Cohiba is a name synonymous with great tobacco. Just saying the name Cohiba feels like a rich mouthful of smoke from a good draw of a fine cigar. It is a word steeped in rich heritage centuries in the making.
Cohiba began on the lips of the Taino Natives when Christopher Columbus first set foot on the glistening shores of Cuba. The Tainos smoked bunches of tobacco leaves which they named Cohiba.
The name lay dormant, until a fateful moment, in the midst of a seismic political shift in Cuba. A rising Fidel Castro smelled cigar smoke unlike any other—so aromatic, so captivating, Fidel had to find the source. He followed the scent of one of his bodyguards smoking a cigar and asked the bodyguard what he was smoking.
The cigar was a special blend made by a friend of the bodyguard, and Fidel had to find the artisan responsible. Fidel met with the cigarmaker, tried the cigar, and enjoyed it so much, he established a top secret factory.
Now the famed El Laguito factory. They began limited production of exclusive cigars. The cigars remained unnamed until 1966 when Fidel dubbed them Cohiba.
From then, Cohiba only graced the lips of the commandant himself. Or top government officials, and the select heads of state and diplomats. To whom Fidel would personally gift a box of his beloved line. Cohiba became an icon, renowned worldwide for its extreme rarity and prestige.
The 1960s however, not only brought the rise to prominence of the Cohiba name but also the Cold War tensions. Which birthed the infamous El Bloqueo, the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba. Created under President John F. Kennedy and his initiative to end the spread of communism.
Many premium cigar brands were in a state of confusion and uncertainty. With entire brands folding from being starved of access to the largest economy in the world.
However, from that tumult, the eminent General Cigar Company saw an opportunity. Through Cohiba to create a brand for all aficionados that would serve as a true symbol of the good life. General Cigar Company filed patents for the line in the U.S.
In 1978, they began hand making cigars in the Dominican Republic. The new beloved American Cohiba hit the market in the 1980s.
Cohiba was a popular entry for General Cigar. But with the Cigar Boom of the 1990s, Cohiba became a household name across America. The signature red dot in the O of the logo earned the brand the nickname “Red Dot Cohiba.”
However, Cohiba by General Cigar Company has been wrapped in controversy since its introduction in the 1980s. Around the same time, Cohiba of Cuba became commercial. Now consumers around the world, with the exception of the U.S., could enjoy a Cuban Cohiba.
From then, bitter tensions brewed between owners of Cohiba of Cuba, Habanos, S.A. A jointly owned tobacco venture between Altadis and the Cuban Government, and Cohiba by General Cigar. Legal battles have been won, lost, and laid before the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court.
While Cohiba now embodies the Cold War struggles that still pervade U.S. and Cuba relations. Cohiba went from an unknown name, uttered only in the New World, to the exclusive domain of the powerful. To now being on the lips of aficionados around the globe.
Cohiba by General Cigar continues to proudly release acclaimed tributes to unbridled luxury. That are still being handmade in the Dominican Republic. With choice blends, wrappers, and various sizes, for a smoke to suit every cigar lover’s desired experience.
Also notable is Cohiba’s dedication to ever refining and innovating its methods. Notably recruiting Sean Williams, the respected mind behind El Primer Mundo Cigar Company. To be an ambassador to continue expanding the brand experience.
Today Cohiba is well known to Americans as the closest thing to genuine Cuban Cigars possible. Always releasing new critically acclaimed blends, Cigar Aficionado just recently awarded the Cohiba Serie M Toro a 91 point rating.
Constructed using a decadent blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco. Its delicious blend is rolled into a rich, oily Nicaraguan wrapper leaf. Reviewers were amazed at its notes of almond, cedar, caramel, and dried cedar. Which burns evenly to reveal a strong streak of leather.
While that is certainly one of the most recent rave reviews for a Cohiba. At least since the time of writing. It is by no means the only one. The Cohiba Royale also received a coveted rating of 91 back in 2020.
Not to be outdone, the original Cohiba Churchill was reissued a 90 point rating in 2021. Some smokers may be confused by the name Red dot. It’s still the same beloved original Cohiba blend. It has just been renamed to be more identifiable on its own.
Whether warming relations or a continuing stalemate in a trade wins the day. Or another clash between the Cuban Government and Cohiba by General Cigar makes its way into the American courthouses. Cohiba by General Cigar thrives as a classic lineup within the General Cigar family. With a following, character, and identity all its own as a true symbol of the good life.