In 2021, HVC Cigars would release an exclusive offering to Mr. J’s Havana Cigar Lounge in Coventry, Rhode Island. Mr. J’s is a store owned by Paul Joyal, whom many will also know as the owner of Ocean State Cigars (makers of the J. Grotto brand). In 2020, Mr. J’s would relocate to a larger standalone facility that would feature a larger humidor, larger lounge area, and a full-service bar. Over the years, Mr. J’s has established many solid relationships in the industry. One of the more recent relationships has been the one established with Reinier Lorenzo, owner of HVC Cigars. This would ultimately lead to an exclusive cigar. Today we take a closer look at the HVC Mr. J’s Havana Cigar Lounge Exclusive.
Lorenzo would found HVC Cigars in 2011, and this year the company has been celebrating its 10th anniversary. As for the name HVC, it stands for Havana City. It pays homage to Havana, Cuba where Lorenzo grew up in post-revolution Cuba. The company works exclusively with Aganorsa Leaf’s Tabacos de Valle Jalapa S.A. (TABSA) in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Without further ado, let’s break down the HVC Mr. J’s Havana Cigar Lounge Exclusive and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The HVC Mr. J’s Havana Cigar Lounge Exclusive will be a Corona Gorda that features 100% Aganorsa tobaccos. The cigar features a Corojo ’99 wrapper from the Jalapa region over a Criollo ’98 binder from Estelí. The fillers include a combination of Jalapa Corojo and Estelí Criollo.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 (Jalapa)
Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo ’98 (Estelí)
Filler: Nicaraguan (Jalapa, Estelí)
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacos de Valle Jalapa S.A. (TABSA)
The HVC Mr. J’s Havana Cigar Lounge Exclusive comes in one size – a 5 5/8 x46 Corona Gorda. Each is presented in ten-count boxes.
The Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 wrapper of the HVC Mr. J’s Havana Cigar Lounge Exclusive had a caramel color to it. This was a relatively smooth oil wrapper with a sheen of oil on it. The surface of the wrapper had some visible veins and some visible wrapper seams.
There are two bands on the HVC Mr. J’s Havana Cigar Lounge Exclusive. The primary band is red with white and gold trim. On the center of the band are the letters “HVC” in white font. There were four gold medallions to the left and right. On the far left and far right of the band is the text “HECHO A MANO” in white font.
The secondary band is gold with both black trim and gold rivets toward the top and bottom of the band. On the center of the band is the text “Limited Edition” in black font.
Prior to lighting up the HVC Mr. J’s Havana Cigar Lounge Exclusive, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw of the cigar produced a combination of natural tobacco and floral notes. While it wasn’t the most exciting pre-light draw, the pre-light draw is not factored into the numerical score of value rating, so there was no loss of points here. At this point, it was time to light up the HVC Mr. J’s Havana Cigar Lounge Exclusive and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The HVC Mr. J’s Havana Cigar Lounge Exclusive started out with notes of cedar, natural tobacco, earth, and black pepper. Early on the natural tobacco and earth notes moved into the forefront. There was an underlying sweetness to the natural tobacco that lasted for the duration of the smoking experience. Meanwhile, the cedar and black pepper notes settled in the background. At the same time, there was an additional layer of black pepper and cedar on the retro-hale.
The second third of the HVC Mr. J’s Havana Cigar Lounge Exclusive saw the natural tobacco and earth notes remain primary. Both notes alternated in intensity with the natural tobacco notes holding a slight edge. The cedar and black pepper remained in the background, but during this phase the black pepper slowly began to increase in intensity.
By the last third, the natural tobacco and earth notes were still in the forefront. The pepper notes closed in on the forefront, but did not take over as a primary note. There were still notes of cedar rounding out the profile. This is the way the HVC Mr. J’s Havana Cigar Lounge Exclusive came to a close. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Overall, the burn of the HVC Mr. J’s Havana Cigar Lounge Exclusive maintained a straight burn path. At the same time, there was some curvature on the burn line. This was a cigar that did not require a lot of touch-ups to maintain the straight burn path. The resulting ash wasn’t overly tight but was not a loose one. This ash had a light gray color. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
While normally I like a little resistance on a draw, the HVC Mr. J’s Havana Cigar Lounge Exclusive’s draw was on the tighter side than I prefer. This cigar didn’t require re-lights, but it did require more work to derive flavors than one would expect.
Strength and Body
The HVC Mr. J’s Havana Cigar Lounge Exclusive started out with some boldness. This was a cigar that was medium to full in strength and body right out of the gate. By the middle of the third, the cigar mellowed a bit and settled at medium strength and medium body for the remainder of the smoking experience. Throughout the smoking experience, the strength and body countered each other nicely with neither overshadowing the other.
In recent years, I have been disappointed with more single-store releases than in the past. When it comes to the HVC Mr. J’s Havana Cigar Lounge Exclusive, this was one that was quite satisfying. It’s a pretty straightforward Aganorsa tobacco profile. It’s not going to produce anything in the way of exotic flavors, but it also doesn’t need to. As mentioned above, this cigar starts out on the bolder side, but it settles at medium strength and medium body – and in the end it is a cigar that can satisfy many cigar enthusiasts. This is a cigar I could recommend to any cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar that I would buy and smoke again.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Earth, Cedar, Pepper
Complexity: Medium Minus
Strength: Medium to Full (Start), Medium (Remainder)
Body: Medium to Full (Start), Medium (Remainder)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
News: HVC Mr. J’s Havana Cigar Lounge Exclusive Launching This Week
Brand Reference: HVC
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop