|Xikar HC Habano2 (Squared)|
The Xikar HC Habano2 was announced prior to the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show. The HC Habano2 was Xikar’s first new cigar blend since 2009. Many know Xikar for making cigar accessories, however back in 2007 they entered the cigar game with the release of the Xikar Defiance. In 2009, they followed this up with the Xikar HC series – which featured the Xikar HC Colorado which wound up as our #17 Cigar in 2009. For the Xikar HC Habano2, this marks the first blend that was not done with blender Jesus Fuego. The introduction of the HC Habano2 adds a box-press offering into Xikar’s cigar portfolio.
When the HC Habano2 was released, the following information was posted in the press release:
Let’s break down the Xikar HC Habano2 and see what this cigar brings to the table:
The Xikar HC Habano2 features a multinational blend with a Habano 2000 wrapper:
Wrapper: Habano 2000
Binder/Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan, Sumatran
The Xikar HC Habano2 is available in four sizes. All four vitolas are made in box-press style.
Robusto: 5 x 50
Belicoso: 6 x 54
Toro: 6 1/2 x 52
Gordo: 6 x 60
For this cigar experience of the Xikar HC Habano2 , I smoked the robusto size. The Xikar HC Habano2 has a wrapper with a cross of medium brown and red clay for its color. The complexion of the wrapper seamed to be more silky as opposed to oily. There were some wrapper seams and only a couple of visible veins. The box-press was well packed.
The band is similar to the one found on the Xikar HC Series. The band features a gold palm tree on a pale yellow circular background. A large “HC” in red font with black “shadowing” sits over the palm tree. The yellow background is surrounded with gold trim. Below the gold lettered Habano2 on a brown background. The remainder of the band has a mosaic background going around the back of the band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the Xikar HC Habano2, I went with a straight cut into the cigar. Once the cap was removed on HC Habano2, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes of the HC Habano2 provided a mix of cedar spice, natural tobacco, and sugar cane. Overall, I considered this a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point it was time to toast the foot of my Habano2 and see what the cigar experience would bring to the table.
The start to the HC Habano2 provided a sharp pepper flavor at he beginning. Once the pepper subsided, the notes of raw sugar cane and natural tobacco flavors that were present on the pre-light draw returned. The pepper notes moved to the background, but from time to time surfaced back to the forefront during the first ten percent.
Around the ten percent mark, the primary flavor changed to a combination of pepper, cedar spice, and wood. The raw sugar cane and natural tobacco notes became secondary. I also detected some grassy notes in the background.
By the second half of the smoke, the natural tobacco and raw sugar cane notes returned to the forefront. The woody notes subsided significantly. There was still some grass and pepper notes in the background. This was the flavor profile that held until the end of cigar experience. There was some harshness toward the end of the cigar. The resulting nub was soft and on the warmer side.
Burn and Draw
From a burn perspective, I did find the Xikar HC Habano2 did have some minor burn issues. There were times the burn was uneven. While touching it up with my lighter kept the burn on track, it did seem like I had to reach for my lighter more than I would have liked. The ash had a salt and pepper color and did flake from time to time. The burn rate was ideal. The burn temperature was ideal – except at the very end where the HC Habano2 got warm.
The draw to the HC Habano2 was outstanding. This made for an low maintenance cigar experience from start to finish.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I found HC Habano2 had a decent kick to it. I assessed the cigar as being a medium to full strength smoke from start to finish. There was definitely some depth to the flavor notes. The flavors to the HC Habano2 start out medium to full-bodied. By the second half of the smoking experience, they progress to full-bodied. Overall, there was pretty good balance between the strength and body – although the second half, I would give the body an edge.