After debuting in November 2015, HVC Cigars brought back its Black Friday last month, a cigar named after the infamous American shopping tradition that takes place the day after Thanksgiving.
While the first incarnation in 2015 measured 6 1/2 x 48, this year’s version is a quarter-inch longer at 6 3/4 x48 and is composed of a Nicaraguan corojo 99 wrapper covering a binder from AGANORSA’s La Mia farm in Jalapa as well as filler tobaccos from its Chilamate farm. The size is not the only thing that is different about this year’s release, as the new version retails for $5.90—an increase of 50 cents more per cigar—and is packaged in traditional boxes of 50 instead of 10 bundles of five cigars in a handled box. There were only 100 boxes of 50 produced, and the cigars were rolled at Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA) in Estelí, Nicaragua.
There have now been two different Black Friday releases.
- HVC Black Friday 2015 (6 1/2 x 48) — 100 boxes of 50 (5,000 Total Cigars) — $5.40 (Boxes of 50, $270)
- HVC Black Friday 2016 (6 3/4 x 48) — 100 boxes of 50 (5,000 Total Cigars) — $5.90 (Boxes of 50, $295)
- Cigar Reviewed: HVC Black Friday 2016
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo 99
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 6 3/4
- Ring Gauge: 48
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $5.90 (Boxes of 50, $295)
- Release Date: November 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: 100 Boxes of 50 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Wrapped in nutty brown wrapper, the HVC Black Friday 2016 is quite smooth to the touch and features an above average amount of oil. There are some prominent veins running up and down the length of the cigar, but they are not so obvious as to be annoying and the cigar is spongy when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of sweet hay, nutmeg, peanuts, sawdust, manure and leather, while the cold draw brings flavors of peanuts, creamy leather, cedar, dark chocolate and vanilla sweetness.
Starting out the first third, the HVC Black Friday 2016 exhibits some very distinct flavors of espresso beans, gritty earth, creamy leather, anise and dark chocolate, although no singular flavor is really dominant over the others so far. Having said that, I am noticing some graham cracker sweetness, along with some very obvious black pepper on the retrohale that does not seem to be dissipating any time soon. In addition, there is a very small amount of spice makes itself known in the back of the through every once in a while. While the draw is excellent, the burn is a touch wavy, albeit well within normal limits, and the smoke production is quite high. Strength-wise, the Black Friday 2016 starts quite light, only hitting a point about halfway between mild and medium by the end of the first third.
The graham cracker sweetness that was in the background of the Black Friday 2016 becomes more noticeable the second third, combining with other flavors of baker’s chocolate, bitter espresso, hay, barnyard and oak. Both the black pepper and spice that were part of the first third have dissipated by the halfway point, although the pepper starts to return right at the end of the second third. Construction-wise, the burn has evened up nicely, while the draw continues to impress, and the smoke production is still well above average. The overall strength continues to rise, and is at a point slightly below medium by the time the second third comes to an end.
The final third of the HVC Black Friday 2016 continues the trend of the preceding thirds, with the graham cracker sweetness continuing to be be strong enough to make an impact in the profile. A combination of cedar and earth has become the dominant flavors, while other notes of anise, dark chocolate, coffee beans, creamy nuts and hay flit in and out. The black pepper on the retrohale is back—albeit not as strong as in the first third—but the spice is nowhere to be seen. The draw is good enough to not give me any issues, but the burn has to be touched up right before the end of the cigar and the smoke production remains high as well. The strength stalls out at a point firmly in the medium range, and remains there until I put the cigar down with a little more than an inch left.
- There have been a number of cigars based around specific holidays: the infamous Tatuaje Monster Series for Halloween, CAO’s Holiday Series and the Quesada Holiday Keg for Saint Patrick’s Day, just to name a few.
- The Black Friday 2016 uses the same band as HVC’s regular releases, so there is no indication that this is special release when looking at it other than the black ribbon on the foot.
- Ribbons have been used for any number of different manufactures: Crowned Heads had a whole series that used different colored ribbons instead of bands to differentiate them, and Arturo Fuente has used black ribbon on the foot of some of its cigars to indicate a maduro wrapper.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- HVC Cigars is an advertiser on halfwheel.
- The final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 25 minutes.
While I can’t help but find the name and origin of the HVC Black Friday series a bit hokey, I have to admit that it is a decent enough cigar, especially for the price point it is sold at. The profile is enjoyable—albeit not overly complex—and there were no real construction issues other than needing a couple of touch ups on each sample. While I would not punch someone in the face to get a box, if you run across them, the combination of a decent profile and attractive price point makes them easily worth picking up to try.