The Recluse Toro

The Recluse Toro

Origin : Dominican RepublicRecluse cigars
Format : Toro
Size : 6 1/4 x 50
Wrapper : Brazilian Maduro
Filler : Dominican
Binder : Cameroon
Price : $7.80

I was recently sent a couple of pre-release cigars to review from Iconic Leaf Cigar Company, a relative newcomer to the cigar industry. According to the company’s literature, Iconic Leaf Cigar was founded by two very well-known and well-respected legends in the cigar industry who have chosen to remain anonymous in their pursuit to make the very best premium boutique cigars that can be found anywhere in the world without the influence of their names. Iconic Leaf Cigar’s founders may have chosen to keep their identities private but their leader has not. Led by J.R. Dominguez, son of legendary cigar maker Jose Dominguez, Iconic Leaf is extremely excited about their new line-up of cigars recently unveiled at the IPCPR trade show in Orlando. According to the company, all tobacco leaf in the RECLUSE goes through EIGHT fermentation cycles and is a collection of what they deem to be “truly iconic leaf” from around the world. The RECLUSE cigar selection is produced exclusively at the Leyendas Cubanas factory run by Don Jose Rafael.

First, a little bit about the Recluse cigar straight from their website:

The RECLUSE cigar is comprised of the absolute finest of everything. From the seed that is sown, to the blend of the tobacco leaves that make up this masterpiece, to the painstaking fermentation. Under the watchful eye of the maestro, Don Jose Rafael in the Leyendas Cubanas factory, each cigar goes through a Club Med for cigars, if you will. Each leaf is hand selected from only the finest tobacco leaves of the harvest. From the Flavorful and smooth Brazilian Maduro wrapper and Cameroon binder, to the specifically selected Dominican leaf variations in the filler, these cigars are what we believe to be the finest in the world. Each and every leaf in the RECLUSE goes through EIGHT fermentation cycles. Why? Because Don Jose Rafael will not settle for mediocrity. Every RECLUSE is rolled in the old Cuban tradition of tubing which is taking each filler leaf and rolling it into a tube instead of folding it. Once all the filler leaves are each individually rolled into a tube shape, they are brought together and surrounded with the binder. This is time consuming but creates an effortless draw and an unparalleled smoking experience. We then box press each cigar to compress the leaf and reduce air space. This spotlights the flavors of the blend and creates a slower burn while delivering an exceptional draw. The RECLUSE line is offered in ten box pressed sizes.

Having been sent a couple of unbanded Toros to sample, I wanted to be fair to the company so I let them sit in my humidor for a couple of weeks to stabilize and acclimate themselves following the shipping. I was eagerly awaiting the opportunity to taste one and last night decided that the Recluse would be my cigar of choice. Pictures of the bands, provided by the company, can be seen in the attached images. I chose to smoke my sample with a straight cut.

Read the full review of The Recluse Toro...

Xikar HC Series Habano² (squared) Robusto

Xikar HC Series Habano² Robusto

Origin : NicaraguaXikar cigars
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 50
Wrapper : Ecuadorian Habano 2000
Filler : Honduran, Nicaraguan, Ecuadorian
Binder : Honduran, Nicaraguan, Ecuadorian
Price : $6.75

Seasoned aficionados are well aware of the fact that Xikar, a world-famous producer of cigar accessories (especially their easily recognizable cutters), is also behind a line of cigars dubbed HC Series. Launched in 2008, the line consisted of three blends (Connecticut, Criollo and Habano Colorado) until the recent IPCPR 2012 show which saw an addition to the family, the HC Series Habano Squared (=Habano²).

According to the press-release, this blend was "unearthed" by Kurt Van Keppel and Scott Almsberger, co-founders of Xikar, on one of their recent travels. According to rumors, it is made in Nicaragua at A.J. Fernandez's factory and the blend is a mix of Nicaraguan, Honduran and Ecuadorian tobacco pulled together with an Ecuadorian Habano 2000 wrapper.

Kaitlyn from Xikar was very kind to send me a sampler of the new cigars; here is my review.

Read the full review of Xikar HC Series Habano² (squared) Robusto...

Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 Robusto

Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 Robusto

Rocky PatelOrigin : Honduras
Format : Robusto
Size : 5.5 x 50
Wrapper : Ecuador
Binder : Nicaraguan
Filler : Dominican, Nicaraguan
Price : ~$5-7 each
More info about purchasing Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 cigars...

Please welcome our new reviewer known as The Cigar Surgeon, M.D. We hope you'll enjoy his thorough cigar reviews! Here is his bio:

I started smoking cigars about 7-8 years ago now. In the back of my mind it was always something I thought I would enjoy but I just didn't take it up as a hobby. With my other hobbies of coffee roasting, scotch tasting and photography it seems to have found a nice comfortable niche.

This is my review of the Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 Robusto (5.5 x 50). I purchased a 5-pack from Cigar Monster. Final tally was $4 a stick. The Vintage 1992 Robusto is listed as a medium strength with medium to full flavor. Inside you'll find Dominican and Nicaraguan filler, with a Nicaraguan binder. The whole thing ties together with an aged Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper.

Read the full review of Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 Robusto...

El Rey Del Mundo Choix Supreme

El Rey del Mundo Choix Supreme

Origin : CubaEl Rey del Mundo
Factory Name : Hermoso No. 4 (Robusto)
Size : 127 x 19.05 mm (5 x 48)
Weight : 14.26 g
Box year : 2010
Price : $9-10 each
More info about purchasing El Rey del Mundo cigars...

Just a tad longer and possessing a slightly smaller ring gauge, this Hermoso No. 4 still qualifies as a robusto although it lacks that thick robusto feel. I read many favourable reviews of the El Rey Del Mundo Choix Supreme over the past couple of years. I had never sampled one but I did have 5 cigars that were given to me by a friend of mine who is a big fan of these cigars. They came from a 2010 box and this week I had my third of the bunch hoping that I would find what it was that many others that swear by this cigar have found. Unfortunately, if you are looking for a good review of this cigar, this one is not going to be it. I was hoping my first crack at one of these was going to be worth it. I thought maybe I just got a bad one. The subsequent two showed no major improvement. Let’s discuss my findings, shall we?

Read the full review of El Rey Del Mundo Choix Supreme...

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2

Origin : CubaHoyo de Monterrey
Format : Robusto
Size : 124 x 19.84 mm (4 7/8 x 50)
Box code : Dec 2011
Weight : 11.66 g
Price : ~$250 for a box of 25
More info about purchasing Hoyo de Monterrey cigars...

The robusto is my preferred vitola. The Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 is perhaps one of the most popular robustos on the market and is one of those handful of cigars that must always be stocked in my humidor for good reason. This cigar has been reviewed many times because of its popularity. I wanted to share my own experience with this cigar. This sample came from a 25-count box purchased in Cuba earlier this year. It carries a box date of December 2011.

Read the full review of Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2...

Room 101 “One Shot One Kill” Trucha

Room 101 One Shot One Kill Trucha

Origin : Honduras
Room 101 cigarsFormat : Figurado
Size : 6.5 x 30 x 50 x 19
Wrapper : Ecuadorian Habano
Filler : Honduran Corojo & Dominican Piloto
Binder : Honduran Corojo
Price : $10
More info about purchasing Room 101 "One Shot One Kill"...

If there is such a thing as a "Cigar Designer", Matt Booth of Room 101 and Pete Johnson of Tatuaje come to mind. They are true artists when it comes to bringing a well-blended cigar to the market with the swagger and packaging that allure.

Matt stunned everyone last year with his artistic renditions that accompanied the Namakubi release, and, again, has released what seems to be his most ambitiously designed cigar to date,... the "One Shot One Kill". Using Edgar Hoill's artistic Latino inspiration, Matt Booth continues to marry cigar hobby and art with this new release. In a cigar landscape that seems stuck in tradition, Matt seems to break the mold and push the envelope of what a cigar maker can do within the industry.

So let's see if the cigar can bypass good looks and great packaging and deliver more than just intrigue,...

Read the full review of Room 101 “One Shot One Kill” Trucha...

Ramon Allones Specially Selected

Ramon Allones Specially Selected

Ramon AllonesOrigin : Cuba
Format : Robusto
Size : 124 x 19.84 mm (4 7/8 x 50)
Ring : 50
Weight : 11.66 g
Price : $230 for a box of 25
More info about purchasing Ramon Allones cigars...

I bought of box of Ramon Allones Specially Selected back in July 2010 on the advice of a friend. I smoked a few when they were very young and gifted a couple others. I set aside 15 for the sole purpose of aging them. They were fantastic when I bought them so I was really looking forward to tasting them after two years in my humidor. Robustos are generally my preferred vitola so I was eager to have a go. Short and sweet, before I get into the review let me tell you that I was absolutely floored with this cigar and I will not hesitate in buying more.

Read the full review of Ramon Allones Specially Selected...

Crowned Heads Four Kicks (Quick Smoke Series)

Crowned Heads Four Kicks

Origin : Dominican Republic
Crowned Heads CigarsFormat : Corona Gorda
Size : 5.6 x 46
Wrapper : Ecuadorian Habano
Filler : Nicaraguan
Binder : Nicaraguan
Price : $6.95
More info about purchasing Four Kicks cigars...

Jon Huber, formerly of CAO, introduced his new venture, Crowned Heads, at the beginning of last year. The cigars are made by the Tabacalera Alianza factory owned by the famous EP Carrillo.

The Four Kicks corona gorda is a beautiful, yet simplistic cigar with a very light shaded wrapper. It has very little veins, a smooth exterior and invisible veins. I really like the red and gold label as it pops out and catches the eye.

Burnline is very straight and needed no touch ups. Top notch,... nothing else expected coming from the Carrillos.

1st Third- No pepper, just sweet spice, cinnamon, earth, and woodsy flavors.
2nd Third- Bit of pepperiness, but a lovely floral quality comes out with earth and wood.
3rd Third- A whole lotta earth and wood with touches of leather and cedar. Finishes medium+ bodied.

Crowned Heads Four Kicks

It tastes somewhat similar to EP Carrillo's core line but with more body and earthiness. It's a good cigar, but just doesn't have enough uniqueness to warrant a box purchase for me. If you like Ernesto's stuff then this is a must try. The balance is very good with nothing overpowering other elements of the cigar. Superb with a lowland Scotch. Keep smoking my friends,...

Appearance : ★★★★½
Construction : ★★★★★
Flavor : ★★★★☆ (3.75)
Value : ★★★★½
Overall : ★★★★☆