My dear wife Ellen returned from spring break in the Dominican Republic with her college girl friends last week with some wonderful gifts for me – a box of 25 Cohiba Siglo IV cigars – and – two Behike 56 cigars. No man ever married better than I, as last year she returned with some Cohiba sticks as well as a box of Romeo Y Julietta cigars.
I know that I should have kept both of the Behikes in my humidor to save for a special occasion, but I simply could not wait to try this, Cohiba’s most legendary ultra-luxury, highly rated and greatly desired cigar brand.
So yesterday afternoon found me at my favorite local cigar bar, The Owl Shop in New Haven, Behike in tow, to meet up with my good friend Carl J. Frano for a Sunday afternoon cigar and a whisky.
As the Behike is a good two notches above my typical smoke, I reckoned it was right to pair it with something a bit more upscale than my go-to double Jack on the rocks. I chose Laphroaig 10 year old single malt, and in retrospect, it was a good choice.
About the Behike
The Cohiba Behike BHK line was launched in early 2010 and is a limited production stick. It comes in three sizes – the BHK 52 is the smallest at 4 3/4 inches by 52 ring gauge, the BHK 54 is the middle child at 5 3/4 inches long by 54 ring and BHK 56 is the big boy Toro at 6 1/2 inches by 56 ring.
What places the Behike above the other Cohiba cigars is the medio tiempo leaf which comes from the two top leaves of the tobacco plant which gathers more sunlight and contributes significantly to the flavor and the limited quantities.
The Behike 56 was beautifully crafted, featuring a very neat triple cap with pigtail, a noticeable spiral seam, some slight leaf veins throughout. The cigar was nicely packed and firm from foot to cap. It felt glorious in my hand.
I cut the cap and savored the delicious cold draw. The predominant note was earthy barnyard grass and cedar with a slight hint of cocoa. The cold draw was milder than I had anticipated, but very pleasant. I did not rush to light the cigar.
I found the draw to be a little tighter than anticipated but not bad by any stretch. Flavor notes were mild earth and cedar and mild spice too. Not overwhelming but not underwhelming either. Many of the other reviews I read fault the 56 as being a little milder than the BHK 54 and 52, due to its size. While I haven’t sampled the 56’s little brothers and am not likely to anytime soon, I would say that the 56 was definitely mild.
The burn was excellent, very straight and the cigar produced a nice firm salt and pepper ash that hung on to about the inch and a half mark.
Towards the end of the first third, I picked up on some mild nuttiness.
The flavor notes of the second third did not change appreciably from the first, and that wasn’t a bad thing at all. Again there was a mild cedar or leather flavor, some mild spice (black pepper) and a hint of sweetness, perhaps cocoa. The flavor, though mild, was very pleasant and very smooth overall. I did pick up on some creaminess developing around the midpoint of the cigar.
The burn continued to be excellent and the draw, which I previously noted as a bit tight initially, was good throughout the middle third.
In my experience, the flavor profile of the Cohiba Behike 56 was nothing if not consistent. I didn’t notice any new notes as I smoked my way through the final third – I would say the cigar was a bit creamier at the start of the last third.
I did note that the overall taste, which was pretty mild, got much more intense in the last half of the last third. It wan’t unpleasant, but the flavor intensity was increased and noticeable.
Burn and draw remained excellent right to the very end. Total smoking time was 2 hours and 15 minutes.
What can I say about this cigar that more experienced reviewers haven’t said before? Clearly this was the finest cigar I’ve ever had the privilege to smoke, and I totally get why it fetches such a premium price.
This cigar was simply delicious all the way through. The one word that would best summarize my overall impression would be ‘smooth.’
If you have the opportunity to smoke a BHK 56, I don’t think you’re going to be disappointed. Perhaps the 54 or 52 might be a better choice as they are purported to have a more intense flavor profile.
I look forward to saving my other Behike 56 in the humidor for a special occasion. Clearly a 10/10 smoke, anyway you slice it.