Being one of the first third-party companies to partner with the Aganorsa Leaf factory of Estelí, Nicaragua, HVC Cigars and Aganorsa have always gone hand in hand. With nearly every HVC cigar coming out of the Aganorsa factory for over a decade, it came as quite the surprise when Reinier Lorenzo, owner and founder of HVC Cigars, announced he would be opening his own boutique factory in Nicaragua.

Going by the lengthy title Fábrica de Tabacos HVC S.A. de Reinier Lorenzo, the small operation opened up with a humble team of five pairs of torcedores, focusing on HVC’s own products at launch. Lorenzo has made it clear in interviews that the factory isn’t a departure from Aganorsa—more along the lines of a hyper-focused addition for specific HVC releases.

The first cigar to come out of the facility was the HVC Selección No. 1, a three-vitola line that debuted at the 2022 PCA trade show in July, shipping that same month.

HVC Selección No. 1 Esenciales open box

HVC Selección No. 1 Esenciales Breakdown

  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Estelí | Jalapa)
  • Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos HVC S.A. de Reinier Lorenzo (Nicaragua)
  • Production: Regular Production
  • Vitola: 5⅝″ × 46 “Esenciales” (Corona Gorda)
  • Price: $8.60 (MSRP)

It’s a familiar recipe from HVC: San Andrés maduro over all-Nicaraguan binder and filler (focusing on the country’s Estelí and Jalapa regions). The cigars are packaged in boxes of 20 cigars, with prices ranging from $8.60 to $10.60 MSRP.

  • Short Robustos: 4½” x 52 | $9.50
  • Esenciales: 5⅝″ × 46 | $8.60
  • Poderosos: 6″ x 54 | $10.60

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  • Atlantic Cigar Sale


Paying homage to Lorenzo’s Cuban roots, virtually all HVC cigars have always featured simplistic designs that manage to feel authentically Cuban, rather than the overdone imitations you’ll often come across. With the HVC Selección No. 1, I think the look is the company’s best to date. This begins with a canary green box—a jarring hue that will be quick to stand out in the humidor (though it would probably feel at home sitting next to a classic Montecristo). The band doesn’t continue the Florida Keys scheme, instead using an old-school red and gold complete with large and straightforward “HVC” letters at the center.

Taking advantage of the factory’s small-batch craftsmanship, it’s nice to see a classic corona gorda in the mix. This size has a nice look and feel in the hand, offering a medium bunch and a solid feel from head to toe. The wrapper is exceptionally toothy, having a Colorado maduro hue that’s not quite as dark as your average San Andrés. It’s a thick leaf, causing some separation at the seams. It’s a very nice looking cigar overall.

The gritty wrapper gives off aromas of mineral, black licorice, and leather. The foot, however, is much more clean, having primary notes of barnyard and nutmeg. A pre-light draw shows a bit more resistance than I’d like, with somewhat spicy flavors of black pepper, cocoa, and a spice in the back of the throat that comes across like curry.

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Smoking Experience

With a thin ring gauge, the Esenciales lights up rather quickly, firing through the nostrils with black pepper and a smoky campfire finish. It only takes a few puffs for the profile to move from pepper-forward to smoked hickory-forward to a near-even balance between the former two and a welcomed sweetness. The latter continues to build, beginning with a chocolate influence that comes across like the crust of Chocolate Fudge Pop-Tarts. This sweetness primarily shows itself through the finish, being long lasting though somewhat elusive in profile. The cigar is full in flavor, medium in strength, and medium-full in body.

While the draw is on the firm side, it’s not anywhere near bothersome, bringing a concentrated smoke onto the palate. There’s about a medium amount of smoke though each draw, having a nice dense texture. The cigar began with a wavy burn line, though it has largely straightened by the one-inch mark. This is joined by tight stacks of medium-gray ash, clinging on for an inch and a half.

HVC Selección No. 1 Esenciales cigar smoking

The profile continues its shift away from pepper spice and campfire bite through the retrohale, adding in more chocolate pastry and a touch of black licorice, helping to maintain complexity through the transition. Larger puffs can still ignite the pepper retro, but I find the profile much more interesting with small draws, which feel like the equivalent of small sips on a thick and syrupy barrel-proof bourbon. The cigar’s chocolate sweetness continues to evolve and impress, now dabbling more in the chocolate milk range with the addition of subtle fatty and acidic flavors. Nearing the halfway point, it seems the profile has toned down a tick, with flavor being just under full, strength being around medium-plus, and body at medium-plus as well.

The profile takes a brief detour crossing the halfway mark, replacing much of its sweetness with bitterness; this comes across like dark espresso with a growing black licorice influence underneath. Not long after, syrupy molasses serves as a vessel to allow the sweetness back into the mix. This time ’round, the sweetness is more viscous and rich, hitting occasional standout notes of sugar cookies and barrel-proof bourbon. The cigar heats up a bit in the final stretch, leaning primarily toward that of earth, molasses, and bread crust. This continues into an earthy-sweet and black licorice finale, being medium-full in strength, medium in flavor, and medium-plus in body.

HVC Selección No. 1 Esenciales cigar ash

Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?

I have and I will. The HVC Selección No. 1 is the best regular-production HVC project in some time (since the HVC Serie A, perhaps), which is saying quite a lot for this boutique-minded company that shows absolutely no signs of slowing. I’ve only smoked this blend in the Esenciales format, and am looking forward to trying the others.

Additional Info

  • Flavor: Medium / Full
  • Strength: Medium-Plus
  • Body: Medium / Full
Core Flavors
  • Campfire
  • Chocolate Pop-Tarts
  • Black Licorice
  • Molasses
  • Sweet earth
  • Smoke Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
  • Pairing Recommendation: 120(ish)-proof bourbon | Latte | Gingersnap cookies | Root beer
  • Purchase Recommendation: Box it up!
HVC Selección No. 1 Esenciales
Just when you think you know what HVC's all about, Reinier Lorenzo comes outta' left field like Leeroy Jenkins and introduces a stunner smoke from his own boutique factory. On paper, the HVC Selección No. 1 Esenciales has similar ingredients to other HVC cigars before it: Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper over all-Nicaraguan binder/filler. Of course, it's that semi-specific Nicaraguan core that allows room for HVC to play. The cigar hits the ground running, bursting onto the palate with loads of flavor and keeping your attention through the last puff (which can easily be taken down to the nub, by the way). There are interesting transitions along the way, and the construction remains maintenance free throughout. All this and the cigar is priced to move—this is one that can easily be added to the maduro hobbyist's (or any cigar hobbyist, for that matter) regular rotation.
  • Rich, syrupy sweetness
  • Enjoyable flavor and body transitions
  • High consistency from one cigar to the next
  • Slightly firm draw
  • Could use a bit more complexity (to make it into the higher-score range)
91%Rich & Syrupy
  • Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust
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