Christian Eiroa and his father owned Camacho cigars until Davidoff acquired Camacho in 2008 and Christian had remained as president after the acquisition. In early 2012, Christian started a new company, CLE, using his initials, Christian Luis Eiroa. While CLE may be a new company, it already has a rich and long history in the cigar industry. The first lines to be released are being produced in the Tabacos Ranchos Jamastran factory in Honduras where Camacho cigars are made. CLE launched two new blends this year at the 2012 IPCPR. One of them is the new CLE Corojo (which I reviewed here), the other is the CLE Cuarenta which I am reviewing today.
Cuarenta in spanish means 40 and was made in honor of Christian’s 40th birthday which was July 5th, 2012, and also the launch date for these cigars. The Cuarenta features a Habano seed wrapper with a mix of unknown binders and fillers. It seems that keeping the binder and fillers a secret will be a trend for CLE since they were also undisclosed for the Corojo blend.
Size: 5 3/4 x 46
Wrapper: Habano seed
Strength: Medium to full
Cigars Smoked For Review: 1
Construction and Appearance: The band on the CLE Cuarenta is very simple, much like the Corojo, it is just a red band with silver writing on it which says CLE and on the back 2012 Cuarenta. The wrapper of the CLE Cuarenta is a beautiful medium brown wrapper with a nice reddish hue, nearly clay in color. There are some fine veins to the wrapper, with a nice oil, and a very tight triple cap. The CLE Cuarenta is very firm, and a bit heavy in hand for the size.
Flavor and Notes: The wrapper of the CLE Cuarenta has notes of sweet cedar, a bit of grass, and some cream. The foot has a scent which is a blend of cedar, grass, floral tones, and a bit of spice. I use a straight cut to prepare smoking the CLE Cuarenta and on the cold draw there is a flavor of grass, cream, cedar, and some spices.
Smoking Characteristics: The CLE Cuarenta kicks off with some spices, pepper, and cedar which warms the tongue slightly on the first draw. The pepper and spices die down a bit after the first few draws, with the pepper fading out completely, but the spices remaining. There are notes of cedar, wood, floral tones, wood spice, some cream, and asian spices. The draw is excellent, easily providing a full body of smooth, cool, creamy, rich smoke. The strength is in the medium range during this third, with a nice rich retrohale.
Into the second third, the CLE Cuarenta is still pumping out tons of flavors. The notes of cedar, floral tones, wood, asian spices, and wood spice all remain. The blend still has a nice rich creaminess to it, and some new notes of cocoa and orange peel join the blend as well. The smoke is still just very smooth, creamy, rich, and cool. All the flavors are well balanced, blended, and have a nice complexity to them. The strength picks up just a little bit in this third, creeping into the medium to full range. The ash performs well, holding to about the inch point, but the burn did require some corrections to remain true. The finish is excellent, each draw leaving a nice cedar and floral tone which linger on the palate.
During the final third of the CLE Cuarenta, the spices ramp up nicely, with the asian spices, and wood spice moving well into the foreground of the flavor profile. The notes of cedar, wood, cream, cocoa, and orange peel all remain, but are now much more subdued by the spices. While the spices have ramped up, the strength has not, remaining in the medium to full range, providing a nice little mellow buzz. The smoke is still very creamy and smooth. The ash performs well, holding to the inch point very firmly, and the burn has improved becoming razor sharp and requiring no additional corrections. The CLE Cuarenta smokes cool to the nub without any heat or flaws.
Conclusion: The CLE Cuarenta is certainly a great smoke and a good launching point for CLE cigars. I do prefer the CLE Corojo to it, it had a bit more complexity to its flavors, but the CLE Cuarenta appeals to a slightly different market. The blend was rich, complex, balanced, and offered an excellent finish. While I don’t think this one will contend for the top 10 of 2012, it is certainly worthy of picking up and trying out.