Cohiba Extra Vigoroso | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Connecticut Broadleaf
Size: 6 x 52 XV652
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $12.00 by the single

Today we take a look at an oldie but goodie: Cohiba Extra Vigoroso.
I found the best pricing at Atlantic Cigar.
Normally, I wouldn’t review a cigar that’s been around for 15 years but I came into possession of two sticks that have some impressive age. I will elucidate further momentarily.

BACKGROUND:
Boxes of 10.
Regular Production.

From the Robb Report (6-1-2002):
“The recently released Extra Vigoroso retains its trademark red Cohiba dot, but the revamped black and gold band is your first indication that this cigar is in a class of its own. Rather than brute strength, the XV (“ex vee”) connotes an enhanced richness and greater span of flavors than other Cohibas, offering a distinctive, creamy taste.

“The Ecuadorian sun-grown Sumatra wrapper comes from the topmost crown of the plant, the most flavorful priming, and the tobaccos are hand-selected for the Cohiba XV. After the leaves dry, they are aged for three years (one-third longer than Cohiba’s usual aging time) in airtight, palm-frond tercios in the style of Cuba’s pre-Castro tobaccos.

“The wrapper leaves are layered between cedar sheets and sealed for another six months of finishing. This extended aging in cedar produces a dark, oily leaf with a delicate spicy taste that melds well with the three-year-old Connecticut broadleaf binder, which is selected from the rich, but not overpowering, center of the plant. At the heart of the cigar is the filler, composed of earthy Nicaraguan and thick, flavorful Dominican Cuban seed tobaccos from the Dominican Republic’s excellent 1998 harvest.

“Like a vintage wine that has been stored until it has reached the peak of perfection, the Cohiba XV needs no further aging—it is ready to be smoked now.”

SIZES AND PRICING:
XV652 6 X 50 $12.00
XV550 5.5 X 50 $10.82
XV660 6 X 60 $15.32

DESCRIPTION:
The very oily wrapper is a classic chocolate/espresso color. The stick is extremely rustic due to large veins permeating the shaft, very lumpy and bumpy, mottled like a brindle colored dog, a misshapen triple cap, and virtually seamless.
I draw on this puppy and it is not where I want it to be. I snag my PerfecDraw poker and voila!

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW POINTS:
From the shaft, I can smell red pepper, caramel, chocolate, coffee, malt, slight green veggie aroma, cedar, and nutty.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell super dark chocolate, black pepper, nuts, espresso, salted caramel, cedar, barnyard, and strawberries.

The cold draw presents flavors of mocha java, caramel, heavy malts, creaminess, nuts, cedar, fruit, dried fruit, and citrus.

FIRST THIRD:
The draw is clear as a bell. Smoke permeates the room until it appears that my head is on fire.
Flavors begin rushing in….Black pepper, cream, chocolate, coffee, dried fruit, salted caramel, lots of malts…tastes like I’m drinking a beer, almonds, cinnamon, and citrus.
Wow.

Now the comment I made earlier concerns the fact that I came into two of these sticks last week. Both had some serious humidor time. I smoked one and my yarmulke spun like a top.

Cohiba has always taken an Old School approach to their blends. I can’t think of one that was really, really ready to smoke any sooner than 6 months. Today’s experiment shows what happens to a good blend with a year or longer humidor time. But then this would ruin most reviewers who are in a big hurry to get their review out there before the next guy; basically giving you an inaccurate description of the blender’s intent. I’ve done it. Not proud of it, but I can’t go back in time.

I was very surprised when, after smoking my first Cohiba Extra Vigoroso last week, I read a review from the Big Guy and gave it a mere 88. Clearly, time was of the essence and maybe even pressured from Cohiba to get that damn review out there…which backfired on them, of course.

Trust me. If this baby tastes anything like the first one, the sky is the limit for my final rating.
Cohiba has kept this blend in rotation for a long time. Several online stores carry them still but, once again, Atlantic Cigar seems to edge them all out by a few shekels.

Strength is medium.

The creaminess, mocha java, and the dried fruit make wonderful compañeros for the extreme maltiness.
The aged tobacco has its own demeanor. Very rich and earthy. The difference between drinking a Coke or a thick chocolate milkshake.

The palate is a tricky devil. The first Cohiba Extra Vigoroso I smoked slammed against the wall and told me to remove my valuables and then exploded into a war of attrition.
This time around, while the flavor list is impressive, it doesn’t hit me with a bombardment of its potential like the first one.

Meanwhile, the construction of the stick and the perfect char line are spot on. The draw is much better than I had expected. I’ve become a PerfecDraw junkie. I’m wailing away on every stick I smoke regardless of whether there is an obvious plug or not. It has a strictly positive effect on every cigar I smoke.

I near the second third and the ash is almost 1-1/2” long…waiting to singe my naughty bits (Are you listening Ezra Zion?) back to the stone age when cavewomen pointed at their mates genitals and said, “Curly, fuzzy, snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty, oily, greasy, fleecy, shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen, knotted, polka-dotted, twisted, beaded, braided, powdered, flowered, and confettied, bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied!”
This was how Sonja Kristina got her start in the music business.

I’m getting some nice transitions but no complexity. The palate is all about being in the right place at the right time. This is not the cigar I smoked a week ago. Could it be as simple as my palate not responding? Or could there be an inconsistency in the blend?
Hell if I know.

SECOND THIRD:
Strength remains at medium.
Smoke time is 40 minutes.

A change begins. The enormous punch in the face I got with the first stick is starting to show itself in the second third. Go figure.

I write my reviews using the same procedure every time. I only drink water. It is my first cigar of the day in the morning. The odd thing is that I believe I smoked the first bombshell of a Cohiba Extra Vigoroso was done later in the afternoon after one or two cigars had already been smoked that day. And its flavors shone through like a lighthouse to the ships at sea.
This one? Not so much. Very pleasant but I was expecting to rant and rave about its wonderfulness.
I picked a lousy time to stop sniffing glue.

Don’t get me wrong, the Cohiba Extra Vigoroso is excellent but not brain washing material like the first stick I smoked.

Did the Big Guy run into the same problem? Were the blends inconsistent? I definitely know based on dates that the sticks he smoked were not left for a year to age. So what is it? Have I finally gone to the dark side where I can’t wait for my tub of Quorums to arrive in the mail?

I could use a little more zippiness from the strength. I didn’t really notice the strength that much with the first stick because it was so overwhelmingly delectable. The flavor profile outweighed the importance of strength.

I’m not experiencing any new flavors. Everything I described earlier is in place but now without much movement. And certainly, no complexity. None of the good stuff like subtlety, nuance, richness, depth of character, and the “It” factor. I’m not getting the blender’s intent as I did in the first stick.

This is a real bummer, moon doggies. What was thought to be bitch’n, is now just boss.

Flares of potential pop up here and there but do not sustain themselves.
I did not see the review going this way.

As I near the halfway point, strength increases to medium/full. Flavors begin to show some hope…but I am skeptical. I was already doing back flips by now with the first stick.

How the fuck am I going to rate this cigar? I would have given the first Cohiba Extra Vigoroso something in the mid 90’s. This one? No idea. Its redemption lay in the last half.

And of course, the cigar is packed like a 600lb man eating nothing but Big Macs. So, it is a very slow roll in smoke time. Naturally.

Halfway point at one hour. This bugger better start impressing.
Not a single change to the flavor profile…a long list of listless flavors without complexity.
Long finish? Nope. Transitions? Nope.
Sonovabitch.

Someone hits the klieg lights at the stadium and the Cohiba Extra Vigoroso goes for gold.
Finally. A major change. What I tasted right up front in the first cigar I smoked shows up in the second half. This little fucker made me wait an hour.

Transitions begin. Complexity settles in for the better. Long finish.

I won’t bother you with listing the previous flavors as nothing has changed except for their intensity. Swimming in a sea of swarming simbas.

Now we’re talking. I know what went wrong. I forgot to take my lithium and anti-psychotic meds this morning.

The Cohiba Extra Vigoroso is flying high now. Big smile. I am just very pissed off that it waited so long to exhibit the blender’s intent unlike my first one.

The flavors now need describing: Extreme creaminess, a bevy of malts, black pepper, salted caramel, lime zest, cedar, coffee, black licorice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cherries, graham cracker, fresh pear, and roasted nuts.

Now I have the conundrum on how to rate this baby. The first one was spectacular. This one waited to kick into gear. Do I average the two scores? Or simply rate it based on this review? Fuck…I don’t know. Send me a $20 bill with your advice written on it and I will rate it based on your admonitions.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is one hour 30 minutes.
Strength is a potent medium/full.

Bob Seger and “Katmandu.” I never got that guy. He is like the doppelganger for Michael McDonald…can only understand half of what he sings.

Oh shit. The Cohiba Extra Vigoroso is experiencing transitions so fast and furious that I shall call it Vin Diesel. The complexity is in full swing. I shall call it Bob Barker

The finish is long and satisfying. I shall call it Rosie O’Donnell. Gotta give the lesbians their fair share of time. (This has been a public service announcement).

This is exactly what I experienced from the very start with my first shot at this cigar last week.
Construction has been perfect with not a single char line touch up required. Funky looking stick by rock steady.

Now I wish I was rich and good looking and had a 3rd stick for comparison. I’ve burned most of my bridges with cigar manufacturers. But now and again, I get something from someone that liked my review of their previous blend.

One thing I can’t seem to get them to understand is I need a minimum of 3 sticks. But no. Every single company sends two sticks. My deal for years was I get a 5 pack to review their blend. I got plenty of excuses and bullshit. These idiots don’t realize that the Big Guys, who do get more than 2 sticks, have it right by having the opportunity to smoke a minimum of 3 cigars prior to their review. A proper perspective.

The Cohiba Extra Vigoroso is blasting away.

I thought early on in this review that maybe I will just forgo today’s review based on the first half of this cigar. The second half saved its patootey.
Still, my meandering must have confused the shit out of you…if you’re still awake, that is.

The first half barely rated an 85. The second half deserves a 95. The first cigar I smoked deserved a 95 as well. I will average them all out and let the dice roll as they may.

Have you noticed that any decent stick now hovers around the $12 mark? As my hero, Daffy Duck, says: “Despicable.”

The nicotine hits my brain like Olivia Neutron Bomb. I’m spinning like a dreidel.
And yes, strength has hit full.

My eyesight is fading. I just knew that one day my excessive masturbation would take its toll. Damn.
Holy shit. I’m blind.

Obviously, I’m concerned about consistency. There shouldn’t have been such a big disparity between the first stick and today’s stick.

I don’t know how you can make up your mind about this cigar based upon this review. Especially, at $12 a pop.

Based on my first stick, I would have highly encouraged you to score some. Now, I’m not so sure.
The second half of the Cohiba Extra Vigoroso will determine its score.

RATING: 91

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8 replies

  1. Maybe it’s the angle of your photos, but I can’t tell if you cut the cap or used a punch. Either you’re a highly skilled cigar surgeon with your cutter, and took off only 3.57 microns, or you used a punch.

    So give….which is it?

    • A “V” cutter
      I also trained as a mohel (A Jew trained in the practice of brit milah, the “covenant of circumcision.”) as a young man.
      After 3 months of training, I was thrown out of the Yeshiva. I was caught drinking a pork milkshake in my closet, at 3am, in the school dorm.

      I use a stainless steel desktop cutter with two V cutters (small & large gauges) and two round cutters (small & large gauges):

      Cigar with V cut:

      V cut:

    • Ah… OK. I tend to like to use a punch because the entire circumfrence of the cap area is smooth and “clean” feeling.

      • Hi Dr. Rod….You mentioned that your favorite shape is a torpedo or belicoso with the pointy cap.
        What is your favorite way of clipping those caps? I use the V cutter on my torpedoes.

  2. Well. ..that 2nd picture looks familiar. …cigar porn.

    Never cared for Cohiba. Too inconsistent. Cubans way over priced. Other countries not good enough. Too much wait time for too expensive chance of fate.

  3. Well, I use the Cuban Crafters “Perfect Cutter” [not to be confused with the PerfecDraw 😉 ] with the little hole in the backing plate. Cuts the perfect amount (for my preference anyway) off that taper.

    • I had no idea what you were referring to as I had never heard of this cutter.
      Cuban Crafters sells it for $20 + shipping.
      Amazon Prime sells it for around $17 + free shipping
      Very cool device.

  4. Yeah, I really like mine. I’ve been using this cutter for probably 2-3 years. The backing plate is great to put your cigar up against, and it cuts off just the right amount. And if you have a tapered stick, you just put the taper through the small hole and clip. Really helps when you’re outside in the dark — super simple to cut without making a mistake.