For this one we need to roll the tape back to March of 2017, I’ve just been officially introduced as a member of Cigar Journal Tasting Panel (unofficially joined in september 2016) and I’m going on my first tasting trip to meet my fellow tasting panel colleagues. I fly down to Florence, Italy, my first time flying any place alone were I don’t really know anyone personally other than a few I’ve meet briefly. I should probably mention I was 21 years old at this moment in time. So I arrive in Florence, get my taxi to the hotel get my room and meet up with the team. Luckily for me two of them I knew a little from before, as we were the 3 people from Sweden in the tasting panel, one of them i Merja owner of the cigar shop Cigarrummet in Stockholm, very respectful lady that has fought many battles with government agencies for the rights of cigar smokers for many years before even I was born. Then there was one of her previous employees Martin, he also ran the only Swedish cigar podcast called Cigarren (at the moment of all of this happening), we also recorded an episode with me in it, sadly only in Swedish but if you want to listen to it click here.
The trip was fantastic and I got to know many lovely people that I’ve kept the contact with since then, but one of them really stuck out as a inspiring man, with really good looking suitcase that he had made himself. Even though this was the first time I met this guy, it wasn’t the first time I had herd about his brand called HENK, I actually got to know about it during a car trip away from my first cigar event I attended back in 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Were a mutual friend called Marko Bilić founder of Cigar Smoking World Championship, told me “You should contact HENK and see if you could do something with them” and finally 3 years later I got to meet the man behind the brand, his name is Heiko Poerz. Back to the story, so during the first night of our trip, he offered me one of his cigars with the cigar band of Cigar Rights of Europe on it, as it was newly formed. The cigar was one of the best cigars I had ever had to that point, and I was blown away more people hadn’t herd of his brand HENK before.
When I got back to Sweden after the trip, I just couldn’t stop thinking back to that cigar I had, I just needed to get my hands on more of these! But I had to wait one more year before I got to meet the man himself again, and this time it was at my first tobacco tradeshow called Intertabac in Dortmund, Germany. Even though HENK didn’t have a booth at the show, he was sitting in the Cigar Journal booth, were most of us from the panel hanged out to meet people. He then handed me a pack with his cigars inside and said “Enjoy these and come back and say what you think” I just responded “I’ll for sure do reviews of these when I get back” and what can I say they looked stunning and tasted even better.
So let’s get the cat out of the bag, the logo is laser printed unto the wrapper, which in itself is pure madness, I still to this day don’t know how it’s possible. The only downside to this as a fond collector of cigar bands myself, this is a cigar without a cigar band you can collect at it would be a crime to cut of the wrapper just to keep the logo in a binder. You will just have to remember to take many photos of these cigars when smoking them, so you can show your fellow aficionados what it was you smoked and completely fell in love with. Yes because you absolutely WILL! These cigars are on another level of anything else you’ll ever smoked, that I can 100% promise you.
So to the actual information of these cigars, as you probably are wondering by now. So Heiko has been working in the cigar industry for many years, making suitcases, bags and a like for ladys and gentlemen on the go, making truly bespoke stuff with the finest materials you can ever imagine. But something was missing to his portfolio, while making a bulletproof attaché were you can store your cigars in while traveling is good and all, you still need your high end cigars to be in there. So he created them, together with the genius behind La Ley, Nicarao and La Preferida, Didier Houvenaghel a master within the world of understanding anything from seed to finished cigars on the hands of the consumers. You can’t just make a good cigar, you need to understand how to make it appealing to the costumer and they totally made it happen. So they went to AJ Fernandez, who already was making the cigars for Dider, and struck a deal that he would be producing these cigars. And so he did, making a limited quantity of each vitola as all 3 cigars used Nicaraguan tobacco from 2009. So we got HENK MAORI HAKA LE 2016 a Robusto Extra, HENK MAORI LA DOÑA EL 2018 a Lonsdale & HENK MAORI MASTERPIECE EL 2018 a Salomones.
We kept keeping in contact during the year and finally one year later we managed to host two events with him coming to our shop and lounge at Mellgrens Fine Tobacco. Which was an honor not only for me but now I could finally get other people to try his cigars, so people could see I wasn’t making stuff up about smoking these unicorn cigars.
With him he brought not only his cigars, but also cigar cases in leather, carbon fiber and 3D printed travel humidors, leather bags and much more awesome stuff. The first event was such a success and brought so much hype within the Swedish cigar community that we had a second one a few months later. It became a brand people kept talking about to this day, people that haven’t tried it yet, but have heard so much good thing about that they just want to try it at any means possible.
But the story don’t end there, we got more, or I should say 3 more cigars were awaiting to be launched, of course I got my hands on the cigars before hand to make great reviews for all of you.
The HENK MAORI HAKA GAUDI EL 2020 a shorter representation of the Haka EL 2016, the HENK MAORI HAKA WILLY EL 2020 a Robusto or a shorter representation of the La Doña EL 2018 & the HENK MAORI HAKA GAUDI EL 2020 a Perfecto a shorter representation of the Masterpiece EL 2018. All of these keeping the same blend as previous vitolas with nicaraguan tobacco from 2009. Due to the pandemic hitting these got their final release to the market in spring 2021.
I’ve been very lucky to have gotten to know Heiko on a personal level over these past years, and hes a very kind soul and we talk daily, and he intrust in me to give my honest opinion on up coming designes of humidors and such things, which brings me huge trust in that he likes what I do also. But something that totally blew me away, was the 25th birthday gift he sent me, a couple of months back. (Just note this wasn’t to boost any points in reviews as I have already reviewed his cigars before, and the points I’ve given them I honestly believe they deserve otherwise I wouldn’t have given them those).
There is much more I could tell you about this brand, but I think you should really discover that for yourself on his website (it’s also the only way you can get a hold of these cigars, by contacting him directly as not many shops around the world carry his cigars at the moment), so click here. If you want to read my reviews of his cigars click here.
I honestly can’t thank him enough for the great times we’ve had together and how inspiring it is to be able to see his brand get the recognition it deserves after all these years. I look forward to the next time we can sit down and enjoy a cigar together my friend Heiko! And remember “HENK Passion for Detail”.
Cigars I’ve had from the brand:
- HENK MAORI HAKA LIMITED EDITION 2016
- HENK MAORI LA DOÑA LIMITED EDITION 2018
- HENK MAORI MASTERPIECE LIMITED EDITION 2018
- HENK MAORI GAUDI LIMITED EDITION 2020
- HENK MAORI GAUDINI LIMITED EDITION 2020
- HENK MAORI WILLY LIMITED EDITION 2020
See you in the next “My Journey With:“.
/ Cigar Reviewer André Dias
P.S. Clarification I’m just telling my story with the brand, my own opinions and experiences, we don’t have any deals between us, I’m not paid by them and I don’t have any contracts with them. I’m just a consumer and fan of the brand. As you’ll see with my other “My Journey With:” posts that will come in the future.