This review could also be named, “The night my tastes were spoiled forever”. The Cohiba Siglo VI Gran Reserva will change the way you look at every cigar that comes after.

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The concept behind the Gran Reserva was simple: make the best Cuban cigar possible. Take the best tobacco, give it to the best rollers, and let the magic happen. Tobacco aged from 2003 were used to make the first of the Gran Reserva line, the Cohiba Siglo VI Gran Reserva. Released in 2009 during the Habanos Festival, they were extremely well received with the famed James Suckling calling it a 100-point cigar. I don’t always agree with James, but in this case, i have to wonder: could this be the perfect cigar?

The CGR came to me by a roundabout way. It’s owner brought it with him from Cuba all those years ago, to his current home in Croatia, then to London, then to Kuala Lumpur. A journey of thousands of miles and many years. I’m humbled, thank you for this gift, dear friend.

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It’s also great that the CGR was smoked with friends, a fantastic herf at the Habanos Lobby Lounge, Federal Hotel, KL. Everyone had a special treat for the night with custom rolls and pre-production cigars being passed around and enjoyed, but i must say i probably drew the longest straw with the CGR. The first few minutes were spent admiring the cigar. The construction was perfect, the tobacco supple, the wrapper outstanding. The cold draw was stunning: a lovely hint of citrus melded into waves of clean tobacco — for a cigar made with tobacco from a crop a decade ago, the freshness was surprising. The citrus, almost grapefruity-ness is extremely rare in Cuban tobacco, and almost always a sign a immaculate curation. Before lighting up, i knew this was going to be epic.

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Kevin Shah, Malaysia’s cigar baron, owner of the Habanos Lobby Lounge

And how much more right could i be! What a cigar! The first draws were lush and rich; the light pepper, folded into rich chocolate ripples. It doesn’t sneak up on you like some cigars are want to do: it announces itself from the first draw and demands that you stand up and pay attention. It’s proud yet elegant, poignant yet bold. Unforgettable in every single way. Almost incomparable.

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Dave Ching

The next two hours were a journey into the amazing. Every draw was like sipping the rarest honeyed nectar; thick, enveloping, consuming; it just filled the palate and ignited all the senses. The taste profile is almost impossible to describe. Complex with hints of everything that makes Cuban tobacco great — spice, leather, coffee, bitter sweet molasses, fresh grass and rustic earthiness. An amazing blend of folds within folds within folds. I could taste everything at the same time, but could still pick out individual flavours clearly. The ultimate Pandora’s Paradox.

The finish was pure gold — long, tasteful and lingering. I was in London recently, and i visited the famed chocolate bar in Harrod’s. I picked up a box of La Maison Du Chocolat, a legendary brand of chocolate makers. Incredible dark chocolate, it was. Take that, and imagine how it translates to draw after draw of perfection from the CGR; through the middle of the cigar, the smoke was like vaporised chocolate and earth. Completely intoxicating. The retrohale was musky and heady; pleasurable stings of pepper and sea salt running up the insides of my nose. It almost brought tears to my eyes, it was so good.

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H.E. Yean Yoke Heng, cigar aficionado and Brother of the Leaf of the highest order

The cigar does pack a nicotine wallop. By the final couple of inches, my head was buzzing and i’m glad i was sitting down in the large comfortable chairs of the Habanos lounge. Considering that this cigar is made from tobacco a decade old and it still has such strength? It just means that there is a long way for it to go, and given 5, 10, 15 years of age it will just become divine (though i struggle to imagine how much better it can be than what it is now). It’s a crime that only 5,000 boxes of 15 sticks each were made of this cigar. A crime, i tell you.

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Verdict: 98/100. I just can’t bring myself to give it the perfect score: i need to harbour some hope that there is a better cigar out there so i don’t become completely depressed by never having this again (which i probably won’t given the rarity of the CGR — though i know a place where you can pick up a full box for about US$4500). Haha. Actually, i do know there is a better cigar out there. It’s an AGED Cohiba Siglo VI Gran Reserva. 10 years from now, it will be a cigar that goes beyond what words can describe. Believe me.