If there is one cigar that ignites the passions of an aficionado for the Cuban cigar, the Cohiba Robusto would be it. Universally acclaimed as the perfect robusto, it was one of the 3 vitolas released by Cohiba in 1989. For many people, Cohiba is the perfect representation of the Cuban cigar. If you ask these people which of the vitolas appeal to them the most, a fair buck against a silver farthing says that many will say, “the robusto”.

Over the years, the Cohiba Robusto and i have had a love affair of sorts. Its an expensive cigar (pain) but it provides so much utility (pleasure). I must have smoked nearly 150 Cohiba robustos in my lifetime as a cigar smoker, and these are the cigars that i go to whenever the souls needs calming. To me, they are the chicken soup of cigars. The comfort food, the pal and the buddy that you turn to when things are low and you need a little something special to pick you up.

The particular stick under review was from a fresh box earlier this year, FEB 2010. I’ve written somewhere before that a good cigar tastes good now and great in 10 years; a great cigar on the other hand, tastes great now, and even greater in 10 years. The Cohiba Robusto falls into the latter category.

The wrapper is a work of art. Claro tan, minimal veining, silky smooth and oily under the touch. Outstanding. The cigar has a scent of typically fresh cut grass (this is a distinctive feature of Cohibas, i’ve discovered). A quick cut later, i’m testing the draw and its luxurious — a spicy tobacco flavour that tingles the tongue.

The cigar doesn’t resist the flame, and the torch has it lit really quickly. The first few draws are deep and long and i’m rewarded with a head blowing cacophony of flavours and aromas as the swirling smoke orbits my head in billowing clouds. Grassy, herbal, spicy, pepper, very fresh, very clean tobacco lines. It makes me sit up sharply, this is not a cigar to smoke lying down. It demands your attention, and you’d be remiss to ignore it and risk losing out on experiencing all the flavours it offers.

The second half arrives too soon, i was still enjoying the initial flavours of the first 2 inches. It took a banking turn, and began delivering a complex mis of creamy chocolate and vanilla. The spiciness remained obvious throughout this time, and every puff saw me smacking my lips and my tongue against the roof of my mouth. It was just delicious, almost sinfully so.

The final third was met with much sorrow, as i realized this was the end of the journey. Flavours take on quite a strong bitter turn now, but thankfully without getting harsh or rough on the tastebuds. More like a fine espresso mist (no sugar) with each draw. It’s quite thick and rich at this point, and the peppery touches on the lips and tongue do not let up even at the end. An excellent, long, sweet finish follows the cigar at the end. A fitting end to a wonderful cigar.

Verdict: 90/100. A powerful, rich cigar, pepper and spice throughout, not for the uninitiated; a new smoker might find the flavours quite overwhelming.