In 2013 The Cigar Authority named Icon by Hammer + Sickle as their cigar of the Year. A little known cigar outside of the New England area the cigar grew in popularity and this year is taking part in the Big Smoke New York City. Before the cigar was cool, The Cigar Authority chose to recognize a cigar of superior flavor and construction.
So on the eve of The Cigar Authority releasing their contenders for the 2014 Cigar of the Year, we look back and smoke the 2013 winner before the process to name its successor begins tomorrow on the radio show at 12 Noon Eastern.
According to the Hammer + Sickle website, “Many believe the most difficult cigar to produce is a strong, dark cigar. Not true. In fact, the opposite is true.
Blending and constructing a mild cigar is an art unto itself. You see, the lighter the tobacco, the more visible the flaws. Furthermore, the lighter the body, the more common the variation in flavor will be. With our newest offering, Icon series, we challenged our producer partners at TabaDom to create the most consistent, beautiful and mild cigar available today. Constructed of only hand selected Connecticut shade tobacco, and placed through a rigid quality check, we think you will agree Icon is an instant classic.
Crafted at the famed TabaDom manufactory in the Dominican Republic, Icon boasts a light, golden Connecticut-shade wrapper, which has been meticulously aged for 4 years. This wrapper houses a proprietary blend of local Dominican tobaccos, aged from three to five years, that unite to provide an unmatched mild cigar experience. Pure, crisp and clean with just the right amount of aging Icon is simply delicious.
Icon is a must have for the cigar enthusiast who understands the complexity of mild cigars, and can appreciate and enjoy the nuanced flavors of Connecticut shade tobacco.
Emblazoned with our famous Hammer + Sickle mark in pressed silver on a beautiful fenced band, each Hammer + Sickle Icon Series cigar is hand packed in a suede box encapsulating 20 cigars.”
Size: Toro (6 x 50)
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
The Look: The wrapper is golden brown in color with a nice amount of oils present. The white band with the silver mark of the Hammer + Sickle logo is classy looking although at first look it might come off as being communist. However, the cigar lacks the star of the communist movement and instead the logo is a tribute to the working man. A secondary band denotes the line name, ICON. There are some veins present and cigar is flawlessly rolled as you would expect from the Davidoff factory. In the hand the cigar feels a little light and foot looks to be a little loosely packed.
The Notes: The cold draw of the Icon is very much like a Davidoff with barnyard like notes of hay and earth and a little bit of a buttery richness as an afterthought. The foot of the cigar reminds me of warm melted butter.
Once the cigar is lit there are notes of hay that are joined by oak as we progress through the first third of the Hammer + Sickle Icon. As the first third comes to a close the Icon begins to develop some savory warm butter notes experienced on the cold draw.
The second third of the Icon develops some nuttiness that become a defined cashew note. The butter note that appeared on the cold draw and first third begins to fade away and an anise like note begins to emerge becoming the focal point of the cigar just past the half way point of the smoke.
The final third of the cigar continue down the road of nuttiness and anise. The aroma has an almost butterscotch like sweetness which is really enticing while the finish is earthy.
The Burn: The Hammer + Sickle Icon is a cigar that burns well with a thin, even burn line. The draw is ICONic (see what I did there?) with just the right amount of resistance. The light color ash holds firm for the first half of the cigar. Excellent construction just about sums it up.
The Finish: The cigar while it may not have been on my radar this time last year before I joined The Cigar Authority, the cigar was a worthy selection of cigar of the year. In fact I am going to call the Icon, the poor man’s Davidoff as the smoking experience is similar in one aspect, and different enough to have its own identity. Mild, flavorful, exquisite construction at a fair price. Doesn’t get much better than that.