The second cigar I smoked during the mini-herf in Cardiff (see previous entry reviewing the Rafael Gonzalez PC) was the Cohiba Secretos Maduro 5.
Now the Cubans have a bit of a hit and miss record with maduro cigars, so the Maduro 5 range of cigars, of which there are three sizes, are an interesting talking point for addicts of Castro’s crop. The ‘5’ denotes that the wrapper leaf of these cigars has been through a five year aging process.
So, with a diet coke in hand, I set about lighting this small yet pricey cigar, hoping the erase the disappointment of the Rafael Gonzalez which I had smoked before…
The first thing you notice with this cigar is the special Cohiba band for the maduro range – really demonstrating, to my mind, what a different enterprise this has been for the Cubans. The wrapper, naturally, is a nice maduro shade. A nice oily sheen finishes off the positive side of the looks. There were a couple of small flaws however: an obvious blemish, a light spot, being the most eye-catching (see pic); and a couple of small veins just detracted ever so slightly from the overall look. 12
Smoking Characteristics /25
There’s really not a lot that I can write about the smoking characteristics of the Secretos. It really was pretty much spot on. The pre-light aromas were really deep and chocolately (a great first impression). The cigar lit first time and very evenly. The burn continued along this even keel throughout the entire smoke, not once was it off kilter. From start to finish, this perfect burn produced a solid, consistently coloured, ash. The draw was very nice. The only slight disappointment was slightly inconsistent smoke production – on a couple of occassions there really wasn’t quite enough smoke for my liking. Still, that’s being pretty picky (because I had to be…) 24
The first draw immediately produced that typically sweet maduro flavour. Not a sickly sugary sweetness, but a nice rounded sweetness. Some people describe it as like crab-meat… I love crab meat… However, for my own description of what I got at the start of the Secretos, I’d go with a creamy toffee flavour at the front of the draw, finishing at the back with roasted almonds. Early on, the flavours of this cigar became beautifully deep and complex. A richness of double cream and Italian espresso combining for one of my favourite ever flavours in a cigar. After the briefest of pauses the Secretos’ finale arrived… Similar to a cocoa coated coffee bean, it was in keeping with the rest of the cigar, resulting in a beautifully balanced smoke. 24
Overall Impression /35
This is one of the few cigars which I have found to really challenge the Vegas Robaina Famosos on the flavour front – indeed, for my money, it just edges the title. Maybe I just like that creamy richness, with coffee and chocolate thrown in… The burn was excellent and helped to make this an effortless cigar to enjoy. The blemish on the wrapper was a slight disappointment, but shouldn’t really detract from how enjoyable the Secretos really was. Perhaps the best thing about this cigar is that it demonstrates that with pre-aging and careful construction, the Cubans can really start to rival the Dominicans and Nicaraguans on the quality straight out of the box front (as this literally was straight off the shop display). Add to that the usual quality of Cuban tobacco and you’ve got a cigar which is almost impossible to beat! For a cigar of this size, it really is an astonishing smoke. 33
Grand total… 93/100