When one thinks of Cuban cigars, names like Cohiba, Montecristo, Bolivar, and Romeo y Julieta come to mind. Yet one of the oldest original Cuban brands was the Henry Clay, a brand that dates back to the 1840’s and, during the 19th century, was one of the most popular cigars in the US. Of course the brand name might of helped that, as it was named after one of America’s great pacificators – Henry Clay. The man was a true statesman, becoming the young country’s seventh House Speaker and the ninth Secretary of State. He helped lead the US into the war of 1812 and as a commissioner to peace talks, helped negotiate the Treaty of Ghent that ended the war. Clay died at the age of 75 and was the first person to lie in state in the United States Capitol rotunda.
The Henry Clay cigar brand was originally manufactured by Julian Alvarez in Havana, Cuba. Alvarez eventually sold his interest to Henry Clay and a British company known as Bock & Co., Ltd. Back in the 19th and early 20th centuries, cigars were a sign of wealth and once the Great Depression hit, the brand died out. During the cigar boom of the 1990’s, the brand was resurrected and is now manufactured by one of the largest factory’s in the Dominican Republic and the world – Tabacalera de Garcia. This factory celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and ended up being part of the Altidas USA brand in 1999 through various merges through the years.
In 2019, Altidas branded a new Henry Clay known as the “War Hawk”, a nod to the Statesman of the same name. The company shifted manufacturing for the War Hawk away from Tabacalera de Garcia to Flor de Copan factory in Honduras. Then in 2020, they announced a limited edition version of the War Hawk, this time in collaboration with A.J. Fernandez. This limited edition was called the War Hawk Rebellious. It is the Rebellious that I offer a review of today.
The company describes the War Hawk Rebellious blend as a Nicaraguan puro:
- Wrapper – Nicaraguan Habano (very rare vintage)
- Binder – Nicaraguan
- Filler – Nicaraguan
The Henry Clay War Hawk Rebellious is expressed in a single (6 x 54) toro and comes packaged in 20-count boxes. The production was limited to just 1,200 boxes and the MSRP is set at $9.60/cigar.
For this review I sampled one Henry Clay War Hawk Rebellious, and that was enough for me to admire the blend. I have to say, back in the 1990’s I recall smoking a Henry Clay cigar and it put me off the brand half way through the cigar. The War Hawk Rebellious has won me back like Henry Clay won the war of 1812.
The Henry Clay War Hawk Rebellious has a silky smooth, milk chocolate brown wrapper that is light on veins and more of a matt finish as opposed to oily. The cigar is finished with a double cap and it feels to be tightly packed with no soft spots.
Two bands adorn the cigar. The primary band uses the standard Henry Clay logo in red and white, along with a gold extension that declares this as War Hawk Rebellious Nicaragua printed in white. The secondary footer band uses the same gold and white motif and declares this as a “LIMITED EDITION‘ cigar.
Running the War Hawk Rebellious along the nose, I detected fruit and pepper notes off the foot and lightly pungent note along the barrel.
My trusty double blade Xikar cutter did the trick, to slice the cap straight across the shoulder so that I can give it some cold puffs. The draw was spot on and delivered spicy cinnamon and gentle sweetness notes to the palate.
With the pre-light intriguing and much to my liking, I proceeded to use my double flame torch lighter to warm the foot to an even orange glow. I drew on the first delectable notes of butter and spice to start the journey.
Cigar Review Notes
- Buttery and spice to start
- Light grey ash forms on top of a medium char line
- Peppery burn on retro-hale
- Cedar notes blend into the profile
- Decent ash chunk falls revealing a flat but centered burn cone
- Coffee notes add to the pleasure
- Moving into the second third a pleasant nut nuance graces the palate
- Natural sweetness rounds out the nut
- Light spice remains in the background
- Strength moves up to medium plus
- Nut aroma wafts off the foot deep in the second third
- The final third adds some light citrus notes to brighten the profile down to the finish
- Medium Plus in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 40 minutes
Overall, the Henry Clay War Hawk Rebellious was a wake-up call for me when it come to this brand. A.J. Fernandez nailed this blend with an array of balanced and well transitioned notes that kept my palate interested down to the nub. The only issue I had with this, and it is a minor one, is it had a flat burn cone once the ash fell. This is most certainly worth a box buy and I rate this a solid 94.
Point Deductions: (-1) Flat Burn Cone
Bonus Points: (+1) Buy a Box