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Stogie Reviews: Old Henry Robusto

28 Oct 2008

Often underappreciated and commonly misunderstood, so-called “house brands” can range from underpriced gems to outright duds. Old Henry from Holt’s Cigar Company falls somewhere between those two extremes.

The brand boasts a fair amount of credibility because it’s made by none other than industry superstar Don Pepin Garcia. According to Holt’s, “Pepin outdid himself in creating this masterpiece and for the price you won’t find a better, tastier cigar on the market.”

The classically sized Robusto (5 x 50) sells for $104 for a box of 25 or $26 for a five-pack—not exactly what I’d call value prices. But, given the Nicaraguan puro’s blender, expectations are certain to exceed those of the average house brand stick.

Named in memory of a “beautiful pooch with champion features and a great personality,” Old Henry features a lusterless corojo wrapper that radiates sweet chocolate notes. I experienced some moderate post-cut cracking in two of the three Robustos I smoked for this review. Each was densely packed with tobacco but drew cleanly.

While most expect a burst of pepper when they light up a Pepin creation, this cigar starts at a jog pace instead of a full-on sprint. I found a predominantly earthy flavor with hints of clove, leather, and peppercorn, all of which is best when cocoa wafts in and out.

There are no major changes between the beginning, middle, and end of this 50-minute smoke. Despite this, the medium-bodied taste—aptly described by my colleague as “flavorful yet well-balanced” in a February Quick Smoke—had little trouble holding my interest.

With even burns and white ashes that held strong for an inch and a half, my three Robustos outperformed those of other online reviewers who noted construction flaws. Maybe I just got a good batch.

Even so, I wouldn’t count Old Henry as one of Pepin’s towering achievements. If you’re into corojo tobacco, though, and if you enjoy a smoke with your afternoon coffee (the best way to experience this cigar, in my opinion) you may want to pick a few up. For delivering on balance but not quite living up to my expectations given the Pepin connection and the intoxicating prelight aromas, I give the Old Henry Robusto a fair three stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

5 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Old Henry Robusto”

  1. CWS Tuesday, October 28, 2008 at 5:43 am #

    Holt's is great at marketing their house blends bordering on overhyping. I'll let them sit for at least a month or two because I have little to no patience.

    I do recommend trying their Casa Royale blend though – it's worth a try and they age well.

  2. CWS Tuesday, October 28, 2008 at 6:59 am #

    I was at Holt’s last week and was offered two Old Henry’s – I’ll let them sit in the humidor for a while after your review. Holt’s has many house blends – you might want to try the Casa Royale. Another Pepin made cigar. It’s actually pretty good and the strength sneaks up on you towards the end. It’s a worth a review . . .

  3. Matt Tuesday, October 28, 2008 at 8:34 am #

    I have waffled back and forth on whether or not to pick up a few of these and give them a try. I kept hearing mixed reviews. None of them bad, just ranging from mediocre to great. I think your review settles it for me. I think I’ll just pass on this one. I have plenty of other stellar Pepin smokes to enjoy.

    Thanks for the great review.

  4. Patrick A Tuesday, October 28, 2008 at 8:45 am #

    CWS — I was thinking this is the kind of stick that could benefit from some age. If you remember, come back and leave a comment here once the verdict is in on those two Old Henrys.

    Matt — Unless you’re a corojo fiend, that’s probably a good call. This cigar isn’t at all bad–it just may be a tad overpriced for what it delivers.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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    […] shouldn’t be surprising. When Patrick A. gave the Old Henry robusto three stogies in an October review, he noted in the comments that it seemed like a stick that would benefit from aging. I believe he […]