Two new cigars were originally debuted for members of the TAA in addition to the TAA Exclusive Azabache. Those cigars were Prieto which is Spanish slang for dark-skinned and Chele, which is slang for light-skinned. The names provide an interesting take when applied to cigars with lighter and darker wrappers. The cigars also mark a change for Christian Eiroa who normally makes his cigars in Honduras, as he turned to Nicaragua and a un-disclosed factory for these sticks.
Cigar Review: C.L.E. Chele
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Not Disclosed
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut
Ring Gauge: 50
The Look: The packaging from Christina Eiroa’s C.L.E. has changed dramatically over the last year and while the boxes still have a classic look to them, they scream modern as well. The wooden cabinet style boxes these come in are stunning right down to the blue guarantee seal that adorns the box. Inside, the box pressed cigars are wrapped in tissue paper stating Chele which come up to the band. As far as the cigar, the blonde looking wrapper that adorns the cigar is flawless, and is a perfectly executed box press.
The Notes: The cold draw of the CLE Chele reminds me of a dry cookie, with hints of apricots, apple and cinnamon. Simply put it is extremely complex before we even take fire to the tobacco. The cold draw offers up notes of cinnamon and cookie dough.
Once the cigar is lit there are some notes of white pepper that quickly fade as some notes of bread and apricots come to the forefront of the experience. As the cigar progresses, the bread like notes become dominant. On the retrohale the white pepper remains and the finish is short.
Moving into the second third of the Chele, the notes of bread remain while the sweetness moves to the background as notes of white pepper dominate on the retrohale. The finish of the cigar increases in length as the cigar moves closer to medium bodied.
The last third of the cigar from C.L.E. sees the white pepper continue on the retrohale, but the finish takes on notes of apricots. The primary notes are bread with a buttery richness and a subtle spice that intensifies on the aforementioned retrohale.
The Burn: Box pressing a Connecticut Shade cigar is tough as the wrapper can be brittle, but CLE does a masterful job here and while there were a few moments where I thought the burn might get out of hand I never needed to touch up the two samples I smoked for review. The combustion line was a little thick, but the ash was firm albeit a little flaky. Smoking time was 90 minutes and I never needed to relight the cigar.
The Finish: I’ll be honest when my samples of Chele and Prieto were laid on my desk, I wanted to smoke the Prieto first, but with the overwhelming majority of sales in the USA being that of shade grown wrapper I decided to light up what the masses would want. The result was not disappointing as I totally enjoyed this balanced smoke with great notes. Tomorrow we will review the Prieto.