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Cohiba Nicaragua N54

Cohiba Nicaragua N54 15½ inches x 54 ring gauge

Natural wrapper

Cohiba is a brand name that evokes a heritage of premium quality and craftsmanship. It is a brand that has been romanticized and celebrated, and is, for me, one that speaks of fine quality cigars from the Dominican Republic. 

Seeing the name 'Nicaragua' prominently displayed on the label of this particular cigar was quite a surprise for me, albeit one that was rooted in a pleasant expectation. I realize this cigar has been released for a while now by General Cigar, and I'd be willing to bet that you have smoked one and already formed an opinion. Nevertheless, I hope you will appreciate my own viewpoint. This is a cigar that I have wanted to review for a while, and I appreciate my friends at Cigar Weekly for offering me that opportunity.

This is the first cigar of this brand to be blended and crafted in Nicaragua. We are told that the filler is a blend from Jalapa and Esteli. The binder is from Jalapa. The wrapper is a Sun Grown Colorado Oscuro. Published sources from the manufacturer and retailers say that this cigar offers a bolder profile from Cohiba, with a medium to full strength. 

Cohiba Nicaragua N54 2The line is available in four sizes - N60 (6 x 60), N54 (5½ x 54), N50 (5 x 50) and N45 (4 x 45). The size that I am reviewing here is the N54, which falls in the classic Toro size range. I have limited my exposure to other reviews of this cigar in the interest of remaining without prejudice. Of course, I welcome your comments.

So, the table is set. Let's begin!

Pre-light impressions

The outward appearance of the cigar had, overall, a relative smoothness with a slightly reddish-brown, uniform color that you would expect with a Colorado wrapper. There were some undulations to the wrapper, making it not as smooth as I prefer, but hinting at a rustic yet winsome character. The band incorporated the familiar Cohiba font and ‘red dot’. However, the contrast between the wrapper and the flat, gold lettering with the black background of the band was striking. 

I always like to take in the aroma of any cigar before I light it because, for me, this aspect often offers hints at what is to come. In this case, I experienced a very subtle warm spice and savory herb combination - almost like tarragon. There was a cedary quality present, as well as a brief intimation of dark chocolate.

Cut and light

Cohiba Nicaragua N54 3I used my trusted Xikar double-guillotine cutter for this cigar. The cut was very clean and sharp, while keeping a portion of the cap intact. In a dramatic departure for me, I actually used a cedar spill to warm and toast the foot of the cigar, and then light it. (I may have to write a sidebar at some point on lighting a cigar with a cedar spill. The key for me is to keep the cigar out of the direct flame.)

The draw was perfect - not too loose or tight. The initial, tantalizing aroma was very complex, and displayed notes of cedar, slight char, creaminess, dark chocolate and - I thought - walnut.

The smoke experience

The setting was inside, the temperature 70 degrees, and the humidity level very dry. I paired the cigar with San Pellegrino mineral water. 

This cigar had a very nice draw throughout the experience. The burn started off as sharp and even, but did begin to oscillate at about ¼ of the way into the experience (and continued that way). 

The taste started as toasted coffee along with an immediate creaminess. There was also a very slight suggestion of white pepper to me, as well as a noticeable cedar component. The cigar burned very cool, which I did like. The ash was light gray to white in appearance - a little loose at about the ¼ mark. I did not let the ash go beyond ½-inch, which is a personal preference. 

The cigar was definitely medium strength at the ¼ point, with a rich, viscous body. About one third to one half of the way in, a creamy coffee note with a very slight savory spice taste manifested itself. The ash was still very loose. I also noticed that the strength of the cigar was gradually increasing. 

Cohiba Nicaragua N54 4At the three quarter mark, the cigar was still burning rather cool. The strength continued to increase, and the flavors conveyed a bit of a complementary medley of creaminess, coffee (or bitter chocolate), dry earthiness, hint of white pepper and a cedar component. The strength had, by this time, increased to a solid medium-to-full. I'd say that the body was full, based on my personal experience. Altogether, this was about an 80-minute smoke for me.

Conclusion

This was a beautifully complex cigar. I thoroughly enjoyed it, with the exception of the burn, which I expected to be fairly sharp. 

The body of this cigar was measurably bolder than that of the well-known Dominican Cohiba. I was very pleased with the balance of body, strength and the compelling flavors that I experienced.

I think this cigar successfully blends the sophistication that one expects from the Dominican Cohiba with the power and flavors that are characteristics of Nicaraguan tobacco, creating a unique cigar-smoking experience. I would certainly recommend this cigar to you if you like Cohiba, but want a stronger body and flavor profile.

Scores

Pre-light: 9

Light: 8
Draw: 10
Construction: 9
Flavor: 9
Power: 8
Average: 8.8
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Jerry Vogler (jbvogler) is a cigar aficionado who resides in Kennesaw, Georgia