Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano2000
Binder: Honduran, Nicaraguan, Sumatran
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan, Sumatran
Size: 6 x 54 “Belicoso”
Price: $8.00 MSRP
Yes. I am a schmuck. I make a farewell yesterday and it turns out a care package was waiting for me at the neighbor’s house since last Thursday.
I underestimated the goodness of friends. My good friend, who doesn’t want me to mention his name, (he really is shy and doesn’t want his wife to know), sent me a care package of sticks he wants me to review. He sent me two each of the sticks in the photo.
Here is the kicker. We live in a large duplex at the end of a cul de sac. We are 3854 and the neighbor is 3852. The mail man delivered my box to the neighbor on Thursday and our neighbor said nothing. Last night, my wife…who is friendly with the wife, was over at their place shooting the shit and noticed the box on her way out the door. She picked it up and asked them how long it had been here? Both the husband and wife turned red and said they forgot to bring it over.
Now my buddy said that all the sticks have a couple weeks humidor time on them and suggested I do the Xikar HC Series Habano² first. So be it.
Xikar April 2012 Press Release:
“This new cigar blend was born from the travels and life experiences of XIKAR founders Kurt Van Keppel and Scott Almsberger. As a part of building XIKAR, they have visited many countries and made many friends in the tobacco industry. Among these journeys and friends they find treasures, and sometimes that treasure is planted not buried in the ground. This Habano² is one of those treasures which they have brought back to share with the XIKAR Nation.
“We are always hunting for treasures that we can share with our consumers,” said Kurt Van Keppel, XIKAR Founder and CEO. He added “think of this as a souvenir that’s a lot more enjoyable than a T-shirt!”
IN 2012, Xikar decided to add the Xikar HC Series Habano² to the HC Series. It made its debut at that summer’s IPCPR trade show.
This is a regular production cigar. No shortage of sticks. Before this stick, J. Fuego blended all of Xikar’s cigars. This one, well..Xikar chose other means. And this is the first box press in the Xikar line.
This stick doesn’t look like any of the other Xikar cigars I’ve smoked. They’ve tended to be very rustic.
Not this baby. It has a red earthy look to the wrapper. It is oily but has more of satin look. The stick has a very toothy feel. The box press is crisp. Seams are tight. Very few veins. And the cigar feels light. Not jam packed at all.
I clip the cap and find aromas of spice, earthiness, herbal notes, dark baker’s cocoa, cedar, and nuts. And the smallest bit of coconut. It reminds me of an Almond Joy candy bar.
Time to light up.
The first puffs show off the spiciness of red pepper. Sweetness jumps in. A big blast of cocoa arrives. The spiciness is very much like a Pepin Garcia Pepper Blast. Very potent; yet the cocoa is very strong and pushes its way through the jalapeno feeling in my lungs.
Less than half an inch smoked and it is on the verge of becoming a flavor bomb. More flavors show themselves: creaminess, caramel, and honey. I’m not a big fan of Xikar cigars. They seem to be in the same arena as Torano cigars. Decent $5-$6 sticks but nothing special.
This stick is just amazing. Kurt Van Keppel got extremely serious with this blend. I just checked Cbid and the price of a box, that is a Quickie that ends today, is going for $43. But to be fair, this matches the best of any other $8 stick out there: Intense flavor, great balance and early complexity and a nice long chewy finish.
The char line is dead nuts. The cap is giving in to my chomping.
The flavor profile is absolutely amazing. Like no other Xikar blend: Cocoa, creaminess, sweetness, almond, coconut, the spiciness has waned, honey, and cedar. The true definition of a candy bar.
My buddy said these sticks only had a couple weeks humidor time. The sun has come out and you can see clearly now the semi-oily reddish tint to the toothy dark caramel wrapper.
The cigar became a bona fide flavor bomb after only 1” had been smoked. This flavor profile is something akin to what you treat yourself to at the local malt shoppe.
Had to snip the pointy cap so you don’t see my slobber. The second third begins with a huge outpouring of flavors. Same as earlier listed but big and bold. The complexity pushes the flavors into high gear. The finish is long on the lips.
Oddly, the cigar is a slow smoker in spite of it feeling airy. Cinnamon touches down. And something fruity. An amalgam of peaches and melon. Wow. This blend ain’t holding nuttin’ back, honey.
The sweetness is extremely potent. I read a couple reviews where, once more, they compared the sweetness to sugar cane. I gotta buy a stalk of that stuff at the grocery so I know what that tastes like. The last time I chewed on a sugar cane stalk, I was 10.
I am so enjoying this. What a giant leap for Xikar. When I have dough to buy cigars again, in 2035, I plan to buy a box of these.
I begin the halfway point. I smack my lips like a dog that just got fed a teaspoon of peanut butter.
I often get messages or comments from newbies who tell me they can’t taste what I taste. I tell them it takes an experienced palate which takes time. There are no shortcuts. And to remember that the reviewed cigar is ALWAYS my first of the day when my palate is as fresh as a daisy. If I were to smoke this stick at #5 of the day, I would not be able to pick up the nuances of the blend.
For the first time since I began the cigar, the char line goes haywire and requires a substantial touch up. I’m pretty sure that will fix it.
The last third begins and I’m having more fun than a blow job on a sunny beach in the Bahamas. (Remember, I’ve been married almost 30 years.)
The flavor profile has changed a bit with the spiciness just about gone: Caramel, sweetness, cocoa, earthiness, almond, summer fruit, coconut, cedar, and honey.
The stick comes in 5 sizes: 5 x 50, 6 x 54, 6.5 x 52, 6 x 60, and 5.5 x 52. Prices range from $5.00-$6.00 by the box. These prices are from CI.
The strength started out at classic medium body. By the halfway point, it moved closer to medium/full bodied. And the last 2”, it reaches full bodied. And now comes the nicotine. My hands tremble and typing becomes a chore. I am dizzy and the laptop screen is moving like I just dropped acid.
Damn! The nicotine came out of nowhere and is kicking my arse. My vision is so blurry I’m afraid to get out of my chair.
I check my blog and realize that all my reviews of the Xikar line were done for other blogs or stores.
Besides the other 12 cigars my buddy sent me, I have four AVO blends sent to me by Small Batch Cigars that they dropped in free with an order. And I did check and have not reviewed those. So I have a good 16 days of reviews ahead of me. Although, one of the AVO sticks; AU14 Batch No. 024 is a mystery cigar I’ve never seen or heard about. And I cannot find any info about it anywhere.
From L-R: AVO Signature, AVO AU14 Batch No. 024, AVO Heritage, and AVO Lounge Edition.
Not only have I not reviewed them, I don’t think I’ve even smoked any of them.
The cigar finishes out nicely with me hallucinating. But no harshness, heat or bitterness.
At the CI prices shown above, this is a stick you must try.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS
Man oh man I needed this.
This Cigar is a real surprise. Just had it this morning and man I’m digging it. Very high quality! I’m going out on a limb here, but it is very Padronesque.(1964 series) I feel it’s in the same league if not better! I picked a 5 pack from Cbid for 10.00 dollars! What a steal! Very box worthy.
I agree Marco. I was shocked at how good this cigar is.