CLE Plus 11/18 – Cigar Review
The CLE Plus is a new cigar from Christian’s Fabricas Unidas, which is the “full bodied CLE Corojo cigar the market has been asking for.” The release is limited to only 200 accounts nationwide and production of the cigar is limited to 1,000 per day for each of the four sizes. The four sizes for regular production are 48 x 4, 50 x 5, 54 x 6 and 60 x 6. There is also a 5th size which at this time is being exclusively sold by Butthead’s Tobacco (press release here) which is Christian’s iconic 11/18. 11/18 represents the birthday of Christian’s mother! Today I am reviewing the CLE Plus in the exclusive 11/18 size.
Size: 6 x 48/54/48
Strength: Medium to Full
Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
Construction and Appearance: The CLE Plus 11/18 features a single band which is of the same style and design as all the CLE branded releases. On the CLE Plus 11/18 the band is a crimson red with silver writing. On the front is written “CLE” and on the back “2013”. Unlike other CLE lines, there is nothing that denotes which blend it is.
The wrapper of the CLE Plus 11/18 is a medium reddish brown with visible but thin veins and a nice rich oil. The roll is simply phenomenal. It is quite difficult to locate the seams close up, and resting on a table, it is nearly impossible. The CLE Plus 11/18 is topped off with a nice tight cap, and there are no soft spots that I can detect.
Flavor and Notes: The wrapper of the CLE Plus 11/18 has notes of molasses, oak, earth, and a little bit of leather. The foot has the scent of raisins, molasses, spice, earth, and oak. To prepare smoking the CLE Plus 11/18 I use slight straight cut. On the cold draw there are flavors of spice, oak, raisins, and a little bit of earth.
Smoking Experience: The CLE Plus 11/18 fires up with a very smooth oak flavor with a bit of spice, raisins, and molasses. The total lack of pepper is actually quite shocking, I can tell the blend has a nice kick to it already, and it is fairly unusual to get a stronger cigar that doesn’t at least light with some pepper. As to be expected with the 11/18 size, the first few draws are just a little bit tight, but the flavor is still very present, and extremely smooth. As the first third progresses, the draw opens up and the blend becomes even smoother and creamier. The strength in this first third is in the medium to full range, with a nice buzz setting in early on.
Into the second third of the CLE Plus 11/18, there is a bit more oak and spice present in the flavor profile. The notes of raisins and molasses remain, but they are now more subtle undertones, and are joined with a bit of earth. The blend is still very smooth and creamy, but also develops more sweetness than the first third. The construction stands up well, the ash holds firmly past the inch point, and the burn hasn’t needed any corrections so far. During this third the strength increases just a bit, but still remains in the medium to full range.
During the final third of the CLE Plus 11/18, the profile remains very close to the second third. The spice is a bit richer, and the strength peaks just a bit into the lower end of the full spectrum. The blend is still incredibly smooth and creamy. The notes of oak, spice, molasses, raisins, and earth all pair together well, and create a wonderful flavor profile. The flavor isn’t what I would consider as complex, but it is very rich and bold. The construction is still excellent, the ash remains very firm and the burn nearly razor sharp without any touch ups. I smoke the CLE Plus 11/18 down to the nub, savoring every last bit.
Conclusion: When I first tried the CLE blends, I truly enjoyed them all, but the corojo was my favorite. It was delicious, well priced, and very well made. The CLE Plus is a natural extension to the corojo line, in terms of flavor, strength, and complexity it is all stepped up just a bit. I also love that an 11/18 size was made, the 11/18 is a great way to experience a blend in several different ratios of wrapper to filler to binder all at once. Overall I would certainly consider this to be a box worthy cigar.