CLE Cigars Prieto
Back at it today while I brave this crappy wind with a CLE Prieto in one hand and a can of Borderlands Brewing Co’s German Chocolate Cake in the other.
The Good Stuff:
The CLE Prieto is the third installment in Christian Eiroa’s CLE brand. Unlike most cigars created by Eiroa, the Prieto is one of the very few that does not feature a single Honduran leaf. Instead, the Prieto (meaning “dark”) carries a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan filler. The Prieto comes in four sizes: The 550 Robusto (5 x 50), 646 Corona (6 x 46), 652 Torpedo (6 x 52), and the 660 Gordo (6 x 60). All are soft-box pressed and come packaged in boxes of 25 cigars running between $8 and $10 a stick. This past year Cigar Aficionado ranked the Prieto as it’s #17 cigar of the year so I am am excited to give it a run. Big thanks goes out to Ana Cuenca and Cuenca cigars for passing these my way. You can purchase them directly from them here.
Size: 6 x 46
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Pairing: Borderlands Brewing German Chocolate Cake (Porter 7.3%)
The CLE Prieto starts off with a bright silver and black band with the CLE logo as well as the words “Prieto y Presado” on the front. Next, a majority of the cigar is wrapped in white tissue carrying the CLE and Prieto branding. Once the tissue is removed the cigar showcases an extremely dark brown, almost black wrapper. The wrapper is consistent in color while it carries a few medium sized veins located throughout the cigar’s body. The texture is both very toothy and very oily. The soft box pressed body feels so comfortable in my hand. The cigar is tightly packed yet pretty soft as the body leads up to a round triple wrapped cap.
The wrapper on the CLE Prieto gives off lots of bold cocoa, spice, and earthy scents while the foot of the cigar gives off some great sweetnesss, spice, pepper, and coffee aromas. The cap cut clean and easily using my Xikar XO Double bladed cutter. The cold draw pumps out lots of coffee, cocoa, and spice flavors.
The CLE Prieto starts out with a blast of pepper which left my tongue and lips tingling. After a few draws the pepper began to fade out and I was left with a whole mess of chocolate, spice, gingerbread, espresso, and bold natural tobacco flavors. This cigar reminds me of German Christmas treats (which is why I paired it with what I did.). The draw is perfect. Each little puff kicks out clouds of thick, white smoke while the cigar pours out stationary smoke as it rests in my ashtray. The burn line is a bit wild, but I haven’t had to reach to my torch yet as it leaves behind a tightly compacted trail of medium and light gray ash which held on for 3/4 of a inch before falling into my ashtray.
Into the second third of the CLE Prieto and the chocolate has really taken center stage backed by the gingerbread (which I am astonished is still in the mix), spice, espresso and some nice almond with a nice natural tobacco tartness on the finish. The retrohale really brings the pepper back into the mix, but I am really liking how smooth this cigar is so I don’t find myself retrohaling too often. The burn line has completely corrected itself and is now burning like a champ as I close out the second third with nothing in terms of nicotine.
Into the final third of the CLE Prieto and I wish this thing wasn’t coming to an end. The flavors are still heavily led by the rich chocolate backed by almond, spice, and espresso. The body has ramped up significantly at this point yet the strength has never reached higher than medium. It took me an hour and a half to smoke this cigar down to the nub and I experienced absolutely no harshness nor extended heat. I close out the cigar with no signs of any nicotine at all.
I have liked every single cigar CLE has released and quite frankly, the Prieto is so far the top on that list. It’s bold, yet very well balanced creating a heightened experience that won’t knock you on your ass. The flavors are incredible and suited my palate beautifully and the cigar isn’t going to break your budget. This is something I can easily see become a staple in my humidor when I am looking for a great, bold cigar. Especially if it’s as a dessert after a great dinner.
German Chocolate Cake is a 7.3% ABV chocolate coconut porter brewed by Borderlands Brewing Co. in Tuscon, Arizona. The German Chocolate Cakes leads with heavy dark chocolate, roasted malt, almond, caramel, and a great natural coconut flavor with a very light mouthfeel before finishing crisp with more dark chocolate, sweetness, coconut, and some light spice. The flavors in the cigar reminded me of the German Chocolate Cake and Gingerbread treats we’d each every Christmas so this pairing was obvious, and amazing. I think this cigar would also pair great with any black coffee, Belgian dark ale, or quad.