Earlier this year, General Cigar announced a limited edition project known as the Cohiba Serie M. The “M” stands for the fact that this is a cigar made in Miami at the El Titan de Bronze factory, marking the first time a Cohiba has been made in the United States. For Cohiba brand ambassador Sean Williams, this is a project that was a “sort of homecoming.” During the years while Williams had his own company, El Primer Mundo, he worked on many projects out of the El Titan de Bronze factory, so this is a place he was very familiar with.
The Cohiba brand has its origins in Cuba going back to 1968. The U.S. version of the brand is owned by Scandinavian Tobacco Group and has been in the U.S. since 1981. For the most part, the U.S. version has come out of General Cigar Dominicana’s factory in the Dominican Republic, but for the past few years, the Cohiba brand has been produced by other factories owned by General including Honduras (Cohiba Royale), Nicaragua (Cohiba Nicaragua), and now the United States (Cohiba Serie M).
Without further ado, let’s break down the Cohiba Serie M and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Cohiba Serie M is a Nicaraguan-forward blend. Nicaraguan tobacco makes up the wrapper, binder, and filler. The wrapper is a Nicaraguan Corojo, which marks the first time that leaf has been used on a Cohiba cigar. There is a double binder with both leaves from Nicaragua. The fillers contain leaves from two regions of Nicaragua (Jalapa and Estelí) and also contain some Dominican Piloto Cubano tobacco.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
Binder: Nicaraguan (Double)
Filler: Nicaragua (Jalapa, Estelí) and Dominican Piloto Cubano
Country of Origin: United States
Factory: El Titan de Bronze
The Cohiba Serie M is offered in one size – a 6 x 52 Toro. It is presented in ten-count boxes with a total production of 5,000 boxes.
The Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper had a medium brown color with a Colorado-reddish tint to it. There was some mottling on the surface of the wrapper, but there wasn’t much in the way of oil on the surface of the wrapper. There were some visible wrapper seams. The cigar had a covered footer and was finished with a fan-tail cap.
There are two bands on the Cohiba Serie M. The primary band has three thick stripes, each surrounded by gold trim. The upper and lower stripes are forest green in color with a thin chain-link pattern. The middle stripe is black with the text “COHIBA” in white font with a red dot logo inside the letter “O.” There is also a Cohiba red dot to the far right. On the lower green stripe is the text “SERIE M” in thin gold font surrounded by the text “LIMITED” and “EDITION” to the left and right respectively along with a mini sunburst-like pattern.
The secondary band is holographic gold also with a thin chain-link pattern. On the center of the band is the text “MIAMI USA” in thin white font.
As opposed to pulling the fan-tail cap off, a straight cut was used to remove the cap of the Cohiba Serie M. Once the cap was removed it was on to the pre-light draw phase. The cold draw delivered a mix of bread, citrus, cedar, and natural tobacco notes. In my opinion, this was a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to light up the Cohiba Serie M and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
One thing to note is that each of the five Cohiba Serie M cigars I smoked had wrapper cracking and construction issues from start to finish. It is worth noting that two of the wrapper cracks happened so early and were so severe, the smoking of those two cigars had to be abandoned. More on this as we get into assessing this cigar’s performance.
The Cohiba Serie M kicked off with notes of cedar, earth, honey-citrus, and baker’s spice. Early on the cedar and citrus notes moved to the forefront. The cedar soon became the sole primary note. The citrus settled into the background, joining the earth and baker’s spice. There were times when the earth notes popped into the forefront. A slight red pepper note emerged late in the first third, along with some touches of fresh mint. Meanwhile, on the retro-hale, there was an additional layer of red pepper and citrus. Some of the wrapper crack problems commenced in the first third, and this imparted some harshness and bitterness into the flavor profile
The cedar notes maintained the edge in the second third. At the same time, there was an increase in the red pepper and earth notes. The honey-citrus notes slowly receded during this phase. By the midway point, the earth notes took over as the primary note, pushing the cedar into the background with the red pepper and baker’s spice notes. It was around this same point that honey-citrus notes transitioned to a natural tobacco note. Because of the various wrapper cracks and burn problems, there was a harsh overtone to the flavor profile. For the two cigars where the smoking experience was stopped, they did not get through the second third.
Toward the final third, the red pepper joined the earth in the final third. The wrapper crack problems remained and as a result and picking up the notes of natural tobacco, baker’s spice, and cedar was more difficult. For the three cigars that made it to the end, the resulting nub was slightly soft and slightly lukewarm.
The wrapper cracks seemed to happen at the same point during the first third. Somewhere around the middle third of this cigar, there was a “pop” which signaled the beginning of the cracking wrapper. As mentioned in two of the samples, it was so bad I had to stop smoking those cigars. In the three I did smoke, I managed to fight through the wrapper crack only to be treated to more cracking later in the cigar experience.
The wrapper crack issues made for quite a problematic burn. It was very difficult maintaining a straight burn path and almost impossible to keep a straight burn line. The salt and pepper-colored ash was slightly flakey. This also resulted in a slightly faster burn rate and a slightly higher burn temperature than I prefer.
While the burn of this cigar was a train wreck, the draw was not too bad This was a draw that was on the open side, but it was one I wouldn’t categorize as loose. There were no problems deriving flavor from this cigar.
Strength and Body
This was a medium strength, medium-bodied cigar. There was a nominal increase in the intensity of both attributes along the way, but in the end, this cigar finished in the medium strength, medium-bodied range of the spectrum. Both the strength and body balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
The construction issues of this cigar were simply too much to overlook. Normally, I don’t look at other reviews of a cigar until after I publish my assessment. I made an exception in this case and other than a few reports of a fragile wrapper, I did not see wrapper problems reported. In fact, many of the reviews were glowing. The dilemma is that I can only assess what I have, and I had construction issues. Because three of the five cigars were still smokable, I opted to complete the review process.
What I will say is I can see where where some of the glowing reviews were because there was promise in the flavor profile. Price does not affect the score in this review. At the same time this is not how a $29.99 cigar should perform. In the end, I simply cannot recommend a cigar in that had the construction problems this one had. This cigar is one I will consider re-smoking for an Agile Cigar Review.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Chocolate, Natural Tobacco, Red Pepper, Cedar, Malt
Draw: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Plus
Value: Not Recommended
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted