The CLE Connecticut is the third cigar to be launched by Christian Eiroa’s CLE company. Eiroa is best known for his tenure as president of Camacho Cigars.
After Davidoff acquired Camacho, Eiroa stayed on for a while before
leaving to launch CLE. CLE stands for the initials of Eiroa’s
full-name – Christian Luis Eiroa. The first two cigars the CLE Corojo and CLE Cuarenta are two Honduran puros that were launched prior to the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show. The CLE Connecticut brings an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper option to CLE’s portfolio. While Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper cigars were once again on display at the IPCPR, Eiroa’s release comes following the trade show and caught many by surprise. After having an opportunity to smoke the CLE Connecticut, there is no doubt that this cigar holds with some of the best Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper options released this year. This is one outstanding cigar.
Like the CLE Cuarenta and CLE Corojo offerings, the CLE Connecticut is made in Honduras. Given Eiroa’s connection with Camacho, there is a natural comparision with the famous Camacho Connecticut. While the Camacho Connecticut is a very good cigar, I think the CLE Connecticut takes things to another level.
Let’s break down the CLE Connecticut and see what this cigar delivers:
The CLE Connecticut is the first of the three CLE blends to not be a Honduran puro:
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
Like the CLE Corojo and CLE Cuarenta, the CLE Connecticut is packaged 25 cigars per box. The four frontmarks for the CLE Connecticut are currently consistent with the Cuarenta and Corojo offerings.
11/18: 6 x 50
Robusto: 5 x 50
6 x 60: 6 x 60
Corona 5 3/4 x 46
A note on the 11/18 vitola: This is something that was a unique staple of Camacho Cigars
while Eiroa was there. It was basically a figuardo vitola. The 11/18
got its name from the birthday of Eiroa’s mother (November 18th).
For this cigar experience, I selected the CLE Connecticut Robusto. The CLE Connecticut Robusto has a classic light brown Ecuadorian Connecticut-shade wrapper color to it. The wrapper has an oily complexion and also has silky sheen to it. The wrapper has both visible veins and visible wrapper seams.
The band to the CLE Connecticut has a peach background with silver striping across the top and bottom. In the center of the band is the company name “CLE” in silver font. To the left of the CLE text is “2012” in a small red-colored font. To the right of the “CLE” text is “CONNECTICUT” in silver font to the right.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I typically do with most cigars, I opted to place a straight cut into the cap of the CLE Connecticut. Once the cap was removed, it was time to commence with the pre-light draw. I didn’t consider the dry draw notes to be revolutionary, but they were still very good. The flavors I detected were cream, wood, and some natural tobacco sweetness. After a very good pre-light draw, it was now on to toast the foot of the CLE Connecticut and see what the smoking experience would offer.
The CLE Connecticut kicked off with some pepper to start. The pepper soon moved to the background and gave way to notes of cream, dried fruit, and wood. These notes balanced each other very nicely in the forefront while the pepper spice remained in the background.
By the end of the first third, the dried fruit had transitioned to an orange citrus – giving a nice sweet tone to the CLE Connecticut. The orange citrus moved ahead of the cream, wood, and pepper notes becoming the dominant flavor as the second third began.
By about the midway point, the pepper spice joined the orange citrus up-front creating a true orange spice as a primary note. The cream notes remained secondary. This was the way the flavor profile would hold until the completion of the cigar. The resulting nub was soft to the touch, but cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The CLE Connecticut scored very well in the construction attributes of burn and draw. The burn of the CLE Connecticut remained sharp from start to finish. It required minimal touch-ups to keep the burn line going straight. The resulting ash was a salt and pepper color and remained firm throughout the smoking experience. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal. As for the draw, it was flawless. This made the CLE Connecticut a very good cigar to puff on.
Strength and Body
I’ve discussed many times how some cigar manufacturers are continuing to have a little “mad scientist” in them when it comes to Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrappers. Many manufacturers are trying to get out of
the mild/mild to medium boundaries in terms of strength and body. From a nicotine perspective, the CLE Connecticut is not going to push these boundaries. The CLE Connecticut is pretty traditional when it comes to strength as I assessed it to be mild to medium. From a depth of flavors, this is another story. This Ecuadorian Connecticut cigar is going to have some deep flavors. It starts out medium bodied, but by the end of the first third this cigar easily qualifies as a medium to full-bodied cigar. With the flavors being medium to full-bodied, and the strength being mild to medium, there is no doubt the flavor is going to have a significant edge over the nicotine.
As cigar manufacturers are making and experimenting with Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade blends, they are often telling their customers to look at their cigar in a different way. There is no doubt with the deep flavors of the CLE Connecticut, that this cigar is not your father’s Ecuadorian Connecticut. Thus far, CLE has been pretty quiet with the roll-out of the CLE Connecticut. While this release seemed to slip under the radar, it has a lot to offer. I would not hesitate recommending this cigar to either a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast looking for a flavorful, but not overpowering smoke. As for myself, this is a cigar I would definitely smoke again.
Strength: Mild to Medium
Body: Medium to Full (Medium for first third)
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.