With the Cohiba Blue, General Cigar is attempting to lure the budget-minded smoker into luxury territory. It reminds me a little of luxury car manufacturers who release lower-end models for customers craving hood ornament prestige. On one hand, it’s hard to overlook the marketing hocus pocus. On the other, suspicious marketing does not an inferior product make. In this case it’s not all smoke and mirrors… so to speak.
In part that is due to the high quality of the tobacco employed — chiefly, San Agustin Olancho leaf, previously witnessed in CAO’s OSA Sol cigar. The Cohiba Blue uses this Honduran leaf for both wrapper and binder, beneath which purrs a blend of Honduran Jamastran and a couple of spicier leaves — one from the volcanic island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua, and some classic Dominican Piloto Cubano.
For some reason Honduran tobacco gets treated like the proverbial red-headed stepchild in the cigar community. The Jamastran Valley in Honduras is just over the border from Jalapa in Nicaragua, mere miles apart, and yet Jalapa seems to get far more attention. I don’t why that is, and I’m not sure why Honduras so often plays Toyota to Nicaragua’s Lexus.
And despite this seemingly superficial difference in terroir, Honduran cigars usually strike me as earthier and often more leathery than Nicaraguans. Not across the board, but in general. And it seems to be the case with this “value line” Cohiba as well.
The Cohiba Blue is available in four sizes:
- Churchill – 7 x 50
- Toro – 6 x 54
- Robusto – 5 1/2 x 50
- Rothschild – 4 1/2 x 50
The general appearance of the cigar is lackluster, including a band that is indeed blue, but which also lacks flair. The wrapper is rough and unrefined, a dry looking colorado claro. The head of the cigar is well rounded and finished with a functional cap. Aside from the Cohiba name, the frills here are few to be found. But the draw is good, the cigar burns very well, and you’re going to throw that band away anyway.
Overall construction: Excellent (appearances notwithstanding.)
The Cohiba Blue opens with earth on the palate, accompanied by cedar and a faintly floral note on the nose. This is quickly overtaken by a nice dose of black powder that lingers for the duration of the cigar. This matchstick sulfur element mingles nicely with the slightly sweet, spicy cedar on the nose.
It’s a nicely balanced, earthy cigar up to the mid-point, where some caramel sneaks into the upper register and a bready note can be discerned below. This a medium-bodied cigar with at most a medium strength, but the earthiness on the tongue might be a bit much for medium-bodied aficionados. It isn’t a particularly spicy cigar, but it isn’t shy either. I’d call it musky, but in a nice way.
The Cohiba Blue is definitely not a looker, but I’ve learned over the years that looks ain’t everything. You can’t smoke a glossy ad. (Well, I guess you could. Just make sure it isn’t one of those cologne infused pages. Ay caramba.)
What sells the Cohiba Blue is not the band, despite the prestige of the Cohiba trademark. It’s the complexity of the aroma: gunpowder and leather, with some caramel and bready notes thrown in for balance. It’s an approachable medium-bodied cigar worthy of the Cohiba name, though with an MSRP around $10 USD, the price is still a bit steep. Shave off a few bucks and I’d be happy to keep this one in the regular rotation.
Final Score: 88