2 Jul 2013
If you’ve heard of Nat Cicco Cigars, it’s most likely for the “Rejects” value-oriented lines. Lately, though, the company has been moving into the more exclusive end of the market.
Their most ambitious move to date is the Nat Cicco HHB, about which the company brags, “Just compare it… Especially to Cuba’s Cohiba Behike.” That’s quite a suggestion considering the Cohiba Behike is considered by many to be one of the finest cigars made, and it commands an astronomical $40 (or more) price.
At least before smoking one, there are plenty of similarities to the the most expensive widely distributed cigar in the world. Like the Cuban Behike, the HHB features a gold and black band, a black lacquer flip top box of ten, a high price (although the HHB only runs $14), and it comes in three sizes built around ring gauges of 52, 54, and 56. (Not to mention HHB is sufficiently similar to the BHK moniker Behike goes by.)
I smoked three of the 56-ring gauge variety for this review, which runs 6.25 inches in length and has a closed foot. Like the Behike, it has a pigtail cap and a Cuban triple-cap. The Ecuadorian wrapper, which surrounds Nicaraguan filler and binder tobaccos, is nearly flawless with shine, making for an excellent-looking cigar.
Enough about presentation. Fancy looks and packaging are easy to do when the price is more than a 3D movie ticket. The important question is: How does it smoke? The answer is pretty well. Pleasant, balanced, and mellow are all adjectives that come to mind. It’s not super complex, but it does feature mild- to medium-bodied roast peanut, cedar, and cream notes that stay uniform. And construction is flawless with an even burn, sturdy ash, and good draw. I could definitely see myself lighting one up on a weekend morning with the paper and a good cup of coffee.
Nat Cicco’s corporate owner Zander-Greg wants me to “just compare it” to Behike, so here goes: While there are some similarities, you won’t confuse this with the richer, more complex Cuban. What is similar is that, like the Behike, it’s a good cigar but hard to justify due to the price.
Despite the over-the-top comparisons, this is an admirable effort for a company not known for super-premium cigars. And while it would be easier to recommend if it was $5 cheaper, it still earns a most respectable rating of three and a half stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys