In 2015, HVC Cigars shipped the debut release in what has since become one of the company’s longest-running series named Black Friday, after the American shopping tradition that takes place the day after Thanksgiving. While that first version was limited to 5,000 cigars and packaged in a handled box—each of which contained 10 bundles of five cigars—the number of cigars in each release has increased almost yearly.
Late last year, HVC announced the newest incarnation in the limited edition line: Black Friday 2022, a 5 1/2 x 50 robusto extra that uses an Ecuadorian habano 92 wrapper over a blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos from Estelí and Jalapa. Interestingly, the company said it used no ligero in the blend of the new cigar, instead focusing on incorporating tobaccos from the Jalapa growing region.
Each cigar carries an MSRP of $8.50 and it is packaged in cabinets of 50 with a total production limited to 600 boxes of 50 cigars that started shipping to retailers in October 2022. In addition, this is the first HVC Black Friday release to come from the company’s own factory, Fábrica de Tabacos HVC S.A. de Reinier Lorenzo in Estelí, Nicaragua.
This is the ninth release for the Black Friday series:
- HVC Black Friday 2015 (6 1/2 x 48) — 100 Boxes of 50 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars) — $5.40 (Boxes of 50, $270)
- HVC Black Friday 2016 (6 3/4 x 48) — 100 Boxes of 50 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars) — $5.90 (Boxes of 50, $295)
- HVC Black Friday 2017 (4 x 48) — 100 Boxes of 50 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars) — $4.60 (Boxes of 50, $230)
- HVC Black Friday 2018 (5 x 50) — 150 Boxes of 50 Cigars (7,500 Total Cigars) — $7.40 (Boxes of 50, $370)
- HVC Black Friday 2019 (4 1/2 x 52) — 400 Boxes of 50 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars) — $6.50 (Box of 50, $130)
- HVC Black Friday Firecracker (3 1/2 x 50) — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars) — $7.50 (Box of 20, $150)
- HVC Black Friday 2020 (5 5/8 x 46) — 500 Boxes of 50 Cigars (25,000 Total Cigars) — $7.50 (Box of 50, $375)
- HVC Black Friday 2021 (4 3/8 x 54) — 600 Boxes of 50 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars) — $8.50 (Box of 50, $475)
- HVC Black Friday 2022 (5 1/2 x 50) — 600 Boxes of 50 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars) — $8.50 (Box of 50, $475)
- Cigar Reviewed: HVC Black Friday 2022
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos HVC S.A. de Reinier Lorenzo
- Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano 92)
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 5 1/2
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Robusto Extra
- MSRP: $8.50 (Box of 50, $475)
- Release Date: October 2022
- Number of Cigars Released: 600 Boxes of 50 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The red tint in the milk chocolate brown wrapper covering the HVC Black Friday 2022 is a touch more noticeable due to the bright red secondary band. The wrappers on all three cigars are smooth to the touch and feature various overt veins, and all three are nicely firm when squeezed. In addition, each of the cigars have two different soft spots: a small soft spot just below the cap and a larger soft spot halfway between the secondary band and foot. Aromas from the wrapper include strong, creamy cedar followed by some gritty earth, nutmeg, generic nuts and graham cracker sweetness. The foot features notes of strong but generic nuts—almost like putting your nose into a sampler of different kinds of nuts, where all of the aromas combine together and none stick out from the pack—as well as some black pepper, leather tack, dark chocolate, barnyard and distinct raisin sweetness. Finally, after a v-cut, the cold draw brings flavors of strong cedar, rich raisins, creamy cashews, cinnamon, cocoa nibs and a distinct berry sweetness.
A blast of maple syrup sweetness combined with some obvious black pepper and spice starts the HVC off, but main flavors of creamy cashews and roasted coffee beans quickly take over the top spots in the profile. Additional notes of dry hay, leather tack, cocoa nibs, dank earth and cedar flit in and out at various points, while some noticeable but not overwhelming spice remains obvious on my tongue for the entirety of the first third. In addition, the maple syrup sweetness similar to what I tasted in the initial draws moves to the retrohale where it combines with a small amount of black pepper. Flavor starts out at medium-plus while both the body and strength lag behind at a point halfway between mild and medium. In terms of construction, all three cigars feature plenty of thick, gray smoke and excellent draws after v-cuts, but all three also run into enough issues to warrant a minor correction with my lighter.
Creamy cashews and coffee beans easily remain the top combination of flavors during the second third of the cigar, followed by powdery cocoa nibs, cinnamon, unsalted popcorn, earth, cedar and a slight citrus peel flavor. In addition, two of the three cigars feature a light but noticeable mint note on the finish for a few puffs, although the flavor goes away after that and never returns. The maple sweetness on the retrohale has not diminished at all, but there does seem to be a bit more black pepper as the burn line moves past the halfway point. There are no changes to either the flavor or the strength—they remain at medium-full and halfway between mild and medium respectively—but the body increases very slightly to a mild plus. Construction-wise, two of the three cigars once again run into enough of a problem that I am forced to correct them once each in order to avoid larger problems—in contrast, the burn line on the last cigar is virtually razor sharp—but the smoke production and draws continue to be excellent for all three cigars.
The profile of the Black Friday 2022 features a few different changes during the final third, starting with the main flavor combination which has morphed from cashews and coffee beans to a more robust duo of bitter dark chocolate and gritty earth. There is still some spice noticeable on my tongue–albeit less than in the first two thirds—while the secondary flavors include both of the aforementioned former main flavors as well as cinnamon, lemongrass, toasted white bread, leather, cedar and light cloves. The changes extend to the retrohale as well, where the maple sweetness has waned quite a bit, giving ground to the black pepper that has increased a bit at the same time. Flavor ends the cigar at medium-full, but the body and strength meet at a point just under medium. Finally, the construction seems to revert back to a carbon copy of the first third: all three cigars need one correction each but the smoke production and draws continue along their excellent paths until I put the nubs down with about an inch remaining.
- If you are wondering about the inspiration for the name of the HVC brand, it is an acronym for Havana City, which is located on the island of Cuba. In addition, Havana also happens to be the hometown of company founder Reinier Lorenzo.
- This is the first time that a Black Friday release has included a secondary band, although the 2016 incarnation did have a black foot band.
- Although this is the only cigar dedicated to the icon of American gluttony that is Black Friday, there have been a number of cigar lines inspired by other specific holidays: the infamous Tatuaje Monster Series for Halloween, CAO’s Holiday Series and Viaje’s Stuffed Turkey for Thanksgiving, just to name a few.
- The secondary bands on all three of my cigars were noticeably off-center to the left.
- My first cigar also featured a very interesting ash that seemed to split right down the middle, forming a curved V shape.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking times for all three cigars were quite close to one another and averaged out to one hour and 46 minutes.
- If you would like to purchase any of the HVC Black Friday 2022 cigars, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co. Cigars Direct and Famous Smoke Shop all have them for sale on their respective websites.
Long-time readers of this site may know that I tend to be particularly fond of a blend’s profile when it features a combination of sweetness and spice, and the HVC Black Friday 2022 includes both of those aspects in spades. The maple sweetness was evident from the first puff, but it continued to get more distinct as the cigar burned down and the main flavors of cashews and coffee beans in the initial two thirds and dark chocolate and earth in the last third were just icing on the cake. Having said that, the maple sweetness that makes the cigar sing does recede a bit during the final part of the cigar and the burn lines needed minor corrections on pretty much every third of each cigar. The profile of the HVC Black Friday 2022 starts out with one of the best-tasting openings I have had so far this year, and while it can’t quite keep up that pace for the rest of the cigar, those initial puffs easily make the cigar one of the more enjoyable releases in the Black Friday line so far.