La Familia Robaina HR Signature Hermoso
After a hat trick of “boxworthy’ recommendations, we were secretly hoping the good vibes would continue with our next cigar review of the HR Signature by La Familia Robaina. Surprised by the flavor and performance of a recent cigar of the month selection, Hirochi Robaina’s enigmatic Coopera, the curiosity juices began to flow and it became a no-brainer that we would add a cigar from Robaina’s core lines, sooner rather than later, to our already bloated Bullpen. It was a unanimous call to add the HR Signature which looked most appealing in the Hermoso (corona “extra”) size.
The HR line was introduced in 2014 at the year’s IPCPR show and released later in the Fall. The new cigar, the planning of which began in 2011, is the brainchild of Hirochi Robaina and Omar González Alemán, Cuban émigré and master blender. HR Signature was destined to celebrate the legendary Robaina name with Hirochi now carrying the torch while honoring the lifelong, world-renowned work of Robaina’s grandfather, Alejandro. The line also represents the first commercial, non-Cuban cigar to carry the Robaina name, or more correctly, initials. Originally launched in 4 sizes, the line has since been expanded to include at least one additional regular production size along with a couple of retailer-specific limited run vitolas, e.g. lancero.
The Signature line is unique in that it employs aged tobaccos reportedly up to 8 years and once rolled, are layed down for a up to a year prior to packaging. Also included in the HR portfolio are the Claro and Blue lines along with their newest stablemate, Illegal. Production and distribution has changed hands several times, the latter having begun distribution from Cubanacan and then to Houston-based White Hat Cigars. In June 2019, Spencer Drake, owner of White Hat cigars announced a name change to the company, deciding on La Familia Robaina, to highlight Hirochi’s contributions as well as to honor the family’s esteemed name.
While escaping notice initially, the first thing I observed when I pulled the cigar out of the humidor was the yellowing color of the cellophane, indicating a fair amount of age after being rolled. Once unsheathed, the corona’s gingerbread hue of the Habano 2000 skin glistened with a light oily sheen. Firm throughout its length, the roll is seamless and offers a nice cap and a closed foot. Highly fragrant, again the wrapper enchants with aromas of leather and chocolate under a citrusy nuance. Although closed, the faint hint of graham cracker from the foot was unmistakable. The draw was a bit restricted for my taste, but after the resulting tart cherry essence left on the palate, all was forgiven.
Under a backdrop of leather, the opening profile is a sweet and spicy mélange of carmelcorn, baking spice and cocoa on the retro followed by a finish of carmelcorn and graham cracker. Coffee bean notes flourish on the retro as a nice spice tickles the tongue. It settles into a more cedar-leather core as the finish smacks more of charred wood. While not as complex, delicious transitions feature smooth, medium-full mixtures of cocoa, earth and cedar with a smoky, woody persona. This slow-burning corona finishes with a spicy, cedar core of toast, earth, espresso and cocoa.
Its easy to see why some might peg this blend as either medium or medium-full, but I think the latter is the best fit. Aside from the hindered draw, which does improve a bit, performance of this cigar rocks. Combustion rarely gets out of line, the little corona produces a generous amount of smoke and she’ll hold a strong, near-white ash. Smooth and satisfying, Signature is well-balanced and never becomes one-dimensional. The corona “extra” seems to be an ideal size for this blend as the flavor palette is on full display and will pair well even with just a glass of water (but a good rye, bourbon or scotch is more fun). Notwithstanding it’s $12+ price tag, this is a go-to cigar, folks. – In Fumo Pax!
Recommendation: Go to
Did you Know: Hirochi is the grandson of legendary Cuban master, Don Alejandro Robaina.
- Profile: Medium
- Vitola: Hermoso [Corona Extra]
- Length / Ring: 5 1/8″ x 48
- Purchased: Online
- Origin: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano 2000
- Binder: Nicaraguan (Jalapa)
- Filler: Nicaraguan (Jalapa, Estelí)
- Production: La Corona S. A.
- Blade: Xikar Xi1
- Fire: Colibri Firebird
- Price:$12.59 [Box $251.80]
- Humidor Age: 3 wk.
- Box: 20
- Other Vitolas: ‘A’ [9.25″x47], Belicoso [5.5″x52], Corona [5″x42], Sublime [6.5″x54], Toro [6″x52]
N O T E S
Smoke Time: 1:11
Construction: Oily, leather sheen; appears seamless, nice cap; minimal veins; closed foot; firm throughout; solid smoke producer; holds 1″+ near-white ash.
- Wrapper – Leather, chocolate and citrus
- Foot – Graham Cracker
- Cold Draw – Tart cherries
- Initial: Exquisite gingerbread draw; mild leather core; retro notes of carmelcorn, cocoa and baking spices; rich finish of carmelcorn; roasted coffee on palate; light spice on tongue; adds graham cracker to finish; becomes more cedar and leather dominant; finish becomes long with notes of charred wood; uptick in spice.
- Transition: Wood dominant nucleus; smooth and medium bodied; smoky and woody with retro notes of cocoa earth and cedar; semi-sweet finish of leather and coffee bean; toasted oats on draw; overall citrus essence.
- Transition: Cedar core; robust profile dominated by retro notes of toast and cocoa; bold, spicy finish of earth and espresso on palate; elevated spice.
Touch ups: N/A
Weaknesses: Draw could be better
Recommendation: Go to
- 5 packer
- Yard ‘gar
- NR [No Recommendation]