HBTC Review: HVC La Rosa 520 Maduro Exquisitos

Since launching HVC Cigars a handful of years ago, Reinier Lorenzo has seen his small brand go through some steady and positive growth. HVC (Havana City) is considered by many to be one of the most exciting and consistent boutique cigar brands in the marketplace. In 2019, they released an addition to La Rosa 520 in the form of a Maduro version. In this review, Matt evaluates the Exquisitos size of this new blend.

In addition to the Exquisitos reviewed here, the HVC La Rosa 520 Maduro is also available in a 5.5 x 54 (Magicos).

HVC La Rosa 520 Maduro Exquisitos
MSRP: $9.00
Size: 5.75 x 46
Origin: T.A.B.S.A. (Esteli, Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

The cigar is a really nice dark chocolate color. The secondary bad denotes the ring gauge in large numbers (46) and is a nice contrast to the deep red color of the main band. The cigar has a nice look and appears to have been rolled properly. The caps are nicely applied and the cigar feels a little bit light for its size. The wrapper has a faint earthy aroma while the foot smells of cedar, mild black pepper, and a musty kind of note that reminds me of a barnyard.

Act I
The beginning of this one surprised me. Instead of a fiery blast of pepper to start things out, it was decidedly subdued, sweet, and almost mellow. There were some nice sweet raisin and roasted almond type flavors. At the same time, there is a nice dry earthiness in the background. It’s a mix that works well together. The only pepper or spice is present in the retrohale through the nose. It is barely approaching spicy, but with a nice finish.

Act II
The transition point was almost like flipping a switch. Everything seemed to suddenly reverse. The dry-mineral earthiness came to the front of the palate and the sweetness moved back into the shadows. There is also a build in the spice levels along with a little something that reminds me of charred oak. The retrohale has definitely ramped up, with more of the wood and spice and a nice sweet finish.

Boldness is the word for the closing minutes of this cigar. It is dark, deeply textured, and intense. The charred wood and spice are full frontal, and at the same time the sweetness is darker, like brittle or dark toffee with almonds. The retrohale almost feels like taking a deep breath of potting soil and black pepper. I know it sounds weird, but that’s what the aroma reminds me of.

This was another cigar that reminded me about keeping an open mind. I had specific expectations based on brand and wrapper leaf. That being said, the way the blend smoked was far more complex and refined than I expected. San Andres has a tendency to take blends in a very specific direction, but this blend breaks away from that and becomes more than the sum of it’s parts. The combination of earthiness, sweetness, and subdued spice was a cigar that I found interesting and pleasing. I would happily recommend this blend to anyone.

HVC La Rosa 520 Maduro Exquisitos – How Bout That Cigar?
Rating: How Bout A Box?
Overall Score: 91
PAD: +1.0 (What is PAD?)
Flavor Summary: Earthiness, Dark Sweeness, Wood, Mild Spice
Strength Assessment: Medium
Source: Cigars for this review were purchased by HBT Media LLC

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