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Staff Reviews

Henry Clay Brevas Staff Review

Zack D. D's picture

Zack D.

For today’s review, I am smoking a Henry Clay Brevas. The cigar measures 5.125 x 42 and is one of the most popular sizes from the brand. I prefer the Brevas vitola because its thinner ring gauge emphasizes the flavor of the wrapper.

The brand was created in the 1840s and is named for late Kentucky Senator and statesman Henry Clay. Known as “The Great Pacificator” for his ability to resolve disputes, Clay unsuccessfully ran for President three times. The first Henry Clay cigars were made in Cuba and blended by Spanish immigrant Julian Alvarez Granda before he sold his interest in the brand to a British company. The brand was shuttered around the Great Depression, but the trademark was resuscitated and released as a Dominican cigar in the 1990s. Today, giant cigar conglomerate Altadis owns and operates Henry Clay in its portfolio of other Cuban-legacy brands, including Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta.

Henry Clay is still made the Dominican Republic. A hearty, dark-brown Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper covers an aged blend of Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. The wrapper is rustic, oily, and toothy with a slight sparkle.

The wrapper leaf emits pre-light aromas of dark cocoa and cedar with a sweetness that is reminiscent of the chewing tobacco my grandfather used to gnaw on. The cold draw adds depth with notes of leather, black coffee, and dried fruits.

Henry Clay Brevas starts out with a bang! Notes of leather, black pepper, and cocoa erupt the second I fire up. As the tobaccos warm up, I can taste a candied-apple sweetness. The first inch delivers ample sweetness and almost no spice. A touch of pepper sits on the lips, but doesn’t get to the palate. The sweet chewing tobacco note I noticed initially is recognizable on the retrohale.

The profile changes drastically around the halfway point. The flavors shift from sweet to earthy and vegetal. I detect hints of bell peppers and beans, while the retrohale is loaded with notes of oak and wet moss. A moderate spice emerges too. The last inches deliver bold notes of black coffee and leather. The flavors remain balanced throughout a long finish.

Henry Clay Brevas offers a stellar draw from beginning to end. The cigar’s hearty wrapper led to a wavy burn on a few occasions, while its sweet room note perfumed the air. Henry Clay proves appearance is no indication of strength. At its strongest, the blend is medium-bodied, despite its intense and scruffy look.

Fans of Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers owe it to themselves to try Henry Clay. There are a handful of sizes to choose, but the Brevas is my favorite because it is dominated by the flavor of the broadleaf wrapper. Smoke a few of this curious old-time brand and see how they stack up!


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