While Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, and H. Upmann continue to be the foundation brands of the Altadis USA portfolio, one brand that has been invested in is the Henry Clay brand. In 2019, Altadis announced a project known as the Immortal Trio. The first release of that line was a new regular production offering known as the Henry Clay War Hawk. It marked a change in pace for the Henry Clay brand which up until 2019 had been primarily a brand associated with Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers. With War Hawk, the cigar would utilize a Connecticut Shade wrapper. In 2020, the second installment of the Immortal Trio was announced with the release of the limited edition Henry Clay War Hawk Rebellious. The Rebellious would continue to broaden the spectrum of the Henry Clay brand, this time introducing a Habano offering. Today, we take a deeper dive into the Henry Clay War Hawk Rebellious.
The name War Hawk stems from a movement spearheaded by Henry Clay that led to the War of 1812. Clay had served as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in the early 1800s, gaining a reputation as a U.S. nationalist. In his role in Congress, he put pressure on President James Madison to declare war against Great Britain in 1812. The term War Hawk is a term used to describe someone who favors war to resolve a conflict or dispute.
One thing that is different is that in the past Henry Clay releases by Altadis have come out of the Dominican Republic (Tabacalera de Garcia) and Honduras (Flor de Copan). With the Henry Clay War Hawk Rebellious, this one comes out of Nicaragua from AJ Fernandez’s factory – marking the first time there has been a Nicaraguan-made Henry Clay. Henry Clay now becomes the latest brand from Altadis to have a Nicaraguan cigar made from AJ Fernandez. Other brands from Altadis that have come from AJ Fernandez include Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, H. Upmann, Gispert, Trinidad, and Onyx.
Blend and Origin
In addition to a Habano wrapper, the Henry Clay War Hawk Rebellious features Nicaraguan tobacco for the binder and filler. While Broadleaf wrappers were not used for the wrapper for the original War Hawk and War Hawk Rebellious, Broadleaf is used for the binder for both of these cigars. The original War Hawk utilized a Connecticut Broadleaf binder and the War Hawk Rebellious utilizes a Nicaraguan Broadleaf binder.
Binder: Nicaraguan Broadleaf
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez de Nicaragua S.A.
The Henry Clay War Hawk Rebellious is offered in one size – a 6 x 54 Toro. The cigar is presented in 20-count boxes with a total production of 1,200 boxes.
The Habano wrapper of the Henry Clay War Hawk Rebellious had a medium brown color to it. There was a light coating of oil and some subtle mottling on the surface. While the wrapper had some visible veins and there were some visible wrapper seams, this was a wrapper that had a relatively smooth surface.
There are two bands on the Henry Clay War Hawk Rebellious. The primary band has a pseudo double-band effect. The upper portion of the band has the signature red square field with the text “Henry Clay” in white font. To the left and right side of the band is a white background with gold embellishments. On the left side of the band is the text “WAR HAWK HENRY” in red font while the right side of the band has the text “WAR HAWK HAWK” in red font. The lower portion of the band has a gold background with a metallic-like finish. On the background is the text “WAR HAWK”, “REBELLIOUS”, and “NICARAGUA” in white font along with some additional white embellishments.
The secondary band is also gold with a metallic-like finish. On the band is the text “LIMITED EDITION” in white font. The band also features additional white embellishments.
Prior to lighting up the Henry Clay War Hawk Rebellious, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed, it was time to commence with the pre-light draw ritual. The cold draw delivered a mix of bread, cream, and subtle notes of cedar, natural tobacco, and berry. Overall this was a very good pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to remove the footer band, light up the Henry Clay War Rebellious and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Henry Clay War Hawk Rebellious kicked off with notes of cream, cedar, natural tobacco, and a berry note. The natural tobacco and cedar moved to the forefront where the cream and berry settled into the background. There was a layer of black pepper on the retro-hale and the black pepper also surfaced on the tongue later in the first third.
As the Henry Clay War Hawk Rebellious moved into the second third, the cedar notes slowly pushed the natural tobacco into the background. As the natural tobacco regressed into the background, earth notes emerged in the forefront. There was an increase in the black pepper and a decrease in the berry and natural tobacco. As for the creaminess, it had completely subsided by the midway point.
The final third of the cigar saw the cedar and earth notes still in the forefront. The pepper was a close secondary note and there still were touches of natural tobacco and berry present. This is the way the Henry Clay War Hawk Rebellious came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
While the Henry Clay War Hawk Rebellious maintained a straight burn path and a straight burn line, this was a cigar that required frequent touch-ups. The resulting ash was gray in color. This was an ash that was slightly loose and one that was prone to flaking. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the Henry Clay War Hawk Rebellious was on the open side. While it was low maintenance to derive flavor, I found this a cigar that needed to be smoked at a more relaxed pace than I normally prefer.
Strength and Body
The Henry Clay War Hawk delivered a medium strength, medium to full-bodied smoke. There was a nominal increase in both attributes along the way. In the end, both the strength and body stayed in the medium and medium to full range respectively. In terms of strength versus body, the body maintained the edge throughout the smoking experience.
The Henry Clay War Hawk Rebellious got off to a nice start, but as things progressed, the cigar became less and less balanced. The second third saw this cigar start to deliver more in the way of cedar and pepper. As this occurred, this is a cigar that started to hold my interest less and less. Overall I like what Altadis has been doing with the Henry Clay line. I’d put cigars like the original Henry Clay, Henry Clay Stalk Cut and the Henry Clay War Hawk ahead of this. In the end, this is a cigar I’d recommend trying a sample of and seeing if this one fits your palate.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Cedar, Earth, Cream, Black Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Body: Medium to Full
Value: Try a Sample
News: Henry Clay War Hawk Rebellious Limited Edition Set to Debut in July
Source: Purchased, Altadis U.S.A.
Brand Reference: Henry Clay
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted