For today’s review I pulled out a sample of the latest blend from the Hammer + Sickle premium cigar brand, the Hermitage #1 Robusto. The company’s first foray into Nicaraguan tobaccos, the Hermitage features a blend of Nicaraguan Ligero, Viso and Secco filler tobaccos beneath a Jalapa Valley cloud-grown (a variation of shade-grown) Criollo binder, and an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper leaf. Keeping in the tradition of Hammer + Sickle’s luxurious packaging design, these handmade stogies come packed in a leather box with hand-stitching. I just had to see what a cigar that comes in a genuine leather box tasted like.
The cigar’s wrapper was a smooth chocolate-brown hue and had a somewhat rustic look to it. Box-pressed construction looked to be up to par and the cigar was evenly filled with no soft spots. Pre-light notes were faint, but I did pick up a slight woody taste before summoning the torch.
After a quick spin on the ol’ Burner, the Hermitage lit up with a woody and earthy taste, along with a good amount of throat-tingling spice on the finish. The burn was off to a crisp start and the draw was spot-on. Generous plumes of dense, blueish-white smoke poured out of the cigar with each draw. Gradually the profile evolved to one of smooth and full cedar, punctuated by a potent spice-kick on every puff.
As I burned into the 2nd third a heavy note of cream joined the fold in a way that enhanced both the body and flavor of the smoke. A subtle, malty sweetness began to emerge as much of the spice faded out, and a neat black and grey-striped ash had built up by this point. During this portion each puff seemed smoother and creamier than the last.
In the final third the spice made a comeback, this time as a lingering back-note that complimented the woody and sweet taste of the profile. As the flavors deepened I began to detect nuances of oak, leather, and espresso. This culmination of flavors was the tastiest part of the cigar for me, and this profile remained surprisingly smooth until I finally achieved full-nub status.
The Hermitage #1 proved to be a solid and flavorful smoke from start to finish. This stick had a bit more body than previous Hammer + Sickle releases I’ve sampled, but was just as smooth, if not smoother. While not overly complex, the Robusto gave off a nice array of complimentary tasting notes, had a definite flavor transition between thirds, and paired quite nicely with a dark roast coffee. Did I mention that I had no problems with burn or draw during the course of the smoke? Overall the Hermitage #1 gets a B grade based on my one experience smoking it. I guess it can only be a good thing if one of my only complaints is that the smoke seemed to go too fast.
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