Its a rare day indeed when Cigar Aficionado gives a non-Cuban cigar a rating of 90 and above. Its so rare in fact, that i think we can use our hands and toes to count the number of times its happened in the last 5 years! But, on the occasion it happens, the question that inevitably pops to mind is: How good is this cigar really? Should i pack away my Monte #2s and Cohiba Robustos (rated 92 and 94 respectively)?

Well, you’re about to find out the answers to these questions for the Henry Clay Habana 2000 Mirabelle robusto.

(Image lost) Henry Clay Habana 2000 Mirabelle

Upon receiving a fresh box of these lovelies, i was immediately impressed by the fine art work that went into decorating the box. Non-Cuban brands tend to be flashy in their box art (as compared to the simple and spartan Cuban brands) and the HC Mirabelle is no different. Gold foil and colour splashes everywhere. Beautiful!

(Image lost) Nice even burn, healthy looking wrapper

The scent test went well, but not overly inspiring. The tobacco provides a woody-floral combo which didn’t really provide the ooomph i’m used to in premium cigars. A good scent test blows my socks off by giving me a nice buzz; the HC Mirabelle was a gentle tickle on the nose.

The cigar seems a bit short for a 5 incher, but its 50 ring gauge is ample and pleasant in the mouth. The pinch test reveals the superior construction and care that went into this cigar — firm and not too spongy without being hard.

(Image lost) Holds its ash well even up to the stub

Lighting the cigar was no problem at all (and it didn’t require a single relight throughout), and after a few quick draws, it was burning very nicely. The initial draws provided a cedary taste — a bit woody and fresh. Excellent. Any good cigar has character in abundance and character is the ability to keep the smoker involved in the cigar all the way through. The HC Mirabelle does this very well by pushing a pepper and spice punch about halfway through, while maintaining its smooth overall approach. Habana 2000 (Cuban seed) filler and Honduras wrapper is a winning combo, by the looks of it.

(Image lost) Hard to put down; good to the last

Verdict: Its not a Cuban, but its just about as good as most Cubans i’ve smoked recently. With Habana 2000 filler, you’ll get the peppery tastes you’ll expect from most Cubans, and its well tempered by the creaminess of Honduran leaf. I’ve always wanted to know how Cuban tobacco combines with the rest of the world. This is just about as close to that experiment that i’m probably going to get for a while. Good smoke. Well recommended.