Back in 2022, HVC Cigars released a San Andres wrapper offering known as the HVC Selección No. 1. While HVC Cigars has been a company in business for over a decade, the No. 1 is significant. This is because, in 2022, HVC Cigars moved into its own factory, Fabrica de Tabacos HVC S.A. Before that, many of HVC Cigars’ blends had been coming out of the Aganorsa factory. In 2023, HVC Cigars added another blend under the HVC Selección No. 1 line known as the HVC Selección No. 1 Natural. With the No. 1 Natural, HVC would add a Habano offering alongside the existing HVC Selección No. 1 (Now the HVC Selección No. 1) Maduro. Today, we look closer at the HVC Selección No. 1 Natural in the Poderosos (Toro) size.
HVC Cigars was founded in 2011 by Reinier Lorenzo. The name HVC stands for Havana City. It pays homage to Havana, Cuba, where Lorenzo grew up in post-revolution Cuba. Over the years, Lorenzo has created some classic-style cigars in blends and packaging. The cigars are packaged in yellow-colored boxes – something Lorenzo says reminds him of Cuban roots (more on that when we talk about the packaging).
Let’s break down the HVC Selección No. 1 Natural Poderosos without further ado and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Habano wrapper of the HVC Selección No. 1 Natural is a Habano ’92 varietal grown in Ecuador. The remainder of the blend consists of all Nicaraguan tobacco.
Wrapper: Habano ’92 Ecuador
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos HVC S.A.
The HVC Selección No. 1 Natural is offered in three sizes. These are the same three sizes as the HVC Selección No. 1 Maduro is offered in. Each of the three sizes is presented in 20-count boxes.
Poderosos: 54 x 6
Short Robustos: 52 x 4 1/2
Esenciales: 46 x 5 5/8
The Habano ’92 wrapper of the HVC Selección No. 1 Natural Poderosos had a classic Colorado red tint. There wasn’t much in the way of oils on this wrapper, which had a silky complexion. There were both visible seams as well as visible veins on the surface of this wrapper.
Prior to lighting up the HVC Selección No. 1 Natural Poderosos, a straight cut was used to remove the cap from the cigar. After removing the cap, it was on to the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw delivered some rich natural tobacco notes and some earth and cedar notes. To me, this was a satisfactory pre-light draw experience. At this point, it was time to light up the HVC Selección No. 1 Natural Poderosos and await what the smoking phase would have in store.
The HVC Selección No. 1 Natural Poderosos opened up with notes of natural tobacco, earth, cedar, and mixed pepper. Like the pre-light draw, the natural tobacco notes were rich and became the primary note. Meanwhile, the earth, cedar, and pepper settled into the background. A slight fruit note also joined the notes in the background. Meanwhile, the retro-hale delivered a combination of fruit and cedar notes.
As the HVC Selección No. 1 Natural Poderosos moved through the second third, the natural tobacco notes remained grounded in the forefront. While the earth, cedar, pepper, and fruit notes remained in the background, both the pepper and cedar notes increased in intensity.
The natural tobacco remained the primary note toward the end of the second third. A slight bitter component was present with the natural tobacco, but it didn’t upset the equilibrium of the flavor profile. In the background remained the pepper, cedar, earth, and fruit notes. This is how the HVC Selección No. 1 Natural Poderosos ended. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Overall, the burn of the HVC Selección No. 1 Natural Poderosos performed quite well. This is a cigar that maintained a straight burn path and had a straight burn line while not requiring an excessive amount of touch-ups. The resulting ash was light gray. This was an ash that was skewed toward the firmer side. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both maintained ideal levels.
The draw of the HVC Selección No. 1 Natural Poderosos also performed quite well. This cigar had a touch of resistance to it – which, if you have read many of my assessments, is something that I like. It was also a low-maintenance cigar to derive flavor from. In addition, a decent amount of smoke production came from this cigar.
Strength and Body
When I assessed the HVC Selección No. 1 Maduro, I noted this was one of the bolder cigars to come out of HVC. The HVC Selección No. 1 Natural Poderosos isn’t quite as bold as the Maduro but still holds its own. This cigar delivered medium to full strength and medium to full-bodied flavors. There wasn’t much in the way of variance in the intensity levels of the strength and body.
In terms of strength versus body, both the strength and body balanced each other nicely, with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
The bands are very classic-style. This is indicated by the red, gold, and white bands. The yellow color of the boxes also maintains a classic look.
My only critique here is I think the banding needed to have some way to distinguish the Natural from the Maduro. In some cases, the shades of brown are pretty close. Unless they are packaged in a box (the Maduro has a green box), it was a little difficult to distinguish. If you are buying singles and have both blends, be sure to find a way to delineate them in your personal humidor.
The release of the HVC Selección No. 1 Maduro was an impressive debut for HVC Cigars’ new factory. The follow-up of the HVC Selección No. 1 Natural in the Poderosos size was even more impressive. This cigar delivers even better flavors than the Maduro – and produces a much more balanced smoke. The $10.40 price point of the HVC Selección No.1 Natural Poderosos was quite attractive in today’s market.
Given this cigar is still skewed toward the bolder side, it is a cigar I would steer toward a more experienced cigar enthusiast. At the same time, this is not a cigar I would discourage a novice from trying. Coming in at 90 points, this cigar earns the Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence designation. It’s also a cigar I would smoke again and pick up multiples to keep in my humidor.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Earth Cedar, Fruit, Pepper
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy Multiples
Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop
Originally posted on October 19, 2023 @ 1:17 pm