A new Edición Limitada from Habanos S.A. is almost always a big deal, but add the fact that it is the first Edición Limitada release for the Cohiba marca in four years and it is virtually guaranteed to make a huge splash.
Such is the case with the Cohiba Talismán Edición Limitada 2017, a 6 1/12 x 54 robusto extra rolled with tobaccos that have been aged for at least two years and packaged in 10-count sliding lid boxes. According to Habanos S.A., the cigars were rolled at the legendary El Laguito factory in Havana, Cuba and features a blend that is meant to match the medium-to-full flavor of the Cohiba La Línea Clásica, which includes the Cohiba Robustos, Espléndidos, Pirámide Extra and Lanceros.
Of course, it would not be a very interesting release without some controversy, something the Cohiba Talismán Edición Limitada 2017 had in spades. First, while the original samples shown off for the announcement of the cigar featured a regular cap, the production versions were rolled with the addition of a small pigtail.
In addition, although the official release was not held during an event that took place at the Corinthia Hotel London on Nov. 7, 2017, there was at least one reviewer online who posted a review of a sample in late October saying that it was a prerelease of the production cigars. This prompted Hunters & Frankau, the exclusive distributor of Habanos S.A. products in the U.K. to release a letter indicating that none of the official cigars had been released “anywhere in the world.”
For a background on the Edición Limitada, Charlie Minato has described it thusly:
In 2000, Habanos S.A. launched the Edición Limitada series, which creates cigars that are not offered in the regular production portfolio for select brands. Since 2004, Habanos S.A. has limited the series to three releases per year and since 2007, all cigars are said to use tobacco that has been aged for at least two years.
These cigars now receive a secondary band noting their Edición Limitada status and the year it was selected. By in large, the series has relied on Habanos S.A.’s global brands—Cohiba, H. Upmann, Hoyo de Monterrey, Montecristo, Partagás and Romeo y Julieta. Although, José L Piedra, a global brand, has not been part of the program, while multilocal brands like Bolívar and Punch have been used for Edición Limitadas.
There have now been seven Cohiba releases in the Edición Limitada program:
- Cohiba Piramides Edición Limitada 2001 (6 1/10 x 52)
- Cohiba Double Coronas Edición Limitada 2003 (7 3/5 x 49)
- Cohiba Sublimes Edición Limitada 2004 (6 1/2 x 54)
- Cohiba Piramides Edición Limitada 2006 (6 1/10 x 52)
- Cohiba 1966 Edición Limitada 2011 (6 1/2 x 52)
- Cohiba Robustos Supremos Edición Limitada 2014 (5 x 58)
- Cohiba Talismán Edición Limitada 2017 (6 1/12 x 54)
In addition, the Cohiba Talismán Edición Limitada 2017 is one of three Edición Limitada releases for 2017:
- Cohiba Talisman — 6 1/12 (154mm) X 54 — Boxes of 10
- Partagás Serie No.1 — 5 5/12 (138mm) x 52 — Boxes of 25
- Punch Regios de Punch — 4 3/4 (120mm) x 48 — Boxes of 25
The Punch and Partagás just began arriving at stores.
- Cigar Reviewed: Cohiba Talismán Edición Limitada 2017
- Country of Origin: Cuba
- Factory: El Laguito
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Length: 6 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Toro Extra
- MSRP: $57.47 (Boxes of 10, $574.70)
- Release Date: Nov. 7, 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
After picking it up for the first time, I find the Cohiba Talismán Edición Limitada 2017 to be extremely thick and heavy in my hand, with a surprisingly dark chocolate brown wrapper featuring just a little tooth and oil along with a few prominent veins and a pigtail cap. The cigar is extremely hard when squeezed, though there is a small soft spot noticeable between the band and the foot. Aroma from the foot and wrapper is an intoxicating combination of cinnamon, sweet chocolate, vanilla, earth and manure, while the cold draw brings flavors of rich fresh ground coffee, hay, well-aged cedar, dried tea leaves, almonds, a generic sweetness and a touch of spice.
For some reason, it takes a bit longer than I expected to get the Cohiba Talismán lit, but once I do, the smoke starts flowing off like a house on fire. The profile is immediately dominated by a distinct combination of salted nuts and cedar, interspersed with flavors of earth, bitter espresso, leather, cinnamon and hay. There is a touch of both citrus and white pepper on the retrohale that both seem to be getting a bit stronger as the first third burns down, and I notice a slight bitterness and generic sweetness on the finish as well. While the draw is excellent after a straight cut the burn starts to waver quickly, forcing me to touch it up to avoid it getting out of hand. Strength-wise, the Talismán is extremely aggressive out of the gate and ends up easily hitting the medium mark before the first third comes to an end.
While the citrus note from the first third increases slightly at the start of the second third of the Cohiba Edición Limitada 2017, it is still far behind the cedar and nuts combination that are still the dominant flavors in the profile. Other notes of coffee, leather, hay and cocoa nibs flit in and out, and while the finish still has a bit of bitterness on it, there is the addition of some generic sweetness as well as a slight increase in the white pepper and that is still present on the retrohale. Thankfully, the burn has evened up nicely and draw continues to impress, while the smoke production is well above average. The overall strength continues to increase—albeit more slowly compared to the first third—and is past the medium mark by the time the final third starts.
The profile of the Cohiba Talismán Edición Limitada 2017 takes a major shift in the final third, with the nuts and cedar combination overtaken by notes of leather and hay. Additional flavors include earth, fresh roasted coffee, anise and flour. There is a bit more pepper on the retrohale compared to the previous two thirds as well as some increased sweetness that reminds me of marzipan, but there is also slightly more bitterness on the finish. While both the draw and smoke production have stayed the course, the burn again starts to get out of hand and I have to touch it up twice. Finally, the strength of the Cohiba continues to increase, hitting a point very close to the full mark before I put the nub down with about an inch to go.
- Pricing is based on the German market, where the cigar retails for €47.
- In London, it’s being offered at £130.99 per cigar and £1,299 per box — that is $181.46 per cigar and $1,799.51 per box as of Jan. 19, 2018.
- While I would not say I was completely shocked, the amount of strength that was evident in this blend was a bit of a surprise.
- The factory name for this vitola is Cañonazo Doble, a new size for Habanos S.A. that features a short pigtail cap.
- In October 2017, Habanos S.A. announced that the Festival del Habano XX will feature a new Cohiba Reserva. One could argue the Reserva line is Habanos S.A.’s second most prestigious line, behind the Gran Reserva line. As Charlie Minato alluded to, based on the Talisman it will be curious to see just how much that Cohiba costs.
- Interestingly, the Talismáns have new codes located on the on the back of each individual cigar band that are only visible when a black light is used.
- One of the samples I smoked had a noticeably tighter draw than the other one, although I did not notice any significant changes in the profile or construction between the two of them.
- Both samples had a fairly obvious soft spot: one was close to the foot while the other was located right under the secondary band.
- Speaking of the band, both of my cigars featured a secondary band that was noticeably off center compared to the main band. They were glued pretty tight, so this was seemingly done on purpose.
- The box code for the Cohiba Talismán Edición Limitada 2017 smoked for this review was BRE OCT 17.
- The cigars smoked for this review were sent to halfwheel by C.Gars Ltd.
- Final smoking time for both samples averaged two hours and 11 minutes.
Most Edición Limitada releases have an enormous amount of hype behind them, but when you add the Cohiba name, you can expect the demand to get even more fervent. However, after smoking the Cohiba Talismán Edición Limitada 2017, there is no doubt that there is significant room for improvement: the profile is enjoyable but not overly complex, the construction has both burn and draw issues, and the balance leaves quite a bit to be desired, especially when it comes to the almost shocking strength that is present. There is always the cry to let Cuban cigars age before judging them—and my feeling is that these will only get better with some significant rest—but as of right now the blend leaves me wanting more than it is apparently able to give.