|Hammer + Sickle LE14
The Hammer + Sickle LE14 is the third limited edition cigar to be released by Hammer + Sickle in 2014. This cigar joins the Berlin Wall Series Celebration Short Corona and the Hammer + Sickle Sochi Limited Edition 2014 as the other limited editions by Hammer + Sickle this year. It is easy to draw a comparison between the LE14 and the Sochi. Both cigars have an undisclosed blend – and both were released in a 6 3/4 x 48 Churchill sized vitola. The LE14 was a cigar that was offered to retailers at the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show and has recently made its way to retailers. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to sample the Hammer + Sickle LE14. Overall I found this cigar to be an excellent release by Hammer + Sickle.
Hammer + Sickle Cigars is a subsidiary of the the Klin Groupe, which is famous for making Hammer + Sickle Vodka. A few years ago, the company branched out to become a lifestyle brand – and launched a cigar line under Klin Tobacco. While the Vodka is made in Russia, their cigars have been made in countries such as the Dominican Republic and Honduras. Like the Sochi, the LE14 is coming out of the Dominican Republic and is made by Davidoff.
Earlier this year, Hammer + Sickle rolled out the Sochi Limited Edition 2014. It was meant to be a commemorative cigar for Sochi Winter Olympic games and was rolled out just prior to the games. 100 ten count boxes of the Sochi were made. The story is that Two Guys Smoke Shop offered to buy the whole allocation of the Sochi – resulting in all 100 boxes going on to the shop. For the LE14, 250 boxes of 10 were made, but these were made available to select retailers.
|Hammer + Sickle Sochi Limited Edition (Top),
Hammer + Sickle LE14 (Bottom)
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Hammer + Sickle LE and see this cigar brings to the table.
Similar to the Sochi cigar, the blend components are not being disclosed. Like the Sochi, this is a multinational blend. The only details disclosed about the LE14 is that it incorporates six different tobaccos from three different countries.
Wrapper: Not disclosed
Binder: Not disclosed
Filler: Not disclosed
As mentioned, the Hammer + Sickle LE14 is being made in a single size – a 6 3/4 x 48
The Hammer + Sickle LE14’s wrapper features a light brown color. There is a light coating of oil on the surface of the wrapper. While there are a few visible veins and a few visible wrapper seams, the wrapper itself has quite a smooth and silky surface.
The LE14 features a unique band with a black, silver, and gray color scheme. The band is in the shape of the Rabochiy i Kolkhoznitsa (Worker and Kolkhoz Woman) statue. This stainless steel statue was originally designed by Vera Mukhina for the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris and was eventually moved to Moscow where it became a national landmark. The band sits at the footer of the cigar and covers about 2/3 of the cigar. At the bottom of he cigar is the text “2014” in large silver font. Just below that text is the text “LIMITED EDITION” in smaller sliver font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting the Hammer + Sickle LE14, I went with a straight cut. Once the cap of the LE14 was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw provided notes of wood, cream, black pepper, and a slight grass note. Overall I considered this to be a very good pre-light draw. At this point I was ready to light up the LE14 and see what the overall smoking experience would bring to the table.
The Hammer + Sickle LE14 started out with a mix of cream, natural tobacco and a black pepper note. It didn’t take long until a dried fruit note surfaced. The dried fruit along with the cream moved into the forefront. The pepper remained a close secondary note while the natural tobacco was more distant. Meanwhile the black pepper was present on the retro-hale.
Going into the second third, a toast note moved into the forefront. There still was very much a creamy component present. The dried fruit now started a process of slowly diminishing. By the second half the dried fruit moved into the background joining the pepper and natural tobacco flavor.
The last third saw the pepper notes increase joining the cream and toast. The dried fruit was still somewhat present along with the natural tobacco, but was a more distant note. The resulting nub was slight soft, but cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Much like the Sochi, the Hammer + Sickle LE14 is a well-constructed cigar. The burn and draw reflect this construction. Overall the burn line remained on the straight path. There was a tiny bit of jaggedness to the burn line, but the burn path remained straight and the cigar was never in danger of canoeing or tunneling. The resulting ash was white with some darker speckling. The ash was tight and firm – coming off the cigar in nice clean chunks. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Hammer + Sickle LE14
The draw was ideal. The LE14 had a touch of resistance to it – which is something I really like. This made for an enjoyable smoke from start to finish.
Strength and Body
From both a strength and body perspective, I found the Hammer + Sickle LE14 to be in the same wheelhouse as the Sochi – perhaps a slight edge with both attributes for the LE14. In terms of strength, the LE14 is not going to be a nicotine bomb. I assessed this cigar as being a medium strength cigar – falling just short of the medium to full strength threshold. As for the flavors, they had some nice depth to them. I assessed them as being medium to full strength from start to finish. Overall in terms of strength versus body, I gave the edge to the body.
The Sochi Limited Edition 2014 was Hammer + Sickle’s crown jewel they have released. It was one of the best cigars of 2014, and I can make a case for it being a contender for 2014 Cigar of the Year. It was an extremely limited shop exclusive that sold out quickly. The Hammer + Sickle LE14 did smoke different than the Sochi, but there were some parallels. Whether these parallels are due to a tweaked blend or because of the power of suggestion in my book, I cannot say. What I can say is while the LE14 was a very good cigar, it still didn’t overtake the Sochi in my book. If you didn’t smoke the Sochi, The flavors of the Sochi still had the edge. However if you haven’t smoked the Sochi, this is the next best thing. This is a great cigar to smoke. It’s one I’d recommend to the novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I’d smoke again – and its box worthy.
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
News: Hammer + Sickle LE14
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