Cohiba Behike Launch, London

Good evening to everyone in stogie-land! I must firstly apologise for my prolonged absence – I do hope that it has only made the heart grow fonder… I’ve been unbelievably busy recently. Thankfully, it wasn’t quite so bad that I had to cancel my trip to London for the launch of the Cohiba Behike line of cigars – the first launch outside of Cuba!

There is a good wealth of information on the evening’s proceedings in the blogosphere already, and I’ll provide a few links to some good videos and photos at the end of this little review.

Firstly, the location. The Goring Hotel in London was a great venue for the event – a large garden and attentive staff made the event run smoothly. Passing through the lounge and bar en-route to the garden made me want to pitch up for the coming weeks and never move (maybe on my next trip…)

The reception itself was really quite wonderful. A Cuban band and cigar roller had us half-way to Havana, the cold reminded us we were well and truly in London though! On arrival there was Krug champagne, definitely one of the best NVs available and, according to Hunters and Frankau, an excellent accompaniment to a Behike. Thankfully it flowed very freely and I must have put away a bottle or two of the stuff over the course of the evening. The one downside of the copious quantities of quality champagne was that I missed out on the Hennessey XO Cognac – another drink which pairs really well with the right cigar.

Just to rub it in a little now… the tickets were excellent value at £150. Containing: four Behikes (2x BHK 52, 1x BHK 54 and 1x BHK 56) – alone worth a shade over £130; plus an El Rey del Mundo Choix de L’Epoque; and a goody bag containing chocolate and various bits of cigar paraphanalia. Plus, of course, the vast quantities of alcohol consumed. I should, at this point, say a thank you to one of he UK’s best cigar merchants, Mitchell Orchant. I was lucky enough to buy my tickets through CGars (Mitchell’s online store) and he threw in two extra BHK 52 cigars and, unbeknownst at the time, his wonderful book, Once upon a time in Cuba (which is a photographic history of the great cigar making state).

The event was a fantastic experience with pretty much all of the great and the good from the UK cigar world present. Jemma Freeman gave a good welcoming speech, though I must take issue with her suggesting we buy the week’s copy of Country Life magazine… I did… the contents page was exactly half-way through due to the number of adverts at the front! Simon Chase delivered an excellent speech too, informing us of a few interesting facts. Most informative of which was that Behike is apparantly pronounced beh-heek-ay. He also gave us a short history of Cuban cigars in the UK and some information on Cohiba’s history which was well received. One of the highlights was the etymology of the words Cohiba and Behike – the former being the native Cuban word for rolled up tobacco and the latter being the leader of a religious smoking ceremony.

The cigar I tried (a BHK 52) was pleasant, though I can’t really say I was paying attention – what a travesty. When I come around to trying one of my small selection of Behikes again I will provide a proper review.

As promised, here are a small selection of pieces from the blogosphere on the event:

James Suckling’s blog (inc video).

Pics from Hunters and Frankau’s website.

A nice video by monkey66 from UKCF.

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