Hot on the heels of the Henry Clay Tattoo (a very fine tribute cigar blended forAltadis by Pete Johnson, one which vanished rapidly from our shelves) comes this latest reboot of an old classic: the Henry Clay Stalk-Cut, another re-imagining of the original Henry Clay, this time by the famed Grupo de Maestros.
The Stalk-Cut is a robust, earthy treat consisting of a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, Dominican piloto binder, and three fillers: Dominican piloto and olor, and Nicaraguan criollo. Stalk-cutting refers to the practice of harvesting the entire tobacco plant by cutting it down at the base of the stalk and hanging it to cure, (rather than harvesting the leaves one by one), a process which permits the plant to retain more nutrients than usual and thus produces richer flavor.
It’s available in three sizes: the 6″ x 46 Gran Corona, the 5″ x 50 Robusto, and the 6″ x 54 Toro. We’ve got them all, so try one next time you’re in! With the Snow-tastrophe headed our way, it’s a fine time to sit indoors and smoke.
We’re in for a special treat this week, as I’m popping open a tin of McClelland‘s 3 Oaks Syrian. This is part of the Collectors’ Series and the blend itself was created by the somewhat famous pipe-tobacco reviewer Tad Gage. Tad worked tirelessly to create this subtle, complex mixture and used carefully measured portions of pure Syrian Latakia to formulate what is essentially a mild- to medium-bodied English pipe blend.
The tin note is pleasant, with hints of pine and the sweet/sour notes of the Orientals pushing forward while the Virginias and the signature Mclelland (or “McKetchup”) notes are muted.
I allowed some drying time for my sample (about a half-hour) and I found the coarse ribbon cut easy to pack and light.
Experience has shown me that this is a fairly mild blend, just bordering on crossing over into medium-bodied territory as I work down through the bowl. Carefully and thoughtfully working through this blend has allows some of the subtle flavor profiles to wash over my palate. Herbal notes from the Orientals – and specifically the Syrian Latakia – are present throughout and the Virginias provide a very muted sweetness and balance to the blend.
It’s a sad thing, knowing that eventually the stockpile of available Syrian leaf will disappear and blends like 3 Oaks will simply vanish forever. With this in mind, I strongly advise you try some before its just a memory.