Team Cigar Review: CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50×5

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Cigar Details: CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50×5

  • Vitola: Robusto
  • Length: 5″
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
  • Binder: Undisclosed
  • Filler: Undisclosed
  • Factory: CLE
  • Blender: Christian Eiroa
  • Price: $18.00
  • Release Date: October 2023
  • Source: Developing Palates

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

Aaron: The wrapper on the CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50×5 is dark tan and has some lightly raised and knotty veins. The seams are smooth and caps well applied. The band and tissue sleeve are both baby blue and white. The band denotes the brand on front with the PCA 2023 on one side. The tissue sleeve denotes the brand and PCA Exclusive 2023. The aroma from the wrapper is a faint hay while the foot brings a fuller, creamy hay component. The pre-light draw brings a mix of sweet cedar and hay.
Seth: A faded and delicate Connecticut, the CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50×5 has small veins throughout. Silky in texture, the cigar has a softness and the wrapper has some cracks here and there. Aromas of earth, cedar, bread and soft spices. Tobacco as well. Coloring is between Claro and Natural.
John: The CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50×5 does not come in cellophane but has a tissue paper wrap that covers two-thirds of the cigar and indicates “CLE PCA Exclusive”, along with a UPC sticker attached to the back. The cigar has a single band and no artisanal complications. I weighed the cigar at 11.6 grams with the paper wrap, and 11.5 grams with it removed. The humidity was measured at 62.6% with the HumidiMeter Pro. Aromas from the wrapper included spicy wood with some musty tobacco underneath. From the foot, I could pick out sweet hay and tobacco both at faint to light levels.
Jiunn: The CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50×5 has a golden brown Colorado Claro wrapper shade. Veins are well pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll even and the head is well wrapped and capped. Aromas provide fresh cedar, dry barnyard and a hint of mint.

CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50x5

CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50×5

First Third

Aaron: The cigar begins with toasted cedar, earth and slightly sharp black pepper. At a third of an inch, the toasted cedar gains a light sweetness and the black pepper loses most of its bite. The retrohale is toasted cedar with light earth and black pepper. At an inch in, a creamy chalkiness joins the profile. As the third comes to a close, the slightly sweet, toasted cedar is up front, with earth and black pepper a bit behind and the creamy chalkiness a bit further behind. The strength was right at medium.
Seth: The first third opens with this faint creaminess and cedar profile. It has a faint spice to it, and there is this distinct Honduran earth quality. Just under medium for strength and body.
John: My initial flavor impressions are dry tobacco with light spices to follow. The retrohale has creaminess to it with an earth and wood combination to finish. As the first third settles in, a mild chocolate comes into the retrohale along with a light, musty tobacco adding to the finish. Moving towards the halfway point, a tobacco sweetness is present in the center of the profile. By the halfway point, cinnamon has joined the retrohale.
Jiunn: The first third creates a toasty and easy going smoking experience. Toasted cedar, dry biscuits and leather tannins. On the retrohale, a surprising amount of dried red pepper spice. The finish shows a mixture of leather tannins and cedar. Strength and body is medium.

CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50x5

CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50×5

Second Third

Aaron: As the second third begins, the earth and black pepper both mellow a fair amount. At a quarter inch in, hay joins the profile, right behind the cedar, which has lost its sweetness. The retrohale is now toasted cedar, hay and earth with mild black pepper. At an inch in, the toasted cedar and hay are now even up front and the earth is back to right behind them. As the third comes to a close, the toasted cedar and hay are even up front, with the earth right behind and the black pepper and creamy chalkiness in the background. The strength remained at medium.
Seth: The second third is in line with the first. Bits of earth with cedar and soft spice. Creamy and cedar. Just under medium in strength and body. Nice burn.
John: Creamy chocolate leads the second third with cinnamon, wood and spices combining to follow as sweet tobacco finishes into the post draw. I would describe the profile here as ‘dessert like’, with musty tobacco providing an accent quality. Dry hay and wood join the finish as the second third continues.
Jiunn: The second third shifts to a profile with less sweetness, as the profile is now full of leather tannins and cedar. The lack of the sweetness and breadiness from the biscuits is largely missed. The mouthfeel is also quite drying. Strength and body remains medium.

CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50x5

CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50×5

Final Third

Aaron: As the final, third begins, a light wood bitterness becomes present as the creamy chalkiness is no longer present. The retrohale remains toasted cedar, hay and earth with mild black pepper. As the cigar wraps up, the toasted cedar and hay are even up front, earth right behind and black pepper and wood bitterness in the background. The strength remained at medium.
Seth: In line with the first and second. Not much else to say. Cedar and creamy. Some earth and tobacco. Just under medium in strength and body like the first and second.
John: The last third starts with creamy wood, medium strength spices in the center and a musty tobacco to finish. Some light plus strength tannins join with wood on the post draw as the last third settles in. By the bottom half of the final third, some dry hay at light plus has joined the center of the profile.
Jiunn: The final third mirrors the second third. A drying palate with flavors of leather tannins and cedar. The profile is in great need of sweetness to cut all the dryness and wood. Strength and body finishes the same medium.

CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50x5

CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50×5

Burn

Aaron: The burn was straight throughout and the ash held n in inch and three quarter increments.
Seth: Very good burn from start to finish.
John: The burn had waviness throughout the first and second thirds but never required any intervention. The burn was fairly straight through the last third.
Jiunn: Burn performance was spot on. Even burn, ample smoke production and tight ashes.

CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50x5

CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50×5

Draw

Aaron: The draw was perfect, with just the right amount of resistance that I prefer.
Seth: Nice draw throughout.
John: The draw was at most a 1/2 notch towards the resistant spectrum which puts it in the ideal range between open and resistant.
Jiunn: Draw performance was perfect, striking the ideal balance between air flow and resistance.

Overall

Aaron: The cigar began with toasted cedar, earth and slightly sharp black pepper. The cedar gained a light sweetness and a creamy chalkiness joined in. The second third saw hay join the profile. The final third saw a light wood bitterness join in and the creamy chalkiness depart. Construction was perfect. The CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50×5 had a pretty nice start with a well detailed and full flavor profile. As the earth and pepper waned in the second third, the profile took a step down and remained at that level the rest of the way. I was quite interested in this cigar due to the South American tobacco that was touted. While I can’t really say what it provided, it seemed to start well, but just couldn’t maintain itself past the first third. I might be interested in trying this in the 11/18 vitola, but aside from that, probably not a cigar I’d return to with this high price point.
Seth: I enjoyed this CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50×5, but with the price offering, I don’t think it is a cigar I would reach for or go to if available. I can smoke a lot of other Connecticut’s, and at that price range I could go in another direction as well. I would love to know more information on the blend as well, but I imagine I can take a guess on the components.
John: The CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50×5 was an enjoyable cigar to smoke and review, and the first and second thirds were the highlight of the experience for me. The draw was perfect and the burn, while wavy at times, required no attention through the review. I think the CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50×5 demonstrates the kind of good cigar that CLE can produce and I would happily smoke another one if I had the opportunity. The Honduran tobacco present does a great job of accenting the profile without taking over. Total smoking time was a bit on the quick side at 1 hour and 29 minutes.
Jiunn: This CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50×5 is a decent showing of Connecticut Shade. While I enjoyed the profile of the first third, the majority of the cigar was lacking in sweetness, being too leather and wood forward with a drying palate. As such, this is a pass for me.

Aaron
Seth
John
Jiunn
GoodPre
Light
AveragePre
Light
GoodPre
Light
Good
GoodFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
Good
AverageSecond
Third
GoodSecond
Third
GoodSecond
Third
Average
AverageFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
Average
AmazingBurnVery GoodBurnAmazingBurnAmazing
AmazingDrawGoodDrawAmazingDrawAmazing
AverageOverallAverageOverallGoodOverallAverage

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

6.10

Cost/Point

$2.95

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

6.05

Cost/Point

$2.98

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

6.82

Cost/Point

$2.64

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

6.10

Cost/Point

$2.95

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50×5

John McTavishTeam Cigar Review: CLE PCA 2023 Exclusive 50×5

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