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Xikar HC Series Connecticut Shade

This is the final installment of my Xikar HC Series reviews. As you saw before in the reviews of the Criollo and Habano Colorado, I really enjoyed them. This line is touted as the milder of the 3 blends, although Xikar says it is slightly stronger then your typical Connecticut wrapped cigar. For more info, make sure to visit their website. Although I tend to gravitate to fuller bodied cigars, I still often enjoy a good mild cigar. I looked forward to trying the Connecticut shade. With my usual glass of water, I got to smoking.

Once again, I’d like to thank Xikar for sending me these cigars to review. I’m glad they were confident and took a chance. Let’s see what I thought of the Xikar HC Series Connecticut Shade.

HC Logo  

Wrapper: Connecticut shade – Ecuador

Binder: Sumatra

Filler: Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua

Size: Robusto 5 x 50

Price: $8.50

 

Pre-smoke & Construction:

Giving the cigar the ol once over, I found it visually appealing. The tan wrapper had a few medium veins running throughout, but most were small. The wrapper and foot had almost no odor. I could only pick up a slight woodiness. The pre-light draw had a little resistance, and had very mild natural tobacco and earthy notes. Inspecting the cigar further, I found it was somewhat tightly packed with no soft or hard spots. This probably accounts for the resistance in the draw. Keep in mind, the draw wasn’t bad, just a little tight.

The burn required no corrections at all, and the ash held for well over an inch. After lighting up, I found that the draw was fine despite being a tad bit tight.

1HCConn 

Flavor:

The first third began with easy earthy notes. I detected a nice peppery spice when passing through the sinus. The pepper was very smooth and on the milder side, but it did have a small punch to it. As I dug further in, the smoke feel became a little creamy with a toasty finish.

2HCConn

The second third kept those earthy undertones I spoke of before. Layered on top of that was a creamy smoke feel with buttery notes. That peppery punch remained but really calmed down to a much smoother sensation. I noticed a toasty finish at the end of the exhale. The smoke itself seemed to coat my mouth but wasn’t lip smacking.

3HCConn

The last third didn’t offer too much change. The earthy undertones remained with smooth, mild peppery spice. The creamy smoke feel became a little thicker and coated the mouth. A slight sweetness entered the flavor profile to round things out. The dry toasty finish remained and had me craving water. This didn’t detract from the overall experience.

4HCConn

Conclusion:

This was a good mild to medium cigar. It packs enough punch to satisfy a seasoned smoker, but is simple and mild enough for perhaps a beginner to try. All in all, I really enjoyed this cigar. I think this would go great with morning coffee, and even makes a good after lunch smoke. Although some aspects were typical, this isn’t your average Connecticut wrapped cigar. I say give it a try.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, September 13th, 2009 at 12:00 am and is filed under Cigar Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “Xikar HC Series Connecticut Shade”

Mike - KnightRid September 13th, 2009 at 8:09 am

Great review! This one sounds right up my alley ;) I shall have to snag some to try!

Mike

Tom September 20th, 2009 at 10:13 pm

I’m a Xikar fanboi when it comes to their lighters and cutters. It’s nice to see them offering cigars that equal their accessories. I really like all of their HC cigars.

Charlie December 5th, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Having been involved in the REAL Connecticut shade business for over 15 years, and my father before me, I get very annoyed at these yuppie cigar makers who do not plainly admit that hteir tobacco comes from Ecuador, not Connecticut. In Ecuador, labor is cheap and the cigar makers are making a big profit from young smokers’ ignorance. Tobacco takes on the characteristics of the place where it is grown, and so Connecticut seed grown in Ecuador is NOT Connecticut shade any longer, but Ecuador shade–a pale and inferior product grown by third world indifference to perfection.

Regarding the HC, I smoked a Corillo which was too tightly rolled, so that when the filler expanded as it heated up the wrapper developed small cracks. By the time the cigar was half smoked it eas all cracked with pieces of wrapper hanging off. An inferior cigar produced by people who try to fool the public about where their tobacco comes from.

Charlie December 5th, 2009 at 12:45 pm

And BTW, you have people like “Rocky Patel” who actually call their product by the name “Connecticut” when there is not a scrap of Connecticut Valley tobacco in it. Connecticut Valley wrappers are the best in the world, as well as the most expensive, and so cigar makers try to maximize their profits by misrepresenting their products. Of courrse, the same thing is done with the words “Cuba” and “Havana”, but at least in that case everyone knows that the tobacco is not from Cuba–Connecticut however is still alive and well, but one cannot copyright a state name, tho CT growers have tried.

Tom December 5th, 2009 at 9:07 pm

Charlie – Thanks for the feedback. Just to play devils advocate…

I checked Xikar’s website http://hc.xikar.com/cigars and found that they are not hiding where the wrapper was grown. It’s all right there for anyone to read. I also put it in my review. No secrets there…

I do agree for example, cuban seed tobacco grown in the Dominican is nothing like true Cuban grown tobacco. I imagine the same would hold true for Connecticut seed.

As for the HC Criollo… How many did you try? Were they all tightly rolled and exploded? Many variables have to be taken into account – Storage conditions, handling, bad construction. Smoking one cigar and passing final judgment may not be fair considering I’ve had those same flaws in many “Premium” brands.

Anyhow I appreciate the comments.

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