|Hammer + Sickle Trademark Series Churchill
(Hammer + Sickle Icon Series branded cigar)
Recently Hammer + Sickle Cigars announced athe Hammer + Sickle Icon Series was being renamed the Hammer + Sickle Trademark Series. The Icon Series was launched at the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show and introduced a second Connecticut Shade wrapper offering into the Hammer + Sickle portfolio. While Hammer + Sickle’s other Connecticut Shade offering, the Tradicion Serie uses an Ecuadorian grown Connecticut Shade offering, the Icon Series introduced a U.S. grown Connecticut Shade offering. This U.S. Connecticut Shade cigar has now been rebranded as the Trademark Series and will have a maduro counterpart introduced to the line later this year. Recently, I have had an opportunity to smoke this cigar under its original branding, the Icon Series in Churchill offering. Overall I found this to be an excellent milder cigar offering and a cigar definitely worth checking out regardless of what branding you see.
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 their Vodka is made in Russia, Hammer + Sickle cigars have been made in countries such as the Dominican Republic and Honduras.
Let’s take a closer look at the Hammer + Sickle Trademark Series in the Connecticut Shade offering and see what this cigar brings to the table. ;As mentioned, the cigar being assessed still used the Icon Series branding, but we will refer to it as Trademark Series going forward.
In addition to a U.S. Connecticut Shade wrapper, the Hammer and Sickle Trademark Series uses proprietary Dominican tobaccos. The cigar is made at the TabaDom manufactory in the Dominican Republic.
Wrapper: U.S. Connecticut Shade
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (TABADOM Factory)
The Hammer and Sickle Trademark Series was originally launched in three sizes. The cigar is available in a 20 count leather styled box where custom engraving of the box is an option offered by the company.
Robusto: 5 x 50
Toro: 6 x 50
Churchill: 7 x 48
The Hammer + Sickle Trademark Series features a golden brown Connecticut Shade wrapper. The wrapper is slightly oily with a little more oil on the cap. The surface of the wrapper is slightly bumpy. There are some visible veins, but the wrapper seams are well hidden.
The Trademark Series features a white band with a silver font that has a Davidoff-esque white label band. The front of the band has an oval shape with a subtle white chicken-wire design on it. The oval is surrounded with silver trim that has a slight sunburst shape to it. There is a silver Hammer + Sickle logo on the front of the band. To the left of the oval is the text “HAMMER + SICKLE”. To the right is the text “MOSCOW”.
The original Icon Series features a secondary band which has not currently carried over to the Trademark Seres. This band is white with the text “ICON” in silver font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my experience of the Hammer + Sickle Trademark Series Churchill, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap. After successfully clipping the cap, I moved on to the pre-light draw experience. The dry draw provided classic Connecicut Shade wrapper cigar flavors of cream and wood. There wasn’t much in the way of spice present on this dry draw. Overall I considered this to be a solid pre-light draw experience. At this point I was ready to light up the Hammer + Sickle Trademark Series Churchill and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The initial notes out of the Hammer + Sickle Trademark provided a with a mix of black pepper and cream notes. The cream notes moved to the forefront and were joined by some woody notes. The black pepper receded to the background. A subtle marshmallow sweetness and a slight grass note accompanied the black pepper in the background. Meanwhile the black pepper was present (but not overpowering) on the retro-hale.
By the later part of the first third, the marshmallow notes joined the cream notes in the forefront. The wood notes receded into the background joining the pepper and grass notes. This continued into the second third.
By the second half, the wood notes had a resurgence and moved back into the forefront. The marshmallow and cream notes had diminished and moved into the background. The pepper notes started to increase, but still were a secondary note. The grass flavors were more distant.
By the end of the second third, the flavor profile remained remained similar as to how the second half started. I did also detect some nut flavors in the forefront. The pepper now was more prominent than the cream, marshmallow, and grass. This is the way the flavor profile remained until the end. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The burn of the Hammer + Sickle Trademark Series Churchill performed very well – and remained very consistent for a long cigar. The burn path remained straight from start to finish. Along the way, there was some curvature of the actual burn line and it did require a few touch-ups, but not an excessive amount of touch-ups. The resulting ash had a salt and pepper color. This was a firm, tight ash that came off the cigar in clean chunks. The burn temperature was ideal. I found this to be a very fast burn. Each sample I smoked was in a 90 minute time-frame. I didn’t find any adverse effects of the fast burn other than a shortened smoking time.
|Burn of the Hammer + Sickle Trademark Series Churchill
(Hammer + Sickle Icon branded c
The draw was more open than I prefer, but I still found this to be a low maintenance cigar to derive flavors from. The open draw might have contributed to the rapid burn. The cigar itself produced an ample amount of smoke.
Strength and Body
When the Trademark Series was originally launched as the Icon Series, this was positioned to be a milder offering – and this was exactly the type of cigar the Trademark Series Churchill was. I found this to be a mild strength cigar in the first half. By the second half, the strength increased to mild to medium, but it never got out of this range.
The body was also on the milder side. I found this to be a mild to medium-bodied cigar in the first half before progressing to the lower end of medium-bodied in the second half. If you don’t retro-hale this cigar, the body is going to seem a lot milder. Overall I when it came to strength versus body, I found the body to have the advantage.
The Hammer + Sickle Trademark Series is was an excellent offering. I particularly was impressed how well this blend smoked in the longer Churchill format. In particular, I was impressed how the flavors held in this cigar right until the end. I found this to be a complex cigar with plenty of flavor transitions. This is one of those cigars that will be best appreciated as the first smoke of the day – and one that you will get a lot more from smoking it undistracted.
As mentioned, this is meant to be a milder offering – and that is exactly what this cigar is going to deliver. This cigar might even surprise some folks who normally don’t reach for something milder. This is a great offering for the novice and experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again – and its worthy of a box split.
Strength: Mild (1st Half), Mild to Medium (2nd Half)
Body: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half)
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
News: Hammer + Sickle Renames Icon Series to Trademark Series; Will Introduce Maduro,
Source: Cigars Provided by Manufacturer
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Episode 125
Stogie Feed: Hammer + Sickle Icon Churchill