohiba; complaints range from loosely rolled cigars to cracked wrappers. Fortunately the three Cohiba Robustos I sampled exhibited no problems, physically anyways.

The Cohiba Robusto has very small, minor veins on it’s otherwise ordinary looking milky chocolate wrapper. When squeezed, there is some slight sponginess, but no soft spots so no odd burning issues are anticipated. The burn is decent, I did touch it up a few times with my Zippo Blu. The ash is an unimpressive flaky salt-and-pepper color that refused to hold for more than an inch at a time.

Flavor & Taste

Pre-light draw revealed very subtle hints of…hay/grass…? The foot of the Cohiba Robusto smelled like nothing but perhaps the subtle scent of floral.

The first third of the cigar is the worse in flavor. A combination of what I can only describe as chewing on wet, bitter grass. Of the two Cohiba Robusto I smoked, as well as my buddy who had one, that inital crap taste was consistent on all three. Yum.

By the second third, things definitely started getting better. The bitterness resided and flavors of coffee as well as dark chocolate began to overtake.

The last third is where this baby starts to shine and becomes what one would expect of a Cuban cigar. A touch of pleasant spiciness develops and becomes an enjoyable smoke.

Despite all the talk about the strength, power, and kick of Cohiba cigars, I hate to say it but, it is overstated. The Cohiba Robusto, in my opinion, is more of a decent medium body cigar compared to, say, the Bolivar Royal Corona. But let me add, what I consider a strong cigar isn’t one that necessarily is overpowering, kicks the crap out of you and churns your stomach like drinking heavy liquor on an empty stomach, but rather the quality and complexity of taste.

Value

At $15 a cigar, the Cohiba Robusto, to me anyways, is hardly a value buy. A box purchase of 25 will certainly set you back a pretty penny. Had this cigar been more enjoyable from the get-go, it would be worth having a few sticks lying around in the humidor for those special occasions.

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, I’m sure some readers may find my observations and experience with the Cohiba Robusto a bit harsh, but when a cigar passes the $10 mark, I’d expect to pay for more than just the brand name. Given the many Robusto choices, I have to say I’m more likely to reach for a Bolivar Royal Corona or a Montecristo Petit Edmundo for more half the price of a Cohiba Robusto. Obviously everyone’s taste varies, but for my taste, despite how much I’ve been looking forward to having a Cohiba Robusto and finally having one, the experience came up short.

I’m sure down the road, I may consider trying a couple or few more to be sure, but that won’t be anytime soon.

Bolivar Royal Corona Cigar Review

Bolivar is a Cuban cigar company named after Venezuelan warrior Simon Bolivar and the cigars are rumored to be the strongest flavored Cubans ((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bol%C3%ADvar_%28cigar_brand%29)).Today we review the Bolivar Royal Corona, the Robusto vitola that packs a lot of complex flavors.

I have a feeling I’m not going to be disappointed.

Bolivar Royal Corona

Origin: Cuban
Format: Robusto
Size: 4.8
Ring: 50
Wrapper: Cuban
Filler: Cuban
Binder: Cuban
Made: Handmade
Strength: Medium-Full
Smoke Time: ~45 minutes
Price: $7.16 in a box of 25

Construction

The Bolivar Royal Corona is a very well rolled Cuban cigar with minimal veins throughout the wrapper leaf. It has a nice rustic-brown color that is very similar to one of my other favorite Robusto cigars, the Ramon Allones Specially Selected (RASS), I have noticed that the Royal Coronas are consistently better rolled than the RASS with less construction issues. And like the RASS, the Bolivar Royal Corona has a slight box press.

Everyone of Bolivars that I’ve squeezed have no soft spots with a slight spongy feel. The triple-cap is nicely applied, but still not as nicely done as the ones on the Montecristo Edmundo, but obviously an issue that has little to do with taste or flavor and more with aesthetics. Looking at the foot of the cigar, it seems to be rolled tightly and packed with plenty of tobacco.

The Bolivar Royal Corona burns evenly requiring very few adjustments to correct any slight uneven burning. The ash holds firm for an inch to inch-and-half before breaking off. The draw is great, easy to pull with just the right enough of resistance.

Flavor & Taste

The Royal Corona is a full-body cigar with lots of powerful taste, but not overly kick-you-in-the-ass strong. Pre-light flavors are spicy, peppers, and mildly earthy.

Once lit, the predominant taste is pepper with roasted almonds and coffee. Occasionally I’ll enjoy the Royal Corona with a Grande Starbucks Chai tea and they compliment each other well.

I like how it’s almost buttery smooth like the Montecristo Edmundos and leaves a pleasant aftertaste. The flavors come out best, never getting harsh, at the last-third mark where you can’t resist nubbing it to where it burns your fingers.

Value

At $7.16 a cigar when purchased in a box of 25 is certainly not a bad value. With solid construction, great taste, and a 45-minute smoke time, you can’t go wrong with a box of these in the humidor.

Conclusion

Between the RASS and the Royal Corona, those are my go-to stick when looking for a daily smoke. With strong, complex flavors that never leaves you bored, it’s a great cigar for those days you’re looking for something different. A box purchase of these are a no brainer. This cigar is definitely on my recommended cigar list.

As always, be sure to checkout these other great reviews of the Bolivar Royal Corona:

Bolivar Royal Corona Gallery Pictures