HVC Black Friday 2016 | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ‘99
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6.75 x 48 Toro
Strength: Medium
Price: $6.00

Today we take a look at the HVC Black Friday 2016.
Got a couple sticks at my local B&M; Havana Lounge & Cigar.
Now here is the rub. Only 100 boxes of 50 were produced…and released a year ago!
And they are still on the market. Whoa, Nelly. Not just at B&M’s, but online as well. I found several online stores that carry this cigar. And I think I found 2 or 3 reviews. Uh oh. I guess you know where this is going…I hope not. It might just be a gem forgotten by the masses…or it might be a dog turd of the highest order. We shall see.

Release Date: November 2016
100 boxes of 50…still available online
From Halfwheel.com:
“After debuting in November 2015, HVC Cigars brought back its Black Friday last month, a cigar named after the infamous American shopping tradition that takes place the day after Thanksgiving.

“While the first incarnation in 2015 measured 6 1/2 x 48, this year’s version is a quarter-inch longer at 6 3/4 x48 and is composed of a Nicaraguan corojo 99 wrapper covering a binder from AGANORSA’s La Mia farm in Jalapa as well as filler tobaccos from its Chilamate farm. The size is not the only thing that is different about this year’s release, as the new version retails for $5.90—an increase of 50 cents more per cigar—and is packaged in traditional boxes of 50 instead of 10 bundles of five cigars in a handled box. There were only 100 boxes of 50 produced, and the cigars were rolled at Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA) in Estelí, Nicaragua.”

The 2017 version will be released sometime this November. But it will only come in a 4 x 48 size.

An average looking cigar. Light, sandy brown wrapper with a touch of oiliness. Seam attachment ain’t bad but lots of bumps and lumps along with a plethora of veins running up and down the shaft.
I notice in the photograph above that I have a small crack running perpendicular to the stick just below the cigar band. If required, I can use my PerfecDraw cigar glue. I never really talk about it; but rather the cigar poker instead. But this stuff is manna from the gods. It has saved countless cigars…even more than the poker. And yes, you get a 15% discount…and free shipping…only from me…no other reviewer. Just use the promo code: Katman.
The stick is pretty solid and it feels like there might be a plug near the foot.

From the shaft, I can smell sweet caramel, barnyard, nuts, vanilla, chocolate, black raisins, licorice, and cedar.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell dark chocolate, malts, caramel, licorice, almonds, cedar, vanilla, and barnyard.

The cold draw presents flavors of dark cocoa, barnyard, black pepper, generic sweetness, licorice, malts, vanilla, and almonds.

For those who are spiritual, pray for me and this cigar. For those that aren’t, send me a bag of nickels.
Ooh…before I start, I should add that I got a couple of 2017 HVC Cerros and they were fantastic. But also a more expensive cigar.

The draw is tight. Cigar poker time…works every time. Free Bird.

Lots of nice flavors greet my first puffs: Black pepper, caramel, dark coffee, super creamy, cedar, licorice, vanilla, malts and more malt, almonds, and something charred.
Good start.
Char line is surprisingly on point. The draw is perfect and the cigar spews smoke like a Pittsburgh chimney.
Strength is medium.

Transitions begin. The finish grows like a tree in Brooklyn.
There is a sudden mustiness. Nicht gut.

I have in the back of my bulbous puny brain that if HVC couldn’t sell 5,000 sticks immediately, something is wrong with the blend and word of mouth killed the beast.
Or I just might be very lucky at the misfortune of misguided cigar smokers.

Creaminess and malts reign supreme now. The mustiness disappears.

Maybe the inexpensive price point of this cigar threw smokers off; especially the snobs who believe a cigar is only good if it is in the $15 range (The Davidoff crowd). Just spit ballin’.
I gotta admit when I saw that it is only a $6 stick, I immediately thought “Oh no. A Torano wannabe.”

Quantum leap as the blend begins its ascent. Extremely creamy. A boat load of different malts. Pennies from heaven.

I’m sure the extra year that the cigar has been on the market didn’t hurt its aging process. Maybe this blend just needs more time than the usual HVC blend and it threw everyone off…because I’m now extremely pleased with the direction this cigar is going.

It is becoming complex. The transitions are swimming upstream. And the finish is daunting as it consumes and swallows my palate.
Not a single burn issue. Impressive for a $6 stick.
A combination of sweet Ritz cracker and cinnamon graham cracker makes the scene.

I reviewed a real dud last time with The Wise Man (El Güegüense) Maduro. It had none of the traits this Black Friday has. The BF has that “It” quality. A beautifully blended cigar using just the right tobaccos to deliver a sonnet to the palate.
This ain’t no Torano. Ha.

Now I don’t get it. This is an excellent blend. Why couldn’t HVC sell them? No PR? This makes no sense.
So this gives you, my lovely readers, an opportunity to Google the cigar and snap up the rest of the bunch. You can’t beat a high premium for $6.
I reviewed the 2015 version two years ago. I find some similarities when I return to my old review. I gave the cigar a 91. But it was packaged differently:

The HVC Black Friday 2016 is doing a swell job.

Smoke time is 35 minutes.

Complexity? Check. Transition foot race? Check. Long finish…definitely.
Lots of flavor combinations: Creamy, caramel, molasses, chocolate, malts, almonds, graham cracker, cinnamon, black pepper, licorice, black coffee, cedar, buttery croissant, nutmeg, and a dozen little bits yet to be determined but adding to the big picture.
Strength remains at medium.
Looks like that little crack in the wrapper will cause no grief. It has remained static and I will burn right past it.

Malts, creaminess, and caramel make me hungry for something decadent.

OK. No kidding. The HVC Black Friday 2016 is quickly becoming a huge surprise. As a snob myself, I figured that no way would a $6 boutique blend impress me. I had girded my loins for one more disrespectful review. Instead, I benefited from the lack of enthusiasm of smokers and reviewers who ignored this blend.

This, my friends, is the bona fide perfect morning cigar. I sip my coffee and take puffs and I’m a happy man…but no worries; by this afternoon I will go back to being a bitter old man.

Drat. I only procured one stick on my trip to Havana Lounge & Cigar. Damn. Now I have to call Tyler Jeffery at HL&C and ask him to put a few aside for me. I hope they’re not gone but a $6 cigar at a B&M can disappear very quickly. But then most customers at cigar shops go for the catalog brands. They don’t trust the boutique brands.

The halfway point arrives at 55 minutes. The HVC Black Friday 2016 is so good that time is flying by.

Funny thing about how manufacturers decide to call out sizes. Normally, this stick is only ¼” away, in length, from being called a Churchill.
Complexity is dripping down my leg. I lost my lemon.

I love this cigar. It is the perfect scenario for the definition of a great smoke. It starts out beautifully and exceeds its status with every puff and every inch. I think Charlotte said that to me on our honeymoon…along with “Get that away from me!!”

No shit. If you don’t hit the online stores after this review and grab some Black Fridays…well, I will lose my respect for you in the morning.
If you do buy some, tell them in the comment section that the Katman sent you. That should really upset them.

Another horizontal crack has occurred. Damn. In the last two weeks, Wisconsin entered fall weather conditions…meaning it is getting very cold here. Mostly in the freezing zone. And since my humidors are kept in a room I call my mini man cave (windows open), I see the effects of the cold permeating my humidors. One day this week, I wanted to air out a humidor because I got a strange chemical taste from a cigar. I immediately pulled the humidification device outta there and replaced it. But in the course of an hour, I saw my Zederkoff hygrometers (2 to each humidor) show an ambient temp of 24 degrees. Yikes.

I really like that the strength has remained in one place. Now that I’ve jinxed it, I fully expect the last third to kick my arse.
My next review will be the 2017 HVC Cerro. Friday.

Charlotte and I babysit our 4 month old grandson 3 nights per week…and boy it’s brutal. We spend 7 or 8 hours from 4pm-midnight doing our grandparent chores. And then the next day, we are both zombies. So I’m too grumpy to write a review and allow you my brilliant repartee and clever comments. Do not think I don’t know what you’re thinking…Brilliant? Clever? All righty then…I will accept average.
I did a lot of bass sessions in the 80’s for a recording studio in Beverly Hills. The owner would often say to me, while I laid down my tracks, “You are approaching average. Keep it up.”
WTF? But it was his way of saying that “average” was the perfect set of notes for the song. I do believe he could have phrased it better. But as long as he paid me, I just nodded and pushed the limits.

Smoke time is one hour 15 minutes.
Strength reaches medium/full.

Nice thing about my cigar glue is that I can just paint it over a crack or hole and it seals the offensive deviation perfectly.

I’m in total quandary mode. Why didn’t this blend sell? Maybe due to that it was sold in 50 count boxes. I believe that is nuts. Smokers battle over whether a 5 pack should be purchased or go for that 10-20 count box. But 50 cigars? You must be in that 1% to make that leap of faith.

Flavors are going bat shit crazy. No changes but oh the intensity. The complexity is through the roof. Transitions are akin to a motorcyclist maneuvering through rush hour on the L.A. 405 freeway.
I haven’t had this much fun since Charlotte bought a new bottle of Lubriderm.

In today’s market, it’s not unusual for a boutique brand to charge $12 for the HVC Black Friday 2016. So few manufacturers that sell impressive cigars for $6.

Nicotine appears. Rats.

Not a single deletion of any of the flavors I’ve described. And, technically, there is no sweet spot. The blend has performed so perfectly that the cigar is one entire sweet spot.

This is a blend so full of presence and bold intentions that if I were rich like my readers, I would definitely buy a 50 count box. I can count on one hand the number of $6 sticks that has impressed me like the HVC Black Friday 2016.
The blend finishes with a flourish. No hints of harshness or heat.
Final smoke time is one hour 40 minutes.



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6 replies

  1. Great review Phil! I’ll stash a few away for you. We are getting ready to open box 001/100!

  2. Ohhhh I thought I had the secret stash. I discovered these back in April. I bought an additional 10 in May and another 20 in June. I forgot about them after I smoked a total of about 15. Thanks to this review I’m smoking one from May right now!!!!
    Oh man it is soooooo tasty. 6 bucks is a steal. This cigar is one of the true gems of 2017. Or any year. The flavors…the transitions….the lip smacking yumminess of it all.
    Crap….the secret is out …I’d better order up another 20 right away.

  3. I should have let you write the review TR. I have a few reserved for me at my local B&M. Now all I have to do is get Charlotte to unshackle me from the bed and let me wear men’s clothes so I can leave the house.

  4. I have an idea that the juxtaposition of “HVC” and “Black Friday” on this’n sent most cigaristes into a Jungian PopGoesAmerica trip over these archetypal blocks in the cigar’s name, stumbled at the sub-$6 price, & thought it must be an El Cheapo supreme. (But I lecture on English & not psychology so I’m probably 360-degrees wrong; but that’s my story & I’m stickin’ to it!)

  5. Your psychology lesson may have hit the nail on the head. But then, I get a lot of emails from readers thanking me for reviewing inexpensive cigars now and then. As most of us have gotten used to the idea that a fine cigar must be sold for double digits, a great $6 cigar may be incomprehensible to the trained palate.
    Lastly, there is a much smaller audience for boutique brands than the catalog brands we have all smoked and eventually shunned…except for those folks whose palate doesn’t detect the tasty tidbits a good blend brings to the table. For many, the flavors of cedar, leather, earth, wood, chocolate, pepper, and coffee are sufficient.

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