Team Cigar Review: H.R. Claro 109

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Cigar Details: H.R. Claro 109

  • Vitola: 109
  • Length: 7.25″
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Claro
  • Binder: Jalapa
  • Filler: Undisclosed
  • Factory: La Corona
  • Blender: Hirochi Robaina, Omar González-Alemán and Spencer Drake
  • Price: $10.95
  • Release Date: July 2016
  • Source: White Hat Cigars

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The wrapper is a light brown with some fine marbling. There are a decent number of veins visible, but they actually look right at home with the way the marbling is and along with the length of the cigar, it almost looks as though you see the full leaf before it was rolled. The seams are easily visible but very smooth and the 109 head is executed perfectly. The foot is partially covered with a little bit of wrapper. There is a single band which is the standard H.R. design, but for this line it carries a primarily white color with gold artwork and borders. The aroma from the wrapper is a great mix of leather and sweet hay. The foot is a muted version of the wrapper aromas which is backwards of how I usually experience the two aromas. The pre-light draw is a mix of raisin and red pepper along with the red pepper giving a nice tingle to my tongue and lips.

Pre-light Experience

The H.R. Claro 109 has a construction paper like, toothy, claro shade wrapper. Veins are well pressed and seams tight and visible. Bunching and roll feels spot on as there is a nice uniformed give throughout. The conde 109 style head is finished off with a well adhered, thick quadruple cap. Nosing the wrapper gives chestnuts, wet earth and cedar. Nosing the partially enclosed foot tells sweet bread, white pepper and cedar. Cold draw tells mixed nuts and dry cardboard.

First Third

The cigar begins with a very heavy black pepper along with a mellow cedar. At a quarter inch in, the black pepper really settles down while some cream joins in to mix with the cedar. At a half inch in, the cream leaves and the cedar transitions to a slightly dark oak. There is still pepper present on the very long finish. The retrohale is primarily black pepper with a nice zing along with some wood in the background. At an inch in, the pepper bumps back up to mix with the oak. At an inch and a half, the cream increases which creates a creamy and pepper oak mixture. As the third comes to a close, the pepper bumps up a little more and is still very prevalent on the long finish. The strength in this third is slightly above medium.

First Third

Initial handful of draws creates a mixture of toasted wood and hay. Roughly a quarter inch in, black pepper, sweet bread and dry wood adds to the initial profile. Through retrohaling, notes of intense black pepper, sharp cedar and mixed nuts. The finish is medium in length, providing flavors of dry wood, mixed nuts and subtle black pepper spice. In terms of body and strength, medium.

Second Third

As this third begins, the pepper is up front with the creamy oak in the background. At a half inch in, the pepper is still dominant while the retrohale is a slightly dark oak. At an inch in, the pepper begins to blend in to some earthiness that joins in while the slightly creamy oak is still in the background. As the third comes to a close, it is primarily earthy with the oak in the background. The strength in this third was medium-full.

Second Third

The second third yields similar flavors but is subtle and faint. Still the same flavors of toasted wood, black pepper, dry wood and mixed nuts. A wood bitterness enters, creating a greater range in earthiness. Still the same retrohale persists, providing intense black pepper, sharp cedar and mixed nuts. The finish continues to be medium in length, giving flavors of dry wood, mixed nuts and faint black pepper. The strength surprisingly moves to a medium-full and body remains at the medium mark.

Final Third

This third continues on with the earthy profile along with some oak. The earthiness is also what’s present on the very long finish. At a half inch in, the oak ramps up a bit to become even with the earthiness. The retrohale is primarily oak with a little bit of earthiness. At an inch and a half in, the oak and earthiness are in a pretty good balance. This is the profile the cigar finishes with. The strength in this third was medium-full.

Final Third

The last third’s depth of flavors thankfully makes a comeback. No longer are the flavors subtle and faint. Instead, a profile that calls for namely sweet creamed bread and dry wood. Other pre-existing notes of black pepper, toastiness and mixed nuts are still tasted but takes a back seat. The retrohale is still unchanged, giving fierce black pepper, sharp cedar and mixed nuts. The finish, still being medium in length, is slightly more black pepper and dry wood focused and mixed nuts is less noticeable. Strength and body continues to be medium-full and medium, respectively.

Burn

The burn was slightly wavy the entire way. At the beginning of the final third, the cigar went out twice and required re-lights. Ash held on in about inch and a quarter increments.

Burn

The only downside to the burn was the heavy ash flowering and uneven burn within the second third, which required a minor touch up. Ashes were tapped off in solid 1.5 inch marks. Total smoking time was long as expected, clocking in at 3 hours.

Draw

The draw was just slightly tighter than I prefer but didn’t cause any issues.

Overall

The cigar was pretty pepper and earth dominant which left things out of balance for most of the cigar. I’m wondering if some time might help balance out the flavor. I’d also be interested in trying this in a smaller vitola to see if there are any differences in the experience. Strength was medium plus, so it may be out of range for some smokers. I also wish construction was a bit better. Overall, it was another interesting cigar from H.R. and I’m definitely interested in revisiting it in another vitola or with more time on it.

Aaron
Jiunn
Amazing Pre
Light
Very Good
Good First
Third
Good
Average Second Third Average
Good Final
Third
Good
Average Burn Good
Very Good Draw Amazing
Average Overall Good

Draw

Perfect draw that allowed me to taste everything that the cigar had to offer with zero issues.

Overall

I enjoyed the flavor profile as it hit the main departments fairly well (spice, sweetness, earth, retrohale, finish). I was bored at times because the cigar profile was mundane and non-transitional/building, especially for a long 3 hour smoke. Also, being a claro shade, I was not expecting a medium-full strength cigar. But that may be good as it kept me engaged and a little surprised. Overall, a decently good H.R.

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

6.07

Cost/Point

$1.80

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

6.73

Cost/Point

$1.63

Scoring System

Jiunn LiuTeam Cigar Review: H.R. Claro 109

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