Avalon Hellhound Hijon

Last week I was digging through my humidors like I often do, looking for something different and interesting to light up. What I came across this time was a small collection of Avalon Hellhounds I bought well over a year ago. After I burned a stoutly shaped Black Cat Bone, it occurred to me I had just enough of the Hijon vitola for a review. Why not, the bright red bands sorta fit the holiday season, and some of the shoppers out there this time of year are reminiscent of hellhouds.

For details on the Hellhound line in general, I’ll defer to the creative description listed on the Avalon Cigar website:

The Hellhound is as mysterious as the legend for which it’s named. This cigar is rolled in Nicaragua and comes in three sizes. [Hijon (5 1/2 x 44), Black Cat Bone (5 x 60) and Mojo Stik (6 x 50)] It’s comprised of aged Nicaraguan and Peruvian filler, spiked with ample amounts of Peruvian and Nicaraguan Ligero, select aged Nicaraguan Habano Wrapper, with aged Nicaraguan binder. It is cedar wrapped, adding that final note to an already complex smoke. Full bodied, not for the meek.

I don’t think I’ve ever been called meek, so they must have made this one for me, right? Let’s not keep these dogs waiting.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 5 1/2 x 44
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua, Peru
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Beverage: Water
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: ~$7.50

The Pre-Smoke
The Hellhound is nothing if not eye catching, sporting a giant red foot band over top an even larger cedar sleeve. Though I have to wonder if the bright red packaging backfired for the Hellhound. From a distance, it looks an awful lot CAO’s Cherry Bomb, which definitely appeals to a different sort of cigar smoker.

I smoked all three vitolas in the run up to this review, and there did seem to be a little variation in the sticks visually. The Hijon, which I’m reviewing, seemed to have a more consistently rustic looking wrapper leaf than the larger sizes, with slightly thicker veins, and more color variation. I didn’t see any flaws on surface of the sticks, and they had a pretty consistent firmness.

The cold draw was good, and the taste was woody and sweet. The wrapper didn’t smell as much like cedar as I expected, it was more of a faint earthy compost.

The Burn
Despite the low humidity in the Atlanta area these days (around 16%), the Hellhound burned nicely. None of the wrapper cracking I’ve experienced with other smokes in the past week. The ash was solid and bright white, and the burn line was even most of the time. (There was the need for a touch up here and there.)

The Flavor
The Hijon began with sweetness that struck me as a combination of caramel and cherry laid over a creamy light wood. As anticipated, the wood flavor grew in prominence at the cigar progressed. But it didn’t come across as cedar specifically, more as a slightly bitter generic wood. By the end of the third, the sweetness that ushered me into this experience in was mostly gone, and the wood was joined by an almond flavor.

The second third saw an earthier continuation of wood and almond with some creamy paper notes. As it burned I began to pick up pleasant cedar characteristics in the wood flavor. Pepper appeared in the finish near a little later.

As the The Hijon neared the end, there was period of sharp cedar, more pepper and a little earthiness. Surprisingly, before the cigar was laid to rest, the pepper disappeared.

The Price
The price seems reasonable. It’s in the cigar pricing sweet spot.

The Verdict
In all, the Hellhound is a pretty good smoke, but it didn’t wow me. It starts off well, burns beautifully, and generally looks good, but I found myself losing interest around the halfway point. To be fair, not all cigars age equally, and these have been hibernating for probably two years. It’s possible they just lost their fire.

Since I did try all three sizes, it’s worth mentioning that I enjoyed the Hijon more than the Mojo Stik. And in spite of its girth, the Black Cat Bone showed some real promise, but draw issues made it hard for me to decide if I liked it more than the Hijon. (A shorter format with more Peruvian ligero does sound like a good thing.)

I will probably buy another Hellhound at some point, if for no other reason than to compare newer sticks to these well-aged ones and the Black Cat Bone to the Hijon. If you’re looking for something different, or just like woody flavor profiles, and you’re not meek, give the Hellhound a try.

Liked It: It was OK
Buy It Again: Maybe
Recommend It: Maybe

Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.