The weather has been absolutely beautiful here in El Paso. To celebrate a break in our record-smashing heat we encountered this year I head out back with a Cohiba Riviera and a glass of unsweetened black tea.
The Good Stuff:
The Cohiba Riviera is the newest offering from the brand. Hitting shelves now, the Riviera is quite a unique departure from the standard Cohiba productions. First, it’s the very first box-pressed cigar produced by the company. Produced in the STG Esteli factory in Nicaragua as opposed to the traditional location of production, General Cigar Company in the Dominican Republic, the blend features a Mexican San Andres wrapper over Honduran wrapper and fillers from the Jamastran Valley and La Entrada regions of Honduras as well as Nicaraguan fillers from the Condega and Esteli regions. The Riviera comes in three sizes: Robusto (5 x 52), Toro (6 1/2 x 52), and the Perfecto (6 x 60). The robusto and toro come packaged in boxes of 20 while the perfecto comes in boxes of 10 all running between $19.99 and $23.99 per cigar. Thanks goes out to the General Cigar team for sending a handful of these my way.
- Size: 5 x 52
- Wrapper: Mexican San Andres
- Binder: Honduran
- Filler: Honduran / Nicaraguan
- Body: Medium/Full
- Strength: Medium
- Price: $19.99
The Cohiba Riviera starts out with a very consistent, very dark brown wrapper. The wrapper’s texture is very toothy and gritty with a small amount of oils coating the outside. The wrapper feels very dense and hard while the cigar itself is tightly package and extremely hard to the touch with no soft spots at all. I really like the soft-box press format. There are almost no visible veins running through the cigar’s box pressed body leading up to the cigar’s round, double-wrapped cap. The cigar is finished off with a beautiful purple, silver hologram band with the Cohiba crest umbossed accross the front in white, black, and red ink.
The Cohiba Riviera’s wrapper gives off a nice tartness and woodsy aroma while the foot of the cigar is more grainy and earthy with an awesome sweet sandalwood musk aroma. The cap took a bit of convincing from the Xikar XO double bladed cutter likely due to the density, but cut nice and clean after some effort. The cold draw produces notes of sandalwood and grape over natural tobacco.
The Cohiba Riviera starts out with some really rich, dark chocolate flavors over some light tart cherry a softer notes of sandalwood musk, almond, and earthiness. The draw is great at first, kicking out a ton of thick, white smoke which dissipates quickly while the cigar release a ton of stationary smoke while it rests in my ashtray, however I found that if you let the cigar rest longer than a minute or so it tends to try and extinguish itself leading to some quick, deep draws to get it going again. It hasn’t completely gone out on me yet, however it’s really trying. The burnline is beautifully sharp and relatively even leaving behind a gorgeous trail of tightly compacted white ash which held on for a little over an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Into the second third of the Cohiba Riviera and the flavor profile is still fantastic. The dark chocolate and tart cherry are still leading the charge back by some sweet amaretto and musk over light earthiness and a great maple aftertaste. The retrohale brings out a little pepper that I didn’t picking up at all during the standard smoking experience. At this point the cigar has gone out on my once while I left it to use the restroom. I was able to light it right back up and as long as I take a draw often, it keeps lit. I close out the second third with nothing in terms of a nicotine kick.
While the flavor profile hasn’t changed up much in the Cohiba Riviera, it doesn’t need to. The cigar profile is still leading heavily with dark chocolate and tart chery however the musk has really ramped up into the final third backed by amaretto and maple. I really enjoy the flavors this cigar is pumping out. As I mentioned, I did smoke at a higher speed than normal, and since about the middle of the second third I had no issues at all keeping this cigar lit after adjusting. It took me about an hour and fifteen minutes to take this cigar down to the nub. The cigar did burn a bit warmer than most, likely due to the speed in which it needed to be smoked. But nothing that was uncomfortable. I experienced no harshness and closed out the cigar with very little signs of nicotine.
Burn issues aside, this is a very enjoyable cigar and I was not only impressed with the flavor profile, but also very surprised. It’s not everyday that Cohiba makes a cigar utilizing these tobaccos, at this factory, with this flavor profile. While I don’t believe and cigar at this price point should carry any type of burning flaws, I am less likely to knock points off due to how much I actually enjoyed the cigar. I also smoke at a faster pace than most which is important to note as that likely leads to me running into a less annoying experience than someone who smokes much slower. I smoked 3 of these cigars and encountered similar burn issues in each, so make sure you take that in consideration if you decide to pick these up.