The Cohiba brand has been a staple of the General Cigar Company portfolio for many years. For the most part, Cohiba has been positioned as the luxury brand in General’s portfolio. The past two years has seen General give the Cohiba brand some considerable attention. This included a major packaging refresh for the brand in 2019. At the same time, General has been working to inject some innovation into Cohiba. This has included incorporating barrel aging (Cohiba Spectre), a Connecticut Shade cigar (Cohiba Connecticut), and producing the first Cohiba cigar in Honduras with the Cohiba Royale. Cohiba Royale was launched this past spring just before the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, we take a closer look at the Cohiba Royale in the Toro size.
In addition to being produced in Honduras, there is one other innovation the Cohiba Royale brings to the table – it uses a Broadleaf wrapper grown in Nicaragua. It’s not the first time Cohiba has used a Broadleaf wrapper as the Cohiba Black utilizes a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. Broadleaf in Nicaragua is not something we have seen a lot in premium cigars, but Connecticut Broadleaf shortages have led to many to find alternate sources – and gain an opportunity to do something innovative with blends being produced.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Cohiba Royale Toro and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
In addition to the Nicaraguan Broadleaf wrapper, the remainder of the blend consists of Dominican Piloto Cubano and a combination of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos. Production is handled at General’s Honduran American Tobacco S.A. (HATSA) in Danlí, Honduras.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Broadleaf
Binder: Dominican Piloto Cubano
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan (Estelí, Jalapa)
Country of Origin: Honduras
Factory: Honduran American Tobacco S.A. (HATSA)
The Cohiba Royale is available in three sizes – available in both 5 and 10-count boxes.
Gran Royale: 4 1/2 x 52 (SRP $23.99)
Robusto Royale: 5 1/2 x 54 (SRP $25.99)
Toro Royale: 6 x 50 (SRP $28.99)
The ten-count boxes feature a unique curved design.
The Nicaraguan Broadleaf wrapper of the Cohiba Royale Toro had a roasted coffee-bean color. There was some subtle mottling on the surface. This was a wrapper that had an oily complexion to it. There were some visible veins and visible wrapper seams. This was a thick wrapper with somewhat of a rugged look. The wrapper still had some charm and I still found it aesthetically pleasing.
The Cohiba Royale has a silver background with a parquet design. The edges of the band have a red-metallic trim to it. The middle of the band has a black stripe with the text “COHIBA” in white font with a red dot on the “O”. On the far right side of the black stripe is another white and red Cohiba dot. The black stripe has metallic red trim on the top and bottom with the text “COHIBA ROYALE” in black font arranged in a ticker-tape fashion. On the lower part of the band is the text “ROYALE” in red metallic font.
A straight cut was used to commence the smoking experience of the Cohiba Royale Toro. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw delivered a mix of mocha (that I describe as a fusion of coffee and chocolate), mixed pepper, and earth. While it was a straight-forward pre-light draw, it was an excellent one. At this point it was time to light up the Cohiba Royale Toro and see what the smoking experience would deliver.
The Cohiba Royale Toro started off with notes of mocha, natural tobacco, and earth. As the cigar moved through the first third, notes of red pepper, cedar, and malt entered the equation. The mocha and natural tobacco notes surfaced in the forefront early with the earth, pepper, cedar, and malt settling in the background. Midway through the first third, the fusion of the mocha split up, leaving the coffee in the forefront and the chocolate component in the background. There was also an additional layer of red pepper on the retro-hale.
Toward the end of the first third, the cedar and red pepper notes started to increase in intensity and the malt notes dissipated. The coffee and natural tobacco alternated in intensity in the forefront. As the cigar moved through the second third, the red pepper was the note going through the most change. Rounding out the flavor profile were the cedar and chocolate notes which were further in the background.
Later in the second third, the red pepper displaced the natural tobacco as the primary note. The pepper along with the coffee notes were the primary flavors when the cigar reached the final third. There were still notes of natural tobacco, cedar, and chocolate rounding out the flavor profile. As the Cohiba Royale Toro came to a close, it finished with a soft and cool nub.
There were several points during the Cohiba Royale Toro where there was some jaggedness on the burn line. This remedied with some touch-ups and while this helped the cigar maintain a straighter burn line and straight path, there were more touch-ups than I prefer. The resulting ash wasn’t overly firm, but it wasn’t overly loose either. This was an ash with a silver-gray color to it. Meanwhile the burn rate and burn temperature both maintained ideal levels.
The draw of the Cohiba Royale Toro was what I would describe as “open” but not loose. Normally I do prefer a little more resistance on the draw. The Cohiba Royale Toro is also a cigar that produced an abundant layer of smoke.
Strength and Body
The Cohiba Royale Toro opened up with a profile of medium strength and medium body. Both attributes increased in intensity. The strength increased at a slightly more rapid rate than the body. By the second third, the strength pulled into medium to full territory, and by the halfway point, the body reached medium to full. The strength continued to increase until the very end where it finished up just short of being full. Meanwhile the increase in body was nominal in the second half.
In terms of strength versus body, the strength maintained a slight edge from start to finish.
The Cohiba Royale Toro is a case that I describe in a review as “Tale of Two Cigars.” The first half of this cigar delivers excellent flavor, balance, and complexity. As the cigar went into the second half, all three attributes did not score as well. I found an increase in spice and decrease in sweetness in the second half. Ultimately, while the Royale Toro scores a respectable 88, the near $29 price point is one that would lead me to recommend one to try this first before purchasing. There is some kick with this cigar, so I’m more inclined to steer the experienced cigar enthusiast to this cigar. As for myself, this is is a cigar I’m curious about trying in the shorter lengths to see how it performs.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Chocolate, Natural Tobacco, Red Pepper, Cedar, Malt
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Plus
Strength: Medium (1st Third), Medium to Full (Remainder)
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted