I have to say the Hirochi Robaina is a beautiful looking cigar. The wrapper is one of the best that I have ever seen, its nearly seamless, with only one large vein, and no mottling. The pictures I have taken really do not do this justice. There is a lot of tooth but its very well spaced apart and is individually quite large. The cap is very tidy and the closed foot is extremely well done.
You can really tell how thin the wrapper leaf is when you look at the foot. The angle that I makes at the foot is razor sharp, and the excess wrapper is neatly bunched up too.
All along the wrapper is a sparkle that I first thought was due to an abundance of minerals in the soil but upon closer examination turned out to be just particles of the gold foil that was used designing the band. Speaking of which it shows a clear nod to the Cuban Marca Vegas Robaina, with the bands being nearly identical. The only difference is the central R on the original being replaced by the HR on this non Cuban version.
Its not a surprise that this band looks like that one seeing as Hirochi is the grandson of Alejandro Robaina the man behind the Cuchillas de Barbacoa farm in the Pinar del Rio province of Cuba. Unfortunately he passed away in 2010 at the age of 91 (You can read his obituary in the N.Y. Times here)
The cigar smells of a faint barnyard with a light manure scent coming off of the foot. After cutting the cap there is a slightly stronger smell of barnyard hay coming from it.
The cold draw is of chocolate ice cream. I know that’s weird and is up there with the “Hints of unicorn fur and a rainbow note” that some reviewers come out with but its a little grainy, creamy, and slightly artificial hint to it. So I stay with my chocolate ice cream.
Hirochi Robaina – Initial Impressions
A strong pepper mixed with chocolate, comes in on the draw. The retrohale is amazing with many flavours coming in. Burnt caramel and toffee, a little spice, some pepper and an amazing cranberry note all fight for attention. The finish has a little leather and a lot of light tasting wood.
Hirochi Robaina – The First Third
A flavour I don’t spend a lot of time around comes in on the draw, with an Umami or mushroom note to it. The retrohale is very different to the initial with the pepper being the only flavour that stays on, and some chocolate comes through. The finish is long, with a harsh, but not too strong pepper, a light earth and a stronger wood note.
Hirochi Robaina – The Middle Third
The draw changes completely again, this time to a sweet almond. The retrohale is a little spicy with a great flavour of cranberry that comes through as well, not fresh cranberries that can be a little bitter but a sweetened dried cranberries. The finish is creamy, a little earthy, but has a chocolate note that increases through this third.
Hirochi Robaina – The Final Third
The cigar unfortunately takes a turn for the worse as bitter flavours start to come in. A burnt caramel flavour is accompanied by bitter hazelnut on the draw that is strangely interspersed with the odd draw that gives me cream. Every single draw is either good or bad but there seems to be no rhythm to it. The retrohale is a little spicy and seems to go between bitter, burnt toffee and a nice creamy toffee. The finish takes the same ride through the good and bad flavours with either hints of cream and chocolate or burnt roasted hazelnuts.
At about an inch and a half the flavours become frankly horrible and I put it down.
Was this a good cigar? Yeahhhhh-ish. It started out fantastic and I had a sense that it could have been worth the MSRP, but close to the end it really fell down. If it hadn’t I would have said yes in a heartbeat. Would I smoke another one? Yeah, I think I would. Would I buy one? Not a chance. For $22 I’m not that far off of things like the Padron family reserve, the 64 or 26, a lot of the better or larger Opus, harder to find Tatuaje or a number of Davidoff’s. I know I would enjoy those at least as much, if not more than this one.
Despite all that I am glad I smoked it because it was a good experience, just not one I’d pay for.
Thanks for reading,