21 May 2009

CIGAR REVIEW - NEW RELEASE: New Cigar Line: Xikar- HC Series

I recently became the owner of the first box in the United States of a new line of cigars developed by XIKAR and Jesus Fuego. XIKAR (manufacturers of some of the finest luxury tobacco accoutrements on the market) and Jesus Fuego (world famous Master Blender) have combined their skill and “love of the leaf” to create a new line of cigars called the XIKAR HC SERIES (Havana Collection).
There are three different cigars in this collection to choose from; Connecticut Shade, Criollo, and Habano Colorado which are currently available in the following vitolas:
Lonsdale (6 x 46)
Robusto (5 x 50)
Belicoso (6 x 52)
Toro (6.5 x 52)
Churchill (7 x 48) Habano Colorado only
Petite Corona (4.5 x 44) Habano Colorado only
The topic of this review will be the Connecticut Shade. According to XIKAR, it took five years to achieve the final blend of this cigar, which is “slightly stronger than the average Connecticut Shade cigar, while staying true to the character of a Connecticut.” It is made with an Equadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper, Sumatran binder, and Mexican, Costa Rican, and Nicaraguan fillers.
The claro wrapper was very attractive with a smooth and silky feel and no visible flaws. The body was appropriately firm with no soft spots and a very pleasant, slightly sweet aroma. I made a straight cut using a pair of XIKAR scissors and then tested the draw, which was excellent. It was very obvious already that this was an exceptionally well-made cigar. No surprises there…
The cigar lit effortlessly and burned without any problems. I did not have to re-light or burn the wrapper a single time. It started off very smooth and left a pleasant taste on the lips. The smoke was attractive with a nice bluish-grey color. The ash, which had a nice color as well, was firm and dense and held on until the cigar was half-way through before falling off on its own, another indication of quality. These smoking qualities remained exceptional throughout; however, as it progressed it began to develop a sort of bitter, unpleasant taste, which hung in the middle of the tongue. This taste kept up completely through the finish and remained for approximately 30 – 45 minutes after I had finished smoking. This surprised me because XIKAR and Jesus Fuego equal high quality so other factors must be taken into account. Could that cigar have been a fluke; had I eaten or drank something earlier which either lingered or altered the pH in my mouth; was it the environment (I was in a cigar club where many people were all smoking different selections at the same time)? It required a second and a third smoke on different days under more controlled conditions.
The second and third time the bitter, unpleasant taste was not present but all the exceptional qualities were. Once again a smooth start followed by a creamy mouth-feel. Part way through some spiciness was detected on the back of the tongue. As the cigar progressed, there was a little more spiciness, which continued on to a slightly peppery finish.
As stated by XIKAR, it was a little stronger than what you would expect from a traditional Connecticut Shade but not at all in an unpleasant way. While it wasn’t exactly what I prefer, it is important to remember that taste is highly subjective. A friend of mine who is a highly respected tobacconist thought it was great. The quality of this cigar was undeniable and I look forward to smoking the Criollo and the Habano Colorado so stand by. Overall, I would say it was a mild to medium cigar and an enjoyable smoke.
I wish you Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
The Captain

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