In early 2011, a seller with the screen name TripleLigero began selling extremely rare and hard to find Cuban cigars on one of the more popular secondary market forums for cigars. He had a seemingly endless supply of Cuban cigars that were generally believed to be unavailable. Prereleases of Montecristo Gran Reservas and Cohiba 1966 were offered before the annual festival where both cigars were formally shown off.
Amongst a plethora of other rare Cubans, he offered a significant supply of Diplomatic Cohiba Lanceros and Siglo VIs. The cigars, which are specially banded versions of regular cigars given out as diplomatic gifts and some of the more difficult to find Cuban cigars on the market.
Eventually, TripleLigero was outed as a scammer, one of the more prolific in recent memory. A summary of his exploits is available here for those interested.
I was contacted by someone who had purchased some cigars from TripleLigero and offered one of the obviously fake Diplomatic Cohiba VI cigars to review at a later date. I put it away in one of my humidors until I recently came across it again, and Charlie and I decided it would be interesting review for a day like today.
The Diplomatic Cohibas TripleLigero was selling were offered in two different vitolas: a Lancero and a Siglo VI. The Diplomatic bands are a light green color with a tree that bears a striking resemblance to a Royal Palm on it.
- Cigar Reviewed: Cohiba Diplomatic Siglo VI (TripleLigero Edition)
- Country of Origin: n/a
- Factory: n/a
- Wrapper: n/a
- Binder: n/a
- Filler: n/a
- Size: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: n/a
- Release Date: n/a
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 1
The Cohiba Edición TripleLigero is a sight to behold, and not in a good way. The dull brown wrapper is covered in bumps and a multitude of discolorations just beneath the surface. It is a bit spongy when squeezed, and although there is a triple cap in place, it looks very sloppily applied. The wrapper feels so smooth it is almost elastic and the aroma emanating from it is a soft and sweet cedar and a note that almost smells like peppermint.
The Cohiba starts off with strong oak and hay notes, along with a slight saltiness on the lips and tongue. There is a bitterness underneath the other flavors that while not overly strong, is quite noticeable, and it shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. Smoke production is excellent, and while the draw is a tad more open then I would like, there is nothing to complain about the burn. There is no strength to speak of, and I would put the overall strength at not even close to a medium by the end of the first third.
Coming into the second third of the Cohiba and the flavors have not changed in the slightest, still oak, hay and saltiness. Unfortunately, the one major change is a major increase in the bitterness note, both on the retrohale and the finish, which really picks up at about the halfway point. I am not going to call the combination disgusting, but it is close. There is still no appreciable strength that I can discern. The burn and draw remain consistent from the first third, as does the smoke production.
The final third of the Cohiba seems to be a carbon copy of the first two thirds with the same uninteresting flavors and the same almost overwhelming bitterness. The burn and draw are unchanged, as is the smoke production and the strength, which ends the cigar where it started, well below the medium mark. The bitterness starts getting unbearably bad with about an inch left, and I have to put it out.
- In case you decided not to read the first half of this review, this is a fake.
- The tree on the “Diplomatic” bands looks quite a bit like a Royal Palm, the official tree of Cuba.
- There are quite a few threads on various forums detailing the TripleLigero saga, and you can see one of them here, if you have the hour it would take to read it. There is also an interesting review on a forum comparing the Montecristo Gran Reservas from TripleLigero and from the Festival here.
- While I have never seen final confirmation by anyone that would be in a position to know, the general consensus is that most, if not all of the Diplomatic cigars given out in Cuba these days are just regular release cigars, albeit supposedly the best looking of the bunch, with added bands and different boxes. Having said that, Cohiba Lanceros and Trinidad Fundadores were known to be given out to visiting dignitaries over the decades.
- The wrapper on this cigar is unlike anything I have ever seen, in fact, it looks almost like the Viaje Candela wrapper from 2012, only brown instead of green. It is very elastic to the touch, almost like you could pull it taunt and not even come close to ripping it.
- I have seen these same Diplomatic bands for sale online before in the past, but sadly, could not find the site(s) again for this review. However, there are many sites that sell “official” Cuban cigar bands, tax seals and even the ribbons that go around the cigars.
- The discolorations just beneath the surface of the wrapper looked like little black maggots when I first saw them.
- The lack of any noticeable strength in the cigar is a tell tale sign that, ironically, there is probably little to no ligero in the blend at all, irony, I know.
- As with any counterfeit product, there’s a wide range of what this could be. Some fakes are actually Cuban tobacco just not from the factory, some, like most of those you see offered in Latin America outside of Cuba, are entirely comprised of non-Cuban tobacco. So you could get a “fake Cuban” that is actually 100% Cuban tobacco.
- The Cohiba band looks decent at first glance, but when you take a closer look, you see major issues. The gold in the Cohiba is sloppily printed, and the registration is off kilter.
- The smoke production is actually surprisingly copious and stayed that way for the entire smoke.
- The draw was a bit open, and the burn was a bit wavy, but nothing horrible on either of those points, but the finish was horrendous.
- It is really starting to annoy me that every cigar I smoke for April Fools Day turns out to be some of the worst I have ever tasted. If it makes you feel any better, Charlie apparently wasn’t having much of a better day.
- Considering how bad it was, I am very surprised that I smoked it down as far as I did. Seriously.
- The final smoking time was one hour and 15 minutes.
Before you comment, take a minute to read this please.
My assumption going into this review was that this cigar was nothing more than a farm rolled stick, with low grade Cuban tobacco, a horrible wrapper and suspect construction. It seems I was wrong about that, as there were no transitions, no interesting flavor notes, almost no flavors at all. The tobacco is so bad, I could not even tell if it was Cuban tobacco or not, but either way, it is undeniably a low grade cigar made for no other reason than to put interesting looking bands on to trick the ignorant into paying gobs of money for. I did not find any hair or string in the filler, but it would not have surprised me in the least if I had. In the end, it actually tasted quite a bit worse than I expected, and that is saying something.