Cohiba Esplendido CLE ABR02

Have you ever rolled a cigar between your thumb and forefinger, smelled the wrapper and the foot, and thought to yourself, “Yes, I really do deserve this?” Because tonight I really do deserve this and it’s a Cohiba Esplendido from April 2002.

Just holding the cigar makes me feel like I will be sinning when I set it on fire. See, that’s one of the differences between collecting cigars and collecting art. If I was an art collector, I’d be burning a Picasso for my evening pleasure.

Ahh, there it is, the inimitable Cohiba sweetness. I’ll have to take a forget pill later so these won’t be gone by the weekend. At least it’s not a Lancero; then I’d have to run and hide them all now.

Sometimes I will hear someone wonder out loud what the “big deal” is about Esplendidos; I hate to break it to you, but if you have wondered this after smoking one, odds are you smoked a fake. There is huge money in fakes, especially in resort towns and especially with Cohibas. I mean, think about it, counterfeiters don’t print ones. But I run on…

And, by the way, I am not saying that the Esplendido is the end-all of cigars; it’s not even my favorite Cohiba. But when they’re on, magic happens.

Barely a third of the way into the cigar and I’m running out of superlatives. I wasn’t even going to write this review until the cigar hit my hand. But not reviewing it seemed at that point to be an act of selfishness.

What about flavors? It tastes like a well-aged Cohiba. The complexity is just too much to try to break down. And the burn is perfect. Basically, it’s Cuban tobacco at its finest that has been carefully stored for nearly 15 years.

If you get the chance to travel to Havana and have money burning a hole in your pocket, pick up some. I’m not saying that these will ruin other cigars for you (I still smoke more Nicaraguans), but they really are “special occasion” smokes.

Rating? I could easily go all Nigel Tufnel and say, “These go to 11,” but I’ll skip the hyperbole and just say that this (with a few other special cigars) is the easiest 100 rating I can recommend. And, yes, Joe Bob says check it out.

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