Published on March 12th, 2013 | by Siz2
HC Habano 2
This HC Habano2 is the follow up to Xikar's initial release of the HC line. This box pressed stick has an incredible smoking experience, but for me lacked flavor complexity. I think with a few tweaks it could be a great smoke. In it's present iteration, I'm not a fan.
- Made By:HC
- Wrapper:Ecuadorian Habano 2000
- Binder:Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Sumatran
- Filler:Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Sumatran
- Average Price:$6.75
- Ring Gauge:50
Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve smoked a cigar. After taking about three weeks off to battle a sinus infection and get all of it out of my system, I’m finally ready to get back in the saddle and burn down a stogie. I’ve been waiting patiently to smoke and now I finally get the chance! I’m glad to be back and hopefully you’ve enjoyed some of Frankie’s reviews. If not, go check em out!
Ok, down to business with this HC Habano2! I was sent this cigar by Xikar to take for a test run. I had not heard much about this stick out there on the web. I had heard of the name, but had not really seen any reviews yet. That being said, I had no clue what to expect. Since this was my first stick back after a rather long hiatus, I tried to pick something that I assumed would be mild -medium in flavor.
This cigar has a nice mix of tobaccos from different countries. The binder and filler are made up of tobaccos from Honduras, Nicaragua, and Sumatra. The wrapper is a Habano 2000 leaf. This cigar is the follow up to Xikar’s initial line the HC series. I’m excited to give this guy a test run and see what he has to offer. So without any further delay lets hop into it and see what we get.
I’m just going to come right out and say this, if a cigar has a box press I’m already in love with it! A box pressed cigar fits perfectly in your mouth while you’re smoking and it rests comfortably in your hand if you’re holding it. This HC Habano2 has already won some favor with me right there.
The band on this stick is excellent too, nothing too daunting or overly complex it gets the point across in a classic way. Two big letters “HC” with a nice soft yellow background with a golden palm tree. It instantly makes fast forward to my honeymoon in Jamaica. I can’t wait to see some palm trees flowing in the breeze! Ok, back to reality. Below the palm tree the word Habano2 is written in gold with a nice dark chocolate brown background. The rest of the band is made up of what appears to be a collage of classic cigar box artwork. To me it looks like they took different different elements from cigar boxes that they liked and put them all together. It’s very interesting, hard to make out a lot of detail, but it still looks good. So, there ya go.
Ok, so I’ve already mentioned that this HC Habano2 has a great box press to it. As a result of that, when you look at the foot of the cigar you notice a slight rectangular shape to it. I tend to find box press cigars are slightly spongier down through the barrel and this cigar is no exception. It has a little more bounce back than normal. This could be due to having less tobacco in the filler, or just part of the box press. Either way I have a feeling this cigar is going to draw very well once we get it lit.
This Habano2000 wrapper has a beautiful silky sheen to it. A nice milk chocolate brown color with a slight hint of red in certain light. There are minimal veins running the course of the wrapper. In fact, none of them protrude out to make me notice them. They are only noticeable if you look closely for them. The head of the cigar is covered in a nicely placed triple cap.
Time to break out the trusty ole double guillotine capped back cutter! After I nipped the tip, I took a few puffs to test the dry draw. Mmm, just as I thought, this box press is incredibly easy to draw through. I actually choked a little drawing in some of this air. Maybe I actually forgot how to smoke due to my hiatus. Oh well, just like riding a bike, I picked it right back up.
What better to use for this cigar than my trusty Xikar Stratosphere torch? After properly toasting the foot, I took a couple puffs and started burning through this stick. From the first puff there was a good deal of white smoke pouring out of this cigar. The draw was so effortless, it was almost too much smoke at some points. The first third of this HC Habano2 burned perfectly. The burn line was crisp, not completely straight, but I had zero issues with it. So in my book that’s great! During the first third the ash held on for a little over a half inch. I was battling the wind tunnel that used to be my garage, when all of a sudden a gust came in and blew the ash right onto my chest and it turned into a fine dust on a my freshly washed Columbia fleece… I was slightly pissed about that. Oh well, still living the good life, right?
The great draw and burn continued all the way through the 2nd third down into the final third. I never once had an issue with the construction of this cigar. It burned perfectly and never required a re-light. Again, I think the box press always helps a cigar smoke well. When constructed correctly, it makes it a damn near effortless smoke. Ok, have you heard enough about the box press yet? How about the flavor?… It’s next, hold onto your shorts!
So, this is going to be a hard section for me to write. Just saying that upfront. From the start of this cigar, I was not a big fan of the flavor of this stick. Hence the low score. The first couple draws brought in a really odd, almost bitter flavored smoke. To me it wasn’t very appealing. I kept powering through each third hoping to really get something great out of this HC Habano2. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t a fan of this cigar. At points I was able to pull out some spice and a little bit of sweetness. Then at other points I could taste some nuttiness, but all of floated away with the bitter flavor of the cigar. Now, usually I only smoke one cigar for a review, but for this one I smoked both samples sent to me. Both cigars had the exact same flavor profile. They just didn’t hit my palate well.
The first third started out kind of bland with a hint of spice in the retrohale. I picked up on something that I can only describe as salty and somewhat savory. Almost like an oversalted piece of meat. Now, some of you might love this flavor, but to me, it’s not exactly what I was looking for. I powered through and made it into the 2nd third. There, I picked up a little change in flavor and found it to be a little nutty. I was really hoping for some more complexity with this HC Habano2. Unfortunately, I never found that complexity even as I smoked through the final third.
Overall, this cigar was definitely medium-full bodied in strength, but in regards to flavor, I would say it was very mild. Nothing too crazy, and honestly not very appealing to me and my palate. You may have a completely different experience with it though.
Would I Buy It Again?
Ehh, I’m gonna have to say no.
Is It an Every Day Smoke?
Not for me.
Would I Buy a Box?
It’s sad to have such a perfectly constructed cigar taste so poorly. I loved the way it smoked because it was so easy and effortless. The struggle was actually powering through the flavors. So I’m going to give this stick a 6/10. I think with a few tweaks this cigar could be something really great, but with these current flavors, I’m just not a fan.