Chip Hight was the executive chef at the *17 Restaurant in the historic Alden Hotel in Houston, Texas when he decided to use his well developed pallet for making cigars. He teamed up with Lorenzo Briones who has a small family owned tabacalera in Esteli, Nicaragua. Lorenzo learned his skills for rolling and blending tobacco in several well known factories such as H.Upmann in Cuba and Joya de Nicaragua, where he worked for many years. With Lorenzo’s 40 years of experience making cigars and Chip’s expertise as chef, they have been able to create a cigar with great flavors and aromas.
Draw and Construction
The Hight cigars are made with 4 and 6 year old aged fillers from Esteli and Jalapa, Nicaragua. They used Esteli binders and finished with a dark Habano Maduro wrapper. This is a well constructed Nicaraguan Puro, good draw, easy lighting, perfect burn. The cigars I smoked were Petite Lancero’s, 4” x 42 ring gauge. The draw was especially impressive since the Lancero size cigars typically have a tight draw. The ash held right to the mid-point of the cigar and the cigar smoked for 45 minutes, reasonable for a small cigar.
Flavor and Aroma
While expert rollers can give you a well-made cigar, only great tobacco blending will give you a great tasting cigar. Chip and Lorenzo did an excellent job with this cigar. There are nice overtones of chocolate, roasting coffee and woodsyness (is that even a word?) in the flavors and aroma along with a little bit of roasted nuts. I thoroughly enjoyed this smoking experience and look forward to trying their larger versions.
With a great smoking experience, you don’t always think about price. That being said, these cigars sell as singles for $5.70 and in a box of 22 for $112. I have said it many times before and will say it again, when you find a cigar priced like this and it is smoking better than a $15 cigar, it is not just a good value, it is a great value. Other sizes and shapes are the Gordito 5”x52, Gran Perfecto 6”x60 and Padre 7”x48. This cigar was introduced at the 2011 IPCPR trade show in July 2011. On the horizon for Chip Hight is a U.S. based boutique factory in Houston, in partnership with Lorenzo Briones. I look forward to the day I can visit that factory and write another article about their new cigars that will be blended and made in the U.S.