After a wonderful beef rib dinner at Tony Romas, i headed on over to The Embershoppe to check this local divan out. Almost inconceivable that i’ve never noticed such a good tobacconist in my local neighbourhood, despite them being in business for the better part of 3 years, but there it was, hidden in a small corner of the mall.

I didn’t know what i was looking for, but with the help of CK Lim, the owner, i settled on scouring his stock for ’07 cigars, knowing in advance that this was a particularly good year among recent times. We bombed through the many boxes he had on display, until we found a Cohiba Siglo III from MAR 07 which i bought for US$29 (tobacco taxes are a killer here in Malaysia).

It was an excellent specimen from a line of cigars, the Linea 1492 Cohibas, that is already known to produce some of the best cigars in the world, exclusively produced in the famed El Laguito factory in Havana. I couldn’t wait to take it home and light it up.

A grande corona, 42RG 155mm, the Siglo III was a prime example of the change in my personal preferences in recent times. While the trend has been towards larger RG and shorter cigars, i’ve begun to find much more enjoyment in the slimmer models with a bit of length on them. Call me anti-trend, but what can i do: tastes are what they are.

Lush double claro wrapper, with very few visible imperfections, the cigar was a joy to behold, and felt really class in the hand. The pre-light examination revealed much of what i already know about the brand: intense grassy scent, with a noticeable spicey overtone. It’s the first cigar i’ve had in a while that passed my Tickle Test (it made me want to sneeze after sniffing it). I could feel that i was in for a real treat. The unlit draw was firm, just the way i like it, with some woodiness in flavour. Anticipation can be a bitch, so without waiting any longer, i took the flame to it and it lit right away.

Rewarded by plumes of gracious smoke, the flavours came at me right away. Immediately spicy, with that toasted grassy earthiness that aficionados from all over the world have come to associate and love about the Cohiba. I had to remind myself several times to slow down, it was so good. Like a great wine, i forced myself to sip, not gulp. I sat back, allowed myself to relax, and watched the latest episode of Glee as i smoked.

Even the gyrating hips of Lea Michele could not distract me from the wonderful turn of pace this cigar took upon hitting the second half. The lighter first half gave way to deep, dark, roasted coffee flavours, with the spice profile never diminishing. Peppery sensations started to tingle on the palate; a heady burst of nicotine soon followed, and without being overpowering, it was completely relaxing. Exactly what i needed after a long week in the office.

The last third saw some uneven burns which did distract me somewhat (i’m quite fussy about such things), but overall it didn’t detract from the prevailing thought that i had on my mind about this cigar by then: the Cohiba Siglo III is a “comfort cigar”, a real feel good stick of tobacco with marvelous flavours and aromas. By now the deep nuttiness that i know many find pleasing came to the forefront, and this laid the foundation for a superb finish.

The best thing i can say about this cigar is that it has BALANCE. Power vs flavour, never overpowering, but dominating and strong in its presentation. Fantastic!

Verdict: 90/100, well deserved, the most balanced cigar i’ve smoked in ages. 2007 is indeed a great year for Habanos.

If you’re looking for this cigar online, i suggest Cigar-Czar that offers them at the best prices for a box of 25 (US$278) among my recommended merchants. Mention Aizuddin from My Cigar Blog when you place your order with Lisa or Rob, and they’ll personally pick out a box for you! Who knows, they might still have 2007 boxes lying around.