Siglo Limited Reserve

siglo

Sometimes a new cigar makes more smoke before it’s even released than it does when you finally get a chance to light one up. The Nicaraguan made Siglo Limited Reserve has done just that with its blatant and obvious play on the Cuban Cohiba image. The gold and yellow band with the checkerboard above the name and the italic logo below it is the first giveaway.

This mimicry extends to the flimsy box design. The only detail it seems to be missing is the diagonal Habanos strip across the corner. Altadis USA appears to be engaging in some advertising chicanery here, and veterans of the leaf are letting them know about it on the blogs and boards.  (Ironically those of us who are informed enough to be offended by these practices are not the consumers Altadis is targeting, so it probably doesn’t matter much to them… but that doesn’t mean we’re going to keep our pieholes shut.)

And as long as they’re borrowing frontmarks from the Cohiba “Linea 1492” range, they might as well just take “Siglo” as a brand name as well:

  • Siglo I – 4 1/4 x 44  petite corona
  • Siglo II – 5 5/8 x 45  grand corona
  • Siglo III – 6 1/2 x 44  lonsdale
  • Siglo IV – 5 x 54  robusto
  • Siglo VI – 6 x 54  toro
  • Siglo VII – 7 x 48  churchill
  • Siglo X – 6 x 54  torpedo

To my knowledge, General Cigar owns the rights to the Cohiba name and all its trappings in the United States, so I would presume that either Altadis (or its parent Imperial) has brokered a deal with General (or its parent Swedish Match) to put on this masquerade, or they are currently being sued over it. (And it wouldn’t be the first time. This stuff gets messy.)

In addition to all these design allusions Altadis borrowed one other crucial production factor: the blender. Frank Llaneza had a long history with Villazon before it was bought by General, and now Altadis is using his name quite prominently in their promotion as the master behind the Siglo Limited Reserve. I always did like Villazon cigars though, so I think I’ll just wade through all this merchandising smoke and get to the cigar itself.

The wrapper for the Siglo Limited is an Ecuadorian Habano leaf, beneath which is a Nicaraguan broadleaf binder. The filler is a Dominican/Nicaraguan combo.

siglo2

Construction Notes

It’s not a bad looking cigar, overlooking the devious band design. The wrapper is a light colorado claro, consistent in color with a slightly sandy texture and a few veins that give it a rustic appearance. The roll is solid, and the Cullman style round cap is applied well enough that it’s hard to see any seams above the shoulder of the stick.

Both the toro and the robusto drew very well. Complain all you want about Altadis, but it’s extremely rare that I’ve had a plugged or tight cigar from this company. The burn is quite slow due to the large ring gauge but it is a little uneven at times — one cigar required a single correction. The flaky salt-and-pepper ash holds for as long as I need it to, but it crumbles a bit in the ashtray.

Tasting Notes

The Siglo starts up with a woody, straightforward tobacco flavor. Almost immediately the wrapper contributes a pleasantly floral aroma, similar to but a little heavier and sweeter than Connecticut Shade. There isn’t a great deal of complexity here, but it’s certainly smooth and enjoyable.

The aroma just gets sweeter as the cigar burns down, so much that it’s almost sugary at times. The flavor gets a little spicier, but by Nicaraguan standards remains quite mild. The body and strength of this smoke seem to level out around a solid medium.

The last section brings some cocoa to the fore while the aroma takes a back seat. The slightly salty finish lengthens into an earthy aftertaste which finally gets a bit dirty near the band.

I didn’t notice much of a difference between the robusto and toro sizes, aside from smoking time: they’re both slow smoking, solid sticks, with the robusto clocking in at around 45 minutes, and the toro about an hour.

What this is, I think, is a nice boring cigar. There’s nothing wrong with it, and I think a lot of newer smokers will genuinely enjoy it. On the other hand, it doesn’t offer the veteran cigar fiend anything new to crow about. It reminds me a little of the El Rey del Mundo Real — a decent medium bodied smoke with a fine wrapper that just bores the hell out of me. Which doesn’t mean that it’s bad… just boring.

The Siglo Limited Reserve is priced reasonably at around 5 bucks a pop.

Final Score: 84

siglo3

~cigarfan

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13 thoughts on “Siglo Limited Reserve

  1. I enjoy these new cigars, yes the marketing is a joke, and yes that overall cigar is good not great, but all in all, I do think it is one of the better Altadis cigars on the market.

  2. True, Brent. You could definitely do worse at that price point. I just wish they would have released it as a new Omar Ortez or something instead of tarting it up with all the Cohiba nonsense.

  3. Dear cigarfan,

    Just a word on all this Cohiba marketing that is being done in the USA by these cheap cigar, hard discount, no taste companies who would do better to offer REAL cigars to the smokers than simply focusing on face gimmicks. Now we know why the NC market is only selling
    in the USA. they are, however, trying to get into the world market,Europe, Australia, Japan,etc etc. but for that they will have to start from scrap and make real cigars. Because of the embargo on Cuba,they had no real
    competition and have been telling the average American that the Cuban cigar is not what it use to be and that they know what a real cigar is all about? That’s funny,
    90% of the cigar smokers in the world smoke Cuban cigars
    and don’t want their crap, so, I guess we must all be wrong. but on the other hand we do smoke cigars from, NIC, HON, etc etc but not the same brands as in the states. WHY ? Simply because they have badly educated
    and misinformed the new generations of smokers on what a cigar should taste like. they now should be asking
    themselves what will happen to their junk once the American smokers will have access to Cubans again and that everyone will see what a real cigar tastes like and even worse, who will they try to copy from then ?

    my very best regards,
    Guy Buscéma,
    Calvisson, FRANCE

    • Thanks for your interesting comment, Guy.

      In my experience, the very best Cuban cigars are probably the best in the world. But not all Cuban cigars are better than high-quality Nicaraguans and Dominicans, and there are flavors in Nicaraguan tobacco in particular that are unique. If you like those flavors, as I do, then you will have to smoke cigars like the Padron Anniversario or Don Pepin Garcia’s San Cristobal, Tatuaje, or Arturo Fuente limited release cigars. And if you like the flavors of maduro wrappers, your Cuban options are very limited.

      That said, the market for crappy cigars is very much more open here than in Europe. And so we will have crappy cigars, and people who don’t know any better — and those who actually like crappy cigars — will smoke them. We’re doing our best to reform and educate them.

      Incidentally, I didn’t think the Siglo Limited was a crappy cigar at all. But as we both know, it will never live up to the REAL Siglo.

    • Guy, Just out of curiosity, which NIC and HON cigars are popular in France? Are there any brands from these or other countries (besides Cuba) thay you enjoy?

      Thanks,

      Anthony

  4. Nice review guys! I fins this whole cigar interesting as i thought it was at first a slap in the face to General, not Habanos. As Altadis owns a major portion of Habanos, SA, I figured this was a ploy to “stick it” to General and take some manoney away from their US Cohiba sales. But getting Llaneza tp blend this is bizarre. Not sure of what to make of this at all, maybe part of a Cohiba copyright settlement?

  5. I bought a few of these cigars to share with my brother who’d rather be seen smoking (fake) Cuban Cohibas than anything else. As a result, I knew he would be easily impressed by the sight of the Siglo IV En Tubo…he never lets me down.

    But I have to admit, the cigar was a good economical alternative and not a bad smoke even with its blatant knockoff attempts.

  6. Tricky marketing, I find them a joke. After smoking the real cuban Siglo series, for instance the cohiba siglo II or siglo VI one can clearly understand why NIC, Domincan an others would like to be at least half as good as the Cubans and why they try to emulate them. There are no bad cigars, there are just far better ones.

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