Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Size: 6 x 52
Humidor Time: 4 Weeks
Number of cigars smoked prior to review: 0
Today we take a look at the HVC San Isidro.
At this juncture in time, over 2 months after the cigar was released to the public, I have not seen a single, solitary review of the HVC San Isidro. What conspiracy is transpiring?
Portrait of a reviewer. I have this vision of other reviewers sitting in their large, sumptuous home offices clad in walnut or cherry wood paneling with shelves of books from floor to ceiling. A 48” diameter globe sits in the corner of the room. A large presidential desk with a laptop. A $4000 chair to sit in.
And then there is me….I sit on a 1970’s living room chair that the cat uses as a scratching post. My laptop sits on a wood TV folding table tray. There is only enough room for the laptop and just barely the mouse. I sit next to an open window so smoke has somewhere to go. And by the time my review is done, my back is shredded from leaning forward towards the laptop. While other reviewers produce artistically beautiful photos, I use a window sill and an old ashtray for my pics.
In my next life, I shall be rich and good looking.
Debuted at the 2016 IPCPR trade show.
HVC has no web site. Just a Face Book page so information is very limited.
Nice looking stick. A decent box press although not consistent. A nearly seamless triple cap. The oily milk chocolate brown wrapper is perfectly smooth. Seams are invisible but there are a lot of intrusive veins interrupting the flow of the aesthetics.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell sweet floral notes, honeydew, cantaloupe, red pepper, thick cream, charred meat, cucumber, turmeric, and fresh dill.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell dark cocoa, potent red pepper, floral notes, fruit, charred meat, cedar, caramel, espresso, and a delightful roasted nuttiness.
The cold draw presents flavors of red hot pepper, chocolate, sweet fruit, a touch of barnyard, cedar, caramel, charred meat, and cucumbers.
I toast the foot bloody red and take in some wide open draws on the cigar. Packed solid but no issues on how well it performs. An early good sign.
Box pressed cigars are the bane of my existence. 95% of them give me a hard time with the burn no matter how careful I am at the start. They usually need constant touch ups throughout. Is it me? Does it happen to you my lovely readers?
So far, the char line is spot on. Of course, I’m only ¼” in.
The HVC San Isidro becomes complex right this moment, right now.
Flavors: Red pepper, creaminess, chocolate mousse, espresso, malts, cedar, sweetness, and caramel.
I’m impressed with the start; especially since I’ve only give the stick a month of humidor time. This makes the absence of any reviews very puzzling.
The char line needs its first correction only half an inch in. I told you.
Strength is a strong medium body. On its way to medium/full very soon.
The tobacco is very strong and I can feel it in the back of my throat.
I’ve rigged up a temporary crash helmet for my cat. He lies next to me as I type and at the rate the HVC San Isidro is going; I fully expect to pass out. I just wanted to make sure that if I go nicotine unconscious, I don’t hurt his little pate.
More flavors: Raisins, nutmeg, now an array of malts, and a bit of chocolate nougat.
I re-check the price for a single. $11. I fully expect this type of experience from a not so cheap cigar.
Remember when a $14 cigar was damn outrageous? Pricing has gone off like a rocket with no conscience by the manufacturers. I don’t care if there are 31 rare tobaccos used in the blend; $20 for a fucking cigar is insane. And of course, they never show that they are worth it; and can be replaced by a good $9 stick.
The HVC San Isidro is an extremely slow roll. I’ve been smoking for 20 minutes and only smoked ¾”.
I will try not to meander turning this into a 6500 word essay.
Creaminess and caramel are causing a big impact. Lip smacking good.
I successfully avoided meandering and get to the second third in 40 minutes.
Transitions and complexity give their blessings to the HVC San Isdiro.
Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” from 1965 is playing on the Classic Rock channel. I have an imprinted memory of riding in the car with my mother when this new song came on. I, of course, had heard it many times and loved it. When mom heard it, she shrieked in horror saying, “What the hell is this?” She hated it which made me love it even more.
So far, the HVC San Isidro is an extremely pleasant experience. I think it would benefit the smoker with another month or two of humidor time but it is giving off great potential.
The char line is a touch ragged but way better than most box pressed sticks I’ve smoked.
Fruitiness is more apparent at this point. The spiciness has all but disappeared with a small note at the end of the line. Too bad.
While strength has barely fulfilled medium/full body, nicotine has entered the arena with a sword ready to lop my head off.
Half an inch into the second third, the sweet spot blossoms. Flavors bolstered by a renewed spiciness, creaminess, malts, chocolate, coffee, cedar, raisins, meaty, warm bread, nutmeg, and cumin.
Now this is nice.
The char line is behaving beautifully now.
The sweet spot will hit sooner than the second third with additional aging time.
I can taste additional subtleties: Coconut, a stronger meatiness, the spiciness takes on a cinnamon note, and black pepper.
The flavor profile is truly sublime and smooth. Nicotine is becoming stronger.
I reach the halfway point. Smoke time is over an hour.
The cable TV channel is playing nothing but crap this morning. Some mornings take me down memory lane and days like today take me to the place that reminds me that blind luck made some artists successful.
Back in the early 2000’s, while I was working in NorCal, a project manager for a big job I was working on told me this great story about Neil Young. Every year, Young has a big gathering to get support for his charity that helps school kids.
My buddy, Bob, was the tour manager for the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young on several outings. Bob lived in the same area as Young and visited the party. He went up to Young and asked him his name.
Young had no recollection of Bob being their tour manager so there was no connection.
Bob got the reply, “I’m Neil Young.”
“And what do you do Neil?”
Well, Young lost it. “Who the hell are you? You don’t know who I am? I’m famous and one of the greatest musicians of all time, etc.”
Bob walked away while Young was still yelling at him. Bob remembers this as one of the great moments of his life. He brought the asshole out of Neil Young.
Back to the HVC San Isidro. I’m having a great time. Although, I would not say this is an incredible blend, I can say it is an excellent one.
Flavors are extremely pleasant and complex. But it doesn’t have the “It” factor. Humidor time? Don’t know.
Technically, because of the FDA ruling, dispensing samples is no longer allowed. I have no idea if the manufacturers will skirt this issue when it comes to the Big Guy reviewers or everyone will have to buy their own cigars for review. If this is the case, the BG reviewers will be forced to be very choosy about what they review. Or the manufacturers will send them anyway and expect no comment of thanks from the reviewer making it seem like they bought the cigar. The BG reviewers are very important to the cigar industry. I’m sure that there are a lot of shenanigans going on putting a thumb in the eye of the FDA.
For us little guys, it makes it easy for the manufacturers to blow us off saying they can’t provide samples.
Smoke time is one hour 25 minutes.
The true sweet spot has hit a homer now.
It is so typical of good cigars to tease you in the first third, see an uptick in quality in the second third, but not really show off its colors til the last third. The HVC San Isidro is one of those blends.
I will give the blend the benefit of the doubt due to I think the cigar will be much better with a couple more months of humidor time.
When I only have two cigars for review, I must save the extra one in case of something going wrong with the first. So I don’t get a chance to taste test it prior to the review to make sure it is ready to write about.
The sweet spot has not incurred new flavors but instead enhanced them. The complexity and transitions have grown exponentially. If the blend had started out this way, it would have gotten a higher rating.
Strength is now full bodied.
In Europe, it is customary to remove the cigar band prior to lighting up when in a crowd of other smokers. It is a polite way of not showing that your cigar is much more expensive than what the others are smoking.
For the most part, in America, we do the common sense thing by allowing the band to stay on so that the heat of the cigar begins to melt the glue holding the cigar band together. Thus, making it easier to remove when the time is right.
I mention this because the cigar band on the HVC San Isidro was a pain in the ass to remove and, therefore, it must be due to too much glue.
Surprisingly, the nicotine is in check. I remove my cat’s crash helmet.
Any time I see a cigar with a price point over $10, I am leery. While double digit pricing is becoming the norm for boutique brands, it is still a lot of dough and should be worth every shekel. Or you can smoke the catalog cigars for $4 per stick. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. But one needs to be more critical of an expensive stick.
I don’t know if all I tasted was potential or I got all the HVC San Isidro has to give. Because of that, my rating is conservative.
Final smoking time is one hour 55 minutes.
And now for something completely different:
I’ve written this anecdote before. The summer of 2014 to be exact. But a buddy wanted to see it as he had never read it. Instead of just sending him the link, I decided to torture my readers with “…one more time…”
We had played our first gig in Amsterdam…always the first city on the European tour.
We always took the opportunity the Dutch government provided by going to the Paradiso Club which was government run and required a lifetime admission of 5 Guilders. Back then, a Guilder was around 25 cents. It was a multi-tiered humongous venue with different types of live music on each floor.
And a giant main arena for headlining acts. It was always a gas because we would go to the basement, where the hash and weed was sold, and stocked up for the entire tour..which normally lasted 6-9 weeks.
Needless, to say, we were stoned out of our brains when we hit the big stage that first night. Stew and Sonja liked to drop acid before a show. I have no idea how they did that.
After the gig, our Dutch agent took the band and the main core of roadies, out to dinner at a fancy restaurant.
Around 1am, we were stuffed. They paid us shit but the perks were good.
Our BTM agent, Rik, asked everyone if they wanted to go to the red light district and get laid? Only Darryl and I raised our hands. The others were chicken shit scared. Shit. We were rock stars! Rock stars aren’t afraid of STD’s. We were impenetrable.
So off we went to the red light district.
We got out of the car and surveyed the territory. All the girls sat in tiny bay windows that were back lit with red lamps. All lined up in a huge row along the famous canals.
Prostitution was legal and the girls had to get checked out on some sort of timetable. Of course that didn’t help if the guy just before you had the clap.
Rik saw a girl he liked and went in. Darryl and I waited beside the car.
He came out 5 minutes later and told us he made a deal for all three of us. $20 each.
He announced that he would go first. Since he was paying for it.
I was nervous as hell as I had never paid for it…in cash, anyways.
He returned 20 minutes later with a shit eatin’ grin. He slapped us on the backs and proclaimed with pride; it was GREAT!
Darryl announced he was going next. Great. I was getting thirds. This did not make me happy.
All I could think of was a gooshy quedgie. But then these girls were pros. They wouldn’t last if they weren’t clean. Gulp.
Darryl returned 20 minutes later with that same shit eatin’ grin and bragged what a stud he was.
Now it was my turn.
I lumbered into the room. It was the size of a closet. Big enough for a single bed and a make-up table.
The girl was of Heinz 57 heritage. She was from who knows where but she was gorgeous.
I made small talk but she would have none of it.
“Hurry up. Get your clothes off.”
I did as she commanded.
I tried to impress her with who I was but she said that she only liked R & B. And had no idea who Curved Air was.
She lay on the bed and was naked from the waist down. She kept her halter top on. Well, that was no fun.
She handed me a rubber.
Then she took a handful of something from a jar and slathered her quedgie with it. All I heard was this squishy sound. I was losing my enthusiasm.
She jerked on my dick a few times to get me hard. I was so scared that it wasn’t that easy to get an erection but, hey, I was 24 and anything could give me a hard on.
I climbed on board missionary style and she guided me in.
Not 30 seconds later, she said, “Can’t you cum? C’mon…cum already.”
I told her to shut up. I was concentrating.
She kept up this mantra and it was driving me nuts. Elvis had left the building.
So I tried to take her top off. She stopped me.
“That will be another 20 Guilders.”
I didn’t have 20 Guilders on me at that very specific moment. That was around $5.00.
I couldn’t cum and I wasn’t having any fun so I began to sing Simon and Garfunkel’s “Keep the Customer Satisfied.”
She got mad and let me put my hand inside her halter top if it would make me cum faster.
I succeeded in spite of the obstacles.
As I got dressed, she told me: “You didn’t drink tonight, did you?”
I smiled and said no. I don’t drink. “Why?”
She said the other two guys obviously had a lot to drink.
I looked confused.
Then she took her index finger…made it stand up straight and then allowed it to droop.
I laughed so hard my sides hurt.
So after all this, I was the only one to get laid. The others were too drunk. And they came out bragging about how good it was.
I sauntered out to the car with a big smile.
They looked at me and knew in an instant I knew.
They hung their heads and said nothing. I laughed.
It cost Rik $60 for me to get laid. I thanked him.
The experience cured me of my curiosity. The idea of paying for sex was wiped clean off of my Bucket List.
Road life is not what it’s cracked up to be when you are in a big time rock band. Anyone that travels for work goes through the same thing. You wake up in look-alike hotels with the same fake paintings on the wall. And then there is that moment; just when you wake up…and you shudder.
Where am I? Space and time disappear. I could be in Switzerland or I could be in Manchester. It is a bizarre feeling. Time and space distortion.
The routine becomes wearing. You get dressed. You go downstairs to the hotel restaurant for the same breakfast as the day before. And you sit with your bleary eyed band mates as they try to choke down a lousy hotel breakfast. Coffee is really popular.
You’re bleary eyed because you stayed up so late and partied after the gig. The road manager controls how much sleep you get because you have to get into the luxurious road car and head to the next gig.
Across a country or across a continent. You might have a gig that night or one two days from now.
The roadies stay up even later than the band because of their duties. They have to break everything down and pack it into 18 wheelers. And they get up way before the band to get the trucks on the road. I often felt sorry for them. Tough job. The rest of the band treated them like slaves and personal assistants. I wasn’t brought up by wolves like the rest of the band and found I had more in common with our core roadies than my band mates.
This one morning was different.
We had played a gig in Amsterdam the night before. A wild town back then. Now the Netherland’s government is cracking down on the weed and hash trade putting hundreds of coffee shops out of business.
As we sat and ate breakfast, Stewart shushed everyone. Sonja had not said a word the entire time at the table.
We all looked at him quizzically.
He said, “Can you hear that?”
We shook our heads no.
He slowly leaned his head towards Sonja’s lap. And then he yelled out for everyone in the restaurant to hear: “She has a dildo inside her!!!”
Yep. She had taken a small 3” personal vibrator and put it inside her quedgie. The vibrator was making a small hum.
She sat there with a Cheshire Cat grin. Never said a word. She was happy and not very hungry. Sonja was a vegetarian. This always struck me as odd since she was a recovering junkie still on methadone. And her diet wasn’t exactly strict vegetarian in the healthy sense. All I ever saw her eat was fries (chips), eggs, and baked beans.
You ever done methadone? I haven’t. From my observations, it gets you very, very high.
The whole restaurant erupted with enthusiasm.
This did not faze Sonja.
Stewart insisted she get rid of it before we got in the car and took off. Reluctantly, she did so.
Sonja always wore a G String. So right at the table, she lifted her skirt and removed the dildo at the table. She pulled it out and waved it in our faces. We all screamed in horror.
Stewart yanked it away from her. We let the road manager pay for breakfast and we beat feet to get out of there.
So not every morning was the same. Some were more interesting.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS