In 2015, HVC Cigars released the first what would be come a line of new cigars named after the address in Havana, Cuba where founder Reinier Lorenzo lived. The La Rosa 520 is made up of all Nicaraguan tobaccos that reminded Lorenzo of the San Luis and San Juan y Martínez regions of Cuba’s Pīnar del Río province, including a corojo 99 wrapper from Jalapa.
The first cigar, named simply the La Rosa 520, was a 5 1/2 x 54 toro extra that was limited to a production run of just 3,000 total cigars. A second size—the 6 1/4 x 48 La Rosa 520 Reyes—had close to double the number of cigars, and was shipped in August 2016.
Fast forward to May of this year, when HVC shipped the third vitola in the line, a 5 5/8 x 46 corona gorda named Encantos. While the total number of cigars produced is exactly the same as last year’s release of the Reyes, unlike that release, the Encantos is packaged in 20-count boxes instead of 10-count boxes.
The newest incarnation of the blend not only sports the smallest ring gauge in the line, but is also easily the cheapest vitola.
- HVC La Rosa 520 (5 1/2 x 54) — $9.60 (Boxes of 20, $192) — 150 Boxes of 20 (3,000 Total Cigars)
- HVC La Rosa 520 Reyes (6 1/4 x 48) — $11.80 (Boxes of 10, $118) — 500 Boxes of 10 (5,000 Total Cigars)
- HVC La Rosa 520 Encantos (5 5/8 x 46) — $7.90 (Boxes of 20, $ 158) — 250 boxes of 20 (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Cigar Reviewed: HVC La Rosa 520 Encantos
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA)
- Wrapper: Nicaragua Corojo 99 (Jalapa)
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 5 5/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 46
- Vitola: Corona Gorda
- MSRP: $7.90 (Boxes of 20, $ 158)
- Release Date: May 31, 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: 250 boxes of 20 (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
As with the other two vitolas in the line, the HVC La Rosa 520 Encanto’s features a reddish brown wrapper that is fairly smooth to the touch and covered in various veins running up and down its length. There is a touch of oil as well as pigtail cap present, and the cigar features quite a bit of give when it is squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of rich cedar, dark chocolate, nutmeg, nuts and slight sweetness, while the cold draw brings flavors of lemongrass, cedar, earth, cream, nuts and a very slight black pepper.
Starting out, the first third of the HVC La Rosa 520 Encantos features a very nice dominant note of creamy peanuts, along with other flavors of cedar, leather, cinnamon, dried tea leaves and white pepper on the retrohale. A slight—very slight—cotton candy sweetness comes and goes on the finish, and the lemongrass note from the cold draw is also present on the retrohale, albeit not very strong as of yet. Construction-wise, the burn is close to razor sharp, and the draw is spot on with just the right amount of resistance after a straight cut. The overall strength is fairly light so far, but does seem to be increasing slightly by the end of the first third.
There is very little change in the profile of the HVC La Rosa 520 Encantos during the second third, with the same creamy peanuts easily the dominant flavor, followed by notes of coffee, cedar, leather, cinnamon. While the lemongrass note from the first third has receded quite a bit by the halfway point, there is still a noticeable amount of sweetness and white pepper on the retrohale that has remained fairly constant. Both the burn and draw remain excellent, and the smoke production has increased, while the strength easily reaches the medium mark by the time the second third comes to an end.
The final third of the HVC La Rosa 520 Encantos continues with essentially the same flavors in the same places, namely a creamy, nutty note as the dominant note along with flavors of cedar, leather, tea leaves, earth, dark chocolate and cinnamon that are all on display at various points. There is still some white pepper on the retrohale as well as some slight sweetness, but both are not on the same level as the previous two thirds. The construction continues to impress with a near razor sharp burn line, but the smoke production has fallen off a bit from its high in the second third, and the draw is giving me no issues whatsoever. The strength does pass the medium mark, and comes close to full by the time I put the nub down with a little less than an inch to go.
- The HVC in HVC Cigars stands for Havana City.
- The boxes on each of the sizes released so far all read the same thing: Special Delivery From: La Rosa 520 Havana City 10400.
- Smoke production is massive off of the foot, incredibly dense and off-white. In addition, the construction on all three samples was quite good overall, although one of the cigars had to be touched up in both the first and final thirds.
- The cigars smoked for this review were sent to halfwheel by HVC Cigars.
- The final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 21 minutes.
- If you would like to purchase any of the HVC La Rosa 520 Encantos, site sponsors Cigar Hustler and STOGIES World Class Cigars have them in stock.
I found both the original La Rosa 520 and the La Rosa 520 Reyes to be excellent, and both were awarded spots in our Top 25 lists in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Unfortunately, the La Rosa 520 Encantos is just not on the same level as either of those, either in the complexity that is present or the balance it exhibits. Having said that, even though there was not much of a transition flavor-wise between thirds, the profile is extremely creamy, enjoyable and smooth as silk. I would not kick this cigar out of bed for eating crackers, but if you are looking for flavor bombs, it is worth your time and effort to track down the first two releases in the line.