In July 2020, HVC released a new regular production line named Hot Cake that was billed as a follow-up to the company’s Pan Caliente, which was a limited edition release that debuted in 2016. The original Hot Cake is composed of a Mexican San Andrés wrapper covering a double binder of corojo 99 from Jalapa and corojo 98 from Estelí leaves and corojo 2006 maduro tobacco in the filler.

Three years later, HVC announced a new Hot Cake blend named Golden Line, which replaces the original Hot Cake’s Mexican San Andrés wrapper with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper that covers a Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos grown in the Estelí and Jalapa regions of Nicaragua. The regular production line debuted in four different vitolas and is being produced at HVC’s Fábrica de Tabacos HVC S.A. de Reinier Lorenzo factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.

“HVC Hot Cake Golden Line offers a mild to medium flavor profile perfect for those who appreciate a well–balanced smoke,” said the company in a press release. “The flavors are smooth and rich, with cedar, leather and cocoa notes that are sure to delight your senses.”

The HVC Hot Cake Golden Line is currently made up of four vitolas:

  • HVC Hot Cake Golden Line Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46) — $8.30 (Box of 25, $207.50)
  • HVC Hot Cake Golden Line Laguito No.4 (4 1/2 x 52) — $9 (Box of 25, $225)
  • HVC Hot Cake Golden Line Laguito No.5 (6 x 54) — $10 (Box of 25, $250)
  • HVC Hot Cake Golden Line Gran Cañon (6 x 60) — $11.40 (Box of 25, $285)

All four sizes are packaged in 25-count boxes that started shipping to retailers in July.

  • Cigar Reviewed: HVC Hot Cake Golden Line Laguito No. 5
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos HVC S.A. de Reinier Lorenzo
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Connecticut)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Estelí & Jalapa)
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Toro Extra
  • MSRP: $10 (Box of 25, $250)
  • Release Date: July 2023
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

“Golden Line” is a very appropriate name for this release, as it describes both the wrapper and the background of the main band. After physical inspections, all three wrappers are smooth as silk when touched, with almost no tooth or overt veins that I can discern. However, two of the three cigars have a large soft spot in the same location—an inch and a half above the feet—and all three cigars are extremely soft when squeezed. Aromas from the wrappers start off with a hay note that is both strong and sweet, followed by nutmeg, earthiness, generic nuts, creamy cedar and leather. The feet bring more nutty scents that remind me instantly of peanut butter, along with more creamy cedar, dry straw, barnyard, coffee beans and milk chocolate sweetness. Finally, after a straight cut, the cold draws feature a distinct creamy hay flavor as well as powdery cocoa nibs, bitter espresso, leather tack, sourdough bread, aromatic cedar and vanilla bean sweetness.

White pepper, baker’s spices and cedar are the first things I taste immediately after lighting the feet of the HVC Hot Cake Golden Line. While the spice continues to be noticeable on my lips for the entirety of the first third, the cedar flavor moves to the background of the profile after about five puffs, replaced at the top by a combination of wet hay and cashews. Secondary flavors of sourdough bread, cocoa nibs, coffee beans, nutmeg and a light vegetal note flit in and out at various points, and while white pepper and light floral sweetness are both noticeable on the retrohale, there is definitely more of the former than the latter at this point. Flavor ends the first third at a point just over medium, while the body and strength struggle to hit mild plus by the end of the first third. However, there are no issues whatsoever with the construction so far, as the burn lines, abundant smoke production and excellent draw all work harmoniously together.

As the second third of the HVC begins, the hay and cashew flavors from the first third have become sweeter and drier on the palate, and they are followed by secondary notes of earth, leather, dry hay, espresso beans and cocoa nibs. There is a bit more of both the white pepper and floral sweetness present on the retrohale, but the spice level has decreased slightly. Flavor increases slightly to medium-plus, while the body reaches a point halfway between mild and medium and the strength increases enough to land at just under medium. Construction-wise, while the draw and smoke production on all three cigars continues to have no issues, two of the cigars run into enough burn issues, necessitating a couple of corrections each with my lighter to avoid larger problems.

Flavors of toasted bread and hay take over the top spots in the profile of the cigar during the final third, but the cashew note from the first two-thirds is not far behind. Additional flavors of dark chocolate, espresso beans, earth, nutmeg and slight citrus peel that make themselves known at various points, while the retrohale continues to be dominated by a combination of white pepper and floral sweetness. In addition, two of the cigars feature a distinct mineral saltiness that shows up on my lips for a few puffs, but it does not last long for either cigar. The flavor increases slightly to medium-full, while both the strength and the body meet at a solid medium. When it comes to the burn, only one of the cigars needs any attention with my lighter and the smoke production and draw on all three cigars continue to give me no issues until I put the nubs down with an inch remaining.

Final Notes

  • Interestingly, Pan Caliente is Spanish for Hot Cake, and although the names of it and the two Hot Cake lines are related, the actual blends are not the same.
  • The Laguito No. 5 name—which HVC has used in both the original Hot Cake line and this Golden Line—was originally released by Habanos S.A. as one of the BHK vitolas in 2010, specifically the BHK 54. However, the Cuban version of the size is a robusto extra vitola that measures 5 5/8 x 54, while the both the original Hot Cake and the Golden Lien vitolas of the same name both measure 6 x 54.

  • The wrapper used on this blend is extremely fragile, to the point where I noticed cracks in each of the cigars I smoked before I even lit them up. Having said that, those cracks did not cause any major issues when it came to the overall construction.
  • HVC is an abbreviation for Havana City in Cuba, which is where the company’s owner Reinier Lorenzo grew up.
  • Cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 53 minutes.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the HVC Hot Cake Golden Line Laguito No. 5 cigars, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Cigar Hustler and Famous Smoke Shop have them in stock.
89 Overall Score

“This is not your father’s Connecticut” has become a trite, almost meanless phrase these days, but the Hot Cake Golden Line is definitely a departure from what I would consider a “standard” Connecticut blend, with distinct flavors of creamy hay, toasted bread and cashews as well as plenty of white pepper, spice and floral sweetness. In addition, the new blend delivers a cleaner, creamier and—dare I say—more dynamic profile than the original Hot Cake blend, albeit with less body and strength. Having said that, each cigar featured some burn issues that needed to be corrected at various points, and the wrapper is fragile enough to cause problems if it is not looked after. In the end, the Hot Cake Golden Line is a very flavorful cigar with a solid medium strength that can be enjoyed at any time of the day, attributes that I am always looking for in a blend.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.