The year was 1519, when the Spanish established a settlement on the northern coast of the island nation now known as Cuba. The settlement, San Cristóbal de la Habana by Spanish conquistador, Pánfilo de Narváez. San Cristóbal de la Habana was the original name of Havana, Cuba’s capital city. The name is derived from San Cristóbal (St. Christoper) who was the saint of the day when settlement was founded, and La Habana, the Indian name for the area. The original San Cristóbal de la Habana was settled on the island’s south coast, but had to be moved due to intense mosquito infestation. The current location proved fruitful for the Spanish as it provided an easy shipping route between the new world and Spain.
Now, 500 years later, HVC Cigars commemorates the founding of Havana, Cuba with the limited edition, 500th Anniversary cigar that was released in 2019. If you did not know, HVC is also the city code for Havana, Cuba. President and founder of HVC Cigars, Reinier Lorenzo wanted pay tribute to his birthplace and created a master work with the HVC 500th.
Lorenzo has been quoted as saying:
“Our goal is to keep the Cuban tradition of hand-made cigars alive and well. I want to create cigars that everybody can smoke.“
Having forged a close relationship with Aganorsa Leaf over the years, Lorenzo opted to use 100% Aganorsa tobacco in the HVC 500th. The blend is described as:
- Wrapper – Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 (Jalapa)
- Binder – Nicaragua Corojo ’99
- Filler – Nicaragua (Criollo ’98 and Corojo ’99)
The original release was expressed in a single (5 7/8 x 52) Tesoros vitola and packaged in 15-count boxes. The company added two more vitolas in 2020 for a total of three.
- Tesoros (5 7/8 x 52) – MSRP $9.54
- Selectos (5 5/8 x 46) – MSRP $8.99
- Shorts (4 1/2 x 52) – MSRP $9.00 (Privada Cigar Club exclusive)
For this review I sampled two Selectos which I purchased from Maxis Cigar Lounge in Franklin Square, NY as part of the Stogie Press 2020 mission to KEEP THE LIGHTS ON. I also have the Tesoros and I plan to update this article based on my experience with that.
The HVC 500th Anniversary is medium brown and oily cigar that is firm to the touch and well packed. There are a few veins along the barrel and it is smooth to the touch. An expertly applied triple cap finishes the presentation.
Two bands adorn the cigar. The primary band uses a red, white, and gold motif. It displays the company name “HVC” on top of a emblem signifying Havana with a golden key and three golden towers. The phrase”500th” is printed below along with the word “ANNIVERSARY”. The left side of the band has the year “1519” and the right side “2019” signifying the 500 years since the founding of Havana, Cuba. The secondary band uses a black and gold motif and declares this as a Limited Edition blend.
Running the HVC 500th Anniversary along the nose, I detected a sweet baking spice note along the barrel along with bread and fruit off the foot.
I sliced the cap straight across the shoulder using my double blade Xikar cutter, and gave it some cold draw puffs that were spot with restriction and offered a scrumptious sweetness and earth combination with a touch of pepper and nut the more I puffed on it. A pleasant cold draw indeed!
Using my double flame torch, I warmed the foot to an even orange glow and drew in the first Cubanesque notes of floral and white pepper. Follow along as I burn the HVC 500th Anniversary to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Floral and white pepper start
- Full volume of smoke right off the first puff
- Light grey ash forms on a medium char line
- Pepper morphs into a cinnamon spice
- Oils from well above the char line
- Burn is a tad wavy
- Spice evolves to more of a savory note
- Burn evens out well near end of first third
- Background of sweetness adding to profile
- Still plenty of floral notes through the 1st third
- Ash fell revealing flat but centered burn cone
- Sweetness grows entering the second third
- Milk chocolate notes enter moving through the second third
- Spice increases entering and moving through the final third
- Strength has ratcheted up to medium – full
- Total Smoking time 1 hour and 30 Minutes
Overall, the HVC 500th Anniversary was a spectacular cigar with a complex and balanced journey of flavors and aromas. I have to say the start of this was very Cubanesque and caught my attention. The flavors transitioned and morphed through the journey with a core of sweetness and floral. The only negative on this was the flat burn cone and a slightly wavy burn. I rate this a 96.
Point Deductions: (-1) Slight Wave; (-1) Flat Burn Cone
Bonus Points: (+1) Buy a Box; (+1) Excellent Oiling above Burn Line; (+1) Positive experience through multiple samples; (+1) Complex and Balanced