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HVC First Selection

We try out the HVC First Selection and see if we will ever forget it. Because, the band…HVC First Selection cigar

Punch: This is HVC’s first blend and it was introduced in 2012. It is a Nicaraguan puro with a Corojo 99 wrapper. This one is a 6 x 56 toro gordo. The main band has a layered monogram composed of the three letters “H”, “V”, and “C”. Above that are the words “The City”, and below is the statement, “I will never forget”. Whatever that is referring to I must have forgotten. The web site makes no mention of it, so if there is a story about this, HVC has missed a good opportunity to share it.

Draw: This First Selection is our second HVC selection. Our first, the Cerro, is reviewed here

Hmmm… it smells like a damp campfire. Oh wait, that’s my hands. The aroma is of light manure and damp hay. The natural wrapper is smoothly applied, with no visible defects. It punched nicely with the large punch, giving a looser draw and a flavor of …wait for it… damp hay. The cigar features a silver ribbon around the foot, and two bands, the second sporting the name “First Selection”.

P: Nice construction. Deep cap. Slightly veiny. Big punch gives a nice medium draw of wintergreen. Let’s coax this thing to life and see how it fares after warming up.

D: Coaxing indeed, as I ran out of fuel during the lighting. However, once finished I get green pepper, hot onion, and sulfur. And it keeps intensifying! Wow! This is almost too hard to take.

P: Because of the wintergreen on the cold draw I was expecting some sweetness. But there aint none there at this point. Very earthy and woody, for me. There is some green pepper in the retrohale. What the?!? Here, let me use some more puncuation: %&*@#! My *&^%’n wrapper split out right away – an inch long, on its way to a mile! *&^%@#!!!!!! Time to bust out my patented cigar split mitigator: a strip of drafting vellum 4” long and ¾” wide and a clothes pin. You see, that big a$$ wrapper on The Banker has another use. I wrap the vellum around the split and clothes pin it to keep the wrapper from flaking out. Let’s see how effective it will be on this mamajamba.

D: Patent pending …kinda. The forms are on his desk.

P: Yeah. I’ll get that sent in someday — after I submit my idea for a device to make zebra stripes by rapidly removing narrow strips of duct tape from my brother’s chest.

D: After 3/4” the HVC First Selection’s flavor intensity has faded to a more tolerable medium-full intensity, and the flavor is more generous, cavernous. There’s an almost raspberry sweetness around the outside of my mouth in the middle. There’s sulfur overtone, and there’s a woody undertone.

P: After 3/4” the flavor intensity is medium-full. No significant changes yet. Nicely balanced. I find myself constantly sipping at it to keep the party going. It’s very likable thus far.

I’m happy to report that my not-really-patent-pending procedure worked and I have successfully burned through the split. Woot!

D: Well, holy *&^%@# it worked!

Into the second third, it is mostly consistent. The intensity is fading again slightly, which is allowing the more subtle flavors to shine out. There’s a nice leather base that is filling in the cavernous void from before. Dark chocolate on the finish. On the attack, there is a very rich, savory mixed veggie dish. With florals both front and back, the middle remains very simple and short. I’ll also note that the ash held for almost two inches, and when it dropped it was a thoroughly consumed ash, soft all the way through.

P: Cowabonga! Another split is starting about an inch from the burn line. At first I thought it was the wrapper edge lifting, but no. This is puzzling. I rested this stick three weeks in my chillador at 66 degrees and 70% humidity. It is a nice 85 degrees as I smoke it. Back to my not-really-patent-pending procedure.

Flavorwise, the complexity is starting to bloom. Vegetals and florals are popping and the earthiness has hopped a plane to Abu Dhabi. After a quarter-inch, that earthyness caught a return flight and the wacky floral-veggies took a bus to Poughkeepsie. Nice.

D: Last third — and I do mean baseball — the flavor has had a fallout. At this point, my HVC First Selection is mostly just old leather and hardwood. I must confess: I’ve been fighting NOT TASTING the liquid tar which has accumulated at the cap, despite purging.

P: Did I just detect some vanilla? Yes. Gone.

D: Even at a finger and a half, I still get the wandering subtlety, such as a vanilla puff, or a floral puff. But the previous joy is gone. It seems to me that the first half smoked faster than the last half; maybe that was just my enjoyment?

P: With two fingers to go, I’m starting to feel this bad boy. It is time to put it down, anyway.

Summary

Draw: Burn it. Intensity starts over-the-top and ends as a mote; overall, I’d say medium-ish. Character is fairly rich for the most part, with no major transitions and only a marked mellowing for the last third. Strength, mildish. I can tell I’ve smoked it, and I believe I need some Oreos and chocolate ice cream. The HVC First Selection started with an intensity that was both rich and pungent, almost to an off-putting level if it weren’t for the intrigue of the flavor. This quickly fell off to leave a very rich and pleasant smoke with nuances building gradually over the length. I really enjoyed this blend of flavors. I did not have any of the construction issues that Punch experienced, but I did have a fight with tar.

Punch: Well, I can’t promise that I will never forget this cigar, but it’s not one I will quickly forget — for good reasons. It’s a burner. Mine didn’t start with as big of a bang as Draw’s. I did start at medium-full intensity, though, with earthy woodiness. It remained fairly consistent throughout with a brief floral/vegetal phase near the middle for about five minutes. Overall it was smooth and pleasant. I had some wrapper splits which required aggressive management, but I don’t believe they affected the flavor. These can be found for around $6.50 and as such are a good value. Given the choice between this one and the HVC Cerro which we evaluated here, I would slightly prefer the Cerro for its more interesting gradual profile shift. Give them a try and tell us which you prefer.

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