The meaning of Cohiba is “Tobacco”.
The Cohiba brand of premium cigars is available in two varieties. The first variety is made by the Cuban company known as Habanos SA. The Cohiba brand of cigars is made from tobacco leaves grown in the Vuelta Abajo area of Cuba. These tobacco leaves are of a high grade and are fermented more than other leaves. In 1968 the production of this brand of cigars started as instructed by Fidel Castro for entertaining the elite persons, foreign diplomats and high ranking officials of the government. All smokers of premium cigars find this brand very appealing. It was released for consumption by the general mass in the year 1982. As it is a Cuban product it cannot be sold in the American market.
The second variety is produced by a company named General Cigar located in the Dominican Republic which started producing the brand in 1978. The sale of this brand of cigars is permitted in the American market as it is not made from tobacco grown in Cuba.
The Cohiba brand of cigars was used to entertain dignitaries and high ranking officers of the Cuban government since 1968. Production for the consumption by the general mass was started in 1982, with the introduction of three new varieties named Panetelas, Lanceros and Coronas Especiales. Later in 1989 another three varieties named Esplendidos, Robustos and Exquisitos were brought out in addition to the existing ones. Production of the Siglo I to V varieties was started in 1992.
The Cohiba brand of cigars was first produced in 1960 though it was formally acknowledged in 1968 only. The story goes that Fidel Castro was offered a cigar made locally by Eduardo Ribera by one of his bodyguards. He liked the flavour of the cigar so much that he placed an order for these unbranded cigars for the top officials of the government. These Cohiba brand of cigars started being produced for the elite in the government of Cuba under a strict supervision. Ultimately this brand became a favourite brand to all the people who were related with the revolution. Che Guevara also made the brand more popular by declaring the brand as the best available.
The government agency known as Cubatobacco which was assigned with the task of keeping the market under control launched the Cohiba brand of cigars officially as a gift item for highly placed officials and the diplomatic staff.
The Cohiba brand of cigars was introduced to the world market with the exception of the US market in 1982. At first only three varieties were introduced and later on another three were added to the existing ones. The variety with the name Linea Clasica was added to the list as the last one.
Why is the Cohiba such a special brand?
The tobacco used in the Cohiba brand of cigars made in Cuba was grown in the fields of San Luis and San Juan y Martinez regions of the province known as Pinar del Rio. The production of the Cohiba brand of cigars was very secretive till 1992. The place where the 10 number of 700 acre plots where the tobacco for this premium brand of cigars was cultivated was known to a few persons only. To maintain the quality of the produce the cultivation of the tobacco was done in only 5 of these plots in a year.
The Cohiba brand of cigars gets its smooth flavor after the tobacco is fermented specially for the 3rd time by using wooden barrels. At the beginning this brand of cigars was rolled under strict supervision in a mansion in Havana which was known as the factory called El Laguito. At a later stage the readymade tobacco available from the factory at El Laguito was used to make the cigars at the factory in Partagas. The Cohiba brand of cigars is usually made to give a medium or a full-bodied taste.
Presently the Cohiba brand of cigars is available from two different manufacturers. The first one is made by the state owned company known as Habanos SA in Cuba. This brand is available all over the world except the in the U.S. This variety is made from premium tobacco grown in the region called Vuelta Abajo in Cuba and specially fermented in multiple stages to give the cigars a smooth taste.
The second variety is made by a company in the Dominican Republic with the name of General Cigar. This company is based in the United States and handles the sale in the American market. The fans of the Cohiba brand of cigars are just like a cult which is formed by the elite of the society. The general masses were allowed to buy these cigars only in 1982. Due to the imposition of an embargo by the United States on trade with Cuba, the cigars made in Cuba were banned from being exported to the US market. An American company named General Cigar filled up this void by starting to produce these cigars in the Dominican Republic and selling them in the US market. As these cigars did not use any tobacco from Cuba they carried only the original name and were allowed to be sold in the US.
The Cohiba brand of cigars comes in different sizes or vitolas. Some of the sizes of the Cuban variety of Cohiba cigars that were introduced to the world market are given below.
The three sizes named Panetala, Lancero and Corona were commercially introduced in 1982.
Another three sizes named Esplendido, Robusto and Exquisito were introduced in 1989.
The three sizes introduced in 1982 and the three sizes introduced in 1989 together came to be known as Linea Clasica
The Linea 1492 series made up of the five sizes of the Siglo I to V variety was introduced in 1992 and the variety with the sixth size and named as Siglo VI was brought out in 2002.
In 2007 a new variety named as Maduro 5 was introduced to the market by the company called Habanos SA.
The Behike variety of cigars was introduced by the company named Habanos SA to the market in 2010.
In addition to the varieties of the Cohiba brand of cigars mentioned above which have been released in the market, the company named Habanos SA also brings out limited period editions like Piramide, Sublime, Double Corona, Reserve Piramide and Millenium from time to time.
To be precise the Cohiba brand of cigars is revered all over the world and has attained a special status in the hearts of the connoisseurs of the cigar smoking fraternity of the world.