I’m just going to go out and say it: this is the best cigar i’ve smoked in 2012, and easily in the Top 5 list of any cigar i’ve smoked in the last 10 years. I know it’s only August, but its hard to imagine any other cigar coming close to this in the months we have left of the year. Let me tell you why.

The appearance and construction on the 1966 is impeccable. I’ve been told that it’s the only Cohiba that is still 100% produced in El Laguito. All the others, including the much loved Behikes, have been outsourced to other factories such as Jose Mari and Partagas. I had the pleasure of inspecting 6 full boxes at the tobacconist in The Curve, and every single stick was remarkably similar. The colour of the tobacco, the heft and feel, the supple texture of the tobacco. Perfectly packed, rolled with care, and with a loving pigtail on top. It takes crazy skills to be that consistent, and since these 6 boxes or 60 sticks were rolled by perhaps 10 different people, we can only marvel in how precise the handcraft of the torcedores involved.

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The tobacco used is something out of this world, as far as Cuban leaf is concerned. Long time lovers of Cubans will agree with me: it’s extremely rare to find Cuban leaf that “sweats” oils the same way more commonly seen in maduro Nicaraguan and Dominican wrapper. This is not to say that one is better than the other, but just that oily Cuban wrapper is extremely rare, and on those that do have them, the flavour is greatly enhanced. I’ve only witnessed oily wrappers on a handful of Cubans, from thousands of sticks smoked.

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The proof is in the flavour. Lighting it up and taking the first few draws was like being transported to heaven. Very fruity, freeze dried raisins, sweet and bitter at the same time. A musky, fragrant aroma, almost like burnt acorns laced with chocolate. No spice at all, no peppery bite just yet.

It has a Cohiba band, but it tastes nothing like a Cohiba which tends to be far more grassy and herbal.

Every draw is a pleasure. Thankfully, it burns slowly, thus allowing me more time to savour it. The burn line is razor sharp, unusual in young tobacco, even ones such as the 1966 EL whose tobacco has been aged several years already. Aesthetically pleasing with great flavour, there is not much left to be said.

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As the cigar evolves, it takes on a spicy, peppery feel. Tingles and needle pricks on the lips and palate. Delightful. The flavours become more focused, it loses the easy fruitiness, replaced with a darker, more intense leather and chocolate profile. Still nothing that would identify it as a Cohiba besides the band. I was loving every inch.

The final few inches were a sad goodbye. The finish on this cigar is perhaps the best i’ve ever had — after you put it down, it lingers on the palate with a powerful mocha layer of rich Godiva chocolate. More than an hour later, i can still taste it.

Verdict: 95/100. A mind blowing cigar, deserving of the highest ever score awarded by My Cigar Blog. It’s a crying shame that quantities are extremely limited, and very, very pricey. Get it while you can, smoke some now, and lovingly hoard the rest for the years ahead. It’s the type of cigar that can turn a poor day into a great one, or a great one into one you’ll never forget.

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