CLE Corojo 50 x 5

CLE Corojo

The CLE Brand is named for its founder, Christian L. Eiroa, formerly President of Camacho Cigars. In 2008 Camacho was acquired by Davidoff, and a few years later Christian left the company entirely and lit out for the territories.

Well, not the territories exactly, except in a metaphorical sense. Actually, CLE cigars were first made in a location very familiar to Eiroa — the Tabacos Rancho Jamastran factory in Danli, where Camacho cigars have been made for years and years. Production has now shifted to a new factory, a renovated theater in Danli called El Cine Aladino. I suppose it’s no coincidence that the theater was opened by Christian’s grandfather in the 1970′s. You never have to look too far in the cigar industry to find the family connection.

The Eiroas are inextricably linked to Corojo, which probably wouldn’t exist in its original state were it not for Julio Eiroa, Christian’s father, smuggling the seed out of Cuba. So it is quite apt that one of the first blends from CLE should focus on this iconic strain of cigar tobacco.

CLE cigars are vintage dated, a practice that many cigar connoisseurs have advocated for a long time. As Eiroa said to Cigar Insider, “Tobacco is different year after year — a new year is a new vintage.”  A few weeks ago I sampled three different vintages of Don Pepin Garcia’s Blue Label cigar to demonstrate just this point, so add my name to the list of those glad to see that CLE is adopting this procedure.

The CLE Corojo is a Honduran puro, and there are four sizes in production. I haven’t omitted the frontmarks here — the size and the frontmark are one and the same:

  • 46 x 5 3/4
  • 50 x 5
  • 11 x 18  (figurado)
  • 60 x 6

CLE

Construction Notes

The Corojo wrapper on the CLE is colorado maduro in tone and is just slightly oily. The head is rounded and finished with a fine triple cap. The roll is solid, and the draw good. The cigar burns fairly slowly and produces a dark gray ash, similar to what is found on many Cuban cigars.

Overall construction: Excellent.

Tasting Notes

The CLE Corojo reminds me a lot of the Camacho Diploma, albeit a much lighter version. This is Honduran tobacco in all its brawny glory — rich meaty flavors with pepper and a touch of cedary sweetness. By the mid-point the woody flavors give way to leather, and in the final stage red pepper is quite prominent. The finish is lengthy. I recommend frequent palate cleansing with lashings of cold lager.

It’s a medium-bodied cigar, but the strength grows from moderate at the outset to fairly strong at the end. I would not recommend smoking this one on an empty stomach.

Conclusion

If you’re partial to full-bodied Honduran tobacco and rich meaty smoke, you’ll dig the CLE Corojo. It has more complexity than many cigars in the same strength class, and it also has a pretty reasonable price tag. Cigar Aficionado named it one of their “Best Bargain Cigars” for 2012. The 5 x 50 runs in the $6 USD range, or a bit less. This is not a “bargain” price by my standards, but it’s not extravagant either. All in all a fine hearty smoke.

Final Score: 90

CLE

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Rocky Patel Edicion Unica 2011

No one will ever accuse Rocky Patel of missing a special occasion for a limited edition cigar release. This one comes courtesy the Humo Jaguar International Tobacco Festival celebrated last year in Tegucigalpa and Danli, Honduras. The purpose of the Festival is to promote the Honduran cigar industry, which lags a bit behind that of Nicaragua. But if this cigar is any indication of the strides that Honduras is making, it may be catching up with its neighbor to the south quite soon.

The festival was named Humo Jaguar after the 12th ruler of Copan, who ruled from 628 to 695 A.D.  Humo Jaguar (Chan Imix K’awiil) was sort of like the Caesar Augustus of ancient Mayan culture — his reign was long and marked by stability and progress. The archaeological record he left behind includes monuments and stelae now preserved in the Copan Archaeological Park. Archaeologists assigned names to the rulers based on the hieroglyphs found on these stelae — hence names like Moon, Macaw, and Jaguar. Evidently smoke is depicted in the carvings as well; the Mayans were among the first cultures in the world to use tobacco, and presumably the King’s humidor was well stocked.

I’d like to think that Humo Jaguar would be quite pleased with the progress that the cigar industry has made in the last 1300 years, and that the Honduran puro that Rocky Patel created for the first festival in his name would have been a big hit with him. The dark wrapper that graces this toro is from the Jamastran valley, beneath which lies an unspecified Honduran binder. The filler is from Talanga and Jamastran. Only one size was created — a 6 x 52 toro. The initial release was limited to 500 boxes, but it seems likely that more were produced afterwards.

Construction Notes

The wrapper on the Edicion Unica is dark and somewhat dry — it reminds me a little of the San Andres wrapper that is showing up on so many high-end maduro cigars these days. The roll is firm, as is the draw. The head of the cigar is well formed. The cap seams are a bit ragged, but the cigar cuts cleanly and takes an easy light. Even though the draw is on the tight side, the smoke volume is more than adequate. The ash holds together and the burn is trouble free.

Overall excellent construction.

Tasting Notes

I am initially reminded of Rocky Patel’s Decade line, which for the last couple of years has gradually been supplanting the Olde World Reserves in my humidor. (I attribute the decline of the OWR — or what I perceive as such — to the prodigious number of blends in the RP portfolio. Maintaining consistency over that many lines for years on end has to be a considerable challenge.)

The first flavors to emerge from the Unica are dark chocolate or unsweetened cocoa, layered over the spicy sweetness of Spanish cedar. It’s a great combination that so far I haven’t been able to find at Ethel M. The aroma is strong but sweet.

After an inch or two the cigar showcases coffee and an acidity that I usually associate with Nicaraguan tobacco. The aroma is rich but slightly fruity, like an Ethiopian Sidamo style coffee. The smoke texture is smooth and full without being too powerful. At this point the woody underpinning gives way and becomes more leathery.

The last third picks up some black pepper on the tongue to add to the acidic zing, and the sweet maduro-style aroma lingers on the nose. The cigar remains balanced and smooth to the very end. It’s pretty rare for me to nub any cigar, but this one I didn’t want to put down.

Conclusion

The RP Edicion Unica is sold in boxes of 100, which makes it more suitable for retail distribution than for online sales, but even so the price is right — around $6.50 per stick. Rich flavors in a balanced and medium-bodied package don’t often come with such an economical price tag.

This is a limited run, so snap up a few if you have the chance. I recommend them highly for fans of Rocky’s other maduro offerings like the Decade or the OWR maduro. I just hope there a few left at the shop where I picked up this pair.

Final Score: 92