Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cigar Review: Cohiba Behike BHK 54

Every true Habano lovers knows Cohiba and what comes with a Cohiba. They are Habanos that need age, and being the flagship brand for Habanos S.A., they come with a high price-tag as well. I have had positive experiences with the Cohiba brand over the years, understanding that they need time to truly mature and be the great Habanos that they can be, but I never invested deeply into the brand as I don't have the patience needed to really appreciate Cohiba, and the funds with that. That changed though in 2010 when the Behike line was released, a once limited release. As many know, the Behike line is a different blend than any of the other Cohiba lines, and the line itself comes in larger formats and is composed with medio tiemp tobacco. Medio Tiempo is the highest priming of a tobacco plant, and is a priming that is not always present on the plant. It is typically two leaves, and while they are strong and flavorful, they are quite small. This priming is used in the Behike line, and since the line was released it has received much praise and success. I have an initial box of the BHK 52 from the 2010 run never opened, but today I am not talking about that Habano, but focusing on my favorite offering in the line, the Cohiba Behike BHK 54.

I don't know the vintage on this BHK 54, I would say either 2013 or 2014, but these are great young while smoking marvelously with age. The BHK 54 is called a Laguito No. 5 at El Laguity Factory where they are made, and it is a Robusto Extra - T. It measures 144 mm (5.7") with a 54 ring gauge, and is finished with a classic fan cap. The Habano is composed of only premium Vuelta Abajo tobacco, and the filler tobacco undergoes longer fermentation before being used. The line is also composed of medio tiempo tobacco which separates it from other lines and brands. Beautiful in every aspect, the Habano has a great pigtail cap and is rolled well, showing firmness throughout. The band pops against the nice solid Colorado colored wrapper, and it is a wrapper that shows few veins throughout. It is fairly silky in texture, showing some bumps with the veins here and there, and there are no oils present on the wrapper. The foot of the Habano has an aroma of tobacco, cedar, barnyard, and fruit, and the wrapper is showing some tobacco, hay, and strong wood flavors.

The Habano opens up by showing a lot of strength, and while it has some Cohiba traits, there is a uniqueness in the blend that is truly Behike. It has a nice bit of spice, showing some pepper qualities with that, and it has a salty wood flavor that is accompanied by strong tobacco notes. There is a nice dry earth present as well, and it has some leather nutty qualities on the finish. It is strong, no doubt about it, and you can get that medio tiemp tobacco in the blend. I would say that the strength is at a medium-full level right now, and the body is at a solid full level for me. In terms of construction, it is smoking perfectly and showing an even burn line with a nice firm ash on the end. The ash has a nice dark charcoal coloring, and it is matching the massive amount of smoke that is being delivered with each draw.

The second third shows a calmer side to the Habano, and while it is still on the fuller side of the spectrum, it is not where it was in the first third. I am picking up some nice toasty flavors with the Behike, and it is accompanied by some spices, mostly pepper, and tobacco notes. There are some nutty and cedar qualities making an appearance, and it has a nice dry earth and oaky finish. It is very balanced, though on the fuller side of things, and very enjoyable. The construction is solid in the second third of the Habano as well, and it is showing a somewhat even burn line with a nice dark charcoal ash on the end. The draw is cool, giving off a nice bit of smoke with each draw, and it is a great smoke to sit back and enjoy. I would classify this third as being medium-full overall, and Habanos S.A. has done a great job in making a full bodied smoke.

I am in the final third of the Habano know and I am wishing there was more of this awesomeness to enjoy. I am picking up some great spice notes, lots of pepper, and there is a nice herbal quality with that. It has some dried meat and leather notes, and it is showing some nice dry earth and wood notes on top of that. The finish is of strong tobacco, and I can taste that medio tiempo in the blend, and I am loving it. This is easily a full bodied and full strength smoke in the end, and it ends the way a full powered smoke should finish. It started off fairly strong, which is good, but finished strong. Along with strong flavors and body, the Habano shows nice construction to the end, and it is showing a fairly even burn line with a nice dark charcoal ash on top of that. The ash is holding on firmly, and it is giving a cool draw with a nice bit of smoke. I enjoy the Habano down to the large nub, and I am in need of another Behike.

I have always loved the Behike line in the Cohiba brand, and I believe they are the best Cohibas on the market. Do they come with a higher price? Of course, but most things that are great do come with that high price tag. When you look at the entire Cohiba brand though, everything has a higher price tag and I am one who would rather spend some more on a super quality product at that point. The line is very balanced and full of awesome flavors, showing growth in body, complexity, and strength as it progresses. They smoke very well when young, but with age they are simply phenomenal. What I love about the use of the medio tiempo tobacco in the blend is that you can taste and feel the tobacco, but they blend it so well that it is balanced and not to overpowering. I think the entire line is great, all vitolas showing different strengths, but the BHK 54 is the vitola to choose in my opinion. The samples I smoked for this review were excellent- showing complexity in flavors, transitioning and depth, great construction, and a wonderful strength and body level throughout. I am giving this Habano a rating of 92 to 94 right now, but in some years it will reach the 95 to 97 rating.

Young Rating:92-94
With Age Rating: 95-97