I recently smoked the CLE Plus 2013, one of the best, if not the best, cigar that I have ever had. I have provided my full review below. This content uses referral links.
My first shipment from Privada Cigar Club included the CLE Plus 2013, the first cigar I have ever given a perfect score. This is one of the best, if not the best, cigar that I have ever smoked.
The CLE Plus 2013
Made up of one-hundred percent Honduran Corojo tobacco and aged for seven years, the CLE Plus 2013 was truly extraordinary in nearly every way.
In my grading system and review below, I have adopted the Cigar Journal: For the Discerning Aficionado method. It provides an excellent system for keeping track of my favorite smokes, and I recommend it to any cigar smoker.
Look of the Label
As the picture indicates, the label is well done, simple and understated, yet eloquent.
Condition of the Cigar
The CLE Plus 2013 had some minor wrinkling in the wrapper but otherwise appeared in excellent condition. It was an obviously well-made cigar and had a weight and balance that suggested an expertly-constructed stick.
Feel of the CLE Plus 2013
The cigar felt a bit too soft and spongy but was consistent throughout. Unfortunately, it was a little too delicate, and the wrapper cracked the slightest bit when I squeezed it.
The cigar was more fragile than that to which I am accustomed, and I suspect it had something to do with how long it had been aged.
Aroma of the Wrapper
The pre-lit cigar smelled fantastic with distinct aromas of leather and fruit. It was intoxicatingly mellow, and here the well-aged quality of the cigar really shined through.
The cut went off fine without any issues at all. Despite the delicate wrapper, I was able to slice off the cap quickly and easily, leaving the structure of the cigar completely intact.
The CLE Plus 2013 lit up perfectly. It took to the flame quickly and evenly without any stubborn resistance.
The draw started off a bit too loose, but it quickly settled into perfection. It had just the right amount of resistance to complement the taste profile of the cigar. It’s a rare thing when the draw perfectly complements the taste of a cigar, but the CLE Plus 2013 pulled it off.
On the retrohale, the CLE Plus 2013 had flavors of wood and some kind of sweetness—perhaps a hint of floral. It was extraordinarily smooth and light without being bland or underwhelming.
Flavor of the CLE Plus 2013
The CLE Plus 2013 very well could be the best tasting cigar that I have ever smoked. On the palate, it had flavors of cedar with some sweetness mixed in. The sweetness seemed to have a fruity dimension to it, along with a mixture of earth.
The CLE Plus 2013 was incredibly smooth and mellow, balancing an incredible flavor profile with just the right amount of strength.
This cigar was as close to perfect as you can get.
The Aroma of the Smoke
After the initial light, the cigar had a sweet aroma that suggested a fruit or floral flavoring. Like the taste of the cigar, it was exceedingly smooth, the kind of aroma you could use to make a candle.
The burn was perfect. It lit up evenly, burned consistently, and I never had to worry about its going out. Perhaps it lacked the razor-sharp quality I like to see, but it came pretty close.
The ash was a bit strange, at one point splitting into two pieces so that the end of the stick looked like an alligator opening its jaws. Yet, the ash was exceedingly strong.
I’d say it was perfect. Minus its one strange anomaly, it maintained a sturdy structure that allowed me to go long periods between dropping ash. It also just looked like a beautiful cigar the entire time I was smoking it.
Effect of the Smoke
I know that this is a bit of an odd category to consider. As the author of The Cigar Journal: For the Discerning Aficionado notes, however, if the best-tasting cigar in the world leaves you feeling sick, then it’s not a great cigar for you.
This area is, therefore, very personal. Some low-quality cigars will make most people sick. Still, when you’re talking about premium cigars, different people will react differently to different cigars. The same person can even react differently to the same cigar at different times.
The CLE Plus 2013, however, left me feeling wonderfully relaxed, having the perfect mellowing effect. I loved everything about it.
No Loose Tobacco
The CLE Plus 2013 showed itself to be perfectly-made here as well. No flakes of tobacco found their way into my mouth at any point during the smoke.
The CLE Plus 2013 had a perfect ash consistency. I was able to allow the ash to build up to an exceedingly long length, providing that elusive aesthetically pleasing smoke that I so much enjoy. +1 point.
In addition, this was one of the most delicious, if not the most delicious, cigar that I have ever had. I smoked it all the way down to the nub, not allowing the smoke to end until it became absolutely impossible to smoke it anymore. +1 point.
In light of these factors, I added two more points back into my final score.
CLE Plus 2013 Final Grade
The CLE Plus 2013 was a cigar approaching perfection, and it is the first cigar since I have started rating cigars to which I have given a perfect score.
At about $12.00 per stick, it’s not a bad deal for the quality, and I may try to pick up some more for special occasions.
Final Grade: 100 / A+
Privada Cigar Club
I recently stumbled upon Privada Cigar Club through an article in Cigar Aficionado. Every month, I receive three rare, aged, limited edition or new and noteworthy cigars specially selected for me. (Privada Club uses a personal flavor profile I submitted when I signed up to help make its selections for me.)
Membership costs $25.99 plus shipping.
I’d encourage you to check it out. I’ve loved it so far—and the customer service is extraordinary. I’m not an affiliate, so I don’t receive any compensation if you sign up for the Club.
As always, however, I also want to recommend Monthly Clubs’ Cigar of the Month Club. I’ve been a member for years, and I absolutely love it. If you sign up, you’ll get five premium cigars delivered right to your door every month.
(There’s also a more expensive Rare Cigar Club available, for those who are interested. I haven’t tried the Rare Cigar Club, yet, so I can’t compare it to Privada Club.)
The opportunity to try a variety of high-quality cigars and to learn more about cigars in general through the accompanying tasting notes has been an invaluable experience for me. I have enjoyed being a member, and I recommend giving it a try.
Privada is great for providing opportunities to try rare and limited-run cigars. Monthly Clubs’ Cigar of the Month Club, on the other hand, is excellent at helping you pick potentially lifelong favorites.
Note, however, that, while I am an affiliate of Monthly Clubs’ Cigar of the Month Club, I was a member for years before becoming an affiliate. So, I was a huge fan of this Club long before I began promoting it.
As a result, if you’d prefer not to use my link, I still recommend the Club. Just go to Monthly Clubs’ Cigar of the Month website to explore Monthly Clubs’ offerings.