Rupert Mackintosh

Previously we looked at the Trinidad Robusto Extra, of which is entering the autumn of its days on the luxury cigar scene. It’s generally regarded as a ‘big smoke’ so is probably more suited to the after-dinner scene than a daytime smoke. So to readdress the balance I thought we’d talk about the Cohiba Sigilo I today.

Cohiba are the premier, leading cigar brand coming out of Cuba, and enjoy a cult status. While they are rarely the cigar that most people start out with (that honour seems to fall to the Romeo y Julieta brand), they are invariably the brand that most people settle on once they’ve been around the houses. Quality oozes through the range, from the careful selection of leaves from the five finest farms in the San Juan y Martinez and San Luis zones of the infamous Vuelta Abajo region, right through to construction and packaging.

Interestingly, the filler leaves (which are the wrapped up tobacco leaves, grouped in bunches, that form the inner body of the cigar itself) are treated to a third fermentation of which is unique to Cohiba. It is believed that the seco and ligero leaves (of which are found in the very middle and burn the slowest) are silky smooth, and taste very differently from any other brand out there as a result. Exciting stuff! Couple with this a pedigree that hails from Fidel Castro himself and you really do have the ‘top draw’ of smokes.

Cohiba itself is split between two distinct lines (or ‘Lineas’) – the Linea Clasica which was introduced from 1966 to the late 1980s, and the slightly milder Linea 1492 of which was released in 1992. This was specifically to mark the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s voyage of discovery and his role in bringing the joys of smoking to Europe. The Sigilo VI (or, the sixth century after Columbus) was introduced in 2002, to critical acclaim and nudged the extremely successful Cohiba Robusto from the top of the humidor (who remembers those now?!).

So today we are looking at the Cohiba Sigilo I, of which is the smallest of the Linea 1492 range. At a ring gauge of 40mm and a length of 102mm (thus making it a Demi Corona or Tres Petit Corona), we are discussing a pretty small smoke that can be covered off in about 30 minutes if smoked fully, or significantly less if you don’t want to take it all the way.


Small cigars are often overlooked by the after-dinner crowd, as they simply don’t have enough length (or runway as I like to call it) to actually demonstrate the complexity of flavours that a brand can pull through. Even larger cigars of which remain in a single dimension are generally ignored (take the Fonseca brand for instance). To be a ‘one trick pony’ in the humidor is a dangerous position indeed, as smokers these days are looking for more than just the vintage, old school Havana, strong earthy tobacco taste that categorised cigars in the 1980s. I am pleased to say that, while working within the envelope of its limitations of scale, the Sigilo I does actually present a platform for the Cohiba flavours to shine through. This is just about the easiest way you can get that distinctive caramel, wood and spice mixture that we all know and love. It doesn’t have the opportunity to really change on you – so don’t expect much of a journey – but in a blind taste test you could pick this out a mile away.

When operating at the Tres Petit Corona level, you are really looking at this, the Montecristo No.5, Partagas Shorts, Ramon Allones Small Club Coronas, and the San Cristobal El Principle. I have a soft spot for the Partagas Shorts as a plucky little depth charge for late in the evening after a lighter cigar has already been smoked, but overall, the Cohiba is the one to go for.


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