Welcome to another Member sponsored Geek Critique generously sponsored by our member klamm143 (Kevin). This was done as a blind review so there were no pre-concieved notions about what anyone was smoking. The cigar provided for this round is the http://www.cigargeeks.com/cigardb/default.asp?action=showcig&cigar_id=28767">Hammer & Sickle Tradicion Serie Churchill.
This was a Cigar Aficionado Top 25 pick in 2015 (coming in at No. 11). As the brand name indicates, Hammer + Sickle has opted for tradition over trend with its Tradición Serie Churchill. It isn't a scaled up, modern interpretation of a Churchill, as others have created, but stays within traditional parameters. Eric Hanson, who released his first Hammer + Sickle brand in 2010, has adopted the symbol of Russia as the cigar's logo. He points out that the hammer and sickle does not represent the Soviet Union (which incorporated a star), but symbolizes Russia's industrial north and agrarian south. For him, it's a heritage symbol and not political.
|This cigar was enjoyed with Apple Pie|
Pre-Light: 8 Points of 10 Possible
Prelight, the cigar had a dry Connecticut finish to it, not oily. It had a couple of veins in the cigar, that seemed to be just under the outer wrapper. The wrapper looked really thin, and the cigar had no soft spots in it. It smelled of nuts and a little bit of flowered and citrus.
Lighting and Burn: 3 Points of 15 Possible
When I lit the cigar, I could tell I was going to have problems. The cigar was rolled so tightly that I could hardly get any smoke through it. The ash hung on for about the first 2 inches, partly due to the stems that weren't completely burning holding it together I figure. I used a skewer and poked it, opening it up a little so I could smoke it some. The ash was a grey with black flecks in it. It ended up coming apart on me about halfway, and I was having to pretty much keep a lighter on the end of it to keep it lit. I ended up giving up on it and dissecting the rest of it to find out the problems. You know how your jaws would hurt as a kid after blowing up balloons? That's about how my jaw feels after smoking this cigar, and having to try to draw smoke through it.
Construction: 7 Points of 30 Possible
The construction of this thing was none other than horrible. The wrapper was so thin that I made it just into the second third when the wrapper split on it from under the band, to about the halfway mark. Then, from the foot up to the halfway mark on the other side of the cigar. It ended up burning the wrapper only, because it was so thin, to where the wrapper was about an inch and a half back from the lit end of the cigar, and just in pieces. I ended up taking the outer really thin Connecticut wrapper off of it and smoking it without it. There was a darker wrapper leaf under it that was wrapping the cigar that worked better for a few puffs. I ended up dismantling the cigar to see why the draw was so bad, and found 2 big stems that ran the length of the cigar in the filler, but also, it was packed so tightly under the band that I was hardly able to keep it lit because of such low airflow in the cigar. I was literally having to relight the cigar every 30 seconds.
Flavor and Aroma: 25 Points of 45 Possible
The first 1/3:
The cigar had a nice pleasant creamy smoke, that had a heavy nutty flavor crossed with floral and leather. It had an earthy aftertaste that hung in your mouth.
The second third had pretty much the same flavors as the first 1/3, but the leathery taste went away, and more floral notes came in. To be honest, I only got about halfway through this third before it fell apart. Up to this point though, the cigar had a good flavor, and was somewhat complex for a Connecticut cigar.
Throughout the cigar, there were no spicy parts, nothing bitter, or overly sweet, no burn on the tongue, or sharp off putting flavors.
In summary, I don't feel that this cigar is worth the $8.99 price point. The flavor of the half of the cigar that I was able to smoke wasn't bad, but wasn't overly impressive either. It would be a good light refreshing morning smoke, or a "yard gar" for me if it held together better. It was very frail on the wrapper and fell apart about halfway through. I read some other reviews of this cigar online from other places after I smoked it, and it seems that this is a common problem with the cigar. The wrapper is so thin that it tears and comes apart while smoking it, if not in transit first. The wrapper reminded me of a lot of Gurkha cigars, how thin it was.
I don't think that I will be revisiting this cigar in the future. I have never had a cigar this fragile before! It was not dried out, just not constructed well.
I do however greatly appreciate Kevin letting me be in on his Geek Critique for it!