Henry Clay Stalk Cut
I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter holiday. After spending some time with the family I grabbed a Henry Clay Stalk Cut along with a growler of Ode Brewing’s Dr. Green Thumb Double IPA and headed out back.
The Good Stuff:
The Henry Clay Stalk Cut is the second release in their portfolio that we have seen form the Altadis team in as many years. I recently reviewed the Henry Clay/Pete Johnson collaborative called the “Henry Clay Tattoo”. This particular blend is called the “Henry Clay Stalk Cut” named after the process used to create the cigar. Stalk cutting is the process in which the entire tobacco plant is cut at the base of the stalk and hung in the barn to cure as a whole. Once cured, the tobacco leaves are cut one by one. The Henry Clay Stalk Cut is blended at the Tabacalera de Garcia in La Romana, Dominican Republic by a the Altadis blending team “Grupo de Maestros”. The blend starts with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Dominican Piloto binder, and Dominican Olor, Dominican Piloto, and Nicaraguan Criollo fillers. The Henry Clay Stalk Cut comes in three sizes: Gran Corona (6 x 46), Robusto (5 x 50), and Toro (6 x 54) which all come packaged in boxes of 20 running between $8 and $8.50 a stick. Big thanks goes out to Altadis for sending these our way for review.
Size: 6 x 54
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Dominican Piloto
Filler: Dominican Olor/Piloto, Nicaraguan Criollo
Pairing: Ode Brewing Dr. Green Thumb (Imperial IPA 8.2% ABV)
The Henry Clay stalk cut is a gorgeous looking cigar. Staring with the extremely dark brown wrapper. The color is consistent for the most part with some darker areas surrounding both the cap and the foot of the cigar. The wrapper is extremely smooth and silky with a whole mess of beautiful oil coating the cigar. The wrapper leaf extends longer than the cigar’s body and is then gently folded over the foot. There are a few large veins running the length of the cigar’s body, but they are very smooth and you can’t even feel them when examining the cigar. The Henry Clay Stalk Cut’s meaty, box-press body leads up to a beautiful round cap. The cigar sports a double band, the first of which is a chrome, black and red one which carries the standard Henry Clay crest. The second is a gray band with chrome and read embossed ink which carries the Stalk Cut name as well as small text stating “by Grupo de Maestros”.
The wrapper on the Henry Clay Stalk Cut gives off only some slight pine and cedar aromas while the foot of the cigar is very similar with just an extra punch of spice coming through the folded foot. The cap cut clean and easily using my Palio double bladed cutter. The cold draw really didn’t produce a whole lot. I was only able to pull some slight spice, tobacco, and pepper out.
The Henry Clay Stalk Cut starts out with a good amount of oak and sweetness backed by some honey, pine, and natural tobacco flavors. It started out with more flavor and body than I really expected. The box press fits really comfortably both in my hand and mouth. The draw is flawless with each little puff kicking out a great amount of thick smoke. As I continue through the first third some pretty bold pepper has started to poke in and out of the experience. The burn line is pretty wild, but I haven’t had to reach for my torch while it leaves behind a trail of light and gray decently compacted ash which held on for about an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Into the second third of the Henry Clay Stalk Cut and its much of the same minus the pepper which has completely drown out during the first third. The flavor profile at this time leads with some great sweetness, oak, honey, pine, and spice. While the flavors are great, the body is very weak. I wish the flavors were just a bit more bold. The retrohale helps with that by coating my nasal passage with a ton of sweet cedar and a pinch of spice. The burn line has completely fixed itself and the cigar is now burning perfect while I close out the second third with no signs of nicotine.
Into the final third of the Henry Clay Stalk Cut and much like the second third, it’s pretty much the same story here. Mild oak, sweetness, honey and pine with just a pinch of spice. I was really hoping the cigar would ramp up in body, but it never really did. The flavors are good, just not enough. Into the final inch I encountered just a small amount of harshness, and no real extra heat. I close out the cigar after about an hour and a half with absolutely no nicotine kick.
I really enjoyed the flavor profile that the Henry Clay Stalk Cut had to offer. My only problem was, there wasn’t enough of it. The cigar just needs a bit more “ummph” as it just fell flat at about the halfway point and struggled to keep my interest. All in all though, I think it’s a great cigar for someone who stays on the mild side of things as the flavors were great and mild. I think we all got a bit spoiled with how fantastic the standard Henry Clay was, and how affordable it has become so seeing these blends up in the $8 – $9 range can be a bit of a shock. But it’s where most cigars are headed.
I decided to pair with another one of El Paso’s own Ode Brewing’s beers. This week’s variant is their limited seasonal release of the Dr. Green Thumb which is their first ever produced Double IPA. Coming in at 8.2% ABV the Dr. Green Thumb leads with heavy pine, hop, citrus, malt, and a great sweetness with a decently heavy mouthfeel for an IPA before it finishes with more malt, pine, citrus, and a great hoppy bitterness. This is a hell of an IPA. I don’t often pair cigars with IPAs but the pine that kept coming in and out of the experience lead me to believe that it would be a great pairing and I had hoped the beer would bring up the body of the cigar a bit, and it did.