Last year I did a pre-release review of the second release from Iconic Leaf Cigars, the Recluse Draconian. That review was of a robusto size. Today I will be taking a look at the production size of the same blend just in a different vitola; the Sidewinder #2. This particular vitola or shape, will you, is like no other shape on the market to date. Its a hybrid of a box press and your typical parejo (round) shaped cigar. I suppose the flattening out of the cigar gives is a more fuller flavor profile and more forcefully marries the leaves together, creating a different experience as opposed to a parejo shaped cigar.
Vitola: “Sidewinder” #2
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Maduro
Binder: MBC “proprietary”
Filler: Braziago HD, Piloto Cubano, Iconic Ligero (proprietary) & Dominican Ligero (Top Prime)
Cost*: $8.60 (at Tampa Humidor)**
As I look at this cigar laying on its “back” with the band facing me, this looks like a huge cigar. The 57rg looks more like a 60+, but my eyes could be playing tricks on me. Yet, when I take another look, the sides are not as large as the front or back facing of the cigar. This is where the Sidewinder comes into play. It is a hard box press, with rounded edges, slightly rounded sides & an almost chiseled cap. This shape gives a unique feeling in your mouth and is quite comfortable. Its seems almost “oval” shaped, but more flatter than an oval. It fits well in between my fingers and the flatness of it makes for a sturdy hold. The flattened oval shape feels better than an oval or rounded shape cigar. Nobody’s mouth is round, its more of a flattened oval shape, so the Sidewinder feels well in my mouth.
The head of the Sidewinder is firmly packed with a good amount of tobacco in it, so a sharp quality cutter is a must for a clean cut. The head has a flattened shape with crisp edges and narrows slightly to a neatly applied cap. Me being a fan of smaller ring gauged cigars, the cigar feels better in my mouth width ways with the thicker portion of the cigar running parallel to my teeth. The other way is just too uncomfortable to me, but some may like it if they are a fan a large ringed cigars. Also, I suggest a dual flame to toast the foot of this cigar. I used a single flame and it was almost all it could do to toast it evenly. There is a lot of tobacco real estate in the foot of this cigar!
The cold draw is fairly faint, with hints of a light oak. The foot has an aroma of some straw, cinnamon and an even lighter hint of a cocoa.
This cigar has a nice “heft” to it, as one would expect from such a cigar of this proportion. It has a nice dense pack, but not the first hard or soft spot the length of the cigar. The draw was just about as good as I could have wanted it. The ashes were tight and held for the better part of an inch or so. One fell off into my lap as I think the “flatness” of the cigar didn’t help with the holding of a long ash. The ashes were of a dirty white and gray mixture that did have some nice tight rings to it. The burn did have a few issues, nothing major or needing a touch-up. The cigar felt good in one position, that I didn’t like to rotate it. Over all, a very nicely constructed cigar that gave me no major issues at all. Although I said major, there was a slight issue for me. In order to keep a clean and straight burn line,(which was tough at times) I had to rotate the cigar (like all cigars). Yet, the “taller” part of the cigar’s head didn’t feel too comfortable in my mouth when needing to rotate it in that direction. It was just a minor thing as I explained in the first looks section.
Toasting the foot I get a nice blast of a woody aroma with hints of earth and nuts. It is pretty announced and a pretty good smelling room note. I get nice earthy, woody and a red pepper type of spice during the first portion of the cigar. Later on, I get a nice leathery taste to accompany the complex mix of flavors. Heading out of the first third, I get a very slight hint of a cocoa flavor that was a bit lesser than I remember in the robusto size from before.
The middle third changes some. The red pepper spice eases off some (leaving more flavor than spice) and the cocoa flavor creeps up in strength just a tad. The earth and leather moved towards the back half of the draw and left my mouth wet as it was a nice cooler smoke. The finish isn’t all that long, but does have an interesting “twang” to it that’s hard to describe. The woody note turns into more of a slightly darker type, almost a charred wood. This is turning out to be a pretty complex smoke! Easing out of the middle portion, I am tempted to do a full retrohale of the smoke, but a small one is all I can manage. It has a bold and peppery blast to it and is almost too much for my nose to handle.
The final portion of this cigar did another flip on my palate. The red pepper eased back up in strength and over took almost all of the leather notes. The earth note is still there, but in a more minimal form of its once glory. The cocoa is still hanging on at the very last part of the draw as well and lingers for a bit on the finish. I never paid much attention the amount of smoke this cigar gives off, until now. Both the ambient and drawn smoke is of some immense proportions. At the band pull, I notice the cocoa making a comeback and starts to compete with e red pepper as the main flavor. The sweetness of the cocoa and the spice of the red pepper make for an interesting way to end this cigar.
This cigar feels like a robusto in my mouth, but smokes like a 6×60. The smoke output and flavor strength are in the bold range. The smoke time was well over an hour, possibly an hour and half or better. A very unique shape made for an interesting smoking experience. The Draconian blend has a more fuller body than its older brother, the Recluse. Was a pretty complex smoke with key notes of leather, earth, red pepper and cocoa. All had their 15seconds of fame on my palate, yet didn’t show one main flavor over another. Had a great draw, decent burn and good construction.
The robusto vitola had very similar flavors, although the Sidewinder seemed to have more defined richer flavors. Both are very good cigar and it would be hard to choose between a Sidewinder or parejo vitola. Either way, you won’t be disappointed in either. Definitely a cigar to try out if you are a fan a rich fuller bodied cigars.
*This cigar was provided to me, unsolicited, from Iconic Leaf Cigar Company for this review. Many thanks to them for the opportunity to review this cigar!
** This is the first shop of an online search, used only for cost purposes. Tampa Humidor has not sponsored this review or site and its site is only used for informative purposes. There are many other retailers who sell Iconic Leaf Cigars.