In early 1999, Habanos S.A. released three different cigars from three different marcas under the Reserva del Milenio (Millennium Reserve Series) to celebrate the Millennium during the Havana Festival. Each of the releases were very different vitolas, but all were adorned with the exact same band.
CubanCigarWebsite.com says the following about the release:
They were issued in ceramic jars of 25 cigars, with special “Millennium 2000″ bands. This series involved 10,000 Cohiba jars, 10,000 Montecristo jars, and 4,000 Cuaba jars; a total of 24,000 jars. The initial release was approximately 17,000 jars, with the balance released in 2002.
The final released in late 2002 was due to a quantity of the original jars being rejected (mainly) due to lid imperfections. These boxes bear a OSU Nov 2002 release code. These jars contain the 1999 production cigars, which were stored until replacement jars became available.
As mentioned above, there were three different cigars from three different marcas in the Reserva del Milenio series. They were:
- Cohiba Reserva del Milenio Pirámides (6 1/8 x 52) — 10,000 Jars of 25 Cigars (250,000 Total Cigars)
- Montecristo Reserva del Milenio Robusto (4 7/8 x 50) — 10,000 Jars of 25 Cigars (250,000 Total Cigars)
- Cuaba Reserva del Milenio Distinguidos (6 3/8 x 52) — 4,000 Jars of 25 Cigars (100,000 Total Cigars)
But enough about that, lets get down to business, shall we?
- Cohiba Reserva del Milenio Pirámides
- Country of Origin: Cuba
- Factory: El Laguito
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Size: 6 1/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Pirámides
- MSRP: $80.00 (Jars of 25, $2,000.00)
- Date Released: November 1999
- Number of Cigars Released: 10,000 Jars of 25 Cigars (250,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 1
The Cohiba is a gorgeous example of a cigar with a dark honey-colored looking wrapper that has a noticeable reddish cast and plenty of oil left. There are more bumps down the length than I expected, but there is a nice amount of give when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is strong and sweet cedar, leather, nutmeg and hay. The cold draw has strong lemon zest-like citrus and sweet leather.
The Cohiba Millennium Reserve Pirámides starts out with strong flavors of creamy leather, citrus, floral and black pepper on the retrohale. It has a great sweet honey background note that really pulls the rest of the profile together. There is some nice spice on the lips for the first 20 puffs or so, but it slowly starts to recede as the first third continues. Smoke production is above average and the burn and draw are excellent so far. Overall strength ends the first third at just a little below medium, but is obviously going to get stronger.
A flor sweetness becomes fairly strong midway through the second third, developing from the sweet nutty background. Other flavors of milk chocolate, hay, nutmeg, leather and espresso dominate, but one flavor is never overly strong for too long before another one takes over. The profile is extremely sweet and is retaining that black pepper on the retrohale, which makes for a great combination. Construction is still wonderful and the strength as increased as expected to a solid medium.
The final third of the Cohiba continues the sweet and peppery blend with the sweetness morphing into a great vanilla note and the the black pepper remains a major player. Other notes of espresso, hay, chocolate, earth and cedar come and go. Some of the sharp citrus from the first third makes a comeback as well, albeit not as strong. Both the burn and the draw of the Cohiba are excellent until the nub. The strength stalls out slightly higher then medium. It never gets bitter no matter how far I smoked it down, and the nub was cool to the touch when I was finished.
- Interestingly, Habanos S.A. released another Millennium humidor, the aptly named Siglo XXI Millennium Humidor, which included 2000 cigars from 21 different brands in 1999 as well. There were five of the same Pirámides vitola included, along with ten other sizes of Cohiba cigars.
- All of the Cohiba vitolas in this Humidor were current production, except for two: the Pirámides and the Gran Corona (A), both of which were the only vitolas released (for the first time) at the Dinner of the Century. There is no info that I know of one way or another on if the Pirámides in the Siglo XXI Millennium Humidor is the same blend as the Cohiba Millennium Reserve Pirámides.
- While some people say that the Millennium Reserve was the first time Cohiba released a 6 1/8 x 52 Pirámides vitola, that is not technically true, as the same size was released in 1994 for the Dinner of the Century. Ten Cabinets of 50 were auctioned off, and about 200 loose cigars were given out to attendees, making it one of the rarest officially released Cohibas. Interestingly, the other cigar given out/auctioned off at that dinner was a Cohiba A, the first official release for that vitola in the Cohiba marca as well.
- The wrapper is a thing of beauty, with a dark reddish cast to it and a surprising amount of oil, considering its age.
- Having said the above, I was also surprised at the number of bumps the wrapper had up and down its length.
- Min Ron Nee has this to say about the Cohiba Millennium Reserve Pirámides in his opus, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Post-Revolution Havana Cigars:
Rolled in 1998 and about 6,000 jars of 25 were made. Strong green and tannic. Very pronounced “Cohiba grassy flavour.” overwhelming bean flavors (coca,coffee, vanilla) Flavors peak in 5 to 7 years and begin to fade away slowly after 10 years.Be sure not to open the airtight jar too often otherwise fresh oxygen might destroy the delicate aroma. Will certainly age to a classic if left undisturbed inside the jar.
- The price detailed above is based on a jar sold at auction in 2011.
- There is a pretty significant difference in the number of jars said to be released between Min Ron Nee, who says “around” 6,000 and CubanCigarWebsite, which says 10,000.
- All three Millennium Reserve releases use the exact same band. In addition, all three releases have ring gauges at or over 50.
- The company who made the jars for the Millennium Reserve series is Bidasoa who are based out of Spain, and also made the jars for the 30th Aniversario release in 1996.
- I find it interesting that these were released almost a year before the date they were celebrating, but nowadays, Habanos can’t seem to release virtually anything without at least a year delay.
- I really do think these have even more aging potential in them. Nothing I tasted indicated it was even close to falling off the cliff.
- The final smoking time for the Cohiba Millennium Reserve Pirámides was one hour and 35 minutes.
The Bottom Line: I have never been the biggest fan of the Cohiba profile in general and the fact that the Cohiba Millennium tastes almost nothing like any other Cohiba I have smoked is probably why I liked it so much. In fact, one word kept popping into my mind as I was smoking this cigar—balance. Everything about this cigar is balanced with perfect flavors and construction working together. Great construction and great flavors to the nub were just icing on the cake. Easily one of the best Cubans I have smoked in years. I just wish I had a few more.
Final Score: 96