Today, we review the Eiroa PCA Exclusive 2023 in the 11/18 size. This is one of three PCA Exclusive cigars released by C.L.E. Cigar Company for 2023. Only retailers who attend the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show are offered the exclusives. The idea behind these cigars is to incentivize retailers to carry exclusive products in their stores. Since 2021, the organization has attempted to formalize PCA Exclusive cigars into a program. Since that time, C.L.E. Cigar Company has participated in the program. Companies take different approaches for what they will offer as a PCA Exclusive. C.L.E. Cigar Company has focused on new blends offered in multiple sizes.
This year, C.L.E. Cigar Company launched a PCA Exclusive around each of the core blends in the portfolio. For the past two years, C.L.E. has done Eiroa and Asylum-branded PCA releases. A C.L.E. branded release was added this year.
Furthermore, each of the three PCA Exclusive blends contains tobacco from a farm that C.L.E. owns in South America. Regarding what country in South America, C.L.E. is not disclosing the information. In the case of the three PCA Exclusives, the company appears to be using the South American tobacco as (what I am terming) the “secret sauce.”
It’s time to break down the Eiroa PCA Exclusive 2023 and see what this cigar can bring.
Eiroa PCA Exclusive 2023 11/18 – Cigar Review
Blend and Origin
Aside from disclosing that it is using some South American tobacco, C.L.E. isn’t saying all that much about the blend. The remaining details around the blend components for the Eiroa PCA Exclusive were not disclosed, other than the use of a Honduran Corojo wrapper.
Wrapper: Honduran Corojo
Country of Origin: Honduras
Factory: The CLE Factory
The cigars are offered in four sizes, each presented in 20-count boxes. A total of 3,000 cigars (150 boxes) per vitola have been produced.
50 x 5: 50 x 5
52 x 6: 52 x 6
11/18: 52/60 x 6 1/4
60 x 6: 60 x 6
The 11/18 size was introduced by founder Christian Eiroa during his Camacho days. The vitola is cylindrical with tapering at both ends but not tapered as narrow as a Perfecto or Salomon. In the case of the Asylum PCA Exclusive 11/18, it is a 60-ring gauge at its thickest point and a 52-ring gauge at its thinnest point. The size is named for Eiroa’s mother’s birthday.
The Corojo wrapper had a medium to brown color with a slight Colorado tint. There was a slight amount of oil on the surface. The wrapper had some visible veins and visible wrapper seams. As for the 11/18 size, while the cigar was thicker in the middle of the cigar, it did not seem to approach the 60-ring gauge points advertised.
Since Christian Eiroa is known for his preference of paper sleeves over cedar on cigars, the first order of business was to remove the paper sleeve that envelops the Eiroa PCA Exclusive 2023 11/18. Once the sleeve was removed, the cap was clipped, and the pre-light experience began. The cold draw delivered a mix of cream, natural tobacco, and musty notes. It wasn’t the most exciting pre-light draw. Since the pre-light draw was not scored, there was no loss of points. At this point, it was time to toast the Eiroa PCA Exclusive 2023 11/18 and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The Eiroa PCA Exclusive 2023 11/18 opened up with coffee, floral, pepper, natural tobacco, and earth notes. Early on, the natural tobacco and floral notes moved into the forefront. The coffee, pepper, and earth notes settled in the background. Later in the first third, a cream note emerged in the background. Around this time, the coffee notes started floating between the forefront and the background. Meanwhile, there was a layer of woody notes on the retro-hale.
During the second third of the Eiroa PCA Exclusive 2023 11/18, the natural tobacco and floral notes remained grounded in the forefront. The coffee notes continued to float back and forth between the forefront and the background. Meanwhile, the pepper and earth notes remained in the background. The cream notes slowly diminished in intensity, and by the end of the second third, these notes had dissipated.
The final third saw the natural tobacco and floral notes remain in the forefront. Meanwhile, the coffee notes settled with the pepper and earth notes in the background. This is how the Eiroa PCA Exclusive 2023 11/18 came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The burn performance was excellent. The PCA Exclusive 2023 11/18 maintained a straight burn path and burn line. Furthermore, the cigar required minimal touch-ups. The resulting ash was firm and silver-gray. As for the burn rate and burn temperatures, both maintained ideal levels.
The draw of the Eiroa PCA Exclusive 2023 11/18 was on the open side. You will know I prefer a draw with a little resistance if you have read my assessments. Ultimately, the open draw had no adverse effect, and the cigar remained low maintenance to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The Eiroa PCA Exclusive 2023 11/18 started out with medium strength and medium-bodied flavors. Along the way, there wasn’t much change in the intensity levels of the strength and body, so the cigar remained in the medium range for both attributes.
As for strength versus body, both attributes balanced each other nicely, with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
The Eiroa PCA Exclusive 2023 features charcoal-colored bands and charcoal-colored paper sleeves. I found this color scheme worked very nicely against the Corojo wrapper. Like the 2021 and 2022 Eiroa PCA Exclusives, the 2023 has a box lid that can be re-used as an ashtray.
Admittedly, I have been critical of many of the PCA Exclusive releases because they lacked creativity and innovation. This has not been the case with C.L.E. Cigar Company, as it has put its best foot forward with its PCA Exclusive releases. Regarding the PCA Exclusive 2023 releases by C.L.E., the use of South American tobacco intrigued me. I’m unsure I could pick out the South American tobacco, but I believe it imparted a sweet and floral component to the flavor profile. The bad news is I didn’t really like the flavors it delivered. However, I know sweet and floral notes appeal to many cigar enthusiasts. In my book, if you can get your hands on this limited cigar, I recommend trying one first and seeing what you think.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Floral, Coffee, Cream, Wood, Pepper
Draw: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Plus
Finish: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
News: C.L.E. Cigar Company to Release Eiroa PCA Exclusive 2023
Source: Cigar Coop
Brand Reference: EIROA
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop