Bite Size Review: Carolina Blue Habano
Man, you gotta love social media. Among the cool shots, fake news, videos, funny memes, likes and follows, all festooned with way too many emojis, eventually you come across something interesting, i.e., anything with a cigar theme. Everyone would agree that social media is a great medium with which to gain exposure to this new cigar or that new accessory and Carolina Blue Cigars is taking full advantage. We’ve got a soft spot for new boutiques who need a leg up in this unforgiving business and we’ve been pleasantly surprised by what we’ve discovered over the years.
Launched in 2016 by retired veteran, Christopher Moore, Carolina Blue, like many boutiques, is forged from passion and an opportunity to create something special. Moore honors his family’s heritage working tobacco fields in North Carolina “…under blue skies”, giving inspiration to his company’s name. A serendipitous meeting and subsequent partnership with Dominican master blender, Francisco De La Cruz, helped seal the deal and Carolina Blue’s inaugural 3 lines soon followed: Habano, Connecticut and Maduro.
Moore touts the fact that their activities are focused on small-batch production, thus quality over quantity, and this Habano is a good-looking stick. Cloaked in a caramel-hued Habano 2000 skin, our Gran Robusto sports a nice triple cap, invisible seams and a firm, oily body. Scents of chocolate and barnyard tempt the nose while the cold draw deposits a sweet mix of chocolate and prunes on the palate. The draw is open, but with some restriction that may require some to exert a little more effort.
The initial profile is silky smooth and offers a rich medley of cream, caramel, bread crust, and black pepper notes. Finishes are dominated by notes of black coffee and the texture throughout the smoke has an overall baked quality. Transitions offer an ever increasing spiciness along with savory cedar profiles, but complexity wanes quickly towards the end. Combustion was irregular initially and worsened by the last transition causing “runners.” Reading the ash provided evidence that most of the tobacco had been bunched to one side, a deleterious condition necessitating several corrections.
What was turning out to be a promising, enjoyable smoke was sullied by an avoidable production issue and that’s unfortunate. Based on Moore’s quality mantra, I’m sure this is most likely an uncommon occurrence and if a we were to try a second, I’m sure performance would be fine. I don’t want to fault a stick based on a potentially intermittent issue, but I also can’t recommend the Habano either way. – In Fumo Pax!
Did you Know: Carolina Blue Cigars are blended by Master Blender, Francisco De La Cruz and produced at his Tabacalera F. De Le Cruz Factory in the Dominican Republic.
- Profile: Med-Full
- Vitola: Gran Robusto
- Length / Ring Gauge: 5.75″ x 54
- Purchased: Direct
- Origin: Dominican Republic
- Wrapper: Habano 2000
- Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
- Filler: Criollo ’98, Piloto Cubano and Nicaragua
- Blade: Xikar Punch
- Fire: Colibri Firebird
- Price: $10.00
- Humidor Age: 14 mo.
- Box: 20
- Other Vitolas: Double Toro [6″x60]
Smoke Time: 1:08
Draw: Mostly open
Construction: Triple cap; oily; firm throughout; caramel hue; seamless; minimal veins; lumpy; holds 1″ salt and pepper ash.
- Wrapper – Piecrust, barnyard
- Foot – Chocolate, graham cracker
- Cold Draw – Chocolate, prunes
- Initial: Baked texture of cream, caramel, bread crust and black pepper on retro; hints of charred meat on palate; baked profile on finish with subtle coffee notes; floral and citrus notes on retro; light spice; sweet, woody draw; red pepper.
- Transition: Savory, woody core; notes of baked bread and baking spice on retro; earthy; baked finish continues with coffee;
- Transition: Cedar profile; muted complexity; generous notes of leather; baked texture continues.
Complexity: Very good initially
Balance: Very good
Touch ups: 3
Weaknesses: Filler tobacco bunched to one side causing bad runners; loss of complexity
- Boxworthy / Go-to
- Yard ‘gar
- NR [No Recommendation]