Rehman and i did a nice little exchange the other day. I gave him a Cohiba Behike 54, and he replied with a 5-pack of Siglo I. I’ve been looking for a nice little supply of these tiny thundersticks for quite some time, so Rehman’s trade came very timely, and will certainly tide me over until i can find the resources and resolve to buy a full box of these for myself.

There are very few cigars in the years i’ve been smoking them that have never, ever let me down. As good as a cigar is, there’s a good chance of running across a dud every now and then, and i’ve not been spared this fate. But, from the 50-60 sticks of Siglo I i’ve had the pleasure to smoke over the years, i really don’t remember a time when it failed to deliver on its promise.

A 5-pack is a relatively new spangled means of packaging certain cigars such as the smaller Siglo vitolas. Its convenient, can be slotted into a shirt pocket or easily carried in a handbag. Certainly a boon for the smoker on the move, and a perfect gift. And, to top it off, the small yellow Cohiba box looks pretty and striking.

The cigars inside were very handsome specimens as well. The one i selected to light up had razor fine veining, felt good under the pinch, and had a delightful dry aroma — the classic “Cohiba” scent — a field of freshly cut grass, fresh and striking to the nose. After a quick cut, the draw revealed perfect construction, and nice tingly touch on the tongue. I’ve always said that the smaller cigars are quite difficult to make simply because the torcedor just has that much less room and leaf to work with; whomever rolled the cigar i had in my hand did an excellent job.

I didn’t have much time, and as much as i didn’t like to rush a cigar, i thought this would be a good test to see how the Siglo I performed under pressure. I took a minute to light it well, then went after it like a chugging train. It was puff after puff after puff in quick succession.

I was drawing long and i was drawing deep. It was quite an interesting change of pace to how i usually smoke my cigars. The first touches on the palate were absolutely electrifying. It was like someone had taken a steak knife and shoved in right through my tongue and through the roof of my mouth. An aggresive, powerful pepper and spice, laced with smooth deep roasted coffee bean sweet bitterness that is the halfmark of the Cohiba. No matter how many times i experience this initial “mouth shock treatment”, i never tire of it and welcome it each time. Early in the morning, a cuppa of joe in hand, and a burst of Cohiba spice and petter; it clears the sinuses right up and pushes away the fog of sleep immediately.

For such a small cigar, it does have quite a bit of complexity. This became obvious when the flavours turned in the second half and started to deliver a buttery creaminess that i really liked. The peppery start had backed off a bit by then, replaced by an interesting vegetal, almost grassy, stroke. Take some butter, spread it on some normal grass, pour on some cracked coffee beans, and chew it all up — that’s the flavour of this cigar in the second half. Fantastic.

About 20 minutes after i first lit it, the Siglo I was in the last third. Very quick by any standards, especially for such a good cigar that should normally be enjoyed at a more leisurely pace. The last inch and a half ramped up the spiciness once more, and the tingling pricks on the tongue became much more pronounced. The finish is distinctively grassy and bright, and stays on the palate for quite some time after putting the cigar down.

Verdict: 89/100. Fantastic morning cigar, works great as a “Pick-Me-Up” when the situation demands it.