4-9-15 been in humidor since 10-26-14
Ezra Zion FHK Honor Series Truth (7 x 44)
Wrapper: San Andreas Maduro
Filler: Brazilian, Nicaraguan
Blender: Placencia, Hoover, Kelly
The Honor Series came about when owners Chris Kelly and Kyle Hoover were researching their family trees. They discovered honorable men who served in the military, were statesmen, and men who started businesses. The letters “FHK” stand for “Fathers of Hoover and Kelly” to pay respect to the men in their families who helped shape them into who they are.
This was the very first cigar released in 2014 (of any brand). Its official date and time of release was 12:00am on January 1, 2014. Though it was a first that year for the industry, there is also a first within the company with this release. This is the first true multi-country blend featuring tobacco from four countries. In the past the brand has been very Nicaraguan based with at best one leaf that is from another country.
The Honor Series was blended and designed for the specific vitola that became Truth. That makes this specific cigar being reviewed, arguably, the most accurate representation of the goals of the blenders. The 7 x 44 size is not a “standard” size and has no official name, but it is being called a “Lancero Gordo,” though a cazadores is probably a more accurate name for the size.
The presentation of this cigar is a familiar styling used in previous Ezra Zion releases, but this time the colors are gold and black. There is a footband on the cigar with the letters FHK in large print and the words “honor series” in script below. The wrapper is dark and fairly even in color. It looks thick at the seems and has a few dominant veins that have been flattened to the point where they can be seen but not felt.
In the hand, the cigar feels solid with no soft spots anywhere. There is a slight oily feel to it but it feels to be tempered by a tooth that is only perceptible by touch. The scent of the FHK before the light has a heavy barnyard quality to it. This Barnyard scent leans to a damp wood impression. A lick on the cap is oily and slightly sour. Some mild spice on the lips. After a clip with the Xi2, there is a very firm draw with milder than expected flavors of sweet cedar and a hint at mushroom. The difficulty of the draw is not cigar-ending. It is, however, distracting.
Light with a soft flame
The first few draws are a bit woody. There is a subtle sweet undertone that is reminiscent of a brewhouse in the process of mashing and boiling. Through the nose there is a mild coffee and a bit of a mild pepper. The wood notes that are there on the initial flavors pull through the other flavors and remain on the palate into the finish. As the cigar settles in and hits its stride the malted grain flavors seem to take over but they are not overly sweet. The wood continues through the nose and on the finish. The sweet and the wood balance each other very well.
The middle third maintains a high level of balance. The wood notes are becoming more of an oak flavor than a generic wood. The pepper starts to show up in the initial flavors and stays through the middle flavors but does not make it to the finish. It is a mild pepper, adding only enough to keep things interesting. The finish does pick up a hint at coffee, but it is not the main flavor of the finish. The burn is very slow and very even. This may be partially because the draw is so firm. The good news is that the draw keeps the burn cool, but the bad news is that is it distracting to have to draw so hard.
The final third lets the coffee out to play. The wood notes have faded back to the generic undertone much like the beginning of the cigar. The malty notes have all but faded as well. Some of the classic Nicaraguan pulpy texture starts to come out near the end of the cigar but it is not distracting. The retrohale is now more earth and wood than every before. At this point the real complexity is all in the retrohale. The spice continuously picks up at the very end to the point where it is out of balance, signaling the end of the cigar.
Burn to the nub.
Burn time: 1 hour 55 minutes.
If the minor construction issue had not caused a tight draw this would have been a 9.0 or better cigar.