I remember being at the Casa Favilli factory in 2017 when Claudio Sgroi told a small group I was in about his most ambitious project to date: Cosecha.
It’s the Spanish word for harvest and it’s a phrase that is rather familiar to the small group of people who want to smoke the best Cuban cigars of any given year. Each year, Habanos S.A. releases a cigar named either Reserva or Gran Reserva with a pretty specific naming formula: regular production cigar from one of Cuba’s most famous brands + Reserva or Gran Reserva + Cosecha <insert year>.
The idea there is that the company picks a regular production cigar to make a special version and uses tobacco only from a single harvest. Those tobaccos undergo special aging, get special packaging and a much higher price point.
In many ways, that’s what Sgroi is doing with Mombacho’s Cosecha Series.
It started with the Mombacho Cosecha 2012, which was made with Nicaraguan tobaccos that Sgroi deems good enough to be used in the release. The cigars are rolled under a similar timeline to a regular production cigar but then receive a minimum of four years of aging before being released.
In the case of the most recent release—Cosecha 2015—the cigars were rolled in the spring of 2017, before the first Cosecha release arrived at stores.
- Mombacho Cosecha 2012 (6 x 52) — July 2017 — 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Mombacho Cosecha 2013 (6 x 52) — July 2018 — 800 Boxes of 10 Cigars (8,000 Total Cigars)
- Mombacho Cosecha 2014 (6 x 52) — June 2019 — 750 Boxes of 10 Cigars (7,500 Total Cigars)
- Mombacho Cosecha 2015 (6 x 52) — June 2020 — 430 Boxes of 10 Cigars (4,300 Total Cigars)
Not only is this smallest production run for the Cosecha Series, but the Cosecha 2015 is also the most expensive. The three previous cigars were priced at $21.95 per cigar while this year’s release is priced at $29.95 per cigar.
In terms of other differences, this release is supposed to be the strongest of the bunch.
“When accessing the potential for any new Cosecha vintage, I first determine the conditions, yields and specific qualities of that years tobacco crop in Nicaragua,” Sgroi said in a press release. “In 2015, I discovered an excellent and Cosecha worthy crop, albeit with a stronger tobacco than recent years, so I identified and worked with these characteristic (sic) allowing for the strongest Cosecha Vintage in history.”
- Cigar Reviewed: Mombacho Cosecha 2015
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Casa Favilli
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $29.95 (Box of 10, $299.50)
- Release Date: June 26, 2020
- Number of Cigars Released: 430 Boxes of 10 Cigars (4,300 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
If oily cigars are your thing, the Mombacho Cosecha 2015 will be a rather attractive option. Upon closer inspection, it’s not a perfect cylinder and there are a lot of veins. I also noticed upon picking up the first cigar that the top third of the cigar is very stiff, while the rest of the cigar has a more normal amount of firmness. This is the case on all three samples. Aroma from the wrapper reminds me of some really bad flour tortillas from an at-home taco kit I used to eat as a kid. It’s not that the flavor of the cigar is awful, rather, that’s an indictment of the tacos my family was eating at home in the late 1990s. The smell is a bit flat with just a bit of lemon to help accent it. The foot is much more vibrant, albeit still medium-plus, with a very intertwined mixture of cocoa, fruitiness, leather and a bit of a cola flavor. The cold draw is sweet with caramel corn, some cereal grain, floral flavors, whiskey and a bit of a pecan roll. That sounds like a lot of flavors, but it’s more or less just one rather hard to place mixture with no real separation between each individual flavor.
Once lit, the Cosecha 2015 begins with sweet cedar, raisin, leather and a bit of creaminess. Pretty early on it seems clear this is going to be an earthy cigar and that’s the dominant flavor for most of the first third. It sits on top of a mixture of pepper—starting as a milder black pepper and settling more of white pepper—and some indeterminate sweetness. At times there’s a bread flavor—taking on that bad tortilla flavor I smelled from the wrapper—and one sample has a grassy characteristic. Retrohales add more earthiness though there’s a rather unique mixture underneath of sweet citrus and a mineral flavor. The finish of the retrohale had a lot of bread along with more white pepper. Flavor is medium-full, body is full and strength is medium-full. Construction is good with plenty of thick smoke, though each sample develops a cracked wrapper pretty early on. Fortunately it’s low enough on the cigar that it doesn’t seem to affect the burn.
The second third of the Mombacho Cosecha 2015 is still quite earthy but there’s an added sourness and saltiness. While sometimes that might be a bad thing, I think it works quite well here. The profile adds pita bread, red pepper and leather. Fortunately, there’s now some separation between the main flavors and the finish, the latter of which is led by cream soda, leather and white pepper. Retrohales have a meaty flavor—like cured ham—though it’s still quite earthy. There’s pepper, which seems more black pepper than red or white pepper. Flavor is full, body is full and strength is medium-full, though quickly increasing. Construction remains quite good on all three samples.
Just after I type “construction was good” in my notes, I take a puff and can both feel and see the smoke production drop. Another puff, even less smoke. It dawns on me that I might have hit the tight spot of the profile—which I have—and I decide to take a lighter out as preventive measure. This happens on all three samples, but that’s not the end of the effects of the tight draw. The pace at which the cigar was burning starts to move at a very slow pace. All of this inevitably affects the flavor, though it’s still dominated by earth. There’s also some herbal flavors, cinnamon, leather and an added nuttiness. The finish tastes like pizza dough with some garlic powder, though the familiar mineral flavor sticks around. For some parts of the final third getting enough smoke for a decent retrohale is tough, though when I’m able to there’s pizza dough and charred earth. Flavor, body and strength all end full.
- Mombacho Cigars S.A. puts the month and year of when each cigar was rolled on the inside of the band. These cigars were rolled in May 2017. This is something that I wish every company would do as it’s much more helpful to me than the date codes used by Habanos S.A., My Father Cigars S.A. and others as those dates are just when the cigars were packaged into their boxes.
- Speaking of things I like about the bands, it’s cool to see Casa Favilli on the band. That’s the name of Mombacho Cigars S.A.’s factory.
- I’ve always been fascinated by the differences in cigar production compared to that of alcohol. I’d love to see someone do a release like wine where we not only got to see the differences between the crops but were also told what the blending variations were. There have been attempts—most notably Tatuaje’s La Vérité, but the series has only had three vintages—2008, 2009 and 2013—making it a lot tougher to figure out the variations.
- If you are wondering what the big differences are between how cigars and wine are made, it varies quite a bit. Cigars are usually made like non-vintage wines where the blends are adjusted as time goes on to account for the variances between crops or variances between what tobaccos a factory has access to. In the case of wines that receive a vintage designation, the wines are usually blended specifically for what the winemaker thinks is best for that given year, as opposed to cigars which are typically blended to taste the same from batch to batch.
- For those hoping to know where this ranks compared to the other three Cosecha releases, I have no idea. It certainly is stronger than the Cosecha 2012, but I’m not really sure if I’ve smoked the 2014 release and don’t have notes for the 2013 release.
- I’ve always been told that if the cigar is going to be tight, it’s likely to be tight right around the band. The reason for this is where a buncher’s hand is when they bunch cigar.
- All three cigars are rather firm right around the band. The draw is probably a bit tight for most people but it’s fine for me. Unfortunately, right around at that point I could feel the smoke production drop significantly, meaning I opted to touch the cigar up.
- That being said, it took just one touch up to help reset the smoke production, and I avoided another touch up on all but one cigar.
- The ash is super firm; getting it to fall off requires a substantially greater amount of force than average.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was two hours and 50 minutes on average. Just over half that time was spent on the last two and a half inches, which is where that tighter draw was prevalent.
- Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar Co. carries the Mombacho Cosecha 2015.
There’s no doubt that I would have enjoyed the cigar without the tighter draw in the final third, though it’s probably not for the most obvious reason. My real issue is that three hours of a heavy earth-forward profile is just a bit more than I wanted. That being said, the Mombacho Cosecha 2015 is still a good cigar. While I understand the added expense of making this cigar, as well as the desire to have a flagship price point, I’m really not sure I enjoy this as much as a lot of Mombacho Cigars S.A.’s regular lines. Furthermore, when it comes to making a purchase, I’d much rather pay less than half for a cigar like the Diplomático By Mombacho Cigars S.A., which I like a bit more than Cosecha 2015.