Cigar Review #7 – HVC Pan Caliente

The Smoking Gun Cigar Review October 4, 2016

HVC – Pan Caliente

Robusto – (5 x 50)

In my search for new and exciting cigars, I recently came across HVC. The company was founded in 2011 by Reinier Lorenzo and started as a way of paying homage to Havana City, where he lived for most of his life. According to their website (www.hvccigars.com), their products are “inspired by the cigar tradition of Cuba, specifically Havana City, while incorporating the customs of our adopted U.S. home.”

I decided to write this review and post it prior to the arrival of Reinier Lorenzo, owner of HVC Cigars, to the Phoenix area on October 11. For those interested, there will be an amazing cigar dinner put on by Mitchel Hirsh owner of Cigar King at Sanctuary Resort on October 11th at 6pm. You will be able to meet and talk to Reinier Lorenzo, but also enjoy the opportunity to smoke three special cigars from the HVC line during a dinner pairing event.

So, in anticipation of the event, I picked up a few of the HVC sticks and gave them the once over. Here’s what I found:

A little history:

HVC is a relatively new company. They were founded in 2011. As mentioned above, Reinier Lorenzo is the owner and they have several lines within the brand. The Pan Caliente was the first one I’ve tried.

The name comes from Cuban slang and literally means “hotcakes,” but is intended to mean, “it’s selling like hotcakes.” I think it’s a good name, because this cigar could become a favorite. It’s a good stick at a great price!

Just like before, I’ll list the questions and give an answer for each—based on my personal smoking experience:

What are you smoking?

HVC Pan Caliente – Robusto (5 X 50)

Who makes it?

It is made by HVC Premium Cigar Company, owned by Reinier Lorenzo.

Where’s it from?

It’s produced at the Raices Cubanas factory, in Danlí, Honduras.

What other sizes are available?

It’s only available in a Robusto (5 X 50).

How much does it cost?

The Pan Caliente Robusto costs around $6.25 per stick, which is a great price for a cigar of this quality. It comes in a 25 count box, so that puts the price around $155, minus any discounts you might get on a box purchase.

How well is it constructed?

The cigar is beautifully constructed with a mahogany brown wrapper, small veins throughout, a light oily sheen and what I would call a marble head cap. I did some research and found out it’s actually called a “109-style cap”. So, what is that, you ask? That’s a good question. I tried to find some information on it, because honestly, I didn’t know.

A cuban 109 style cap is designed to allow the smoker, through the depth of the cut, to control the draw on the cigar. If you cut it shallow (close to the tip) you will get a tighter draw, and if you cut down further, a looser one. The shape is kind of like the end of a classic fountain pen cap. Its domed and perfectly rounded. It sort of looks semi-spherical, like half of a marble. I don’t know anything else about how it’s done, but I know I like it!

What’s the blend (or, at least, the wrapper)?

Although the cigar is produced in Honduras, it appears to be a Nicaraguan puro (that means all of the tobacco used, comes from Nicaragua). The blend is listed as “Made with the finest leaves from Aganorsa farms in Nicaragua.” So, not only is it all from Nicaragua, it’s from the same farm! No other information is given about the blend, other than the wrapper, which is Nicaraguan Criollo ’98.

How did it light?

The light was perfect.

How’s the draw?

I cut it a shallow, so my draw was a little tighter than normal. But, that’s what I like. It was a firm but smooth draw.

How does it burn?

No problems from either example. Good burn- a nice tight ash!

Is there a predominate flavor/taste?

When I first smelled this cigar, I experienced notes of leather and a light sweetness. The foot was very similar, but with less of the sweetness that I picked up on the wrapper. On the dry draw, I did notice more of a grassy quality. When I lit it, the grassy/hay flavor was predominate, but the sweetness was still there. A couple of draws into it, I was hit with some black pepper on the back of my tongue, which I love. The combination of sweet and spicy is one of my favorites.

Did it change as you smoked it?

The flavor became more bold as I smoked it. I tasted more pepper and it finished with a punch of spice that made me want to keep smoking (even through I was about to burn my fingers).

How would you describe its strength: mild, medium, or strong?

Although, it started fairly mild, there were very pleasant changes throughout the length of the cigar. I would have to call it a medium (when you average it out from start to finish).

Would you smoke it again?

I would love to smoke it again. I’m also trying some of the other cigars in the line. (While I’m writing this, I’m smoking an Edición Especial 2015, which I will review shortly).

Should I try it?

Yes! Right before the FDA Deeming Rule came into effect, earlier this year, new cigars were flooding the market. You’ve probably seen some brands pop up in your local shops and on-line that you’ve never heard of or seen before. While HVC isn’t that new, you still might not have heard of it. It’s definitely worth a try. If you’re looking for something with a little sweetness and good amount of pepper, this one’s for you.

Do you have an extra that you’ll give me?

I know, this question is getting old. And, the answer is still, no. You can find them in more and more brick and mortar cigar stores, as the company expands their market. They have great reps out there (like Anthony and Melanie Cantelmo, of Fear the Beard Cigar Brokerage) and the word is getting out about these great cigars.

If you’re in the Phoenix area, you should try to attend the dinner I mentioned earlier. It’s always great to get together with other cigar enthusiasts, have a great meal, and smoke some good cigars. (And, for some reason, they always taste better when you smoke them with the person that made them)!

Conclusion:

HVC Pan Caliente is a fantastic cigar at a very reasonable price. You might have to look around a bit to find it, but your search will be rewarded with a complex, flavorful and tasty cigar. Just because you might not have heard of something, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it, right? There are so many great cigars out there! Smoke them. Try them. Enjoy them. You might just find a new favorite.

So, that’s it for this one. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it and, perhaps, you learned a thing or two. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through this page. I’m always happy to answer questions or tell you about what I’ve been smoking. Also, if you liked, appreciated or hated my review, let me know. I want to be a resource for the everyday cigar smoker. You don’t have to be an expert, you just need an hour or so to enjoy a good cigar.

And, remember: don’t let other people tell you what to smoke. If you like it, smoke it!

Product photo was taken from the HVC Premium Cigar Company website, located at http://www.hvccigars.com/#/shop/20772.

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