Cohiba—one of the most, if not the most, premier brands in General Cigar’s portfolio—has been busy recently, especially in the luxury cigar arena. Long known for lines such as Red Dot and Cohiba Black (which themselves would conventionally be considered luxury-priced), Cohiba has undergone a restructuring of what constitutes as luxury or ultra-premium within its portfolio in recent years. This can be traced back to the introduction of the Macassar in 2016—a cigar that was packaged in boxes made from exotic woods, priced at a maximum of $25 per cigar. Since then, they have brought us a luxury Connecticut, the Spectre (along with a $90 price tag), and the equally elaborate Cohiba Spectre CS19. Not to sit idle, and keeping with the luxury theme, 2020 gives us the Cohiba Royale.
“Cohiba Royale was created with the cigar connoisseur in mind,” according to Brand Ambassador, Sean Williams. The new Royale consists of a Nicaraguan sun-grown wrapper from the Jalapa valley, a Dominican Piloto Cubano binder, and fillers from Honduras and Nicaragua. Additionally, each leaf within the blend is said to have been aged for five to six years prior to be rolled. Sean Williams says, “All of the tobaccos that comprise Cohiba Royale are hand-selected and deeply aged, representing the best of the best tobacco growing regions in the world. The result is a cigar that is as bold as it is refined, befitting of the Cohiba name.”
Cohiba Royale Toro Royale Breakdown
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun-Grown (Jalapa)
- Binder: Dominican Piloto Cubano
- Filler: Honduras (Jamastran) | Nicaragua (Jalapa & Estelí)
- Factory: Honduran American Tobacco S.A. (Honduras)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 6″ × 50 “Toro Royale”
- Price: $28.99 (MSRP)
Making this cigar truly unique in the Cohiba line, it is the first-ever rolled in Honduras, being the only Cohiba in the current lineup, other than the Estelí-rolled Silencio, not to come from the Dominican Republic.
The Royale is available in three sizes, packaged in elaborate 10-count boxes.
- Gran Royale: 4½” x 52 | $23.99
- Robusto Royale: 5½” x 54 | $25.99
- Toro Royale: 6” x 50 | $28.99
As soon as you lay eyes on the box, this cigar just screams luxury. The box is black and faux carbon fiber, with the lid drawing the most attention. It is domed and emblazoned with a faux silver carbon fiber strip containing the Cohiba name. ROYALE is etched in a thin font and is glimmering chrome. I half-expected to see a Cohiba-branded Cartier or Rolex watch in the box in the cigars’ place.
Upon lifting the top, the luxury vibes keep flowing. Arranged in a very attractive arch format, the dark brown cigars have an eye-catching band that matches the colors on the box, complete with a metallic, holographic red border. It is obvious General was going for wow factor before ever lighting a cigar and this is definitely achieved here.
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The individual cigars have a dark brown oily wrapper with quite a bit of tooth. The surface is somewhat bumpy, and there are quite a few visible veins. The seams are tight and invisible, and the cap seems to just magically blend into the body of the cigar. They are firm from foot to cap, with just the slightest amount of give. All in all, the toro is very classic looking and definitely has that luxury feel.
Pre-light aroma from the foot is sweet and earthy, with a little bit of pepper, which I would expect from a cigar blended with these tobaccos. The pre-light draw, which is pretty close to perfect, has the same notes as the foot, with an interesting grape-like note on the finish.
The first few puffs are pretty much straight black pepper and damp earth, with the retrohale being all black pepper. It definitely clears out the nasal passages during the first couple retrohales! Moving along, a bittersweet chocolate note appears and balances out the pepper slightly; but it is still very bold and spicy, almost burning hot like something high on the Scoville scale. The Royale has definitely started out in the higher end of medium-full in body, yet the strength is staying in the medium range. The burn and draw are both excellent, and the smoke output is thick and heavy.
As the cigar burns along, the pepper subsides some more, and the earth, along with the bittersweet chocolate, start to move a little to the front. Leather has also entered the profile, adding a little more bitterness to the mix. It’s not unpleasant, however, when combined with the bite from the pepper, it requires a sip of water to keep the tongue and the back of the throat from burning, especially when retrohaling. They were not kidding when they said this cigar was blended to be bold. Mission accomplished.
As the cigar burns on, the pepper on the retrohale tames a little bit, taking on more of the profile of red pepper and a hint of bakers spice in the background. The notes on the tongue are still pepper, earth, and bittersweet chocolate, and it appears the cigar is going to stay there until the end. Amazingly, the strength still has not kicked up to match that of the body, and the cigar stays in the well-mannered medium range. The black pepper makes a resurgence in the final inch or so, and the leather pushes to the front, with the chocolate and earth sitting only vaguely noticeably in the background.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
I’m not sure. As much as I am drawn to the history of the brand, the appearance of the cigar, and the “cool factor” of smoking a luxury cigar, I am not a big fan of one-trick “pepper bomb” ponies of this nature. The price point would probably be the deciding factor in saying this is just not a cigar for me.
- Flavor: Medium / Full
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium / Full
- Black pepper
- Damp earth
- Bittersweet chocolate
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Barrel-proof bourbon | Espresso | Dr Pepper
- Purchase Recommendation: Single
- Great burn and draw
- Very well-mannered strength
- Super cool packaging / wow factor
- Pepper dominates the entire smoking experience (read: monotonous)
- Lack of creaminess