Cohiba Connecticut | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Binder: Mexican San Andrés
Filler: Brazilian Mata Fina, Dominican Piloto Cubano, Dominican Olor and Nicaraguan (Jalapa)
Size: 5.5 x 52 Robusto
Strength: Mild/Medium
Price: $19.99 ($16.80 online)

Today we take a look at the Cohiba Connecticut.
Samples were provided by General Cigar.
OUCH! This catalog Cohiba better be even more thrilling than sex for $20.00!!

From Cigar Aficionado:
“Cohiba has gone to Connecticut—well, Ecuador really. For the first time in the Dominican brand’s history, Cohiba will be getting an Ecuador Connecticut wrapper. The new brand is called Cohiba Connecticut and is wrapped in a Connecticut cover leaf from Ecuador’s cloudy Los Ríos province.

“Because of Ecuador’s fairly constant cloud cover, Connecticut-seed tobacco doesn’t need to be tented under cloth while it grows in the field the way it does in Connecticut, as the clouds provide a natural filter from the sun. This filtration results in a thinner, cleaner wrapper with finer veins and a smoother texture.

“Underneath the Ecuadoran Connecticut wrapper, a Mexican San Andrés binder brings together the filler blend of Brazilian Mata Fina, Dominican Piloto Cubano, Dominican Olor and Nicaraguan tobacco from Jalapa.

“Made in the Dominican Republic at the General Cigar Dominicana factory, this brand is billed as mild-to-medium bodied and will come in four sizes once it debuts in March: Toro, measuring 6 1/4 inches by 52 ring gauge ($21.99): Gigante, 6 by 60 ($22.99); Robusto, 5 1/2 by 50 ($19.99); and Crystal Robusto, 5 by 50 ($20.99) and comes in a glass tube. All are presented in gleaming, contoured boxes of 20, save for the Crystal Robusto, which is packaged in boxes of 10.”

A smooth, brown bag wrapper with some sheen to it that finds itself smooth as a baby’s bottom. A lot of veins. And seams are relatively tight but not impressive. The cigar is hard as a rock. I expect to be doing some deep drilling to get the air to flow. The triple cap is expertly applied.

Big floral notes hit the sinuses first…followed by heavy cream, caramel, malt, milk chocolate, cedar, butter, barnyard, marzipan, café au lait, and vanilla. Pretty much what you can expect from an Ecuadorian Connie wrapper.
The cold draw presents flavors of barnyard, pencil shavings, cream, butter, salty pretzel, vanilla, black pepper, nuts, and cedar.

This is the third Connecticut blend I’ve reviewed this week. Tomorrow, a Quorum.

Can’t draw on the cigar…flattened straw. Yes, I grab my PerfecDraw Draw Adjustment Tool and solve the problem with a couple of swipes and the stick is good to go.

First puffs are very interesting: Caramel, creamy, black pepper, heavy on the malt, milk chocolate, cedar, salted nuts, baking spices, vanilla, sweet marzipan, black coffee, peat, lemon zest, banana, coconut, and brown sugar.

But then, I expect a $20 cigar to knock me out from the get-go. So far, so good.
I’m unimpressed with the burn. Needs a touch up only half an inch in.
As you can see in the photo below, the triple cap is not so expertly applied as I first thought.

When I smoke a $20 stick, the first thing I do is compare it to Bespoke Cigars. Bespoke blends are monsters. And at this early juncture, the Cohiba Connecticut doesn’t come close even as nice as its starting point. Remember, use promo code Katman for 10% off Bespoke cigars at Small Batch Cigar.

I’m an inch in and the stick is listless as far as it is missing some oomph. The strength is barely medium giving the whole flavor profile a limp presentation. The $8 Henry Clay War Hawk, with the same wrapper, was much better.
The stick is also a fast burner. That makes me unhappy. Once again, the Clay I reviewed yesterday was packed beautifully allowing me to smoke a 5 x 54 cigar that took its time and languished nicely. This baby is trying to get to the finish line ahead of Maximum Security.

Maybe with 8 months of humi time, this cigar may turn into the Hulk but its early potential does not scream you can’t live without trying this stick.

At the moment, the smell the glove aromas and the first puffs were better than the blend is at this point. It’s ordinary. And yes, I take the price into consideration as should you all. If a manufacturer is going to shove a $20 stick down your throat, it better set your boxers afire. It is only smoldering early on. The signs of a great stick is immediate gratification that builds and builds til your head wants to explode spilling all those unused brain cells.

It’s not a bad cigar. I like it but I can’t help but think that I need a serious punch in the gut from this average tasting blend. I want my toupee to twirl to the music of Ethel Merman in a duet with Liza Minelli. (What?).

Well, that was quick. The first third only took 20 minutes. I don’t like that.

Flavors are muted. Not a lick of complexity. Transitions are weak. The best part is the finish which is in overdrive attempting to compensate for its other weaknesses.

The oomph factor is zilch. It needs some sorely gritty spiciness to give it some weight. All those early described flavors have slowly melted away leaving only some creaminess, malt, caramel, vanilla, cedar, nuts, and milk chocolate.

If I were blind taste testing this cigar, I would say it is an average $5 Connie catalog brand second.

The cigar should be bursting with potential. It’s lying there like a flaccid wienermobile.
I’m bummed. I expected a big fat blend oozing with greatness.

The American Cohiba was once the standard bearer for great Central American blends. Not so much anymore. Their releases over the last few years have become gratingly mediocre. I’ve seen those blends on all the auction sites and discount online stores for pennies on the dollar. What was once sold for $12-$15 can be had for half or less the price. Not a good sign. Someone isn’t driving the bus.

Actually, as the reality of this being a mediocre blend begins to hit home, I’m glad it’s burning like a cigarette. Nothing worse than spending hours behind my laptop smoking a dud. This baby will take less than an hour to smoke.

And then some improvement rears its pretty head. Flavors begin to return. Peanut butter shows up for the first time. There isn’t much sweetness factor going on which would complement the peanuts nicely. Its creaminess still reigns supreme along with a healthy dose of malt. The spiciness is so bare that I must squinch my eyes to track it down.

A little bit of lemon zest gives the cigar its only bit of oomph. The caramel is gone. So is the chocolate, coffee, and banana and coconut. Those last two flavors really gave me some hope that this would be an interesting blend. Now they have disappeared into the ether.

Dudes! This must be a joke cigar. I hope it doesn’t explode.

The burn is shit. I’ve had to fix it several times already. The construction on a $20 stick should be superb. Man, this cigar is going to take a lot of hits from other reviewers. See, General Cigar is a sponsor. They send me cigars all the time. (And $$). Yet, they seem to either be tolerating my attitude or they don’t bother to read about what they sent me. Either way, reviewers worried about sponsorship shouldn’t fret. Tell General Cigar and Cohiba that they screwed up with this overpriced cigar. If we don’t let them know, they will think they did a good job…or at the worst, they got away with murder.

The strength remains at barely medium.

Some spiciness appears but it is run of the mill black pepper in the back of the throat. Ordinary.

Even if this cigar was to inhabit Graceland in a few months, there is no way it’s worth the ridiculous price point.

Bespoke Cigars excel at 2-4 months. And they are way more complex than the average bear. They are exceptional. But even at the very early stages, the potential is huge. The Cohiba Connecticut lacks potential.

Isabela Cigars is another great example. John Piette ages his cigars, on average, 3 years so by the time you get them, you can smoke them ROTT. And they don’t exceed $9 a stick. John doesn’t know how to make a mediocre cigar. Maybe he should hold a seminar for Cohiba and teach them a few things.

I am so jonesing for a Bespoke right now.

At the halfway point, the Cohiba finally begins to show promise. The spiciness diversifies. Flavors return. It’s a shame that that’s the most positive thing I can say about this cigar. Still, no complex nature. Transitions are missing in action.

There is no spark. I can’t even think of a cigar to compare it to as I don’t smoke Connies; as of all the wrappers out there, I consider it the most boring. It takes a really sharp blender to get even an Ecuadorian version to shine.

The burn actually slows down uncovering the construction as mediocre because this means the first half was under filled while the second half is filled properly. Where was quality control on this blend?

Just because you are a respected cigar manufacturer doesn’t give you carte blanche to rip off your customer base. This is a new low for Cohiba. They should have known that if they were to venture into the nether world of Connecticuts, they better do their homework a whole lot better than they did with this puppy. The muckity mucks at Cohiba smoked this cigar and said, “OK, it’s not great but let’s make it expensive!” They got some real balls.

I don’t know about you, but a great first cigar of the day can color the rest of the day.
When I’m done with this review, the Cohiba Connecticut will just fade into the fog of my brain.

The last third is the improvement zone. Complexity finally plants its flag. My synapses stop what they are doing and pay attention to the little bit of life that has begun at the end of the cigar.

OK. The blend is now very pleasant. Still mild/medium in strength. It really needs more than that for a $20 stick. There are plenty of good Connies at $7 a pop out there. Why spend two sawbucks for one that merely exists to annoy.

I’m grappling to find some redemption in this blend to crow about.
The cigar goes into meltdown stage. All that was good in the last third evaporates.
You want to buy a great $20 cigar, then go to SBC and get some Bespokes.


And now for something completely different:

I’ve written a lot about my relationship with R & R Hall of Fame drummer, Hal Blaine. And here is some more.
As a young album-buying teen, I’d lie on my bed and listen to 60’s rock; while reading the liner notes and always saw Hal as the drummer. The L.A. Wrecking Crew played on a massive number of hit acts. Blaine played on over 25,000 recording sessions with 6,000 songs making the Top 10.

Our close relationship lasted 4 years. Then I screwed it up. Sort of. I will explain later.

Hal was going through his third divorce. I believe he was in his early/mid 50’s in the early 1980’s. He was thrown out of his Beverly Hills mansion and found himself living on his boat in Marina Del Rey.

Hal invited me to lunch on his yacht. This was my first time…he also invited some of his other session player friends. Unfortunately, 30+ years after the fact, their names escape me.

Hal is a Jew like me. His real name is Harold Simon Belsky.

So, by coincidence or otherwise, the players at the luncheon were all nice Jewish boys. This gave Hal the excuse to order from Canter’s Deli on Fairfax Ave in West L.A. I grew up eating there and it was the best deli in L.A. County. They had the best matzoh ball soup and chopped liver sandwiches.
We were served a smorgasbord of Jewish comfort food. Now I live in Milwaukee where there is only one decent Jewish deli.

We lit up a doob, and passed it around, before we ate. And then road stories started. I was amongst the big league of L.A. musicians. So, all I did was listen with rapt amusement.

I was such a fanboy that listening to my betters’ stories thrilled me and I could listen to them all day long and keep my mouth shut. Then Hal told them I played with Stew Copeland of The Police. Back then, The Police were at their peak and I had only exited England 6 years prior.

The direction of questions came my way when they heard that. I tried to tell them road stories but I was stopped in my tracks. All these guys lived the exact same experiences, for a lot longer than me, and they didn’t need them repeated from a young upstart like me. So, I shut up and continued to listen.

My telling of road stories was not usually appreciated by my own peers. There is no shortage of musicians that never got a serious break, and as a result, became jealous and resentful….and just turned me off.

One of Hal’s guests asked if we wanted to see his new home studio?
We were stuffed to the gills with some of the heaviest food on the planet. And Hal had 20 years on the rest of us. Dessert was brought out…Colombian marching powder. Wham! I was no longer lethargic…even though my stomach was bloated.
Off we went. This guy owned a real studio…or should I say: STUDIO!!

It was in the Hollywood Hills surrounded by homes of musicians and movie stars. The view was to die for.

To make a long story short, we all sat down and grabbed an instrument. Luckily, I was the only bassist. I have always been intimidated when faced with another bassist in a jam session. I guess I have a real insecurity complex. Didn’t matter if I was better or worse than the guy, I was nervous about my playing.

We started jamming on “Sugar, Sugar,” by the Archies. No shit. We were all high and laughing hysterically. One of the guys had actually played on the record. There was no Archies. Totally a conglomeration of studio cats.

We played for about an hour. And then…in walked Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley…The Righteous Brothers. Hal had called them from his car phone on the way to the studio.
I almost shat myself. I had met them once before when I interviewed them for my PBS TV show in 1982. But I never hung out with them.

The drummer had lit up another doob and Bill walked over and took it from him. And then a huge smile crossed his face. After a few drags, he handed it to Bobby.
I knew what was coming and I did not know a single song in their catalog. Oh, fuck me! I had never been in a band that could do the incredible harmonies of these two guys.

I took the studio owner aside and asked if he had one of those giant music books with 1000 songs in them? He did and it had all the boys’ songs. Whew.

Unfortunately, it was a piano book with the bass lines for the left hand of the piano…not real notes for the bassist. Luckily, there were guitar chords called out on every bar, so I did some wood shedding when we began to play. A couple songs had iconic bass lines but the keys player saw my distress and played them along with me so I could get them right.

Bobby and Bill made it absolutely clear that no recording would go on. They were very stern about this. They didn’t want any bootlegs showing up. I thought that here was my only chance to play with these guys and I’d have no record of it…so to speak.

The first hour, we jammed on a bunch of R & B tunes that everyone knew. They said they were in no hurry to sing their songs. And besides, they said they weren’t being paid to do so.

“Little Latin Lupe Lu” was a mind fuck of an experience. This was the most enjoyable song of the jam session. It lasted at least 30 minutes. It took off in a million directions.

And then the sun set around 8pm on this California summer day. And guys were talking about getting home before their wives beat them senseless. That was OK. We had played for 5 hours. And I was ragged from the adrenaline.
Hal drove us back to his boat, in his Rolls Royce, where our cars were parked.

A few months later, Hal called me and gave me Bill’s phone number. Their bass player was sick and couldn’t play Friday and Saturday at the Righteous Brothers’ club in Orange County. Been there many times and once in a while, they showed up to perform.

I called Bill and he asked me if I wanted the gig?
“Yes, sir.”
“You know our songs, right?”
“Yes, sir.”

Times were arranged and for two glorious nights, I was in the Righteous Brother’s Band. I told all of my friends but only a few came. Trying to get friends to come to your gig was like pulling teeth.

Being on stage with Bill and Bobby was a rush of the highest order to just being able to play with these legends.

And again, no recording. I might as well have been invisible on stage. Every person’s attention was squarely on Bill and Bobby. I never saw anyone look over at me even though I thought I was playing very well. None of the other players got glances either.

Most of my childhood friends were wannabe musicians that never really made it. And they were terribly jealous of what I had accomplished. So that was probably the real reason they didn’t come to see me play with The Righteous Brothers. I knew I was lucky. But I fought for those opportunities and they didn’t.

I remember being very sad, when in 2003, Bobby died of a heart attack brought on by cocaine at the age of 63.
OK. Here is how I screwed up my relationship with Hal.

I was writing a series of articles for a big underground newspaper. The basis of the content was to show famous musicians and their insecurities even though they had “made” it. I got some great stuff and everyone liked talking to me.

I finally convinced Hal to sit down with me. We sat on his yacht, with my tape recorder, and me taking notes and reading the prepared questions.

Hal was brilliant. He went above and beyond telling me about the things he still worried about even though this man was at the top of his game and a living legend. And filthy rich.

He told me several fascinating things…one was that he still got “snow blind fever.” This was when he looked at his date book and saw a week with no bookings. He would freak.
Needless to say, I asked if I could print everything he told me. He agreed.
When the story came out in the paper, I sent him some copies.
I didn’t hear from him. A week passed and I called him.

Now from a man I never once heard swear, he said to me: “Well Kohn, you didn’t fuck up everything!!”

I basically wrote a rave piece on him and all he could do was focus on the very small things that the interview arc was about: Famous musicians’ worries. I don’t know if he was getting senile for not remembering the point of the story or what?
I had no idea how thin skinned this man was.

Typical. I never learned my lesson on the music business. That is…never trust anyone; and everything comes to an end. You are the toilet bowl and there is a long line of assholes willing and ready to dump on you to make themselves feel better.

What I did learn, in my years trying to endure the big-time music industry, is this:
“Every story has an end, but in life, every end is just a new beginning.”

Hal and I made up around 2003. I stayed in touch with him over the years but I think he still held a grudge for my puff piece I wrote that exposed him as human.


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14 replies

  1. I also got a sampler pack from General to give this cigar a try. I will not rush into anything as it seems to be a poor example of a high priced cigar. ” The cigar sucks but such big portions . ” Will try it down the road.

  2. Hey Phil. I thought that what was Bespoke had to rebrand as Casdagli in the US at the end of last year. Do you know if that still happening or what?.

  3. I will ask Jeremy to respond.

  4. Phil you are a riot in the best possible way! The Rock and Roll diary is always fun and most often I share your views on the cigars you write about. I have one of these Cohiba Connies in my humidor awaiting the apocalypse. I bought it at a shop where some fellas were smoking it and saying how creamy it was and that they were really enjoying it. Imagine if they got their hands on a Bespoke stick. It would blow their minds. I haven’t had the same luck with Isabela that you have experienced. I ordered a sampler pack and they didn’t turn my rotors. May give them another try.

  5. Thank you, Arless…

  6. You must have worked the Catskills, Frank…

  7. What a joke the retail prices are for Cohibas. I just smoked a Cohiba black that was gifted to me. Also $20. Super tight draw and lackluster flavor at best. Just goes to show what marketing and brand recognition can do.

  8. No one has told them that they aren’t Cuban.

  9. Hi Michael,

    This has already happened, all of our new boxes carry the Casdagli (cas-dag-lee) name and we will continue to shine a spotlight on this through all of our communication and the social media accounts like Instagram (casdaglicigars and casdaglicigars.usa – feel free to drop me a message on the USA one!)

    We also took this opportunity to add Boveda (the leader in two way humidity) packs to all of cigars to ensure that the care and our quality first approach happens during shipping as well – from us to our retailers and from our retailers to you.

    Aside from the name – nothing changed, we still use a quality first approach with the aim of delivering luxury, elegance and tradition.

    Hope that answers your question! 🙂


  10. Thank you. I just wanted to make sure I’m buying the right stuff.

    BTW my wife and I visited the Baltic States a few years ago and had a fine time in Tallinn. We stayed at the Hotel Viru (the KGB hotel) and I remember hitting The Oak Lounge cigar bar (I regrettably went too early to visit D’Boiss Club Bespoke – Cigar Club Mareva). I also acquired a quite taste for Vana Tallinn but alas can’t seem to find it in the USA.


  11. Spent many a day there, not necessarily by design

  12. General Cigar produce some very decent smokes, including the well-regarded Punch Gran Puro, Hoyo La Amistad and various value-for-money Diesels. All the more surprising, then, that they should reserve their very worst cigars for the Cohiba brand name.

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