The word Habanos simply means something originating from Havana. So it is only appropriate that the national Cuban state tobacco company, Cubatabaco established Habanos S.A (Sociedad Anonima) in 1994 as the government department that monitors the production and distribution of Cuban Tobacco around the world.
In addition, Habanos S.A owns all the Cuban cigar brands and Cuban cigarettes sold and distributed worldwide. Habanos S.A has identified the following special production cigars that have been approved by the Regulatory Council for the Protected Denomination of Origin (D.O.P)
The term “Reserva” describes the Habanos cigars where all of the leaves – fillers, binders and wrappers were aged in bales for a minimum of three years before being transported to the factory to be rolled.
Special leaves from the Vuelta Abajo region are used to make Reservations Habanos. Using tobacco from the 1999 harvest, the Chiba Selection Reserve was released in 2003, the first of this type of speciality. Likewise, the Partagas Series D No.4 Reserva used leaves grown in 2000 and the Montecristo No.4 Reserve from tobaccos harvested in 2002.
Traditionally for each release of Reserve Habanos, only a limited number are made. They are packaged in 5000 exclusive boxes of twenty Habanos. Each box is elegant and individually numbered by Habanos S.A. Each cigar boasts the second band of black and silver marked it as a Reserva.
The term “Gran Reserva” is for only the Habanos whose leaves (Filler, binders and wrappers) have aged for a minimum of five years before going to the factory for rolling.
The finest leaves from the Vuelta Abajo region are picked to withstand this particular raging process, so that they will deliver the flavour and aroma expected of these Habanos.
The first of this particular Habanos used tobacco from 2003 and was released in 2009.
Selecting the Cohiba Siglo VI size, fifteen cigars were contained within only 5000 elegant boxes, each Havana numbered and identified with a black and gold Gran Reserva brand.
Following this, a second Gran Reserva size was released in 2011 – the Montecristo No.2 which used tobaccos from 2005.
The first Edition Limited (Limited Edition Habanos) were released in 2000 for the first time. Limited Edition wrappers are referred to as Oscar, which come from higher points on a shade grown plant. These leaves tend to be thicker and darker than the usual wrapper on a Habanos.
Because these leaves are thicker, they need more time to ferment and age, which is about two or so years in bales before the Habanos are rolled.
When first introduced in 2000, it was only the Oscuro wrappers on Limited Editions that were made with specially extra aged leaves. But after 2007, fillers and binders were also aged for at least two years for this type of cigar.
The boxes carry an extra black and gold seal indicating that they contain Limited Edition cigars and give the year when they were released.
COHIBA MADURO 5
There are two distinct ways the Cohiba Maduro 5 differs from other cigars in this section:
First because the Cohiba Maduro 5 is a standard line – not a specialty Havana – or second, because only one of its leaves uses an extra aged tobacco leaf, the dark maduro wrapper. This cigar serves as an example of this particular combination.
Introduced in 2007, all three sizes (Genios, Magicos, Secretos) in Cohiba lines Maduro 5 are wrapped with these dark maduro leaves for uniformity.
Cohiba’s linea Maduro 5 uses the wrappers harvested from the top most levels of shade grown plants, which must be dark and aged enough to be called “maduro”.
The maduro leaves, which are naturally dried to optimum age and colour, demand extra fermentation. In this case, they are left in bales to mature for about five years before being added to the cigars, hence the number “5” in the line’s name.
In the world of Habanos, opinions may differ over the wrapper’s influence on taste, but few would argue that Cuban maduro wrappers bring certain sweetness and full body aroma to the flavour.