Last night, Rehman Rashid asked me: how do you decide what cigars to buy? I suppose a few factors will influence my buying patterns. I will always buy the cigars i like, such as the Partagas Serie D No. 4, the HDM Epicure No. 2, the Ramon Allones Small Club Coronas. Then there are the cigars that i want to “try”, these sticks are not what i normally buy, but because they represent a departure from what i usually smoke, they are nice distractions to have every once in a while. Finally, there are the cigars that i buy because others tell me it’s good. And so it was with the Cohiba Maduro Genios, after a glowing recommendation from Rehman a month and half ago, was bought because someone i knew whose tastes i trust liked it too.

Just like the Cohiba Robusto in my latest video review, i made the mistake of smoking my first stick from this box of 10 just a few days after it arrived. The flavour was there, but i was disappointed with the sponginess and overall “hollowness” of the draw. I promptly put the rest of the box into the humidor, promising to give it at least a month to rest. That month was up last night, and so i reached into this box to see how things were going — i was richly rewarded by the improvements i saw.

I’m a big nut about the proper storage of cigars, and this is great example of how good storage led to a revival of a cigar after transit. Where there were sponginess and “softies” before, now was much firmer, not hard, but certainly solid. Where there was a dry husky feel to the cigar before, now the wrapper was slick and supple to the touch. Where there was a “lightness” to the cigar before, almost as though it was underfilled, now was a much heftier stick, and felt just right for the canonazo that it is. What a difference a month can make!

The scent test was to die for. The most pungent woody and cedar scent came from this unlit cigar as i ran it under my nose. I don’t remember the last time i smelled a stick that was quite so pronounced; take that piece of cedar from one of your boxes, fold it up, then run it by your nose — that’s exactly what this cigar smells like. Makes me wonder whether the 5 years of extra age these leaves receive prior to rolling are done in cedar barrels or caskets .  The foot of the cigar revealed some nice citrus and fruit scents.

After cutting it, i tested the draw, and while it wasn’t quite as loose as the first stick from the box, it still wasn’t as firm as i would like. I guess some people prefer the draw like this, just a little bit of resistance, but i’ve always liked a stronger pull in the draw which i’ve found also helps in prolonging the combustion to maximize the duration of the smoke. Satisfied, i took a light to the cigar and took a few deep draws.

The first few draws immediately hit me with a tangy spiciness that i really enjoyed. Vanilla, chocolate with tons of peppery tones. This profile receded quite quickly however, and was soon replaced with a refined, very mature (as in old-ish) full chocolate flavour. The flavours were quite full to the mouth, and i couldn’t help but drool a bit as saliva production went into overdrive. Even at the first third, the cigar was a real mouthful, almost like chewing on a gorgeous piece of meat from a juicy, charred steak.

The second half was delightful. The spice and petter was long gone, and an intense woodiness. Imagine take a piece of cedar, lighting it, and inhaling the smoke — that’s what this cigar was giving me. A rich, cedary, floral flavour and aroma. Perhaps some cinnamon and pine to add sweetness to it all. At this point, i realized that the only thing Cohiba-ish about this cigar was its band and name.  The grassy, beany flavour of Cohiba did not exist, even in a bit. Where the Cohiba, even fresh, is refined, tingling the smoker delicately, teasing almost, the Cohiba Maduro is like a ballerina with steroids who wants to arm wrestle you now. Still balanced, as in doesn’t try to overpower you, but very aggressive and full of flavours nonetheless. I can’t recommend this cigar to new smokers; they have yet to build the resistance necessary to tell the difference, and would just be overwhelmed.

The final third was blissful. Full bodied, steak on a stick, a generous helping of tobasco sauce, and that’s where you are with the Cohiba Maduro. Spicy, peppery, and saliva pumping action. I’ve always been a fan of cigars that end with a bang, almost the way a grand orchestra opus finishes, and this cigar certainly delivers in that regard.

Verdict: 91/100. One of the best cigars i’ve had in recent months, among the many good cigars i’ve had. A memorable experience, not easily forgotten.