Yes, yes, we’re a bit late to the dance on CLE sticks, which made their debut in 2012, but we intend to make up for lost time. Christian Eiroa, namesake and creator of the brand, has long been one of the heavyweights in the industry, along with his father, Julio, directing the fortunes of Camacho cigars. He served as president of Camacho even after his family sold the company to Davidoff, until venturing off on his own last year. To this point CLE has produced three lines – Cuarenta, Corojo and Connecticut. We’re starting with the Cuarenta, which means 40 in Spanish, which was Eiroa’s age in 2012. We’ll get to the others in due time. It’s not like we’re in any hurry.
Cigar Stats: The Cuarenta is a Honduran puro with a Habano seed wrapper. It’s offered in four sizes – 5¾ x 46, 5 x 50, 11 x 18 (figurado), and 6 x 60. This review deals with the 5 x 50 robusto. You can expect to pay $6-7 per stick.
Appearance: The Habano wrapper is an inviting reddish-brown, set off by a simple rose-colored wrapper. There’s a fairly prominent vein, it’s tightly rolled, and it has an impressive triple cap.
The Smoke: When lit, the first thing one notices is the rich aroma and copious smoke. It’s a characteristic that remains throughout the smoke. After an initial burst of pepper and spice, the taste settles into a pleasant mix of cedar and hay or grass. It eventually becomes quite creamy around the midpoint.The one drawback I encountered was with the burn, particularly on the first stick I sampled. It required several corrections, and at one point in the first half of the smoke it nearly went out entirely. Fortunately, the stick was so tasty that is was worth the effort to keep the fire going.
Verdict: The CLE Cuarenta is a medium- to full-bodied smoke that serves up a lot of flavor and aroma for a reasonable price. That’s a winning combinaion. Just keep the lighter handy. To learn more about the Cuarenta or the entire line of CLE cigars, visit www.clecigars.com. – Brian Coyne