7 Oct 2009
What do the Vintage Especial Rothchild and Gran Cru No. 2 have in common? Well, other than being produced by Tesa, they both rank among the best cigars I’ve reviewed in 2009. So it’s high time I check out “Havanitas,” another one of nine blends produced by this Chicago-based boutique manufacturer.
As you may recall from my previous reviews, Tesa is headquartered in a shop on the Near North Side of the Windy City. Their cigars are, according to the company’s website, “meticulously blended by Chicago area resident Chris Kelly and crafted in the Tesa Cigar factory in Estelí.” Tesa’s naked, tiger-endorsed blends make use of a variety of wrappers and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua.
The Havanitas line, available with a Connecticut shade or criollo ’98 maduro wrapper, comes in two slender sizes: No. 1 (7 x 36) and No. 2 (5.5 x 36). Only 90,000 per vitola are made annually.
With a sharp pigtail cap, a smooth and silky wrapper, and faint pre-light notes of honey and sawdust, the Connecticut No. 1 is as gorgeous as it is elegant. The only imperfection is a harmless “frog eyes” spot near the head.
The narrow foot is easy to light with a single wooden match. As the white ash begins to build, a crisp and satisfying profile develops that includes notes of dry wine, potato, toast, and cream. Mild, yet with plenty of flavor and some spice on the finish.
Warm honey, clove, and tea join in at the midway point to add depth. With each puff producing tons of aromatic smoke, it’s here where I start to appreciate this cigar’s easy draw—especially for a lancero—and razor-sharp burn. The last two inches are characterized by increased spice and notes of meat and cereals.
As with the others in the Tesa lineup, this cigar’s main drawback is its limited availability and high cost. The only way to get your hands on one of these is to either visit the shop in person or purchase it from Tesa’s online store for $12.15 per single.
Notwithstanding those barriers, I still hope you decide to try at least one Havanitas Connecticut No. 1. You won’t be disappointed. For its complex flavor and high-quality physical properties, it earns four and a half stogies out of five.
[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]
photo credit: Stogie Guys