Hechicera is the first release from Sotolongo Cigars and is made in conjunction with CLE Cigars. If you're part of the online cigar community, which I assume you are since you're reading this, then you know who Grace Sotolongo is. She has followed a path that most of us want to follow. Most of us would love to go from Cigar Smoker to Cigar Rep to Cigar Brand Owner. And that is exactly what Grace has been able to do.
Sotolongo Cigars is part of Fabricas Unidas which is headlined by CLE Cigars. With companies like Wynwood, Asylum, Edgar Hoill along with Sotolongo Cigars, Fabricas Unidas is on the rise. They are doing some very cool stuff and the Hechicera is right there in the mix.
I'll admit it, I had to ask Grace how to pronounce Hechicera (Ech-ee-Serra) and I had to look up its meaning. According to SpanishDict.com Hechicera is a sorceress who is "Charming, bewitching, attractive in the highest degree." The artwork (right) is produced by and artist named Ninoska Perez Castellon who is close friends with Grace.
OK, let's get to the cigar!
Hechicera by Sotolongo Cigars
Size: 5.5 x 44
Samples for review provided by Matt Rosenthal - Thanks Matt!
Pre-light: The Hechicera has a simple look to it. The wrapper was golden brown with a few veins and one noticeable blemish about an inch up from the foot. You can see it in the picture above. It was unsightly, but proved to be purely cosmetic. The feel of the cigar was a bit squishy and the wrapper smelled of cinnamon and raisins. The band featured two tobacco leaves surrounded by plumage reminiscent of a peacock. I dig the artwork.
Beginning: The draw and burn were perfect. The first inch or so offered some "getting to know you" flavors of cedar, mild white pepper and dry raisin. The main flavor from the first puff to the last was cream. This was one of the creamiest cigars I have ever smoked. As the first third of the cigar came to a close the main flavor notes were cream and cedar. The white pepper (more heat than flavor) seemed to die away a bit with each puff and was mainly present on the retrohale. The cedar, cream and spice were nicely balanced throughout.
Middle: Did I mention this was a creamy smoke? This cigar takes it to a new level. There is creamy texture and a cream flavor. Although I will admit that I wanted the cream flavor to be sweeter than it was. The Hechicera stayed pretty consistent with its cream, cedar and disappearing white pepper. By the time I reached the midpoint, the white pepper was all but gone. It was replaced by mild nougat sweetness that was very intriguing, but never really latched on. It was a "hit and miss" kind of flavor that never truly established itself.
End: More of the same. In fact, there was little real change throughout the smoking experience. The spice dwindled down and that mild sweetness came and went, but that was about it. The cream and cedar notes were prominent from beginning to end. At its peak, the Hechicera was mild to medium in both body and strength.
Final Thoughts: It was good, but not great. The creamy texture and profile were enjoyable, but I wanted a bit more... of everything. If you throw in a bit more sweetness and a few nutty notes, then you'd be cooking with gas. I spoke with Grace about her goals when creating the Hechicera and she said she wanted to make a cigar that every cigar smoker could smoke and enjoy. To an extent, I believe she achieved that. I think that any cigar smoker can easily handle this cigar, but I'm not sure they all would enjoy it.
Recommendation: If you're looking for a creamy smoke in the mild to medium range, then this is a must smoke for you. If you're not looking for that, then you may as well pass on it. For me the Hechicera is the kind of cigar I would smoke in the morning with a creamed, light roast coffee. I would take some on a camping trip for a morning smokes or maybe smoke it on the front nine after a 7am tee off.
I seem to have adopted Logan's scoring system so with that in mind...
I'll give the Hechicera a score of 85 AKA "Would buy a couple"