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Cigar Review: CLE PCA Exclusive 2023 Robusto

January 19, 2024 By Mitchell Santaga
CLE PCA Exclusive Cigar

CLE brand introduces their inaugural PCA exclusive in 2023 that was only available for purchase by retailers who attended the tradeshow in person. CLE Cigar company had previously released PCA exclusives under their brands of Asylum and Eiroa, but felt that they wanted to round out the portfolio by finally adding a PCA exclusive under the CLE brand. Like the Asylum and Eiroa PCA Exclusives, the CLE PCA Exclusive 2023 comes with an undisclosed binder and filler from a new South American farm, but comes wrapped in an Ecuador Connecticut wrapper.

Under the Lid

The CLE PCA Exclusive 2023 Robusto comes in a beautiful royal blue box of 20, and each cigar, as most CLE cigars are, come wrapped in a beautiful light tissue paper over the foot and over halfway up the cigar. The tissue and band have a baby blue theme with white lettering. The wrapper is a beautiful light brown with very thin veins and a tight wrapper seam with a well placed cap.

  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
  • Binder: Undisclosed
  • Filler: Undisclosed
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Vitola: 5 X 50 Robusto
  • Factory: The CLE Factory
  • Release Date: October 2023
  • Number of Cigars Release: Limited Edition 150 boxes per sieze, 20 count boxes
  • MSRP: $17 ($340 for a box of 20)

The cold draw gives me notes of mild musty fig, and a hint of spice on the tongue, the foot gives off aromas of barnyard, and the wrapper gives off aromas of barnyard as well with a mild hit of spice in the nose.

Performance Notes:

First Third: The CLE PCA Exclusive 2023 Robusto opens up with an updront cedar, leather, and fig note and then a sourdough, salt, and mild spice in the background. It reminded me of a spicy salted pretzel that was left in an old cedar box. The flavors play off of each other very nice and the balance is overall good. This third continues with all of those flavors and the cedar and leather playing the lead rolls on the palate while the fig note sometimes falls into the background with the sourdough note coming forward a bit more. The finish tends to linger a bit with some leather, but it does not dry out the palate. The stimulation is felt on the tip and sides of the tongue with a bit on the inside of the cheeks. This third finishes off consistently without losing any of its complexity and holds a nice cedar and leather forward profile, with the fig, sourdough salt, and mild spice all playing off each other. The retrohale provides more depth with a slightly sweeter bready note and adds some more spice to the overall profile.

Second Third: The second third continues with a consistent flavor profile of Cedar, fig, and leather up front and the sourdough and mild spice in the background. The saltiness I am getting is really when I bring my mouth to the cigar and taste a bit of the fillers when I press my tongue against the cap and head of the cigar. As this third develops the strength increases just ever so slightly and there is a mild char note alongside the cedar that darkens the overall profile ever so slightly. The char note wavers in and out of the profile during different puffs. I also find the complexity to be dropping slightly with the sourdough note fading off a bit and becoming a more generic bready note. The char leaves a mild vegetal finish but is not off putting. By the end of the third the main flavor notes are Toasted Cedar, fig like sweetness, leather, and a mild breadiness. The retro continues to add a nice depth to the yeasty breadlike note, and the spice ramps up a bit through the retro.

Final Third: As this final third begins the profile starts to lose quite a bit of complexity and the fig and bread note slowly start to fall to the background with the toasted cedar, and leather dominating the palate and leaving the char and vegetal finish to linger a little too long. By the end of this third the profile is mainly charred cedar and vegetal leather bitterness with no nice sweetness or bready notes to balance it out. Overall it starts to become linear and a bit mundane during the last few minutes. The retrohale is luckily still adding a bit of that bread note with some spice and char and brings some redeeming features to the experience.

Core Falvors: Cedar, Fig, Sourdough, Leather, Mild Spice

Strength: Medium

Body: Medium

Complexity: Medium +

Smokin Experience: The CLE PCA Exclusive 2023 Robusto starts out with a really nice and interesting profile taking some of the flavors I find in many honduran cigars like bread and salt and adds a nice Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper flare to it with the nice cedar. A very approachable cigar during most of the smoking experience and even with the final third falling off of that beautiful complexity it had the first two thirds, it was still easy to smoke the cigar to a nub. In terms of construction no samples had any construction issues, and there was only a single relight needed on one sample during the final third. Although this cigar has undisclosed binder and fillers that claim to possibly be from South America, it feels like there might be some Honduran tobacco in there, and if you generally enjoy that Honduran flavor profile I think you will have a great time with this cigar.

Purchase Redommendations: Grab a three pack

Smokin Facts:

  • This is the CLE brands debut PCA exclusive
  • Christrain Eiroa asked his team what color they thought would represent the CLE brand and everyone to his surpise unanomously said blue
  • ThE CLE blend, alongside the Eiroa and Asylum PCA Exclusives, are the first time CLE has utilized the tobacco from the undisclosed South American Country

Smokin Wrap:

Cigars Smoked: 3

Average Smoking Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes

SCORE: 89


Mitchell Santaga – Product Reviews

Mitchell Santaga started his journey into tobacco in 2010 by trying different flavored and machine-made cigars while enjoying a handle of Jack Daniels whisky. Shortly after that he yearned for a more premium experience and dove headfirst into pipe tobacco that his local tobacconist blended, and soon after started indulging in premium cigars.

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