|Cohiba Nicaragua N50 En Crystale|
The Cohiba Nicaragua is a new line that was launched by General Cigar Company at the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show. Over the past year, the General Cigar’s Cohiba brand has made a lot of headlines. Most recently, a blow was dealt to the brand when the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a case that would challenge a U.S. Court of Appeals decision that gave Cubatabaco the rights to use the Cohiba trademark. Desptite that on-going battle, the General Cigar brand has been very active as of late. The past year has seen the release of the Cohiba Comador, the Cohiba Luxury Selection, as well as the Cohiba Nicaragua. While it is not a Nicaraguan puro, the Cohiba Nicaragua is significant because it has become the first cigar in this brand to be made in Nicaragua. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Cohiba Nicaragua N50 En Crystale (a Robusto sized offering). Overall I have found this to be an excellent addition to General’s Cohiba line.
Calling a cigar “Nicaragua” has been a loaded term as of late. The Nicaragua movement with the larger cigar companies can fall into two categories: branding a cigar Nicaragua and making a Nicaraguan puro. Cigars such as the Davidoff Nicaragua and Altadis’ VegaFina Nicaragua fall into both of these categories. The one caveat is these two cigar lines are made in the Dominican Republic. Meanwhile Altadis has also released several Nicaraguan-made Nicaragua puros that aren’t branded Nicaragua (RyJ, Juan Lopez, and Espada by Montecristo). General Cigar has also fallen into the category of Nicaraguan-made Nicaraguan puros – most notably with the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli and La Gloria Cubana Serie R Black. The Cohiba Nicaragua is General’s first “Nicaragua” branded cigar, however, as we will see, it is not a Nicaraguan puro.
The 5 x 50 Robusto offering will be assessed today. This frontmark is officially called the “N50 En Crystale” because it is packaged in a glass tube. The cigars used for this assessment were product samples and did not come in the tube packaged.
|Cohiba Nicaragua N50 En Crystale Packaging|
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Cohiba Nicaragua N50 En Crystale and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The Cohiba Nicaragua is described as a proprietary blend. As mentioned, it is not a Nicaraguan puro and uses a Sun Grown Colorado Oscuro wrapper from Honduras.
Wrapper: Honduran Sun Grown Colorado Oscuro
Filler: Esteli, Jalapa
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Cohiba Nicaragua is being launched in four sizes. As mentioned the N50 is packaged in individual glass tubes.
N45: 4 x 45
N50 En Crystale (Tube): 5 x 50
N54: 5 1/2 x 54
N60: 6 x 60
The N60, N54, and N45 vitolas are offered in 16 count boxes. The N50 En Crystale glass tube offering will be offered in an 8 count box.
The Cohiba Nicaragua N50’s sun-grown wrapper has a medium brown color. There is a cinnamon tint to it and that tint is more intensive depending how the light hits it. I would consider the wrapper to be an oily one, but it has a slight sandy feel when touched. The wrapper is slightly bumpy and there are some visible wrapper seams and visible veins.
The band to the Cohiba Nicaragua is black in color. It features General’s Cohiba logo with “COHIBA” in large gold letters with a red dot inside the “O”. Below that is the text “Nicaragua” in gold cursive font. There is a gold circle with a Cohiba red dot fastening the ends of the band together. There is a gold pinstripe across the top and bottom of the cigar.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up my Cohiba Nicaragua N50, I went with a straight cut to start things off. Once the cap was clipped I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw provided some notes of natural tobacco sweetness, cedar, and a bit of tingly pepper. Overall I considered the pre-light draw of the Cohiba Nicaragua N50 to be satisfactory. At this point I was ready to light up my cigar and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The start to the Cohiba Nicaragua delivered some notes of cedar sweet-spice. This was soon followed by a natural tobacco note. The natural tobacco quickly moved to the forefront while the cedar notes became secondary. Meanwhile I detected some spice on the retro-hale that was more in the black pepper wheelhouse.
Around the five percent mark, the natural tobacco remained in the forefront and was joined by some earth notes. The cedar notes remained secondary. There were also some distant dried fruit and pepper notes that emerge.
By the ten percent note, the dried fruit note became more prominent and took on more of an apricot form. This apricot was now in the forefront with the natural tobacco. The earth notes crept in and out between the forefront and background. The cedar and prepare notes remain secondary.
By the end of the first third, the apricot dialed back slightly, but still remained in the forefront with the natural tobacco notes. The pepper, earth, and cedar notes are the secondary notes. As the Cohiba Nicaragua moved through the second third, I noticed the apricot and natural tobacco fuse in the forefront while the cedar and pepper fused in the background.
Toward the end of the second third the fused natural tobacco / apricot lost some (but not all of) its apricot fruit sweetness. Meanwhile, the cedar and pepper spice began to ramp up. In the last third, any sweetness remaining came off the natural tobacco, and the cedar / pepper fusion gave the Cohiba Nicaragua a bit of a spice kick This is the way the Cohiba Nicaragua came to an end. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Overall I found the burn to perform quite well on the Cohiba Nicaragua N50. The burn line remained relatively straight from start to finish. The Cohiba Nicaragua did need a few touch-ups along the way, but overall this was not a high maintenance burn. The resulting ash was charcoal gray in color and did tilt toward a darker shade. There was some minor flaking of the ash, but again this did not prove to be problem-some. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Cohiba Nicaragua N50 En Crystale|
The draw was ideal to the Cohiba Nicaragua N50 as well. It was not too tight, nor was it too loose and made for an enjoyable smoke to puff on from start to finish.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I didn’t find the Cohiba Nicaragua N50 to be a nicotine bomb. I found this cigar to remain at a constant medium from start to finish. As for the body, I found the Cohiba Nicaragua to deliver some nice depth. I assessed the Cohiba Nicaragua as a medium to full-bodied cigar. There was a slight increase in body, but overall it still remained medium to full. In terms of strength versus body, I gave the edge to the body.
I’ve had various experiences with the Cohiba Nicaragua blend over the past few months. My experience with this blend has been it needs some time. This includes both the samples and ones that I have purchased with my retailer. Once they do sit, they really come through and deliver a great smoke. The one thing I would recommend is to put some of these in your humidor for a while and then revisit them in about 4 weeks or so. As for the smoking experience itself, I was particularly impressed with the way the flavors fused together – as well as the complexity this cigar delivered. I also found this cigar performed well in the classic N50 Robusto format. Overall, this is the kind of cigar I can recommend to either a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I’d smoke again – and its one worthy of a box split.
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split