Iconic Leaf Cigars released their first boutique line of cigars, The Recluse, at the 2012 IPCPR Show in Orlando back in August. There were a few people who were saying this was one of the new companies to look for at the show. I had the chance to try a few of these right after the trade show and was looking forward to them.
Rolled at the Leyendas Cubanas factory, the Recluse is overseen by Don Jose Rafael. It is available in ten sizes, all are in a box pressed form. Three of the ten sizes where never made before and where invented by Iconic Leaf.
Petite Corona – 4 x 42
Corona – 5¾ x 46
Robusto – 5 x 52
Toro – 6¼ x 50
Belicoso – 6½ x 56
Tarantula (Round) – 6 x 60
Excepcionales – 7½ x 56
Kanú #1 – 6 x 54
Kanú #2 – 7 x 52
Kanú #3 – 8 x 58
Vitola: Toro (Box Pressed)
Wrapper: Brazilian Maduro
First Looks: A dark chocolate brown maduro wrapper leaf resides under a double capped, box pressed cigar. The wrapper has a oily sheen with a few minimal veins. Overall a firm feel with tight seams. The foot aroma has a hay and sweet milk chocolate aroma to it. The toro size is usually the largest cigar I like to smoke and have had decent luck with most box pressed cigars. The cold draw has the same notes as the aromas of the foot, yet the chocolate flavor strength is less.
Construction: A very Firm feeling densely packed “tube rolled” relating to a firm draw; although it did loosen up around halfway point. The burn from 90% of the box pressed cigars I have smoked, is usually wavy. The Recluse was one of those 90%, but was very manageable. The only way to solve a wavy burn on a box press is to watch it like a hawk and rotate the cigar often. I was not overly concerned with the burn. As long as it didn’t effect the blend by burning way off; in which it didn’t here. An off-white ash formed from the wavy burn line. The first ash held for about 3/4″ and suprisingly fell off into my lap. Each ash looked to hold for way over an inch, but most of them fell off at less than an inch or so.
Flavor: The first flavors I get are of crushed red peppers and super faint chocolate. Once into it and the ash cools from the toasting, I start to taste some black pepper. Into it more, the pepper eases off and a chocolate & nutmeg flavors take over. Deeper into the first third, the chocolate notes seem to drown out the other flavors. They are a mix of dark and milk chocolate notes; yet not overly too bold.
Getting into the 2nd third, the chocolate is still the main note, with the nutmeg as a nice undertone that creeps back to my palate. The crushed red pepper popped in and out periodically in the middle portion of the Recluse, but never overpowered the chocolate notes.
The final third let some of the black pepper notes come back into play. Chocolate and black pepper doesn’t seem like a great combo; but they work ok together here. The chocolate goes from being the main flavor to a short finishing undertone by the black pepper. With about an inch left, I got a good bit of “twang” that wasn’t solved with a few purges, so I laid it to rest with an inch to go.
Final Thoughts: This was a medium flavored, medium-medium/full bodied smoke. Would like to try pairing this with a medium bodied cup of coffee. Throw in a few of those Hershey’s miniature chocolates in your mouth and the flavors would pop out alot more I presume. Overall a good smoke, the starting firm draw and the wavy burn were the only issues I found. The draw did loosen up around the halfway point to a draw that wasn’t too stiff, lust how I like them.