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Stogie Reviews: Xikar HC Connecticut Shade Robusto

30 Aug 2010

Xikar is primarily known as a leading purveyor of cigar accessories like cutters, lighters, cases, and humidification devices. But this Kansas City-based company is also in the business of crafting premium cigars.

Xikar HC Connecticut Shade RobustoXikar’s cigar-making partner is Jesus Fuego, a Cuban expat with a master’s degree in agronomy and five generations of tobacco cultivation in his blood. Today he has his own cigar outfit in Miami where he produces such gems as the 777 Corojo and the Origen.

Last spring, Xikar and Fuego teamed up to launch the HC Series. Named for and decorated with double bands that mimic Xikar’s Havana Collection, the line boasts three blends: Connecticut Shade, Criollo, and Habano Colorado. “No matter your time, mood, or your preference, the HC Series has the perfect blend for every cigar lover’s palate,” said Fuego in an April 2009 press release.

Each HC cigar is handmade at one of Nestor Plasencia’s factories in either Honduras or Nicaragua. The five-vitola Connecticut Shade blend, for example, originates from the Segovia Cigars factory in Nicaragua. It is made with an Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrapper, a Sumatran binder, and a three-country filler blend from Costa Rica, Mexico, and Nicaragua.

The Robusto (5 x 50) is a dry, pale cigar with a wrinkly, somewhat veiny exterior and a spongy feel. The pre-light aroma is of sweet grass and hay.

Xikar’s marketing materials state that the Connecticut Shade blend is supposed to be “slightly stronger than the average Connecticut shade cigar, while staying true to the character of a Connecticut.” That’s apparent from the outset. From the first puff, the flavor is spicy with background notes of bread, cream, and almond.

As the taste becomes creamier and nuttier as it progresses, outstanding combustion qualities emerge. The burn is near perfect with a thick, black mascara, the gray ash is stable, and the draw remains clear.

Even though this blend stands on its own, I can’t help but compare it to other Connecticut-wrapped smokes that are permanent features of my humidor. The Camacho Connecticut has a similar texture and profile, for instance, but the HC Robusto’s price tag of $7.50-9 apiece makes it decidedly more expensive. The sub-$5 Oliva Connecticut is an even more affordable option.

Still, fans of Connecticut tobacco—myself included—shouldn’t miss the opportunity to add another blend to their rotation. With a harmonious mix of tastiness and great construction, the HC Connecticut Shade Robusto is a solid, perhaps overpriced, contender. It earns three and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

3 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Xikar HC Connecticut Shade Robusto”

  1. dmjones1009 Monday, August 30, 2010 at 2:36 am #

    It's very hard to disagree with anything you said, Patrick. I, too, thoroughly enjoy this cigar, but find it a buck or two pricier than it probably should be. The result is I buy them occasionally, especially if I can get a good deal at an event or something, but buy the Oliva (or Camacho) Connecticuts fairly regularly.

  2. Todd Monday, August 30, 2010 at 9:13 am #

    Not a bad stick but nothing compared to tha HC criollo.

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