Cigar Buying Guides

The Essential Cigar Advisor Guide to CLE Cigars


Editors/Reviewers: Jared Gulick, Gary Korb, John Pullo, Tommy Zman Zarzecki

The C.L.E. Cigars Back Story

The man behind the initials, Christian Luis Eiroa, hails from Cigar Industry royalty. Like many other Cuban tobacco-growing families, the Eiroas, headed by Christian’s father, Julio, left post-Revolution Cuba in 1960. In 1963, Julio decided to move the family to Honduras’ Jamastran Valley where he became one of the first growers of Honduran tobacco for premium cigars. Christian was also born there, and by the age of eight he was working alongside Julio in the tobacco fields.

After receiving a Masters in International Business Administration in 1995, Christian returned to Danlí to learn the business, and his timing couldn’t have been better. The Cigar Boom 90s were in full-swing, and the family’s Caribe Cigar Company was about to become major players with some help from the original Cuban Corojo tobaccos seeds Julio obtained during the 1980s. Similar to the climate and soil of Cuba’s famed Pinar del Rio region, the seeds adapted perfectly to the fertile Jamastran Valley. The result was a leaf which the Eiroa’s dubbed “Authentic Corojo,” and it is grown exclusively by the Eiroa family on their estate farms.

In 2000, Christian helped the family reach another milestone when he introduced the Camacho Corojo selection. A breed apart for their bolder and more complex flavor, Camacho Cigars set a new standard for premium cigars. (Christian also created and patented the now classic, 11/18 cigar shape, which he calls “a pregnant robusto.”)

Camacho became the standard for the new breed of full-flavored cigars that post-boom cigar smokers were demanding. Moreover, the brand became so successful, in 2008 Camacho was purchased by Oettinger Davidoff along with Caribe’s other brands, La Fontana Vintage and Baccarat cigars.

Christian remained with the company for several years, but in 2012 he decided it was time to go out on his own. Partnering with Tom Lazuka of Fabricas Unidas, together they launched the CLE Cigar Company and opened the El Aladino cigar factory.

Based in Danlí, Honduras, their goal was to push premium cigar blending to its limits. Combining the experience and talents of Christian and Tom, plus having all that marvelous Jamastran Corojo from Christian’s El Corojo plantation at their command, the sky was the limit.

While Tom developed his Asylum Cigars brand, Christian developed CLE, which he later expanded to a number of line extensions including CLE Corojo, Connecticut, Habano and Maduro. More blends followed including, The First 20 Years, Prieto, Azabache, Cuarenta, Chele, the EIROA selections, and several cigars made for the Wynwood Hills imprint – all of which are covered in this Guide.

CLE Cigars Guide CLE Wynwood Hills cigars 4
The Wynwood Hills neighborhood of Miami; photo by Gary Korb.

Every leaf used in blending CLE and EIROA cigars is grown using the most advanced agricultural technology available for a truly singular cigar smoking experience. Once the tobaccos are harvested, Christian sums up his company’s mission statement as follows:

“Each and every cigar that we produce is made with precision, care, and excellence. Only the finest tobacco is cured to present these selections to you, as we take the utmost pride in every aspect of creating each masterpiece from seed to smoke.”

Here’s something special we felt needed to be shared: a look at the CLE growing and rolling operation, and proof that Eiroa lives up to his promise – Watch CLE Video on YouTube.

For this Essential Advisor Guide, we’ve sampled over a dozen of the CLE cigars currently available at Famous Smoke Shop: that’s Christian’s seven core CLE lines; reviews of his top-shelf EIROA brands follow, and we finish with the trio of Wynwood Hills Robustos. As you’d expect (and as we say in every Guide), reviews are a subjective thing; so even though we might not hit on the exact same flavors you sense from these cigars, each of our short reviews will give you the basic need-to-knows about each cigar and how each smokes…and armed with that info, you can decide which one is right for you. And be sure to let us know about your CLE experience in the comments below.

CLE Corojo Cigar Review

Factory: El Aladino – Danlí, Honduras
Size: 60×6 (6″ x 60 Gordo)Strength: Medium-plus Wrapper: Authentic Cuban Seed Corojo (Honduras)
Binder& Filler: Honduras

Construction: Solidly built and heavy in the hand. Three seam cap. Corojo wrapper is even in color with some slight mottling.
Draw: Excellent.
Pre-light flavor: Salt, light grassiness, a slight hint of pinewood.
Toasting & Light: Easy. Early puffs reveal some saltiness, earth, and brown sugar.
Base flavors: Salt, earthiness, spice, brown sugar, cedar.
Retrohale: Mostly creamy with a hint of light spice.
Aroma: Sharp.
Burn & Ash Quality: First ash dropped at one and three-eighths inches. Even at six inches in length, the cigar only produced two-and-a-half ashes.
Balance of flavors: Perfect.

Summary: The CLE Corojo 60×6 is a prime example of the Eiroas’ mastery at growing “authentic” Corojo tobacco. I found it immensely enjoyable, even for a size I don’t usually visit. Some saltiness, earth and spice opened the show and remained so for most of the first two acts. Just past the midpoint, the sweetness increased revealing a note of brown sugar. Cedar followed, completing the base of well-balanced flavors, all of which held together consistently from that point on.

Suffice it to say. . . Although the 6-inch by 60-ring shape may not be comfortable for all cigar smokers, it does provide a nice wide berth for flowing all of that generous Corojo flavor to the palate in spades. If you want a long-smoking cigar that hits all the right notes, the CLE Corojo 60×6 is a humidor-worthy treat regardless of your experience. – Gary Korb

CLE Cuarenta Habano Cigar Review

Factory: El Aladino – Danlí, Honduras
Size: Corona (5¾” x 46)Strength: Medium-Plus Wrapper: Honduran Jamastran Habano
Binder: Honduras
Filler: Honduras

Construction: Solid. Cigar is firm, well-rolled with an oily patina. Attractive vein pattern. Holographic band.
Draw: Perfect.
Pre-light flavor: Cloves and cinnamon.
Toasting & Light: Cigar lit fairly quickly and evenly. Initial puffs were herbal with some peppery spice that gets up into the nose.
Base flavors: Cedar, pepper, earth, cinnamon, hickory, nutmeg.
Retrohale: Cinnamon.
Aroma: Spicy.
Burn & Ash Quality: Excellent.
Balance of flavors: Excellent.

Summary: The CLE Cuarenta Habano hooked me from the cold draw with its savory mix of clove and cinnamon. Very smooth, spicy, and well-balanced, the initial flavors offered cedar, pepper and earth. More spicy than peppery on the whole, the longer this perfectly-proportioned Corona smoked, the more flavors it revealed. I liken it to opening up the cabinet where your Mom kept the spice rack as cinnamon, hickory and nutmeg entered the fray. The cigar was also complex, in that the flavors arrived in shifts, each layer falling on top of the next in a neat little stack.

Suffice it to say. . .This cigar was a real eye-opener. It lies squarely within the medium-plus range, and although it comes with a spicy flavor profile, it’s a spicy cigar I can live with. It’s also quite accessible for practically every taste preference. – Gary

CLE Connecticut Cigar Review

Country of Origin/Factory: Honduras
Size: Robusto (5” x 50)
Strength: Mellow – Medium
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Filler: Honduras
Binder: Honduras

Construction: Solid and very well made.
Draw: Super smooth.
Pre-light flavor: Toasty and sweet.
First Few Puffs: Nutty.
Base flavors: Nuts, cedar, butter, citrus.
Aroma: Sweet and toasty.
Burn & Ash Quality: Very solid.
Balance of flavors: Nice subtle balance.

Summary: What we have here is one undeniably gorgeous looking cigar and I’d say that the silky smooth golden brown wrapper is pretty much the color of a Montecristo Classic. I don’t usually talk about the pre-light aroma of a cigar, but this one has a noticeably sweet scent, almost like a dash of a freshly scraped cinnamon stick. Now, this Christian Eiroa creation may be mellow to medium in strength, but it’s got a whole lot of flavor going for it. The first few puffs are sweet and tangy and almost a bit floral which is a wonderfully pleasant start. After the first ash it’s pretty solid and a sweet woodiness comes into play.

What’s really interesting is that tanginess is becoming very reminiscent of dried fruit, like when you take a fresh bite of a dried piece of peach or apricot. It’s incredibly inviting. At the halfway point that tanginess really starts to build making for one naturally sweet and unique Connecticut wrapped cigar. It burned a bit on the quick side and at the two thirds mark I removed the band and just kept on puffing away. The retrohale was quite nice with almost a sweet pipe tobacco quality as I took a few pleasant hits. The final third then develops a citrus quality, like a smack of orange peel was injected into the blend.

Guys, this is without question not your run-of-the-mill Connecticut – a complex and very different flavor profile full of naturally sweet high-grade tobacco with notes of nuts, butter and citrus. I can see smoking this with your morning coffee (which I did), or as a dessert cigar with a nice glass of port, maybe a Taylor or Presidential 20 year old. This is a heck of a creamy smoke that surprised the hell out of me coming from the Eiroa stable. Go for it… now. – Tommy Zman

CLE Azabache Cigar Review

Country of Origin/Factory: Honduras
Size: Toro (6” x 54)Strength: Medium Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
Binder: Honduras Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua, and Peru

Construction: Looks like a chocolate bar. The color and pressing is consistent, and the cap’s seams are well-hidden.
Draw: Superb.
Pre-light flavor: Berry and fig with a lingering pepper.
Toasting & Light: There’s a lot going on here. Smoky tobacco flavor, nuts, grains, and salt.
Base flavors: Dark earth, rich wood, nuts, salt, coffee, and a peppery spice.
Retrohale: Powerful, but refined. Slightly flowery.
Aroma: Savory, slightly nutty, and warm.
Burn & Ash Quality: My sample is burning mostly even and the ash stands fast.
Balance of flavors: Excellent.

Summary: Aptly called Azabache, this dark cigar gets its name from black gems that are typically mined in Honduras. They say the stone brings luck, but with the eclectic recipe C.L.E. Cigars has slated for this blend, I don’t think I’ll be needing any. Let’s get to it!

The pre-light is unique with a rush of berry, fig, and a lingering pepper that bites the tongue. After a flavorful toast and light, Azabache opened at full tilt; I could tell that this cigar meant business. A cascade of rich, woody nuances was married with dark earth, salt, nuts, and a peppery spice. Through my nose, the smoke was strong, smooth and boasted a few floral notes.

Moving along to the end of the first third, the smoke evolved to lean more toward roasted coffee with a sweet finish. As flavors shifted, strength dissipated, and it nestled itself from full-bodied to a more medium affair. It kept this pace throughout the halfway mark, and into the last third, but its final bout of complexity was toward the end. While there was not a noteworthy change at this point in the flavors themselves, each one seemed more pointed and sharply defined.

Azabache is probably meant for a more experienced palate, but even if medium-bodied is more your speed, the majority of the cigar smokes well within that range. If I were to sum it up in a word, it would be sleeper. C.L.E. never gets the credit they deserve, and the proof is right here. – Jared Gulick

CLE Chele Cigar Review

Country of Origin/Factory: Honduras
Size: Robusto (6″ x 50)Strength: Medium plus (listed Medium)Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut
Binder: Nicaragua Filler: Nicaragua

Construction: A smooth, flawless blonde wrapper, Cuban-style cap, and a well-squared box-press.
Draw: Great.
Pre-light flavor: Salty and sweet.
Toasting & Light: Toasty and grains.
Base flavors: Bread, earth, melted butter, and animal cracker.
Retrohale: More animal cracker, spice and pepper.
Aroma: Peppery tobacco.
Burn & Ash Quality: Burns straight with a light grey ash that doesn’t budge.
Balance of flavors: Top-notch.

Summary: On the outside, C.L.E. Chele looks like any other Connecticut cigar. It’s silky-smooth, attractive in its construction, and it looks like it’s probably a tame way to start your day. But looks can be deceiving. With its core of Nicaraguan tobaccos, the blend boasts medium-plus strength – a large departure from most of its Connecticut compadres. And while it may not belong in the breakfast cigar category, there’s plenty more reasons to try it.

Unlit, the cigar tastes a bit savory. The combination of salt and sweetness is a mouthwatering preview of what’s to come. Lit, the cigar is strong and earthy with notes of bread, melted butter, and animal crackers – if they were a little less sweet.

After passing the second inch, the strength backed off slightly, putting it right into that medium plus slot I talked about earlier. It was there when I tried my first retrohale, and even though it was quite peppery, the animal cracker and butter notes became amplified. While I’m not big on getting a lot of pepper through the nose, the tradeoff was worth it.

The second half of the cigar sees the power backing off even more. At that point, the smoke was creamier and more mellow, putting it dead center as far as strength. Despite its calmed temperament, flavor was still front and center – it refused to disappoint.

Throughout my entire session, Chele smoked cool, partly due to its box-pressing, but it mostly hinged upon how well the cigar was rolled. Enjoying a well-constructed smoke is one thing. Enjoying one that’s flavorful is another. Having both boxes checked, though…that makes for a perfect experience. And perfect is what this cigar was.

If you’re looking for a traditionalist’s Connecticut, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Chele is a new breed entirely. – Jared

CLE Prieto Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: Robusto (5” x 50, Box-Pressed)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

Construction: Broadleaf wrapper is leathery, super-toothy and very dark brown. Softly box-pressed, the wrapper leaf is stretched evenly.
Draw: Moderate resistance.
Pre-light flavor: A whiff of earth, but the actual taste is sweet tobacco with clove spice.
Toasting & Light: Opens with a strong coffee note, almost like espresso; earth and salt are there, plus a bit of spice that gives some buzz on the lips.
Base flavors: Coffee, earth, oak, pepper.
Retrohale: Woody spice, and floral – along with cookies (or something similarly sweet).
Aroma: Toasty sweet.
Burn & Ash Quality: Spot-on burn, with a tight, off-white ash.
Balance of flavors: Very well-balanced, with way more layers of flavor than there are heaps of strength.

Summary: Prieto translates to “dark,” and it’s sometimes used to describe someone who’s dark-skinned…inoffensively, of course. This dark Maduro stands in contrast to its cousin, the CLE Chele, which means “white.”

Christian has described Prieto as full-flavored – which stands out from full-bodied cigars you’ve come to expect from CLE. And that bears out in my experience, smoking super-full in flavor, but more medium-ish in actual strength.

The CLE Prieto seems to lean heavy on Nicaraguan tobacco’s tendency to smoke with a coffee sensation, and this one is like a super-dark espresso roast. The spice sets the lips abuzz, with layers of earth and salt underneath. The ash is the color of a charcoal briquette that’s reached optimal roasting temperature.

The vibe changes a bit in the second half, with the espresso taste relaxing a bit, and the broadleaf cutting through with its sweet pepper. The finish is earthy, and a little dry.

They say, “You don’t really taste a cigar until you retrohale it.” Prieto punches above its weight class here, as the retrohale is actually the most complex part of this cigar – and it changes up at different points to include the flavors I’ve listed above. Very tasty.

You might expect Christian Eiroa to make a Connecticut Broadleaf cigar that will knock you over; the very refined Prieto proves otherwise. So I’ll agree with the consensus that it’s more flavorful than strong, but this Prieto is no shrinking violet – it certainly does develop some power at the end. Normally I’d say here that this cigar is built for the veteran palate, but I’d be just as confident recommending it to the cigar enthusiast who’s just finding his or her way: the Prieto is full-up with pleasant surprises, and it’s this kind of discovery that gets us excited to smoke cigars. – John Pullo

CLE Plus 2015 Cigar Review

Country of Origin/Factory: Honduras
Size: Churchill (7” x 48)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Honduran Corojo
Filler: Honduras
Binder: Honduras

Construction: So well-made.
Draw: Very, very smooth.
Pre-light flavor: Slightly herbal tobacco sweetness.
First Few Puffs: Tangy sweet.
Base flavors: Dark fruit, citrus, wood, cream.
Aroma: Toasty.
Burn & Ash Quality: Solid.
Balance of flavors: Slightly complex with nice balance.

Summary: This incredibly elegant looking cigar hails from Christian Eiroa’s dad Julio’s factory in Honduras. I’d say this is a medium-bodied cigar, but extremely full-flavored. That gorgeous, sheer Honduran Corojo wrapper is the first thing you’ll notice, as I stared at it for a few moments before setting it alight, admiring the puro like a work of art, which it really is. On the pre-light the aroma was almost like burning wood which I found unusual but inviting.

The first inch emits sweet tangy fruit-like flavors and then shifts into a nice woodiness that’s creamy and delicious. At the halfway mark there’s an orange peel sweetness that gives way to a darker fruit taste that makes you wish this cigar would last for hours. And the retrohale is amazing – a sweet and pronounced blast of those notes of fruit and wood. The woodiness really picks up about a third the way in and the final third gives off just a touch of pleasant floral notes. Wow.

Construction wise, it really can’t get any better than this. The draw is VERY creamy and smooth as thick white smoke billows from the foot with each puff. I tried several times to tap the first inch ash out my car window and it wouldn’t break, showing off the craftsmanship behind the cigar! The CLE Plus 2015 is the very definition of complexity, taking you from awesome to sublime in an hour and a half’s time. It’s a true premium cigar that I can’t recommend enough. – Tommy Zman

EIROA The First 20 Years Cigar Review

Country of Origin/Factory: Honduras
Size: Robusto (5” x 50)
Strength: Medium – Full
Wrapper: Honduran Maduro
Filler: Honduras
Binder: Honduras

Construction: Excellent box–press.
Draw: Loads of smoke.
Pre-light flavor: Earthy.
First Few Puffs: Wood / oak.
Base flavors: Espresso, oak, cinnamon, dark chocolate, caramel, peppermint.
Aroma: Dark wood.
Burn & Ash Quality: Very solid.
Balance of flavors: Well balanced and complex.

Summary: This is not only a very interesting little smoke, it is also quite unique. While Christian Eiroa is known for making some serious full-bodied bombers, this highly-regarded Honduran starts out medium-bodied but that sure as hell doesn’t last for long. The first third is a bit deceiving with medium-bodied oak and cinnamon flavors. A third the way in the strength and flavor starts to build as the CLE morphs into a bona fide little powerhouse. Bitter dark chocolate and notes of espresso appear as an absolute ton of smoke pours out from the foot.

Visually this is a beautiful stick with a dark chocolate, oily complexion, and a silky smooth box-pressed finish – one of those cigars that’s just crying out from the box, “Pick me up and smoke me, dammit!” It is exquisitely constructed with a draw that’s as smooth as a Carlos Santana solo.

It’s the halfway point where the First 20 Years goes into another dimension. The strength intensifies even more as the flavor of sweet peppermint hits the palate, a taste I have never really experienced in a cigar before (although my fellow Cigar Advisor mates claim they have tasted it in the past). At that point I retrohaled and the peppermint blast was eye-opening to say the least.

Well, the final third is powerhouse time as both the sweetness and the strength get even more robust. I’ll tell you what, this is a hell of a cigar that I wonder if the larger ring sized 6 x 60 has the same kind of bang. Oh yeah. – Tommy Zman

EIROA Maduro Cigar Review

Size: Toro (6″ x 54)Strength: Medium (listed Full)Wrapper: Undisclosed Maduro
Binder: Undisclosed Maduro Filler: Undisclosed Maduro

Construction: A flawless wrapper, Cuban-style cap, and a well-squared box-press.
Draw: Great.
Pre-light flavor: Fruit and berries.
Toasting & Light: Toasty and grains.
Base flavors: Cocoa, earth, cream, and black coffee.
Retrohale: Heavy on the chocolate, but smooth, and with a hint of spice.
Aroma: Buttery.
Burn & Ash Quality: The marbled ash on my sample was flaky and came off easily, but it burned well without any touchups.
Balance of flavors: Good balance and complexity.

Summary: Eiroa CBT is a puro of sorts, in that it is comprised entirely of Maduro high priming leaves. I say of sorts because Maduro is not a type of tobacco. Instead, it’s an extended fermentation process which turns the leaf anywhere from chocolate brown to jet black. The thing about Maduro is that it’s often used as a balance. The sweeter and usually more mellow profile that the fermentation produces tends to offset the strength in potent blends, and that’s why it’s used so often in fuller-bodied cigars. Using all Maduro surely must have been a challenge, so we’ll see if Eiroa was able to pull it off.

Eiroa CBT Maduro is reminiscent of black coffee out of the gate. After about an inch, its flavor rounds out, opening up to a creamy cocoa with notes of earth. The coffee remained, but now it was mixed in with the other flavors, providing balance to the blend’s sweetness. I was impressed because I didn’t expect that much flavor diversity from a one-trick Maduro pony. Sometimes it’s good to be wrong.

At the mid-section, the cigar took a creamier turn. Dashes of salt were sprinkled into the smoke, bringing even more balance to the table. Once I made it to the last third, some of that creaminess had gone away and the smoke seemed drier, but still delicious. Through the finale, subtle bounces between sweet and savory occurred regularly. The Eiroa Maduro stayed interesting throughout the burn.

The cigar never went beyond medium-bodied, so it’s very accessible. If you’re a fan of the Maduro persuasion, this blend offers triple the temptation. This format isn’t merely just a talking point to make sales – they nailed it. – Jared

EIROA Dark Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Honduras (El Aladino, Danli)
Size: 50×5 (5” x 50 Robusto)
Strength: Full
Wrapper/Binder/Filler: Honduran Corojo

Construction: Corojo wrapper is chocolate brown, with a bit of mottled coloring; firmly rolled, with barely visible seams.
Draw: Excellent.
Pre-light flavor: The smell is nutty and slightly sweet; the taste is sweet, too – with hints of chocolate and salt.
Toasting & Light: Sweet, with pepper developing after a few puffs.
Base flavors: Cocoa, sweet spice and espresso.
Retrohale: Earth and pepper.
Aroma: Sweet spice and floral.
Burn & Ash Quality: Burns evenly, with a tight, salt and pepper ash.
Balance of flavors: Flavors are very much in tune with each other.

Summary: Nicaragua may be importing the most cigars of the “Big 3” cigar-producing countries, but Christian uses this Honduran puro as evidence that Honduras is still very much a force to be reckoned with.

It also makes my job easier, having another tasty option to add to our Honduran cigar guides

AKA Eiroa Dark Natural, this Eiroa is dark – as in, the color of the wrapper – because of two things: the rich, full-bodied Corojo-seed leaf is from the plant’s higher primings; then, it’s the conditions under which the tobacco was fermented, which is two to three years longer than the tobaccos used in his other CLE cigars. The tobacco is grown on the Eiroa family farm.

The smoke starts out chocolatey sweet, and only a bit peppery. That sweetness hangs out in the flavor profile as a noticeable undertone throughout – but it’s not long before the Eiroa Dark beefs up, with body and strength coming on in a hurry. And this thing puts out a ton of thick, chewy smoke.

Mid-way is where the floodgates open: spice and cocoa hit the taste buds, and it’s not long before a dark coffee bean note chimes in. A very nice mix, if a bit potent…but hey, it’s CLE and it’s a straight Honduran Corojo puro – you’re not getting off lightly here.

Fire up Eiroa Dark and you’re rewarded with a smoke that’s pretty meaty, but smooth – along with a cocoa sweetness that just won’t leave. Don’t let me telling you about the belly-filling flavor and strength of this cigar cause you to rule it out before you even smoke it; just be sure to savor it slowly, and a sizeable meal beforehand wouldn’t hurt. – John

EIROA Jamastran Cigar Review

Factory: El Aladino – Danlí, Honduras
Size: Robusto (5″ x 50)Strength: Full Wrapper: High-priming Honduran Jamastran Corojo
Binder/Filler: Honduran Jamastran

Construction: Solid. Not a soft spot to be found on this seamlessly-rolled Robusto.
Draw: Very good.
Pre-light flavor: Raisins, fennel.
Toasting & Light: The cigar lit fairly easily imparting a very peppery start with some saltiness in the mix.
Base flavors: Black pepper, some saltiness, cedar.
Retrohale: Executed at the cigar’s midpoint. I expected more peppery sting, but it didn’t happen. Rather, it was a mix of pepper and a faint herbal note.
Aroma: Spicy.
Burn & Ash Quality: Awesome volume of smoke. Ash is very tight and very light grey in color.
Balance of flavors: Very good.

Summary: The EIROA Jamastran cigars are made in limited edition for TAA (Tobacconists’ Association of America) member retailers. Called “a celebration of the Jamastran Valley,” the Robusto is blended with 100% Honduran Jamastran tobacco grown on the Eiroa family’s El Corojo estate farms. Where the aforementioned Cuarenta cigar leaned more to the spicy side, the Jamastran leans more to the peppery side. Here again, despite the fact that I tend to prefer cigars with less bite, the Jamastran was far from abrasive. Plumes of creamy smoke flowed freely through the head and sizzled on the palate with a lingering spiciness. The latter half of the cigar offered additional notes of cedar, and a bare sliver of sweetness, but the spice was not so forgiving.

Suffice it to say. . . This EIROA blend was a bit much for my personal preference, and may also be for newbs. But if you love bold, peppery puros, the Jamastran should be right in your wheelhouse. – Gary

Wynwood Hills Cigars

A special (and separate) nod here to a boutique within a boutique: Wynwood Hills cigars, from CLE. Originally launched in 2012, it was the Miami home where Christian and his partners (at the time) made some very special smokes. The Wynwood factory was selectively staffed with a handful of very skilled rollers; and though only open for a short time, fully embraced the artistic culture of the neighborhood inside and out. Eiroa relaunched the brand as Wynwood Hills in 2018; now offering three lines, they’re made in Honduras – and each is available in only one size. We’ve reviewed them here, along with Gary’s photos of the Wynwood art district graffiti.

CLE Cigars Guide CLE Wynwood Hills cigars 1

Wynwood Hills Mayhem Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Honduras (El Aladino, Danli)
Size: Rothschild (4 1/2” x 50, but called a Robusto)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper/Binder/Filler: Honduran Corojo

Construction: Wrapper has a reddish, caramel color with noticeable veins and slight oils. Cigar is firmly rolled, very solid – and a bit small to be called a Robusto.
Draw: Some resistance.
Pre-light flavor: Fermented tobacco, wood and a slight cocoa aroma; taste is salty, and leathery, with a slight hint of wet earth.
Toasting & Light: Ginger spice, wood, lime zest.
Base flavors: Leather, salty-sweet, nuts, cedar wood and a spicy finish.
Retrohale: Eyewateringly spicy – with a hit of floral and wood.
Aroma: Toasted wood, plus a bit floral.
Burn & Ash Quality: Burns mostly straight, leaving behind salt and pepper coin stacks.
Balance of flavors: Very flavorful, with many layers.

Summary: Don’t call it a comeback – the Wynwood name has (sort of) been revived, but it’s not your ordinary, average CLE cigar.

The Wynwood Hills Mayhem is not strong; rather, it’s an opportunity to Christian to show off his Corojo’s sweet side. The cigar starts up with a thick, creamy smoke that’s laced with a sweet, bright taste. But you don’t have to wait long for a serious layer of spice to roll in.

After a bit, the smoke thins out. There’s still plenty of it, but it’s less creamy, more crisp; that allows a zesty, salty sweetness to come forward, and it’s mouthwatering – like the rim of a margarita glass. And there are a whole herd of flavors that follow: cedar…then a layer of mineral-rich earth…leather…pepper…and each draw leaves a nicely spiced finish on the palate.

Halfway, the tastes combine to make a very savory smoke that’s enough to leave a lump in your throat; toward the end, it’s another turn of complexity as each layer of flavor makes one more front-and-center appearance. The finish has taken on more of a spicy burn; and taken in sum, this profile has made me a Wynwood Hills believer.

A very nubbable, 45 minute smoke that’s great after lunch. Try for yourself and see… – John

CLE Cigars Guide CLE Wynwood Hills cigars 2

Wynwood Hills Deranged Cigar Review

Factory: STG – Danlí, Honduras
Size: Rothschild (4½” x 50)

Strength: Medium

Wrapper: U.S. Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Honduras
Filler: Honduras, Dominican Republic

Construction: Very solidly built top to bottom. The wrapper is so even in color it looks like it was dipped in milk chocolate. The cigar is completed by a well-fashioned, triple seam cap.
Draw: Very good.
Pre-light flavor: A slight leathery note.
Toasting & Light: Lit fairly quickly and evenly. Initial notes were mostly earthy.
Base flavors: Earth, leather, cedar, peppery spice, copper.
Retrohale: Black pepper.
Aroma: Sharp.
Burn & Ash Quality: Excellent. The burn was even throughout, exposing a very firm, white marble ash.
Balance of flavors: Excellent. Flavors were held tightly together with no significant changes.

Summary: This Deranged Rothie started-off with well-defined notes of earth and wood. (For some reason that made me think of the song “Johnny B. Goode.”) Accompanied by a hint of leather, the cigar offered plenty of creamy, medium-bodied smoke with a pleasant cedar note. Moving on, some peppery spice entered the mix, dragging along with it a metallic-like copper taste on a short finish. To the Deranged blend’s credit, the flavors were a tightly-knit group that never ventured into unchartered territory, blessing this cigar with perfect balance.

Suffice it to say. . . If you’re looking for a cigar that’s uber-consistent in flavor, the Wynwood Hills Deranged is the boss. Personally, I would have liked a few sweet surprises, but the smoke was rich in flavor, medium-bodied down the line, and mostly satisfying, to say the least. At most, it aroused my curiosity enough to want to try the other two Wynwood Hills cigars. – Gary

CLE Cigars Guide CLE Wynwood Hills cigars 3

Wynwood Hills Unhinged Cigar Review

Country of Origin/Factory: Honduras
Size: Rothschild (4 1/2″ x 50)
Strength: Medium (listed Full)Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Honduras Filler: Honduras

Construction: Well-constructed with a roasted coffee bean hue. The wrapper is finely toothed, and the cap is well-seated.
Draw: Very good.
Pre-light flavor: A hint of fruit and sweetness.
Toasting & Light: Dark coffee.
Base flavors: Coffee, grains, nuts, and a savory sweetness (almost like soy sauce).
Retrohale: Spicy and smooth.
Aroma: Graham cracker sweetness.
Burn & Ash Quality: My sample is burning mostly even and the ash stands fast.
Balance of flavors: Excellent.

Summary: The Wynwood Hills series by C.L.E. shares its name with the famed Miami art district as well as the former boutique factory Christian Eiroa had established there. The brand came off of a six-year hiatus in early 2019. The trio of blends, Deranged, Mayhem, and Unhinged all share the tagline, “Question Everything,” but the only question I’m looking to answer is…how does it smoke? For this review, I’m taking on Unhinged, so let’s get started.

The pre-light appeal for this blend is a slight fruity sweetness, and those flavors evolve to dark coffee, nuts, grains, and a savory – almost soy sauce-like – sweetness once set alight. As the cigar makes its way to the first inch, it seems to occasionally release small doses of pepper. The pepper itself isn’t strong, but it sticks around a while in the back of your throat in the way something like lemon pepper chicken would. Don’t confuse that for a tasting note, though…this doesn’t taste like lemon pepper chicken. Sorry.

Smoking through to just before the halfway mark, Unhinged began to offer some notes of black licorice, but they were quite faint and evaporated quickly. The smoke had mellowed slightly, intensified in its flavor, and I could tell that it was the sweet spot.

Burning closer to the finale, the blend’s savory side took the spotlight. Dashes of nuts and spice were complementing its graham cracker aroma, ending the cigar a delicious note.

If you’re a lover of Maduro cigars, I think you’ll naturally latch onto this recipe. If not, subtle complexity and a satisfying balance in flavor and strength will probably tip the scales in your favor anyway, as I think Unhinged offers something for almost anyone looking for a herf-worthy treat. – Jared