I’ve been a bit obsessed with the newest offerings in Altadis’ Henry Clay line this week, and today I’ll write about what I talked about on my appearance on Kiss My Ash Radio yesterday. I smoked both the Henry Clay Stalk Cut and the Henry Clay Tattoo this week, the Tattoo being the limited release that Pete Johnson collaborated with Altadis’ Groupo de Maestros on (on which they collaborated? I’ve never been good with prepositions…). Both cigars have very similar blends, in fact, it seems that the only difference is that the Stalk Cut has a wrapper from the 2012 harvest, and the Tattoo was from 2010, and the inclusion of Ometepe in the filler blend of the Tattoo (I can’t say whether that’s and omission in the Stalk Cut description or not). Here are the blends copied from Altadis’ website:
Stalk Cut: Wrapper: Dark Connecticut Broadleaf Vintage 2012, Binder: Dominican Piloto Vintage 2010, Filler: Dominican Olor Vintage 2012, Dominican Piloto Vintage 2012, Nicaraguan Criollo Vintage 2013
Tattoo: Wrapper: Hand-selected Dark Connecticut Broadleaf Vintage 2010, Binder: Dominican Piloto Vintage 2010, Filler: Dominican Olor Vintage 2012, Dominican Piloto Vintage 2012, Nicaraguan Criollo Ometepe Vintage 2013
The other differences are that the Tattoo has a pigtail cap and is presented naked, and the Stalk Cut has a closed foot and is dressed in cello. I was hard pressed to find much difference in flavor between the two, although the Tattoo may have been a tad richer. I can tell you this, it’s been my experience with both of these cigars that they smoke much better on the dry side, that Broadleaf wrapper is thick and sucks up moisture like a sponge, which is what the Tattoos I picked up felt like fresh from the retailers humidor. These need a long rest at about 65% RH or lower in my humble opinion. Both had rich coffee and cocoa flavors with a nice sweetness and some spice, a little something for everyone who prefers a heavier cigar. These are a refined version of the original broadleaf Henry Clays I remember from the ’90s, that were inexpensive, packed wet and tied with a ribbon in wheels of 50 so they were pressed in all sorts of crazy shapes. You’ll be disappointed in both of these cigars if you smoke them too wet, at the right RH they are exceptional. One final point about the “Stalk Cut” name, it seems that virtually all Connecticut Broadleaf is stalk cut, so that’s not really a big deal (and I verified this with someone in the know). It’s kind of like calling a cigar “Dirt Grown”, or saying it’s “hydrated by water”.
I had a couple “new to me” cigars again this week, this one having been a trade show sample from Padilla Cigars, the Padilla Reserva Criollo-98. I’m typically not a huge fan of the Criollo wrapped cigars, but I have been a fan of cigars made at Raices Cubanas in Honduras. This was a 5″ x 54 robusto with the Criollo 98 wrapper (from where? not sure), and Nicaraguan binder and fillers. I really enjoyed the cigar, it burned well, tasted great and was perfect for wrapping up the work week. Fortunately, the smoking porch is about 20° warmer than the outside, especially when it’s windy, so I took a short walk and smoked most of the cigar in comfort. Ernesto needs to work on his PadillaCigars.com website though, it’s been under construction since at least the IPCPR show.
Yesterday I skipped the walk completely, just too darned cold and windy to contemplate it, so I sat on the porch with the propane heater going and smoked an Esteban Carraras Diez Años Robusto. I had picked this up a few months back because I liked the way it looked and hadn’t ever smoked anything from Esteban Carraras before. This is a Nicaraguan puro with a wrapper aged ten years, although the website (if you can read the tiny print on the graphic, another terrible website…why are there so many?) would lead you to believe the entire cigar is aged ten years. It might be, but who knows? To complicate things more, I found reviews on these going back to 2009. Whatever the story, it’s a tasty smoke, medium, nice box press, attractive and not priced to bad if I recall (if it had been too pricey I likely wouldn’t have bought it). I’d smoke it again and take a look at other cigars from Eteban Carraras. Not bad at all.
Somehow I managed to be running two contests at the same time. Last week I offered a fiver to whoever could match my score in the Bobalu Cigar Company’s “Test Your Cigar Knowledge“. I received one screen shot via Facebook with a perfect score, which is what I got (plus I pointed out that they misspelled “Tercio”, how geeky is that?). So I will throw together a five-pack for Alan Price, although Alan has the advantage of working in a cigar store, being a Cigar Rights Ambassador, and working on his Tobacconist University curriculum. It will be a challenge finding something interesting that he hasn’t tried. He’s local to me to , so I’ll run into him somewhere in the near future. Don’t forget to enter the Wednesday contest to win one of two five-packs of the Gotham Heroes Alec Bradley Robustos, I’ll select the winners this Wednesday, February 17, 2016.
That’s all for today, until the next time,