The new cigar debuted in a single 6 x 52 Toro vitola at Havana Lounge and Cigar in Milwaukee, Wis. on May 30, with Lorenzo in attendance for the launch. A few months later, the line expanded with two more sizes, a girthy 6 x 56 ($9.40) and a smaller 5 x 46 Corona ($7.40), the latter of which comes in 50-count boxes while the other two sizes both come in 20-count cabinets. All of the sizes are available to all HVC accounts.
As you may be aware, HVC Cigars traces its roots to Havana, Cuba, where Lorenzo was born and raised before coming to the United States several years ago. The cigars are a tribute to the city, starting with the company name which stands for Havana City, with the La Rosa 520 named for his previous address, while Cerro references the neighborhood in Havana he was from and The City is a simple nod to his hometown.
- Cigar Reviewed: HVC Edición Especial 2015 Toro
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA)
- Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $8.96 (Boxes of 20, $179.20)
- Date Released: May 30, 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
The HVC Edición Especial’s wrapper that reminds me a bit of beef jerky in color: a rich, reddish brown with a few lighter hues but generally very good color consistency. There are a few small veins and the seam lines are fairly visible though not distracting, with a bit of tooth and a cleanly-applied cap creating a finished presentation. It’s a firm cigar with just a bit of give, no pronounced variations in firmness and a good feel in the hand. Off the foot I get light notes of peach and butter with varying amounts of pepper, while the cold draw is just a bit loose and heavier than what the nose gets, showing a bit of pepper, along with some faint leather, earth and wood and in one sample, an almost oily texture to the air.
A quick and decisive hit of sour chalk starts the HVC Edición Especial off; it’s fairly light in texture and thin in body but aggressive on the palate. The first retrohale is fortunately much different—and much better—with clean white pepper lighting up the olfactories and showing what the cigar may have in store in the coming puffs. There’s also a bit of smoky wood that I get in the nose after a second retrohale, a fantastic combination and something I can’t say I’ve experienced much before. The flavor begins to come around in the first quarter of an inch or so, shedding the less than favorable introduction and bringing in the white pepper that was found in the nose first, before that develops with the addition of black pepper to really liven things up. The ash holds on for about three-quarters of an inch, while the burn line has been a bit wavy but very even and the draw is smooth and unrestricted, though nowhere near loose. I’m a bit surprised I’m not getting more of a traditional San Andrés profile, but there’s not a lot to complain about, and getting this new take on a leaf I seem to smoke a lot of is refreshing.
Knowing that there is a San Andrés wrapper on this cigar, I find myself beginning to look for the earth and sweetness that the leaf is generally associated with and the HVC Edición Especial seems willing to offer up more on the former with touches of the latter at the start of the second third. It’s nowhere near as full, robust or complex of a flavor as I’ve found in other cigars with similar blends, but it’s certainly not disappointing. Retrohales through this portion of the cigar show the same bright and punchy pepper that it has since the start and remain one of the more consistent and enjoyable parts of the Edición Especial, though I’m not positive I’m gaining that much more on the flavor side from pushing the smoke through the nose. There are a few points where the balance on the cigar is absolutely fantastic, keeping just enough pepper in the forefront so as to make sure the palate is always engaged while not overpowering it and letting the earthier, more robust base notes shine.
At the start of the final third, there is a move forward by the wood notes to the front of the equation, taking over the palate for a few puffs before shuffling in with the pepper and subtle earth notes while staying at the forefront. One cigar jumps off the track with a strong, cough-inducing sour note with about two inches left to go that has me thinking it should be put down, but also hopeful that it was just an aberration, though either way it’s not a pleasant note. While not lasting, there’s a bit of the sour chalk note returning in one sample, and each cigar begins a steady building of strength that comes from both increased flavor intensity and a bit more black pepper, which gives off a bit of harshness in the throat and fullness in the nose, while a bit of simple syrup sweetness tags along as well for balance. The closing notes are generally clean and enjoyable with the white pepper returning, though one sample continued to show a bit of lingering sour chalk until it was time to put the cigar down.
- HVC Cigars has also released a line called Vieja Cosecha, which translates as old crop, in two editions, No.1 and No.2.
- Charlie Minato visited HVC Cigars’ booth at the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, where the Edición Especial was shown off to all retailers and where the HVC Cerro Robusto Gordo and Vieja Cosecha No.2 debuted.
- I do find it sort of interesting that there’s no graphic of Havana in the HVC Cigars logo, though it is on a stand-up banner that the company uses. At the same time, given how Habanos S.A. has been going after companies who use Havana, Cuba, and other such terms in their names in recent years over allegations that customers would be confused as to their origins makes me think it might be all for the better.
- The glue on each one of the bands was pretty thick though not sloppy at all; I don’t think I was able to peel one off cleanly, but they all slid off the cigar fairly easily.
- The second cigar was a shocking disappointment in terms of some rough flavor spots that brought the overall score down, while the first and third cigars I smoked were much more balanced and flavorful.
- Final smoking time was a well paced two hours and 15 minutes on average.
- The cigars for this review were provided by Reinier Lorenzo of HVC Cigars.
- Site sponsors Cigar Hustler, Lone Star State Cigar Co. (972.424.7272) and STOGIES World Class Cigars are HVC Cigars retailers, yet neither currently has the Edición Especial 2015 listed for sale.
While I have yet to find an HVC Cigars release that has merited adding a bunch to my humidor, I've also been yet to find any that haven't been enjoyable, and the Edición Especial 2015 is no exception. It's by no means the typical San Andrés and Nicaraguan blend profile; it's generally lighter than most others you may have tried and there seems a real genuine effort to keep the cigar balanced from start to finish. It doesn't always work out, and one sample seemed to have something significantly off, but when the HVC Edición Especial is dialed in, it could certainly be one of Reinier Lorenzo's best works to date.