For its installment into the 2021 Tobacconists Association of America (TAA) Exclusive Series, CLE Cigar Company decided to drop an 11/18 version of its CLE Signature Series THT-EKE 03/17. The THT-EKE 03/17 made its debut at the 2021 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show and its the latest blend to be installed under Christian Eiroa’s CLE Signature Series. The THT-EKE 03/17 uses a Cameroon seed wrapper grown in Honduras at the Eiroa Tobacco Farm. We’ve seen this wrapper used first on JRE Tobacco’s Aladino Cameroon line and also on CLE’s PCA Exclusive Cigars. 11/18 is a size introduced by Eiroa during his Camacho days. The name pays homage to the birthday of Christian Eiroa’s mother (November 18th). The vitola is a shape that is cylindrical that has tapering on both ends, but is not tapered as narrow as a perfecto or salomon. Eiroa has brought the 11/18 size into CLE Cigar Company and it has been used on several offerings. As for the name THT-EKE 03/17, not much is known about that. Today, we take a closer look at the CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 11/18 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
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 describes 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.
There are 15 cigars released for 2021 as a part of the TAA Exclusive Series:
- CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17
- Crowned Heads- The Lost Angel TAA Exclusive 2021
- JC Newman Brick House Beginnings Natural
- JC Newman Brick House Beginnings Maduro
- Diesel Disciple TAA Exclusive 2021 (Scandinavian Tobacco Group)
- E.P. Carrillo TAA 2021
- Gurkha Nicaragua Series TAA Exclusive
- Illusione TAA Exclusive 2021
- Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco Edición Americana
- Kristoff 685 Woodlawn Box Press
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 50 Oro Tercera Edicion Natural
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 50 Oro Tercera Edicion Maduro
- La Palina White Label Toro
- Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas Bala
- Villiger TAA Exclusive 2021
There have been a total of eight TAA Exclusive releases by CLE Cigar Company. The CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 11/18 was the seventh release of the series.
- 2015: Asylum Nyctophilia Maduro
- 2016: CLE Azabache
- 2017: Asylum 13 Box Pressed 70 x 7
- 2018: Eiroa First 20 Years Diadema
- 2019: Eiroa Jamastran 11/18
- 2020: CLE 25th Anniversary 11/18
- 2021: CLE Signature THT-EKE 0317 11/18
- 2022: Asylum 13 11/18
Without further ado, let’s break down the CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 11/1 and see what this brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
In addition to the Honduran-grown Cameroon wrapper, the remainder of the blend is undisclosed. Production is handled at the CLE Factory located in Honduras.
Wrapper: Honduran Cameroon
Country of Origin: Honduras
Factory: CLE Factory
The CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 is available in four sizes. Each is presented in 25-count boxes. The CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 cigars were originally released in wooden 25-count cabinet boxes. Recently the boxes were changed to elongated, more color-vibrant boxes.
50 x 5
54 x 6
60 x 6
11/18: 6 x 48/54/48
The Honduran-grown Cameroon wrapper on the CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 11/18 had a wood-like color to it. Upon closer examination, there was some subtle mottling present on the wrapper. The wrapper did not have much in the way of oil on it. There were some visible veins and visible wrapper seams. The 11/18 is tapered on both ends with its thickest ring toward the center of the band.
The CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 had a brown and gold color scheme to it. On the center of the band is the text “CLE” in gold font on a brown background. There were gold leaf designs on the brown background on most of the remainder of the band. On the far right side is a brown circle that serves as a band fastener. On the circle is the text “COROJO” in gold font and a gold leaf on it. A white tissue paper sleeve covers about 60% of the cigar from the footer up. On the sleeve is the text “Signature THT-EKE 03/17” in gold font with the text “Signature” in cursive font.
After removing the tissue sleeve of the CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 11/18, a straight cut was used to remove the cap of the cigar. From that point, it was on to the pre-light draw ritual. The cold draw delivered a combination of classic wood notes and natural tobacco sweetness. It was a simple, but satisfying pre-light draw. With the pre-light draw completed, it was time to toast up the CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 11/18 and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 11/18 started out with notes of sweet natural tobacco, white pepper, cedar, cream, and earth. Early on the natural tobacco, cream, and cedar notes moved into the forefront and the earth and pepper notes settled in the background. As the cigar moved through the first third, the sweetness split off from the natural tobacco and a lemon-citrus note emerged. The citrus, cream, natural tobacco, and cedar notes remained in the forefront. In addition, some tannic notes joined the earth and pepper in the background. Meanwhile, the retro-hale started out with notes of white pepper and was joined by some lemon notes.
During the second third of the CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 11/18, the lemon citrus and cream moved into a secondary note. The earth notes increased in intensity. Before the midway point, the earth joined the natural tobacco in the forefront, then took over as the sole primary note as the second half commenced. The tannic notes also increased in the second third. In the latter part of the second third, the earth notes were primary with the natural tobacco, citrus, pepper, cedar, and tannic notes all rounding things out. The creaminess present earlier had subsided.
The final third saw some bread notes join the earth notes. This was rounded out by the tannic, natural tobacco, lemon, and cedar notes. There was more in the way of pepper than sweetness driving the flavor profile during this phase, but it was far from a pepper bomb. This is the way the CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 11/18 came to a close. The cigar closed with a soft and cool nub.
The CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 11/18 required several touch-ups to maintain a straight burn path and a straight burn line. The number of touch-ups needed was more frequent than I preferred. The resulting ash was silver-gray. This was a loose and flaky ash. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both were ideal.
The draw to the CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 11/18 was on the open side. Normally I prefer a draw to have a little more resistance. Ultimately, the open draw didn’t have any adverse effects on the cigar experience.
Strength and Body
Overall, the CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 11/18 started out as a medium-strength, medium-bodied cigar. For the most part, the strength level remained in the medium range of the spectrum. The body picked up in the second third and moved into medium to full territory where it remained for the duration of the smoking experience. For most of the smoking experience, the body maintained a significant edge over the strength.
The CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 11/18 started out quite promising as I really enjoyed the first third. As the cigar entered the second third, the experience began to deteriorate. The rise of the tannic notes simply did not help the experience. The last third was quite muddled and the wonderful flavors of the first third were simply not there. At $17.86, this is not an inexpensive blend. In the end, it’s a decent cigar that scores a respectable 88. However, with this cigar’s price point, the CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17 11/18 is one for which I recommend trying a sample first. It’s certainly not a cigar I would say is TAA-worthy.
Key Flavors: Earth, Natural Tobacco, Cream, Cedar, Bread, White Pepper, Tannic Notes
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Complexity: Medium to Full
Strength: Medium (1st 1/3), Medium to Full (Remainder)
Body: Medium (1st 1/3), Medium to Full (Remainder)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
News: CLE Signature THT-EKE 0317 Makes Debut at 2021 PCA
Brand Reference: CLE
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop