I had my first Vegas Robaina cigar over ten years ago when I was living in Nuremberg, Germany. It was my last day of the last week there and I wanted to smoke a great Cuban cigar. The tobacconist in the Casa del Habanos house in the city, got to know me well over the time of my visits and said he had the perfect cigar for me; a Vegas Robaina Don Alejandro. He explained that this is the vitola that the legend himself, the “Godfather of Tobacco”, Don Alejandro Robaina rolled and it would send me away with memories I would never forget. He was absolutely correct and to this day I still say that was the best cigar I ever smoked in my life.
Don Alejandro has since passed away but my memory of him lives through that cigar journey. His memory also lives on through his grandson Hirochi Robaina who started his own company, HR Cigars in 2014 and introduced the craft of his family legacy to the US. Hirochi teamed up with the La Corona cigar factory in Esteli, Nicaragua which is owned by the Gonzalez family. The two started to craft the next generation of Robaina cigars. To complete the picture, Hirochi connected with Spencer Drake, the former national sales manager of A.J. Fernandez Cigar Co., vice president of Cubanacan, and national sales director of Cornelius & Anthony . Spencer owns La Familia Robaina cigar distribution.
HR Cigars Ilegal Tobaco Habano
The latest craft to hit the US market was the HR Ilegal Tobaco line, introduced at the 2019 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) trade show. The line is offered in 3 blends; Connecticut, Habano, and San Andres. Today I offer a review of the HR Ilegal Habano.
The HR Ilegal Habano has a secret blend, other than the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. They are expressed in 3 popular vitolas and come packaged in 20-count boxes:
- Robusto (5 1/2 x 54) MSRP $10.95
- Toro (6 x 50) MSRP $11.95
- Gordo (6 x 60) MSRP $11.95
For this review I sampled the HR Ilegal Toro vitola. By the way, you now may be commenting that I have a typo- but no my loyal readers – the name is “Ilegal” not “Illegal”. So don’t make that comment.
The HR Cigars Ilegal Habano is a beautifully constructed cigar that is velvet smooth to the touch and light on veins. The medium brown habano wrapper has a nice oily sheen to it and it is finished with a closed foot and triple cap. The cigar is solid from head to foot, with tight seams and a decent weight in the hand. Using my CigarMedics HumidiMeter I stabbed the foot and got reading of 65% which is perfect for me.
There is a single band that adorns the cigar using a pale yellow, gold, and medium tumeric motif. The name “Ilegal Tabaco” is printed in the center in white surrounding a circle of gold containing two crossed swords and the date 1845, which is the year the Robaina family started the tobacco business in Cuba.
Running the barrel across the nose, I picked up a sweet and pungent set of notes while the foot exuded a nut like aroma even though it was closed.
I used my double blade Xikar cutter to give the cap a straight cut, right across the shoulder and proceeded to take some cold draw puffs that were spot on with restriction and offered what I can only describe as apple and cinnamon spice flavor. A few more cold puffs and I picked up a gentle sweetness to add to the pre-light flavors. Ok, dare I say it…..crap – its apple jacks….there I said it! Sometimes things are just what they are.
After an enjoyable pre-light experience I reached for my double flame torch lighter and warmed the foot which flared up with the loose leaf of the closed foot and took in the first cinnamon spice puffs of smoke.
Cigar Review Notes
- First light offers cinnamon spice on the palate and a pepper burn on the nose
- Butter notes wrap the cinnamon spice after a half inch of burn offering a deliciously balanced start to the journey
- Lots of oiling above thick char line and medium grey ash that is forming
- Touch of sweetness enters the profile
- Mild jag in burn but nothing that is causing an issue
- Ash fell in a nice chunk revealing a decently formed and centered burn cone
- Creamy notes enter in the start of the second third
- The smoke is full and thick in texture – what I call “smoke ring” texture of smoke
- Cedar notes find their way into the profile
- Each puff ends with a delightfully clean finish
- Citrus notes brighten the profile moving though the second third
- Coffee notes join in
- Burn has been fine through the journey
- Cream and light spice moves in delighting the palate
- Spice increases moving through the final with a back note of natural sweetness
- Medium in strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 45 minutes
Overall, the HR Ilegal Habano was a spectacular smoke that offered a balanced and complex flavor profile. The transitions were easy on the palate and enjoyable from foot to nub. The oils developed beautifully through the burn. It did have a bit of a jagged burn and the ash was medium grey in color. The thick and creamy smoke had me blowing smoke rings through the journey. This is one I would say is worth a box buy and I rate it solid 95. Don Alejandro would be proud of Hirochi for this creation.
Point Deductions: (-1) Jagged Burn; (-1) Medium Grey Ash
Bonus Points: (+1) Buy a Box; (+1) Nice Oiling on Wrapper during Burn; (+1) Balanced and Complex