How can you talk about the Heanry Clay War Hawk and not talk a bit about US history. Henry Clay (1777-1852) was a pivotal person in America and American expansion. Clay was a Distinguished political leader (and obviously a Ruffian) whose influence extended across both houses of Congress and to the White House. Clay had come to the House as a War Hawk, a leader who vocally pushed his government to confront the British over its conscription of American seamen. In part due to Clay’s political pressure, the United States went to war with Britain in the War of 1812. The conflict proved crucial in forging a lasting American independence from England.
One of America’s most noted statesmen in American history, he was also known as “The Great Pacificator” and had the ability to arrange compromises that resolved three disputes between the states and prevented a civil war. He ran unsuccessfully for President three times and lived in Lexington, Kentucky on his estate, known as Ashland.
During the end of the 19th centur one of the more popular premium brands of cigars was the Henry Clay Cigar. Originally manufactured by Julian Alvarez in Havana and dating from the 1840s it is one of the oldest original Cuban brands.
In 1888, Alvarez sold his interest to Henry Clay and Bock & Co., Ltd., a British company, (Romeo y Henry Clay Bock y Ca Manuel Garcias Diaz y Garcia) that was part of the Tobacco Trust which is ironic given Clay’s dislike for the British empire.
The brand died out around the time of the Great Depression but in the late 1990s, the brand was restored and is now manufactured by Tabacalera de Garcia, in the Dominican Republic as well as Flor de Copán factory in Honduras. The label on the box shows the original Henry Clay factory in Havana. But enough history lessons on to the cigar.
The look of the War has is a golden brown with a sneaky hint of green if the light hits it right. There is some light veining and some toothiness to it. The seams are nearly invisible and the body has ample give when pressed between the fingers. Although the wrapper leaf is thin it has great plasticity and does not crack easily.
The smell reminds me of damp earth with light spices and a lingering sweetness. The cold draw is easy with notes of nuts, cream and the earth that was found from the smell. The cap cuts easily causing no structural issues.
The first half is a mix of cream and spice at the same time with hints of charred wood and black pepper on the finish. I pick up a nice cinnamon spice on the retro also. The finish is long and the cigar produces plenty of bread like light weighted smoke. the burn is even and the ash holds tight until closing to break it off.
For the second half the pepper moves a bit more to the front but the creaminess remains and to me is the most dominating part of the cigar. Most intriguing to me is the subtle taste and definite aroma of cedar that adds to the smoothness of this cigar. The smoke production never fails to satisfy and the burn line requires no touch ups for the duration of the experience.
For my first time smoking this cigar I am very impressed in quality and overall flavor especially considering its economical pricing. I was gifted this cigar by one of the DR Brothers and look forward to finding more. I would place this cigar in the medium category but rich in flavor. If you have the opportunity to grab some I would highly recommend picking up several, you will not be disappointed. In 1898, Rudyard Kipling stated in his poem The Betrothed that: “There’s calm in a Henry Clay”. Not sure if he was referring to the man himself or the cigar but it applies equally to both.
Wrapper – Ecuadorian Connecticut
Binder – Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler – Honduras
Price: $7.50 – $8.00 depending on vitola
Rating: 4.8 out of 5 pints