Cohiba Siglo VI Gran Reserva Cigars Bring Tears To A Glass Eye
by Ken Gargett
The old game “last meal, last glass, last cigar” always throws up some interesting choices – and if most readers are anything like me, they probably change choices every time they play.
Today? The degustation at El Celler de Can Roca; a bottle of Romanée-Conti (1929, 1945, or perhaps the 1971 or 1978, or even the ’90, ’99, or ’02 or just about any vintage – see how hard it is?); and for a cigar, I simply cannot go past the mindboggling Cohiba Siglo VI Gran Reserva.
I’ve seen professionals describe it as the greatest cigar they have ever tried. Hard to argue. It is breathtaking.
Cohiba Siglo VI Gran Reserva: an important Habanos release
The Cohiba Siglo VI Gran Reserva was the first release under the Habanos “Gran Reserva” program, but the program is more extensive than that.
The first release was the Cohiba Selección Reserva, a collection of 30 mixed Cohibas rolled from tobacco harvested in 1999. Since then, there have been a series of Reservas and Gran Reservas. Reservas are made with tobacco aged three years, while Gran Reservas see their tobacco aged for five years.
In 2005, the Partagás D4 Reservas arrived. Two years later, the Montecristo No. 4 Reservas and then, in 2009, these amazing cigars, the Cohiba Siglo VI Gran Reservas.
The next in that series were the Montecristo 2 Gran Reservas in 2011. Then something every year – either Reserva or Gran Reserva. The Gran Reservas were the Partagás Lusitanias in 2013, Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchills in 2015, and H. Upmann Sir Winstons in 2017.
The cigars are double banded and presented in exquisitely prepared wooden boxes. They come with eye-popping price tags, but then they are promoted as the best of the best. And their prices, especially for those that become highly regarded, climb precipitously in the following years in the secondary market and with any retailers far-sighted enough to have squirreled some away.
The good news is that even though only 5,000 boxes of 15 cigars each were made, it is still possible, though difficult, to find them, though prices are stratospheric.
On release in 2009, a box was around £1,300. Today, the price is nearer £10,000. That means a cost of around an unthinkable $900 per cigar. If one wanted to analyze that a smidge more, that means around $6/millimeter.
Puff carefully! I’ll confess I knew that they were not cheap when I smoked one kindly given to me by a friend, but I had no clue that they were anything like that.
The cigar is 150 mm (5 7/8 inches) in length with a ring gauge of 52 mm. Known as cañonazos, these were rolled at the beautiful El Laguito factory on the edge of Havana. The tobacco was harvested from the illustrious San Juan y Martínez and San Luis regions.
What is interesting is that the Siglo VI line kicked off in 2002 (many think, incorrectly, it was 2003, as so few were seen from 2002). Boxes of the “standard” Siglo VI from 2003 are highly desirable, considered some of the finest smokes of this century, also attracting “enhanced” prices.
But they fall short of matching the Gran Reservas. Almost everything does.
So what are the Cohiba Siglo VI Gran Reservas like?
Mine was in perfect condition with a dark chocolatey, oily wrapper, the merest hint of russet detectable. The draw was immaculate. From the very first puff, it was obvious that these were richly flavored, finely balanced, extremely long, and, yet, despite all that, almost ethereal.
To adequately describe this cigar is almost like trying to catch the velvety smoke it produces in your hand. And it is dense, velvety smoke. The texture is as soft as cotton bud clouds. Plush and cushiony.
The flavors are wonderfully complex and they move gently through an entrancing array of options: dark chocolate, campfire notes, creamy coffee, vanilla, honey, spices, cinnamon, new leather, and more.
As I smoked it, the chocolate notes became darker and richer. Overall, the cigar took nearly two and a half hours to smoke. Not the slightest sign of a harsh note to be found. A spellbinding cigar and worth 100 points (and more, if I could award it).
Any drawbacks? One could argue that if you are the sort of person who prefers the full-bodied, earthy, burly richness of a cigar like the Partagás 8-9-8, then perhaps this cigar, well under medium-bodied and from the subtle end of the spectrum, may not be your thing.
Otherwise, smoking this cigar would, as they say in the classics, bring a tear to a glass eye. I know that some cigar lovers will proclaim that other countries have exceeded what Cuba can do when it comes to great cigars. With the greatest respect to them, I have never seen anything from any other country which comes within cooee of a cigar like this.
Whether one feels like paying the sort of money necessary to enjoy one of the world’s finest cigars is, as ever, up to the individual. But if you get the chance, lucky you!
For more information, please visit www.habanos.com/en/noticias/cohiba-siglo-vi-gran-reserva.