Cigar

Plasencia Reserva Original

The Reserva Original from Plasencia had been staring at me through the glass door in one of my humidors for a while now so, I decided it was time to light it up and see what I thought. Touted by Plasencia as the first and only cigar on the market made solely with tobacco certified by the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) and in the same way Nicarao Indians did over 500 years ago. It debuted at, the then named, IPCPR show in 2017 but was originally an exclusive cigar for Famous Smoke Shop for years prior. Plasencia has been around for ages, growing and rolling tobacco for a variety of big name companies, which I touched on this in the Alma Del Fuego review written a while back, but as they continue to produce more and more blends for themselves there’s always something new to try.

Taking a good look at the cigar the wrapper is dark brown in color with small but noticeable veining and some mottling. The seams are visible but tight, it is smooth to the touch, firm when pressed and no dead spots could be found in the construction. The smell from the body was chocolate, roasted coffee beans and hay. From the foot I picked up a distinct odor of sweet dried fruit.

The triple cap cuts easily and does not damage the construction of the cigar. Of the few I smoked pre-light draw varied between light and medium in resistance. It has as a rich sweet tobacco flavor along with hints of spice.

The first third of the cigar started off creamy with a bit of spice and cedar flavors that linger on the tongue. The burn was even and it produced a fair amount of pleasant smelling light weighted smoke.

Creeping into the second third the creamy flavor stays but now I’m getting the sweeter flavors of the dried fruit noticed when smelling the foot. There is still spice and cedar on the retro hail (if you like doing that sort of thing). The burn continues in an even manner and smoke production is ample.

In the final third the flavors become a bit more difficult to describe. The cedar and spice are present but also salt and sweet when pressing the tongue to the roof of the mouth. Over all it finishes as a nice mellow smoke. The burn stays even for the duration and the smoke doesn’t fail to satisfy and fill the room.

From start to finish this was a thoroughly enjoyable cigar. As it has a medium body it’s an easy smoke and could be paired with just about anything. With its intriguing story of the tobacco used it makes this Nicaraguan puro both a great cigar as well as a novelty. Priced reasonably I would definitely recommend grabbing a handful next time you’re in your local B&M shop and see them, if you don’t see them ask them to bring them in, it doesn’t disappoint.

Wrapper – Nicaraguan

Binder – Nicaraguan

Filler – Nicaraguan

Price: $7.50 – $10.00 depending on vitola

Website: https://www.plasenciacigars.com

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 pints

La Sirena’s Original

La Sirena Original

So who knows about the La Sirena line? Yeah, me either (well maybe you did know about them but I didn’t). I’m not even sure how I got one but since it was something different I thought it would be good material for a review. Started in 2009 by “Arielle Ditkowich after a successful collaboration with Nestor Miranda and Miami Cigars & Co. Today La Sirena continues to be requested at many tobacconists nationwide rolled and sourced by Erik Espinosa’s La Zona Factory (La Sirena -Original), Plasencia’s El Paraiso factory in Honduras (La Sirena LT), La Aurora Cigar Factory in the Dominican Republic (Merlion & Merlion Maduro) and Quesada’s MATASA factory in the Dominican Republic (Oceano) and more recently the Aniversario Especial 10th Anniversary limited edition vitola by Nueva Matacapan de Tabacos S.A. de C.V., Casa Turrent’s factory in San Andrés, Mexico.  La Sirena brand cigars are distributed nationwide and available at over 300 retail stores. The La Sirena is blended with a rare Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro wrapper and one of the three ligero leaf fillers utilizes Erik Espinosa’s “magic leaf”, which adds a layer of creamy complexity.” It boasts some pretty big factories for their manufacturing, let’s see how it holds up.

The wrapper has the color of tanned leather in color, there is noticeable veining and a slight oily finish. The seams are tight and the cigar has a fair amount of pliability when pressed between the fingers. It has the smell of fresh earth, dried fruit and a touch of brackish notes. This could be a subconscious smell caused by the name but I swear it’s there. The cap cuts easy enough causing no damage to the body. The cold draw is very easy with sweat dried fruit, bit of raisin and maybe anise. Again could be caused by the name, but it reminds me of sangria. Not saying it tastes like sangria its just what it makes me think of.

In the first half I picked up flavors of roasted nuts and toast. I had to re-light it a few times to keep combustion which is a bit of bummer but it could be due to it being over humidified however, it’s been in my humidor for 6 months and everything else out of it has smoked fine so, I don’t think that was the issue. The burn was fairly even and there was plenty of smoke. The draw offered little resistance making it easy to smoke.

In the second have the burn was much better and only required re-lighting twice. The flavors became more spicy on the finish. The flavor of nut is still there and a lovely creamy flavor. While the burn is a touch wonky there is loads of smoke production.

While the annoyance of re-lighting was there I did still enjoy smoking the cigar. I liked the draw and the full smoke production. The flavor is easy enough for anyone to not be overwhelmed by but still complex enough to enjoy. If you see it I would say give it a try and see what you think. Because of the burn problem I’m going to give it another try when I find them again and then update this article to reflect any new findings.

Wrapper – Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro

Binder – Nicaraguan Criollo

Filler – Nicaraguan Jalapa & Condega

Price: $7.50 – $8.00 depending on vitola

Website: Lasirena.com

Rating: 4.1 out of 5 pints (This rating will also be updated after smoking additional cigars.)

Henry Clay War Hawk

Henry Clay War Hawk

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

Website: Altadisusa.com

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 pints