Reviews by Scott W.

Back To Staff Reviews

Back in Black!

Scott W.

Cohiba is one of those cigar companies that even non-cigar smokers seem to know of. The original Cohiba Red Dot has been mentioned in many of my conversations with customers as having been their first “real cigar”. Cohiba has branched out with multiple blends since the Red Dot, and since I typically smoke cigars on the fuller end of the spectrum, I decided to see where the Cohiba Black shakes out in the Cohiba lineup today.

The first thing I notice as I take the cigar out of the cellophane is the jet-black, oily nature of the Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper leaf. This is certainly one of the darkest Maduro wrappers I have come across in a while. The recent change in the ring design really pops on the cigar, a sophisticated black and silver design with a carbon fiber-like background. Back in black, done upscale. The presentation is on par with the price point of the cigar. It IS a Cohiba, after all. It looks really good, but it is time to light it up and see if tastes as good as it looks. 

I do a shallow straight cut with my trusty twin-blade guillotine cutter and fire it up. I am immediately greeted with a thick cloud of white smoke from the foot. Notes of semi-sweet chocolate and soft cedar appear on the palate, along with more soft cedar and black pepper on the retrohale. I am surprised at how much smoke is pouring off of the foot when I set it on the finger of my ashtray, as my initial puffs have me pegging this as medium-bodied. As I smoke through the first third, I am intrigued by how the ash is growing. On a lot of cigars with good construction, I often see what we like to call a “stack of dimes” growing as the ash grows longer. This Cohiba; however, has almost no ring-like appearance. Rather, the ash appears to be one solid cylinder of bright white ash – no lines at all – but is holding on impressively. Rock on, my column of ash! The body of the cigar increases from medium to medium-full by the end of the first third, while the pepper is receding from the retrohale and the cigar is finding more balance on the palate. The ash drops off just shy of the end of the first third, so it is not as fragile as I had thought despite its appearance.

As the second third begins, the cigar takes on more of a dark cocoa note balanced by an increasing sweetness, making it taste richer than before. As for the finish, it now ends with a soft, sweet cedar note that hangs on long after the smoke is out of my mouth. It’s been a while since I’ve smoked a cigar with a finish like this. Normally, I would find myself wanting a little more complexity in a cigar with this profile, but that finish makes me glad that they didn’t dial in more flavor notes in the blend. This is a rich, smooth, uncomplicated cigar. Time to set my Spotify station to AC/DC… I’m ready to rock! Speaking of AC/DC, did you know that AC/DC’s Back in Black album was their first album featuring Brian Johnson on vocals? Random thought and fact aside, the cigar’s body is now solidly in the medium-full domain.

The final third starts as a continuation of the second third. No real shift in any of the flavors or their balance, although the black pepper has completely left the retrohale at this point. I’m almost wanting to let the cigar get just to the point of needing to get a relight to allow that sweet cedar finish to linger for as long as possible. If I have one small nitpick this far into the cigar, it is that the ash has gotten a little flaky and I am getting it all over myself. Smoke enough cigars, and it will eventually happen to you too. I’m wishing I had Balvenie 12 scotch or a café mocha with me, as I imagine that both would pair well with this cigar in different, yet wonderful ways. Another thought suddenly occurs to me: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro has a noticeably heavy flavor to it, and yet, the cedary woodiness of the Dominican fillers is never drowned out to the point that I don’t know that it is there. It is a testament to the blending skill of Daniel Nunez that it is the cedar that lingers on the finish rather than the heavy cocoa note of the wrapper. I finish the cigar in just under 2 hours, enjoying that finish one last time.

We all know that Cohibas are far from the least expensive purchase one can make when going into any cigar store. My experience smoking the Cohiba Black has led me to the following conclusion: Anyone who wants to enjoy a well-balanced, smooth, rich, medium to full-bodied Maduro shouldn’t avoid the Cohiba Black because of its price point. We should all treat ourselves occasionally, so crank up the AC/DC to 11, and fire up a Cohiba Black the next chance you get!