Posts Tagged With: Didier Houvenaghel

Henk Maori Masterpiece

Henk Maori Masterpiece. Henk is a luxury brand, mostly focussed on suitcases and travel bags. But designer and owner Heiko Poerz is also an avid cigar smoker for over thirty years. With his eye for detail, his and his attitude to always go for the best, he was unhappy with the cigars that were on the market. Nothing reached perfection for his palate. So he asked his friend, master blender Didier Houvenaghel, for help to create a cigar that would be tailor-made for Poerz. Houvenaghel makes cigars at Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez, so automatically, Henk cigars would be made there as well. Houvenaghel and Poerz created a blend with vintage tobaccos. The tobacco is expensive, but since Poerz doesn’t compromise quality, he pushed on. His obsession with cigars also created a whole line of accessories, including the Cigarbone and the Minibone.


The Maori name is a tribute to a mutual friend of Poerz and Houvenaghel. The friend is Maori, and when the cigar was in the development stage, the three friends met up in Bali, Indonesia. Poerz jokingly mentioned that the wrapper had the same color as their friend’s skin. The line suddenly had a name, a tribute to their Maori friend. That resulted in a Maori style tattoo logo for the cigars, and names related to the Maori heritage such as the Haka. The Henk Maori Haka scored 94 and ended up on the 4th place of Ministry of Cigars Top 25 of 2019. The Henk Maori Masterpiece is a limited edition figurado. It measures 6½x64 and is made with vintage tobaccos from Nicaragua. The cigars were released in 2018, in very limited production. The cigars came in a travel humidor with 7 cigars, limited to 200 travel humidors. And 12 humidors with 52 cigars. There are also a limited number of refills and singles available.


The cigar looks amazing. The shape is fantastic, and the small pieces of Maduro wrapper on the foot and the head make the cigars pop. The unfinished head and the tattoo make this cigar stand out in any humidor. The wrapper is Colorado Maduro colored, dry and has some veins. Without the veins, the cigar would have hit 100 out of 100 points. It feels pretty packed but evenly packed. The dark manure smell is medium strong.


The cold draw is good. There is a hint of milk chocolate but also a lot of pepper in the cold draw. Straight from the start, there is coffee, slightly bitter but on a pleasant level. The draw is surprisingly good from the start. Usually, there is a bit of a tight draw until the burn reached the thicker part of the foot. There are herbal sweetness, pepper, and fresh leather flavors as well. The retrohale gives more spice and cedar. The cigar has a nutmeg and cinnamon sweetness. At the thickest part of the cigar, there is cedar, soil, pepper, and sugary sweetness. The cigar is very pleasant in the retrohale. Coffee and toast show up, still with the cedar, sweetness, pepper, and spices. The mouthfeel is creamy. The spices turn to gingerbread spices, with cedar, leather, sweetness, and pepper. The mouthfeel is still creamy. In the last third, the cigar picks up more strength. Retrohaling is no longer an option. Wood, leather, coffee, spices, and pepper are the main flavors.


The draw is amazing. The burn had to be corrected a few times though. There is a good amount of thick, white smoke. The ash is white and firm. This is a smooth, balanced, and flavorful cigar. But it packs strength too, even though it’s smooth and creamy. It is a full-bodied, full-flavored cigar. Balanced, smooth and full of character. The smoke time is three hours and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? For a very special occasion
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Categories: 93, Henk, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , , ,

La Preferida 452

Didier Houvenaghel is a Belgian agricultural engineer who’s passion is tobacco and he wrote what is probably the best book about cigars ever: The cigar: from soil to soul. I have seen the book, read parts from it but I have yet to find a copy for myself but the book is out of print and its not available on Amazon, Ebay or any other sites that I know. Maybe I should ask Didier when I see him either in Singapore where both his and my wife live or at the Intertabac trade show.


Didier also started his own cigar brands, La Ley and Nicarao but last year he expanded with a new line, La Preferida. All his cigars are made by A.J. Fernandez and Didier handed me this cigar in person. The cigar comes in two sizes, 4×52 or 5×52 an its made with Honduran and Nicaraguan filler, a Mexican binder and an Ecuadorian Habano Colorado wrapper. I smoked the 4×52 for this review.


The dark chocolate colored wrapper looks smooth, not big veins, a nice even color, a very clean wrapper. The ring is very classic, just a 1920’s era lady on the baby blue ring and a yellow banner with the La Preferida name. The cigar feels well constructed and looks good.  A medium dark aroma finishes the cigar, I think of dark chocolate with some pepper.


I used a butterfly cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is perfect, I get a spicy tangy flavor on my lips. After lighting I taste a strong, pleasant espresso with a subtle sweetness. There is also a hint of cocoa. After a third it’s a spicy coffee and cedar combination with a little chocolate. After a third I taste wood with cocoa, a little sweetness, spice and pepper. Halfway the cigar gets sweeter, with some vanilla over spices and dry cedar. There are subtle changes in flavor, the final third has something floral, with still some pepper.


The draw is flawless, the smoke is thick, white and voluminous. The ash is white, dense and firm. I’m positive awed by the balance in the strong flavor. The burn is great. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is long, an hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, over and over again. I loved it so much that I grabbed my Nub tool.

Score: 95
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Categories: 7-20-4, 95, La Preferida, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

Marc’s mystery cigar

This is an old review that somehow never got posted when it should have been uploaded.

Because of my work in the industry I met a lot of distributers in other countries as well, and one of them is Marc D’Argembeau, a cigar distributer in Belgium who had a few brands in common with my then employer so we helped each other out on occasion when we had stock and he didn’t or the other way around. One day Marc gave me an unbanded cigar and he wouldn’t tell me what it is.
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I could think of two sources for this cigar, either it could be a pre-release or test blend either from Quesada for the Casa Magna Dominicana or from Marc’s son in law Didier Houvenaghel, who owns a few brands like La Ley and Nicarao.
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The cigar was wrapped in cellophane and has a nice dark oily wrapper with a few thin veins. The construction feels hard but the cold draw is great and I tasted slightly bitter herbs. The cigar measured 5½x54.
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I taste herbs with some sweetness and earthy flavors. After a centimeter I taste a little harsh herbal flavor with some pepper. Soon after I also taste some cocoa. After a third the cocoa grows with some herbs and coffee. Halfway I taste herbs again with a little bit of pepper and some citrus in the aftertaste. After two thirds the citrus gets a little stronger with herbs and a little bit of chocolate. Near the end the pepper gains some strength again.
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This cigar lasted me an hour and twenty minutes and produced a lot of thick smoke. The draw was great and the white ash is frayed but firm. The burn I had to correct once. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored.
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Would I buy this cigar again? I don’t even know what it was, so how could I?

Appearance: 8
Construction: 8
Draw: 8
Burn: 7
Smoke & ash: 7
Aroma first part: 7
Aroma second part: 7
Aroma third part: 7

Categories: Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

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