At the beginning of 2012 I was not sure how this year would turn out for the cigar industry. 2011 was such a great year for the industry with amazing releases and emerging cigar companies that I was curious about how it could get better. Well, that all changed when I was contacted by Iconic leaf Cigar Company to review their new smoke. I should specify that when I say new, I mean first release as a company. Along with having the opportunity to try the first line of a company before it is released, I had the fortune of sampling this smoke after not smoking for one week. I have just gotten back from my Habitat trip, and I am as eager as ever to continue the reviews.
The company has been founded by two member of the cigar industry who wish to keep their names private in order to show that it is not the name of the manufacturers that sells the cigar but the cigar itself. The aim of the company is to remain truly boutique, and focus on the highest of qualities. They hired J.R. Dominguez to lead the company, and J.R. is the son of Jose Dominguez. Jose Dominguez is the head of Victor Sinclair Cigars, and has been in the industry for many a years. It has been some time since I smoked a Victor Sinclair Cigars, but with this being his son the two may have different styles and methods to make a cigar. The Recluse is the first line for the company, and I am sure we will see them developing more in months and years to come. The cigar is to be released at the Trade Show in a couple days, and be in retailers as soon after as possible.
Made in the Dominican Republic at a new factory, Tabacalera Leyendas Cubanas, the factory is run by Don Jose Rafael. Don Rafael has learned his skills from his experience over many years, and from generations of family members before him. It has been said that this man would rather cancel a contract or walk away from a deal if asked to make cigars of lower quality than he demands of his cigars. All tobacco that has gone into this line has gone through eight separate fermentation cycles, and I mean the wrapper, binder and filler. The cigar begins with filler tobacco from the Dominican, many leaf types, and is then covered with a Cameroon binder. Above that is a gorgeous wrapper leaf that is Brazilian Maduro, and I do not know if that is Arapiraca or Mata Fina. For this review I sampled the Toro vitola, and the cigar measured 6.25” with a 50 ring gauge. The cigar was extremely pressed with few major veins present, and has a wonderful Colorado Maduro coloring. There was a nice coloring variation of redwood and coffee bean present to the cigar, and it has a pleasant aroma of spices, cocoa, earth and licorice.
|Brazilian Maduro Wrapper|
The cigar is very oily in hand, but also very smooth. As I light up the cigar, there is a lovely flavor profile that dominates from the get go, and it is showing a lot of oak, citrus and herbal notes. It has this tropical vibe to it with the citrus notes, and it is also showing some cocoa, floral and leather notes. It’s really enjoyable with all the flavors present, and also very complex. There is a lovely burn line with the cigar as well, and it is leaving a solid and firm white ash. It is really off shooting the coloring of the wrapper and is enjoyable to look at. The strength of the cigar is beginning at a medium full level, and I love the first third of this cigar.
As I enter the second third of the cigar I begin to get a couple more flavors with the initial third flavor profile, and this is a terrific cigar. There is an emergence of nutty notes with those cocoa, floral and leather flavor profiles, and there is a lovely finish of red pepper. There are still those dominant oak, citrus and herbal notes present with the cigar also, and it is really a cigar showcases the entire spectrum of flavors. The burn line is still top notch with the second third of the cigar, and it is keeping that razor sharp burn line with the solid white/light gray ash from the first third. I am still holding on to the ash from the first third, and it is keeping that medium full strength level to the cigar as well. So far this is an incredible cigar, and I do not see that changing any time soon.
I am in the final third of the cigar now and it is finishing wonderfully. It is still burning as smooth as it has been through the first two thirds, and also showcasing amazing construction with a razor sharp burn line. That ash is still nearly white in coloring, and though I lost my ash in the second third, it is still rebuilding as strong as it was when I first lit the cigar up. The strength level of the smoke is finishing above that medium full level, and closer to full on the end. The flavors in the end increased as well with the strength increase and I was witnessing a very spicy and woody finish. There was still some oak with black and red pepper present, and it was showing some leather and cocoa notes. It was still complex with some slight herbal notes, but the citrus notes had faded in the end. The cigar smoked cool all the way to the nub, and on the finish I needed to light up my second sample.
I loved this cigar, and look forward to purchasing the smokes in my shop and trying out different sizes. It was a cigar that captured everything I looked for in a cigar, and I hope the quality production continues for years to come. I love that the company used a lot of different types of tobacco in the cigar, and that the tobacco was from many countries. This is a cigar that will definitely speak to the masses, and will be a boutique smoke that is boutique because of production and not because of a lack in audience. I am really look forward to future blends, and I can say that this is one of the most exciting blends to be released in the 2012 year. I give this smoke a 94, and I can count on seeing it in the Top 25 of 2012.
*Cigar for this assessment sent to me by Iconic Leaf Cigar Company unbanded.
|Band of Recluse|