In 2018, C.L.E. Cigar Company introduced the EIROA – The First 20 Years Diadema. It was a cigar that was originally released as an exclusive offering to Tobacconist Association of America (TAA) retailers, but this past year has been added into C.L.E.’s portfolio of ongoing offerings. The First 20 Years line is an offshoot of the EIROA brand that was launched in 2015. At the time, it marked 20 years that Christian Eiroa had been in the cigar business. To commemorate the milestone, Christian’s father Julio Eiroa gifted him some very special tobacco he had been aging on his farm. Christian used the tobacco to create the original EIROA First 20 Years release. This would be followed by the EIROA First 20 Years Colorado (the 2017 Cigar Coop Cigar of the Year). The release of the EIROA First 20 Years Diadema marked the third under the First 20 Years moniker to be used in the line. It’s a cigar that was released in a massive 8 x 48/60 vitola. Today we take a look at this offering that was made available to the TAA last year.
The TAA Exclusive Series consists of cigars made by leading manufacturers that are exclusively sold at TAA member retailers. The TAA is a small group of retailers. At press time the number of retailers is approximately 80. The TAA has defined itself as:
The Tobacconists’ Association of America, Ltd. is a trade organization established in 1968 by visionary retail tobacconists. By providing education, communication, research, advocacy, and member discount programs, The TAA works with our members and the industry they support to offer the tools and relationship building opportunities needed to maximize professionalism and success.
Since 2018 was the 50th anniversary of the Tobacconist Association of America, there were a large number of releases as a part of the 2018 TAA Exclusive Series:
- CAO Estelí by General Cigar Company
- Crowned Heads The Angel’s Anvil 2018
- EIROA First 20 Years Diadema by C.L.E. Cigar Company
- My Father Flor de Antillas Lancero
- Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Presidente TAA Exclusive
- Fuente Fuente OpusX ForbiddenX
- Padrón Black No. 89 Maduro
- Padrón Black No. 89 Natural
- E.P. Carrillo TAA Exclusive
- La Palina Blue Label TAA Exclusive
- Gurkha Heritage Rosado Toro
- La Flor Dominicana TAA Golden “Oro” Anniversary
- Montecristo Artisan Series Batch 1 by Altadis USA
- Tatuaje TAA 50th
The EIROA First 20 Years Diadema marks the fourth consecutive year, C.L.E. Cigar Company has released a TAA offering. As mentioned, the EIROA First 20 Years Diadema has recently become a regular production release. This follows a trend set by C.L.E. for its TAA releases from 2015 to 2017 which became regular offerings the following year. Recently C.L.E. Cigar Company announced that the 11/18 size of its upcoming EIROA Jamastran line would be the company’s TAA offering for 2019.
- 2015: Asylum Nyctophilia Maduro
- 2016: C.L.E. Azabache
- 2017: Asylum 13 Box Pressed 70 x 7
- 2018: EIROA – The First 20 Years Diadema
- 2019: EIROA Jamastran 11/18
Without further ado, let’s break down the EIROA First 20 Years Diadema and see what this cigar brings to the table:
Blend and Origin
The EIROA First 20 Years Diadema is a Honduran puro with two key components. The wrapper is a Mexican seed wrapper grown at the Eiroa Family Tobacco farm and the binder and filler utilize a strain of tobacco called La Victoria that originated from Eiroa’s grandfather Generoso Eiroa.
Wrapper: Mexican Seed Honduran
Country of Origin: Honduras
Factory: El Aladino
The blend for the EIROA First 20 Years Diadema comes in one size – a 48/60 almost salomon-like vitola. The size is one that Christian Eiroa made popular during his days of operating Camacho Cigars. The EIROA First 20 Years Diadema is packaged in ten-count boxes.
The wrapper of the EIROA First 20 Years Diadema had a classic roasted coffee bean color. Upon closer examination, there was some darker mottling that can be seen on the surface. The wrapper also had a light coating of oil on it. While there were some visible veins and visible wrapper seams, for a salomon/diadema, this had a relatively smooth surface.
The cigar features a torpedo tip. The cigar tapers gradually for most of the length of the cigar and reaches its widest point about 1/2 inch from the footer. The footer features a thin nozzle-like fuse.
The EIROA First 20 Years Diadema uses a band design similar to the one found on the original EIROA First 20 Years release. It features a red, gold, and black colored band. The upper part of the band has a similar design to the original Eiroa. There is a red circle with gold trim at the center of the band. On the center of that circle is the text “EIROA” in large gold font. Surrounding the “EIROA” name is “SALUD”, “AMOR”, and “PESATAS” in a smaller gold font. The remainder of the upper portion of the band has a black background. Sitting on that background above the circle is the text “Tradicion Tabacalera”. There are gold adornments surrounding the circular background. To the left and right is a gold pinstripe pattern. On the left pinstripe pattern is a gold small rectangular nameplate design with the text “DESDE 1916” in black font.
There is a gold holographic-style background below the upper portion of the band. At the center of that holographic portion is a red oval with a gold “20” on it. Below that is a thick red stripe with the text “Series” in gold cursive font. A gold pinstripe is on the upper and lower portion of the red stripe. The upper and lower portion of the band as a whole has gold trim.
Finally from the footer of the cigar to the band is a pale yellow tissue wrap. The wrap is twisted at the footer. On the tissue wrap (stamped in multiple places) is the text “The FIRST 20 YEARS Series” in gold font with the “20” in a larger font. Above that text is Christian Eiroa’s signature. Eiroa has been on the record stating that he prefers tissue paper over cellophane when it comes to protecting a cigar.
After removing the tissue paper cover, a straight cut was used to remove the cap of the EIROA First 20 Years Diadema. For this cut, the Credo Special T cutter with the 36 ring gauge hole was used. This facilitated getting an ideal cut as well as taking advantage of the tapering effect of the cigar. Once the cut was made it was on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered notes of earth as well as subtle notes of chocolate and cedar. This was a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to light up the tip of the EIROA First 20 Years Diadema and await what the smoking phase would have in store.
As the EIROA First 20 Years Diadema burned through the nozzle tip, there were notes of black pepper, cedar, and wood. Once the cigar moved into the base, there were notes of chocolate and Bing cherry that emerged. The chocolate and Bing cherry became more prominent and moved to the forefront joining the wood notes. The pepper and cedar notes settled in the background. At the same time, the flavor profile smoothed out and developed a slightly creamy texture. Meanwhile, there was an additional layer of black cherry on the forefront.
By the middle of the first third, the chocolate, Bing cherry, and wood were the primary flavors. These notes alternated in intensity at varying degrees. Once the EIROA First 20 Years Diadema entered the second third, the chocolate and Bing cherry notes started to recede with the wood notes remaining grounded in the forefront. Just past the midway point, some baker’s spice emerged. The baker’s spice, along with the cedar and pepper notes then started to increase in intensity.
When the EIROA First 20 Years Diadema reached the last third, the wood notes remained primary. By this point the combination of baker’s spice, pepper and cedar were more prominent than they were for the majority of the smoking experience, but still were very much secondary notes. Some of the creaminess also subsided. The chocolate and Bing cherry notes were practically gone by this point. This is the way the EIROA First 20 Years Diadema came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Overall the burn of the EIROA First 20 Years Diadema did need some occasional touch-ups along the way to maintain a straight path. The transition from the nozzle to the base of the Diadema did require a little additional work on a couple of the samples smoked to make sure a straight burn was maintained. The resulting ash wasn’t overly firm, but it wasn’t loose nor flaky either. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the EIROA First 20 Years Diadema performed quite well. This was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from. The tip of the cigar never got overly soft while puffing. At the same time, the cigar produced quite a bit of smoke.
Strength and Body
The EIROA First 20 Years Diadema is a cigar that pretty much is a medium strength, medium-bodied cigar. There was a nominal increase in both attributes toward the final third which progressed the intensity level to medium to full. Both the strength and body balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
While I’ve been critical of many companies for the cigars they have made available exclusively for the TAA, I must applaud C.L.E. for what they have been doing over the years. Essentially C.L.E. has provided an early exclusive release of a new line or a new size, and then has incorporated into regular production the following year. It shows to me that C.L.E. is serious about brand building and serious about its TAA releases.
As for the release of the EIROA First 20 Years Diadema, I thought it was a cigar worthy of being a 50th-anniversary release for the TAA. While I enjoyed the first two-thirds more than the final third, it still was a cigar that provided enjoyable flavors and delivered a nice amount of complexity that kept me interested for this long (2 1/2 hour) smoke). At $18.00, this is a cigar that carries a hefty price tag, but it’s certainly one I could recommend to any cigar enthusiast. As for myself, there was enough going on here where I would come back and revisit this cigar – and it’s one certainly worthy of picking up multiples for the humidor.
Key Flavors: Wood, Chocolate, Bing Cherry, Black Pepper, Cedar, Baker’s Spice
Burn: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Plus
Strength: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Final Third)
Body: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Final Third)
Assessment: Buy Multiples
News: C.L.E. Cigar Company Introduces EIROA First 20 Years Diadema to TAA
Source: C.L.E. Cigar Company
Brand Reference: EIROA
TAA Exclusive Series 2018 Reference: 2018 TAA Exclusive Series
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted