Anyone who knows anything about tobacco knows the Godfather of Cuban tobacco is Alejandro Robaina. Make no mistake, his impact on the world of cigars is prevalent all over the industry outside of the fabled island to this day. Now his grandson Hirochi is taking the family name one-step further, stepping outside of Cuba and releasing a cigar from Nicaragua. Hirochi worked alongside his grandfather for 14 years, and took over the day-to-day duties of the farm when he passed away in 2010. Enter Omar Aleman, whom worked in Cuba for 40 years and migrated to Costa Rica in 2004. Aleman approached Hirochi about collaborating on releasing a Nicaraguan cigar through Cubanacan, whom Aleman had become the master blender. Over the course of a few years, Omar and Hirochi oversaw an exclusive wrapper grown in Ecuador with Habano 2000 seed. The Robaina name has historically been associated with the best wrapper on earth, and I can speak from personal experience, their farm rolls are amazing. The result of their collaboration is known as the HR, Hirochi’s initials, to be released by Cubanacan cigars officially this weekend. I had the pleasure of chatting with Hirochi and Lawerence Miltenberger of Cubanacan cigars at IPCPR, and obtain pre-release samples, as well as an interview. While I would normally freak out and smoke a cigar like this immediately, I waited until November to let the cigars properly rest.
Hermoso 5 1/8 x 48 $18.99
Belicoso 5 1/2 x 52 $19.99
Toro 6 x 52 $20.99
Sublime 6 1/2 x 54 $21.99
****For this review, I covered the Belicoso, but also smoked
the Sublime to cement my thoughts on my final rating.
Notice how dark the wrapper is in different lighting,
as well as the closed foot.****
Factory: Cubanacan SA Esteli, Nica
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano 2000
Binder & Filler: Proprietary Jalapa & Jalapa/Esteli
Dry Draw: Molasses and stone fruit. I compared the dry aroma to some fresh Robaina farm rolls, and the wrapper and smell is very similar.
First Third: The HR had a very dark profile, with flavors of that nature to begin. Molasses was the most prevalent note, with dark chocolate, espresso, and touch of black pepper through the nose. I was surprised at the lack of spice, and how rich the blend was being a Nicaraguan cigar. The molasses flavors seem to roll up the tongue on the draw, while the body increased when the flavors hit the palate. The palate saw the development of the dark chocolate flavors, while the finish saw the pepper and some cedar via the retro and lips. I would certify this cigar as a molasses bomb by this point, with great body and finish, complimented by a full flavored profile.
Second Third: The body of the HR came down a bit, yet stayed syrupy and rich, with a smooth long finish. Pepper notes stayed on the retro, but never overpowering this Habanos fan’s palate. The espresso notes that sat in the background moved forward into a smooth creamy coffee note on the draw. The molasses settled on the lips post exhale in the front of my mouth, providing depth under the coffee notes. The richness really freaked me out, as nut flavors popped in and out, without a single defining point.
Final Third: The finish of the HR continued to get smoother, while the retro picked up steam and awakened the senses. The nut flavors expressed themselves as walnut, and joined the pepper through the nose, while the espresso flavors continued to dominate. At times, I felt like I was smoking a cookie the HR was so tasty, and the finish had me craving dessert. At that point, I put the notepad down and enjoyed the final third without the burden of the review.
Construction: perfect on both samples
Final Thoughts: Box Split – 93. The only thing holding me back from giving the HR a 95 or more is the price honestly. That being said, this is a no brainer fiver, and I would buy more if I could score a deal at an event. This is one of the best Nicaraguan cigars I have ever smoked, and I highly recommend this as an after dinner cigar. I would love to be smoking one while drinking a latte and eating some crème brulee after a steak dinner. The thought of pairing in that regard gives my palate an orgasm. While the review is based on the Belicoso, when I smoked the Sublime, I had a similar tasting experience that lasted longer at 2.5 hours. It was this experience that really kicked the HR from a five pack to 10 or more on the rating scale. I look at the price versus experience as I could smoke two less exciting $10 cigars over three hours, or one Sulbime. I do think that Habanos fans will scoff at the price, and some may not appreciate the quality of the Nicaraguan tobacco used here. I would compare it with a personal favorite Padron in terms of construction, finish, and quality of flavor. However, the HR encompasses all the rich flavors of Nicaraguan tobacco you cannot get out of Cuban cigars. Personally, I love the richness of Nicaraguan cigars when blended correctly without overpowering spice or earth.
When you spend the kind of money the HR commands, you expect greatness, and when the Sublime delivered almost three hours of finger burning nub worthy delicacy, my mind was settled. I see no reason why the HR would not age into a gem, as the amount of flavor present will tickle any full flavored fan's fancy. That’s four “f” words in a row, which is kind of how I reacted to the Sublime I smoked yesterday. I cannot wait until my local shop picks this up. Big thanks for Lawrence for the samples, and to Hirochi for sitting down with John and I at IPCPR. One day, we will jam on the farm. Until then, you can get a taste of Robaina legacy with the HR.