|Recluse by Iconic Leaf Cigars
Iconic Leaf Cigars is a boutique cigar company that will be launching at the 2012 IPCPR with their debut line called Recluse. A couple of weeks ago, we published the first part of our 2012 IPCPR Trade Show preview entitled “The Five Boutiques to Watch”. It was after this article that I had first heard of Iconic Leaf Cigars and the Recluse Cigar. I recently had an opportunity to sample the Recluse, and I can honestly say that if I had Iconic Leaf on my radar, these guys would have been a part of that article. When Iconic Leaf Cigars arrives at the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show, they are coming with a very good cigar. This is a company and a cigar you are going to hear a lot more of in 2012.
First a little background on Iconic Leaf Cigars. According to the web-site, the company was founded by “two very well known and well respected
legends in the cigar
industry” who have chosen to keep their identities private. The company is actually led by someone named J.R. Dominguez who is the son of cigar maker Jose Dominguez. The cigars are produced at a factory called Leyendas Cubanas in the Dominican Republic with production supervised by Don Jose Rafael.
As for the Recluse Cigar, the company prides itself that the cigar goes through eight fermentation cycles. The cigars are rolled in true entubar fashion. This is a method of rolling cigars that comes from Cuba which involves a “tubing” process – namely taking each filler leaf and rolling it into a tube instead of folding the leafs. After the filler leaves are tubed, a binder is applied. The cigar is constructed in a box-press fashion
The company definitely promotes a commitment to quality, and it shows in their end product. Let’s take a closer look at the Iconic Leaf Recluse and see what this cigar brings to table. As we do with all pre-release cigars, we will do a pre-review to provide some thoughts and perspectives on the cigar. Once the cigar is released to brick and mortars, we will sample again and provide a formal assessment rating and score.
Note: The thoughts and perspectives of this pre-review are based on a single cigar experience.
The Iconic Leaf Recluse consists of tobaccos from three countries:
Wrapper: Brazilian Maduro
This past week, we published part three of our 2012 IPCPR Trade Show preview. In that article we discussed trends around vitolas. In that article I mentioned how cigar manufacturers are now limiting the amount of vitolas being produced. The Iconic Leaf Recluse is going to buck this trend and will launch with a total of ten frontmarks. Three frontmarks are being kept confidential until the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show. Part of the reason is Iconic Leaf Cigars has trademarked these three vitolas.
As mentioned, the cigars are box-press style. The cigars will be packaged in boxes of 24.
Petite Corona: 4 x 42
Corona: 5 3/4 x 46
Robusto: 5 x 52
Toro: 6 1/4 x 50
Belicoso: 6 1/2 x 56
Tarantula (Round) : 6 x 60
Excepcionales : 7 1/2 x 56
Undisclosed Shape 1: TBA
Undisclosed Shape 2: TBA
Undisclosed Shape 3: TBA
For this cigar experience, I sampled the Toro vitola. From inspecting the Recluse Toro, the Brazilian Maduro wrapper’s color was a combination of roasted coffee bean and colorado red. There were a few dark spots visible that are common to maduro wrappers. The cigar is a well-packed box-press shape. There were no veins that were visible on the wrapper, but there were some wrapper seams that could be seen. The wrapper was not an oily wrapper, but smooth to the touch.
This pre-release sample was unbanded, but there are plans for the Recluse to have a band on it.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I usually do for most of my smokes, I went with a straight cut into the cap of the Iconic Leaf Recluse. I then proceeded to begin the pre-light draw. I detected a combination of coffee and hay notes. I also was able to detect some pepper on the tongue. Overall, the dry draw notes were very satisfactory. At this time, it was time to toast the foot and see what the overall smoking experience would deliver.
The start to the Iconic Leaf Recluse provided me some notes of coffee (primary), orange peel (secondary), and red pepper (tertiary). The flavors all complemented each other very nicely. I particularly was impressed how the red pepper spice lingered slightly on the tongue.
Around the 20 percent mark, some caramel sweetness joined the orange peel as a secondary note. At times the caramel fused nicely with the orange peel, and at other times you can detect those notes individually. I also detected some oak notes as a secondary note. A lot of times oak might seem like a “generic” note, but I think it gives a cigar some “old school” taste. The coffee remained the primary flavor with the oak, orange peel, and caramel secondary. Meanwhile the red pepper continued to be a tertiary flavor.
As the Recluse moved into the second half of the cigar experience, the coffee notes diminished out of the forefront and the red pepper notes slowly moved forward. It seemed as though the caramel and red pepper notes would be the ones that moved into the forefront and would set the flavor profile for the end of the smoke. This is the way the cigar experience came to a close. There was no harshness at the end. The nub was ideal – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The Recluse scores extremely well in terms of the construction attributes of burn and draw. This cigar burned razor sharp with an extremely tight white ash. It required very little in the way of touch-ups. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Razor sharp burn of the Iconic Leaf Recluse
As for the draw, this was outstanding as well. There was little doubt in my mind that the entubar rolling worked very well on this cigar. It made the Recluse an enjoyable smoke to puff on from start to finish.
Strength and Body
The Recluse does a very nice job at delivering a cigar that has a good combination of strength and depth to its flavor notes. From a nicotine perspective, the Recluse is going to have a little more pop than one might think. I assessed this cigar to be medium to full strength for most of the cigar experience, but toward the very end it did have just enough strength to move into full strength territory. I found the depth of the flavors to be very similar. For the majority of the smoking experience, I assessed the Recluse to be medium to full-bodied. Toward the end, I felt the flavors had enough depth to be considered full-bodied. Throughout the smoking experience, the strength and body balanced very nicely with neither attribute overpowering the other.
The Iconic Leaf Recluse is a very impressive blend and has created an extremely good first impression for a new company launching a debut cigar. I am a little skeptical about a new company going to market with 10 frontmarks to start, so its going to be interesting to see how the retailers respond to this. I do like the angle of the three mystery frontmarks as well. In the end, if the other frontmarks perform like the Toro I sampled, this has the potential to be a very successful blend. This is a cigar I’d recommend to an experienced cigar enthusiast looking for a well-constructed, high quality box-press. I’d also recommend this to novice cigar enthusiasts who want to graduate to something in the medium to full range in both strength and body. As for myself, this is a cigar I will be smoking again.
Strength: Medium to Full (Full at end)
Body: Medium to Full (Full at end)
Source: The cigar(s) for this assessment were provided by
an representative of Iconic Leaf Cigars. These samples
were initiated by the representative in order to provide feedback. I
am appreciative for the sample, but in no way does this influence this