40th ANNIVERSARY COHIBA

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The Launch of the 40th Anniversary Cohiba Premium Cigar

BY JAMES SUCKLING

The latest Cohiba premium cigar was unveiled on March 3rd in Havana, setting a record in the premium cigar industry for the price of a new premium cigar. The slick, limited-edition humidor of 40 premium cigarss is selling for 15,000 euros (about $18,000). It was produced for the 40th anniversary of the Cohiba brand, which was celebrated at this year's cigar festival on the island.

"It will be the most exclusive and the most expensive premium cigar in the world," said Juan Giron, the deputy manager of marketing for Habanos S.A., the global marketing and distribution company for Cuban premium cigars.

French humidor maker Elie Bleu produced the modern humidor of ebony, bone and skate skin. The Cohiba's cigar size - called Behike - was produced at Cohiba's mother factory, El Laguito. Roller Norma Fernandez Sastre made all of the 4,000 premium cigarss for the project. She was the original roller for the special double robustos made for the 30th anniversary of Cohiba.

The Behike premium cigar measures 7 1/2 inches long by 52 ring gauge. "It is a fusion of the two of the most popular sizes of Cohiba, the Lanceros and the Siglo VI," added Giron during a news conference at El Laguito. The 40th Anniversary Cohiba premium cigar was made only for this humidor and will not be available commercially in another form.

According to Osmar León, the factory manager of El Laguito, Behike is a blend of the middle range of Cohiba.

The 40th Anniversary Cohiba is a mix of tobacco with an average of five years of age. The premium cigar wrappers come from the farms of some of the best growers in the Pinar del Río, Cuba's finest tobacco growing region. Growers Alejandro Robaina, Pancho Cuba and Antonio Maria Paz supplied their best wrappers from two years ago. Roller Fernandez Sastre said that "the blend is a little stronger than the normal Cohiba blend."

The 40th anniversary Cohiba humidors are numbered from 1 to 100, and every 40th Anniversary Cohiba premium cigar includes a secondary band with "Behike" printed on it as well as a number from 1 to 4,000. Humidor buyers may also have their names etched in a plaque on the lid. Habanos agents were already taking orders for the new humidor. Max Gutmann, the Mexican agent for Cuban premium cigarss, said he had five confirmed orders. "But I have no idea how many humidors I will receive," he fumed. Added Giron, "The demand will obviously be more than the supply."




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