Review: Cohiba Red Dot
Yell the word “Cohiba” in a crowded room and heads will turn. Some will think you’ve developed an odd form of Tourette’s Syndrome. Others will nod their head or raise their glass…and think you’ve developed an odd form of Tourette’s Syndrome. Even to some of the non-cigar smoking public the name is recognizable. When I think of Cohiba I think Cuba, cigar, quality, luxury, history – El Mejor! The best. Cohiba, the word, literally means ‘tobacco’ and it comes from an old Cuban dialect used by the Taino Indians of Hispaniola.
For the unlucky US folks, the embargo with Cuba kyboshed imports of the coveted smokes that last till this day. Fortunately, there are ways to get your paws on these fine Cuban originals, but you’re going to pay a high price, and there’s no guarantee you won’t get fakes – yeah, there’s a ton out there, so do your due diligence.
I consider myself lucky to have smoked a couple of the genuine Cuban gems back in the 90s thanks to a former boss who would get them from his family in Miami. I’m sad to say that they were lost on my very naïve palate at the time, so I don’t remember much other than that they were very strong.
Thank goodness someone took some seeds west to start the Dominican Republic version of Cohiba which became Cohiba Red Dot – the only trademarked Cohibas legally made for the US market and managed by General Cigar Co.. Strangely, you won’t find much info on these cigars on Cohiba’s website. Explore the internet and you’ll find some nuggets here and there.
I ended up on some retail and reviewer sites as well as blogs that offered some info, but I couldn’t attest to its accuracy. It may not be Fidel Castro’s cigar personally blended/rolled by Eduardo Rivera, who is also largely credited with starting Cohiba and whose custom Castro blends would also give birth to Davidoff, but the Dominican Cohiba Red Dots are still a highly sought after brand that purports superior quality and mouth watering blends.
I ordered a double sampler pack of Churchills that included 2 each of 6 brands, including the Cohiba Red Dot Dominican. Considering that singles are >$20 ea and even in 5-packs they’re >$13 each (online), the deal I got with the sampler put them at approx. $5 a stick, including shipping. Dubbed a ‘medium’ smoke by many, this played into my wheelhouse as I’m partial to the medium to medium-full blends. I let these babies cook in the humi for a couple of months before lighting up.
- Profile: Medium
- Vitola: Churchill
- Length / Ring Gauge: 7.0” / 49
- Purchased: Online retailer
- Origin: Dominican Republic
- Wrapper: Cameroon
- Binder: Indonesian Jember
- Filler: Dominican Piloto Cubano
- Cutter: Xikar punch
- Lighter: Colibri Firebird 4-jet
- Price Range: $13 – $20 (Paid ~$5 as part of sampler)
The aroma of the wrapper is tantalizing, hinting of sweet cedar and tea. A whiff of the foot foreshadows it’s nutty character. Overall the body was evenly firm from head to foot, although the cap felt, for lack of a better word, delicate. The ring gauge on the Churchills tends to be much smaller than the Toros and Gordos I prefer, so take extra precaution when using a punch. The cold draw also foreshadows the loveliness that is to come with hints of nuts, caramel and a sweet spice.
The initial draw begins with a burst of toasted cashew and nut flavors with the first third swirling around a delicious woody and light caramel finish. The spice is light throughout this Dominican cousin, which is contrary to some of the reviews I’ve previously read. No matter how hard I tried, I could not find the level of spice others had touted. Earthy and lightly creamy, this girl is off to the races with an almost dead even burn, producing a beautiful 1” ash.
The second third is my favorite as it develops nice notes of sweet pecan. Others have commented that it is “French peanuts”, but as I’m from Texas, I’m more in tune with pecan flavors. She is burning oh so slow and I want to just shove it in my piehole and chew on it like a Red Vine. The tasty toasty caramel and earthiness continue into the final third with out much fanfare.
The final third homestretch is where she really shows her chops. She does not fade, get hot or become chalky or metallic. The earthy, nutty profile continues with that same light sweet finish. Gets a little spicier now, but still well below what others have described. I’ve smoked spicy cigars, like ones infused with jalapeno oil, so I think I’m a fair judge. A light woodiness creeps in as you smoke her to the nub. All the while maintaining that even burn and nice long ash. A good hour and a half smoke.
I’ve smoked $20 cigars previously and most were well worth every penny. This is not one of them. This is a delicious treat and I would highly recommend it and will absolutely add more to my hungry humi, but I’m glad I only paid $5. I would have paid $10-$12 for sure, but not $20. I still have the other one tucked away and waiting for a good day to smoke it. I save my Churchills for special days (hmmm, like Pop’s birthday tomorrow?) – In Fumo Pax!