February 8, 2017

Cigar Review: Cohiba Behike BHK 54

In February of 2010 it was announced at the Habanos Festival in Cuba, the annual cigar party/launch of that years limited habanos, that they would be re-releasing the Cohiba Behike. Everyone was incredibly pleased with this announcement, and everyone eagerly awaited the release. The cigar was originally released in 2006, but at the time was limited to one vitola of 4,000 cigars. There were to be three vitolas in the new line, but the cigars would be made in extremely limited quantities. The cigars were and still are quiet pricey, but are the cream of the crop for the Cohiba brand. Everything about the cigar screams best of the best, and not only was the cigar going to be composed of aged tobacco, it was also going to utilize a small batch of unique tobacco. I never had the opportunity to smoke the original Behike, but knew I had to get my hands on the modern version. 

The Behike line is made with the best tobacco of the San Juan y Martinez and San Luis areas within the Vuelta Abajo Region. Along with the special tobacco in these cigars they have used for the first time tobacco called Medio Tiempo. Medio Tiempo is a a very scarce leaf coming from the two upper leaves of the sun-grown tobacco plant. Besides the fact that there is a limited number of Medio Tiempo leaves, not all the plants produce Medio Tiempo, making it very rare. This tobacco brings a unique flavor and strength to the cigar. Of course with all their best tobacco it is to no surprise that the Habanos would be rolled at the prestigious El Lagutio factory outside of Cuba. This factory use to be a school house but was converted into a factory so that Castro's cigars could be rolled someplace safe. In the factory they are not known as Behike's but rather Laguito No. 4 through 6. For this review I smoked the BHK 54 or Laguito No. 5. The cigar measure five and three-quarter inches and has a ring gauge of 54.

The cigar has nice fan cap to it and is slightly firm in hand. The wrapper is simply gorgeous and shows a nice Colorado coloring with few veins. There are some toothy characteristics to the cigar, and it has an aroma of leather, cedar, floral, and hay notes. The prelight draw shows lots of leather, floral, wood, and cream notes, and I can tell the cigar will be smooth and flavorful. The floral notes in this cigar are very new to me, and from what I have been told the floral and leather dominance is from the Medio Tiempo in the blend. Right when the cigar is lit you get all of those original notes from the prelight but you also get some nice pepper with it. It is a very complex cigar that shows tons of flavors while remaining very balanced. So far it very creamy and smooth and I would say medium in terms of strength and full in terms of body. There is solid construction to the cigar, and it has a nice burn line with a solid charcoal colored ash.

When I get into the second third of the cigar I begin to pick up a lot of additional flavors to the smoke, and there is a nice creamy and coffee flavor showing up. There are still those core flavors of leather, floral, and wood notes, but it is just growing a little more in complexity. There is still a nice pepper flavor profile present with the cigar as well, and it is a incredibly well balanced. There are some faint toasted bread notes to the cigar as well, and it is showing how terrific the smoke is with each puff. The strength level on the cigar is still around that medium body level, and it is a cigar that I could enjoy anytime of day. It is definitely a special occasion cigar though, so make sure there is a good reason to break out this puppy. Construction on the cigar is fantastic, and it is producing an even burn line with a lovely dark charcoal colored ash. It is one of the best smoking Cubans I have had.

I just finished the second third of the cigar now and it is terrific. The flavors are incredibly complex and the cigar is full bodied in terms of flavors but in terms of strength it is right around a solid medium body level. There is a great creaminess to the cigar, and it is pairing with some toasted bread, coffee, and cedar notes. It is very smooth, and very complex. There are some lovely floral notes with the cigar still, and it has a peppery and leathery finish. It is really a cigar that is not a Cohiba, but a Behike. The construction on the cigar is still stellar  and it is showing a great burn line with that lovely dark gray ash that is holding on to the end firmly. I smoke this cigar down to the nub, and at the nub there is a very cool draw with tons of flavors still being produced. This cigar smoked wonderfully from beginning to end, and was terrific with being so young.  

This is simply a terrific cigar, and I think it the best in the lineup. I feel that it offers you the wonderful wrapper qualities, but you get those amazing fillers from the cigar as well. I more often than not would gravitate towards a smaller ring gauge, but not with this smoke. It is very full body from beginning to end, and it keep a strength level that is right at a solid medium level. As I say quiet frequently, a lot of smokers could enjoy this cigar, but a handful could really get a lot out of it. I have updated this review since my original posting, and I can tell you that the cigar has changed in the two years I have had it. These cigars will soften over time, but they will keep the great core flavor profile. There is not much to say about this cigar other than the fact that it is magnificent. They are still great even after some age, but I prefer them younger when they got some pop to them. I give this cigar a solid 95, and will smoke these whenever possible.

I have come back to this cigar multiple times since the initial review and find that over time it mellows out in some of the flavors and has a strength level slightly at the medium body level. This is truly a terrific cigar to age, and after two years seems very different and yet very comforting and familiar at the same time. I would smoke these more often as younger cigars in the future, but with a cigar like this you do not smoke it often so there is a reason it gets aged. One thing I would love to do is smoke this side by side to a L'Atelier. I know each smoke is very unique and different, but it is still fun to do things like that.
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