On the eve of the Lunar New Year, Dave of Maduro’s invited us in for a luncheon and cigars; we only too happy to oblige! Anytime is a good time to have a good meal and a good cigar with friends, the Lunar New Year was as good an excuse as any.

Conversation was light and fun — from stories about how bad the traffic was on the highways as the traditional Kuala Lumpur exodus occurred as it always does on the eve of major celebrations, to gear talk about the latest cameras coming onto the market. As lunch was served, we were happy to tuck in.

Maduro’s has come a long way in it’s first year of operations. The best move so far has been the introduction of a kitchen and a solid food menu, my favourite of which are the nice range of pasta dishes. Large, hearty servings, just right to satisfy the appetite before having a cigar. For lunch today, we were served a couple of grilled meats, pasta and pizza. Not too heavy, and extremely tasty. Dave had a surprise for us afterwards, a box of Cohiba Behike 52s!

It was the first Behike 52s for me; i’ve had the 54s several times, but never the 52. What a treat! I had brought with me a box of Bolivar Corona Juniors as well, and we merrily passed both boxes around. The Behike 52 was stunningly good. Impeccable construction, perfectly rolled, filled precisely to a gram of correctness. None of this business of underfilled, or loose/soft sticks that we have come to see from recent production Cuban robustos.

Cold, the cigar had a woody, cedar aroma. Expected considering the lovely cedar cases they come in. Quite little pigtail deserves some mention, if for no other reason than it adds to the persona of the cigar and the obvious skill of the rollers who make them in El Laguito. The draw was excellent, just the right amount of resistance to make it interesting. The flavours, the first few puffs of luxurious smoke was divine. Fresh tobacco, fantastically light and cool, with a touch of minty chocolate smoothness. Creamy like melted Baskin Robbins mocha ice cream would be a good way to describe the sensation. For me, it was quite special, a class of it’s own, and rare. The best cigar i’ve had in a while? Certainly, perhaps the best i’ve had in the last 12 months, almost surely.

The cigar delivered waves and waves of flavourful pleasure over the next 90 minutes as we sat back, relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company. Never getting in the way of conversation, except when we felt the urge to praise it, it was a wonderful companion.

Past the second half, it evolved into something a tad bit spicier, more intense, more commanding. Lovely turn of delivery that we all remarked on. Letting it cool between draws was the best approach, and we were rewarded with bitter citrus notes, and a delicate, distinctively Cuban aroma. Medio tiempo indeed!

The toothpicks came out for this cigar, as we burned it past the line where we could hold it. When we finally laid our cigars down, one by one, a silence fell over the group: we had just witnessed and experienced something truly extraordinary.

Verdict: 95/100. The highest rated cigar on My Cigar Blog in a long time. Don’t ask. Just buy it when you can.