January 31, 2012

Cigar Review: XIKAR HC Series Salomon Limitado

XIKAR HC Series Salomon Limitado
I am going to skip formal introductions with this cigar and get right to it. For the past couple months I have been smoking my way through the XIKAR HC Series Salomon Limitado cigars that I have, and I have been finding that I am enjoying the cigar more and more. Does this have to with how I have stored these cigars? Maybe, maybe not, but I will say that they have been getting better and better. When I first smoked this cigar I found it to be very entertaining, but nothing mind blowing. Well, that time has past, and these cigars have been nothing but extraordinary as of late. They have smoked beautifully, produced great flavors, and left me nothing but satisfied afterwards. (that sounds bad.) With that being said, let me break down my experiences with these cigars that past times I have smoked them.



Limited to 1000 boxes, the XIKAR HC Series Salomon Limitado is truly a unique cigar. The Salomon size alone really brings out unique characteristics in a cigar, and with the tobacco in this smoke it is even more enjoyable. Made in Honduras by Jesus Fuego at the bustling factory of Tabacos de Oriente, the cigar begins with a beautiful Habano Colorado wrapper from the Jalapa Valley of Nicaragua. The Jalapa Valley has always been known for its very flavorful tobacco, and I for one love the region. Underneath the wrapper is robust binder from Esteli, Nicaragua, and it is finished with fillers from Costa Rica, Honduras and Esteli, Nicaragua. The blend is great for me because it captures a lot of wonderful regions that are known for great flavor, Jalapa, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, and it also captures regions that are known for their strength, Esteli, Nicaragua and Honduras.

The Salomon is your standard size for the vitola, and measures 7" with a 58 ring gauge at the foot. The size is great because it offers a cool smoke that is loaded with tobacco giving the smoker a great amount of smoke and flavor. As you smoke the cigar the ring gauge begins to diminish slightly all the way to the head offering the smoker another experience of being able to pick up more wrapper flavors as the cigar is finishing. The cigar is firm in hand, and there are very little veins present in the wrapper. The texture is very soft, almost silky, and very smooth. The wrapper has a nice milk chocolate brown coloring to it, and it is definitely Colorado in coloring. As I hold the small tipped foot to my nose I get some aromas of rich earth, cocoa, toast and wood, and I am getting that rich earth and wood aroma along the wrapper as well. I am not one who cuts the foot of the cigar when I go to smoke it. The cigar is meant to start concentrated and grow, and that is part of the experience. If you light the foot correctly then you will have no burn issues with the cigar, and you will get a nice bit of wrapper before getting a lot of filler flavors.
Beautiful Salomon
As I light up the cigar I am immediately greeted with some rich earth and damp wood notes, and I can taste this fabulous wrapper. I smoke the cigar further in, and with the ring gauge expanded I begin to get a pick up a lot of characteristics from the filler. There is an emergence of leather, coffee, cocoa and pepper when I am at that 58 ring gauge, and it is a very flavorful cigar. The cigar is burning very cool, and I would say it is smoking around medium in body. The burn line is razor sharp, and the ash left on the cigar is that strong ash you typically get with a Salomon, and it is very cool as well because you can see that bell shape from the foot. Overall the first third has been great, and it is a nice cigar for those weekend afternoons.

When I get into the second third I have not seen that much of a flavor profile change except to say that I am not getting as many pepper notes. The cigar is definitely rich, there is no doubt about that, and I think it is made so that if you like full or mild bodied cigars you would enjoy it. The flavors of barnyard, rich earth and damp wood, are still very present, and the cocoa and coffee notes are as well. It has a lovely finish of leather to it which is very pleasant because I find it balancing those rich flavors. The ash on this cigar is very strong, and I am still holding on to the first third along with the second third. It has a lovely color of dark gray to it, hints of black here and there, and the cigar is producing tons of smoke. I am getting load of smoke rings, and this third has been nothing but enjoyable and relaxing. It has still been a cool smoke, and I have been relaxing the whole time and making rings.

I just snapped back to reality and I realized I am in the final third of the cigar. I have been enjoying the rich flavors for so long now that I have forgotten what I am here to do. As I said earlier this is a great weekend smoke if you have tons of time. The cigar is still burning perfectly even as I close in on the nub, and it is still burning cool as well. The cigar has stayed at a solid medium from beginning to end, and even in this final third I find it enjoyable to any line of smoker. The cigar finishes wonderfully, and it is nice to be picking up some distinct wrapper flavors. The notes of black pepper have returned, and as to be expected the flavors of rich earth, cocoa, coffee beans, wood and leather are present as well. Very flavorful and cool smoking all the way to the end this was a solid medium cigar that anyone could love.

This was a classic example of a great Salomon. The cigar was filled with wonderful tobacco, and it also had a beautiful wrapper leaf. The cigar showed those great qualities of being very flavorful and complex, and also provide a very cool smoke. The flavor profile did not change dramatically from beginning to end with the cigar, but I find with Salomon's that you are looking for a long and flavorful cigar, that keeps you entertained, but not over thinking the cigar. I have never had any construction problems with these cigars, and each of them has been incredibly consistent. It is really one of the most affordable Salomon's on the market, which is incredible, and also one of the better ones I have smoked. This cigar has really grown on me, and it has gotten so much better as well. Initially I would have given this cigar a solid 90, but with every one of these that I have smoked they have been getting better and better. This cigar is like Zdeno Chara at the NHL All Star Game. Each year he breaks his own top record in the slap shot competition, just when you think he can do no more, he does. Great job XIKAR Cigars!   
The Salomon
  

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