Review: Cohiba 35 Aniversario Lancero
in 2001, Habanos S.A. announced a special cigar to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Cohiba brand. Named the Cohiba 35 Aniversario, the release consisted of 500 special humidors which included 135 cigars in six different Cohiba vitolas.
The press release had some of the details:
To commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Cohiba, which is probably the most emblematic brand of cigar in the world, Habanos S.A. launches a special production of 500 numbered humidors.
Cohiba was created in 1966 and is likely the most renowned tobacco product on the planet. That distinction was earned, among other reasons, by being the gift of Cuban leaders to other world leaders here and abroad.
The unmatched quality that these Habanos posses, likewise the fact that they were Fidel Castro’s favorite brand, contributed to creating the conditions to present this brand in society in the Ritz Hotel in Madrid in 1982. This made it possible to bring the myth of this cigar to the demanding cigar world.
Cohiba, whose name is the first denomination the indigenous gave the cigar, has become an example of how to maintain the tradition of Cuban cigar know-how with the modernity of being a vanguard brand. It maintains exquisite care in the selection of its tobacco, likewise the elaboration process in the “El Laguito” factory.
There were six different sizes included in each humidor. They were:
- 20 Cohiba 35 Aniversario Gran Coronas (9 1/4 x 47)
- 20 Cohiba 35 Aniversario Espléndidos (7 x47)
- 20 Cohiba 35 Aniversario Siglo V (6 3/4 x 43)
- 20 Cohiba 35 Aniversario Robustos (5 7/8 x 50)
- 20 Cohiba 35 Aniversario Pirámides (6 1/8 x52)
- 35 Cohiba 35 Aniversario Lanceros (7 1/2 x38)
In addition to the sizes above, there were an undisclosed number of three different vitolas with the same bands as those in the humidor handed out at the 2001 Habanos Festival dinner. They were:
- Cohiba 35 Aniversario Gran Coronas (9 1/4 x 47)
- Cohiba 35 Aniversario Robustos (5 7/8 x 50)
- Cohiba 35 Aniversario Siglo II (5 1/8 x42)
As with quite a few Habanos S.A. releases, while the Cohiba 35 Aniversario was announced and officially released in 2001, it was not actually available for sale until late 2002.
But enough about that, lets get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Cohiba 35 Aniversario Lancero
- Country of Origin: Cuba
- Factory: El Laguito
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Size: 7 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 38
- Vitola: Lancero
- Est. Price: $55.00 (Humidors of 135, $7,460.00)
- Date Released: 2002
- Number of Cigars Released: 500 Humidors of 35 Cigars (17,500 Total Cigars)*
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 1
The Cohiba 35 Aniversario Lancero is covered in a gorgeous light nut brown wrapper that is totally smooth to the touch and smells strongly of a combination of hay, barnyard, sweet chocolate, coffee and nuts. There is just a bit of resistance when squeezed and the wrapper is completely devoid of oil.
The first third of the Cohiba 35 Aniversario Lancero starts out with strong flavors of hay, earth, leather, peanuts and cedar along with a wonderful and distinct honey sweetness that is light in the beginning but gains strength as the first third winds down. There is tiny amount of bitterness that creeps in every once in a while as well as some white pepper on the retrohale, but so far neither are strong enough to do more than notice. The draw is a bit tight this early, but still easily smokable, and the the burn is wavy but not distractingly so.
The sweetness that is present in the profile of the Cohiba 35 Aniversario Lancero changes in the second third, from the honey sweetness to more of a caramel syrup sweetness that clings to the tongue. It combines very well with the rest of the flavors in the profile, including grass, earth, nuts, leather, milk chocolate and cedar. I also detect some tart lemon notes, but only on the retrohale, and the white pepper from the first third has increased noticeably as well. Construction-wise, the burn has evened up nicely, becoming razor sharp, and the draw has looseneda bit, although I would still call it a bit tighter than ideal.
In the final third of the Cohiba 35 Aniversario Lancero, both the caramel sweetness and tart lemon citrus notes increase a bit, as does the strength, which ends the cigar at a solid medium. Thankfully, there is still the perfect amount of white pepper on the retrohale to enhance the other flavors of creamy nuts, milk chocolate, espresso, hay, leather, cedar and earth.The burn continues its razor sharp burn, while the draw continues to be a bit tight until I am done with the cigar with less than an inch left and the flavors on the finish are both nutty and sweet.
- In addition to the above humidor, there were at least two other humidors released to celebrate the 35th anniversary. In 2001, the same year as the original release, a one of a kind Cohiba 35 Aniversario humidor was auctioned off during the Habanos Festival dinner which included 160 cigars; 25 Gran Coronas, 25 Pirámides, 25 Espléndidos, 25 Robustos, 35 Lanceros, 5 Siglo I, 5 Siglo II, 5 Siglo III, 5 Siglo IV and 5 Siglo V. In 2003, Habanos S.A. sold another Cohiba 35 Aniversario release, limited to 100 cases of 50 Gran Coronas.
- In 2010, a humidor sold for £5,000 at one of the C.Gars Ltd Auctions, in late 2009 a humidor sold for £4,300. It’s unclear what the possible humidor tax would be.
- Interestingly, boxes of Cohiba Lanceros from that period have sold for around £2,000 in recent auctions, this would put the price per cigar almost triple for what the 35 Aniversarios were selling for in humidor form a few years ago.
- It has not been officially confirmed if the cigars in the Cohiba 35 Aniversario humidor are the same blend as the regular Cohiba releases, a slightly tweaked blend or a totally new blend altogether.
- The Cohiba lineage can actually be traced as far back as 1963, it wasn’t until 1966 that the Cohiba name was used though according to CubanCigarWebsite.
- You can see a video showing the Cohiba 35 Aniversario humidor here.
- This is an easy cigar and vitola to puff on too fast, and I did just that at a few points during the smoke. I was instantly rewarded with a strong bitterness that dissipated quickly when I slowed down again.
- The finish is excellent: a combination of nuts and sweet milk chocolate, and stays with you for hours.
- Quite a few Cohiba lanceros have historically have draw problems over the years, and this was one of them, with a draw that was tighter than ideal, albeit still very smokable. The burn was wavy at first, but evened up around the start of the second third, with no problems after that. Charlie Minato told me he smoked a 1991 Cohiba Lancero I gave him a few years back that suffered from this problem.
- The ash is a very dark gray with black interspersed, and while it is not overly flaky, it does not stay on the foot for more than a half inch before falling each time.
- The final smoking time for the Cohiba 35 Aniversario Lancero was one hour and 40 minutes, but I was taking it slow on purpose.
The Bottom Line: I was not sure what I expected with the Cohiba 35 Aniversario Lancero release, other than a well-aged Cuban, and that was exactly what I got. Complex and easy to smoke, the cigar did have a few draw issues, but they were not bad enough to really detract from the overall experience. The combination of tart citrus and sweetness that morphed from honey to caramel and a wonderful finish only increased my enjoyment. Did I like it more that the Cohiba Reserva del Milenio Pirámides from the Millennium jar? Not a chance. But it was an excellent cigar and well worth tracking down if you are a fan of Cohiba Lanceros.
Final Score: 93