Blind Cigar Review: Hammer + Sickle | Hermitage No. 1 Churchill

We received such great feedback from readers and the participants of our inaugural series of collaboration reviews that it was a no brainer that we would continue with another round. In this second round of collaboration reviews, you will see some of the participants from the first round returning, as well as some new participants. For new readers who are unfamiliar with our previous collaboration reviews, we have invited cigar reviewers from other cigar review sites, podcasts, blogs, etc. to join the Blind Man’s Puff staff in doing blind reviews using our format. This collaboration review is with Will from Cigar-Coop, Kip from Half Ashed, and Jerad from Cigar Federation.

This cigar was reviewed blind (no bands) by a panel of at least 4 reviewers. They did not know what they were smoking beforehand. The scores are an average of all the reviewers' scores with outliers removed.

Vital Stats:

Vitola:
Length: 7″
Ring Gauge: 56
Country of Origin:
Wrapper:
Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo
Filler: Nicaraguan Criollo
Factory:
Blender: Undisclosed
Number of reviewers: 5—– (shuckins) Will (Cigar-Coop) Kip (Half Ashed) Jerad (Cigar Federation) (Djangos)
Price: $12.50
Age: 3 Months
Release Date: July 2012
Contributed by: Hammer + Sickle

Initial Impressions

Appearance: 90

“The wrapper is almost milk chocolate. There was a light coating of oil on the wrapper. There are a few visible wrapper seams and visible veins. Overall, the surface of the cigar was smooth. The cigar has a subtle soft box-press to it. While there were no soft spots, it did seem like a light pack.” –Will (Cigar-Coop)

Aroma: 88

“The aromas from this cigar are mild with a faint coffee and damp grass like flavor from the foot. The dry draw is similar with a slightly stronger earthiness as well as some faint pepper.” – (Djangos)

First Third

Flavor: 88
Strength: Medium
Body/Complexity: Medium

“Musty wood taste on light up, with a peppery tobacco on its heels. This lasts for the first inch or so, then a bit of coffee joined the mix to take the edge off the wood while letting the pepper/tobacco flavor continue to shine.” – (shuckins)

“This cigar starts off with some very nice flavors. There is just a small, nice white pepper-like tingle on my palate, which is pairing very well with the smoothness of the floral notes. The finish is a dry, peppery cedar flavor, which lingers fairly long. Transitioning into the second third, there is a blast of red pepper spice, that hits the back of my throat with some force. The beginning of this third started out on the low, almost mild side, but has ramped up to a full medium by the end. The burn has been razor sharp, with plenty of thick, white smoke.” –Jerad (Cigar Federation)

Second Third

Flavor: 89
Strength: Medium-Strong
Body/Complexity: Medium-Full

“The cocoa notes join the assorted spices in the forefront. The spice gradually decreases on the tongue, but gets a little more intense on the retrohale. There still is a slight cherry note in the background. An earth note becomes more noticeable by the midway point. The cocoa notes combined with the retrohale are deep enough to allow this cigar to enter full-bodied territory.” Will (Cigar-Coop)

“The red pepper note does not transfer into this third, but the mild white pepper note is still present. The flavors are excellent and seem to be ever changing. First, I was getting a mix of floral, light leather and some sweet tobacco. Then, a delicious, yet somewhat muted, orange flavor was coming through, especially after a good retrohale. The end becomes a very strong dry wood note, with a lingering dry finish. This third is starting to push up to a full strength and body, while maintaining a straight burn and tons of smoke, with a tight white ash.” –Jerad (Cigar Federation)

Final Third

Flavor: 91
Strength: Medium-Strong
Body/Complexity: Medium-Full

“The final third was very similar to the first two-thirds with the presence of modest spice – albeit a bit more toned down. The woodsy core developed into a more cedar like flavor that was slightly more sweet than the earlier portions. This was probably the most enjoyable part of the cigar for me personally. Strength remained firmly in the medium range, while the body took a turn upward and became more tangible. Retrohale provided more of the sweetness, possibly due to the softening of the spice.” –Kip (Half Ashed)

“The final third is also the best of the cigar. There is more pepper now and increases the level of complexity. The nuttiness is in the forefront now along with the cedar. The earthiness is now much milder and in the background. The tobacco flavor gets stronger towards the end along with the pepper to give it a very good finish. The burn had some issues with skewing in this third but did not require any touch ups. Also, the draw became more free and was too loose for my liking. But the flavors more than made up for these shortcomings.” – (Djangos)

Overall Impressions

Draw: 92

“The draw was very good once the cigar was lit and had settled. In the early minutes of the smoke, it seemed a bit open and a touch too free, but this settled into a comfortable range before the midpoint of the cigar.” –Kip (Half Ashed)

Burn: 92

“Not a perfectly even burn by any means, but cool and worry free throughout while producing a pretty strong ash.” – (shuckins)

Construction: 91

“The construction was great. Smooth seams and a clean triple cap. The only problem I had was that the wrapper cracked near the cap. Luckily, it never caused any issues.” –Jerad (Cigar Federation)

Overall Strength: Medium-Strong
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium-Full
Overall Experience: 89

“This cigar was a hoss that could intimidate the novice smoker, and I definitely recommend eating something before smoking it. Not too dimensional, but once it settled into it’s own, a pretty decent smoking cigar.” – (shuckins)

“Despite the crack and the meandering burn, there were some nice flavors produced. I didn’t find this to be a complex cigar, but it did produce good flavors. This cigar’s flavor profile seemed to work well with the longer size and larger ring of this vitola. Some of the burn and construction issues did lose some points with this cigar. I’d be curious to smoke this again and see what the experience is.” –Will (Cigar-Coop)

“Overall, I enjoyed this cigar. While it could have been more unique in its flavor profile, I found it enjoyable throughout the smoke and would definitely smoke it again.” –Kip (Half Ashed)

“I was thoroughly pleased to find that this was a great cigar, especially considering the cigars sheer size. The first two thirds were top-notch. Lots of very pleasing flavors, perfect draw and lots of smoke. The final third, though still great in smoke, burn and ash, was a bit lower on my scale. Still pleasant to smoke, just the added bitterness dropped it down for me. Not surprising though, since this was the end of a very large cigar. I would really like to see how this cigar compares in a smaller vitola.” –Jerad (Cigar Federation)

“Overall, this cigar was very good. It started off without any flavors but picked up as it went along. The final third was very complex with multiple flavors of nuts, cedar and tobacco. There was also a good amount of pepper in the middle third onward. Overall, I would definitely smoke this again.” – (Djangos)

Smoking Time (in minutes): 112

  • Appearance 90% 90%
  • Aroma 88% 88%
  • First Third 88% 88%
  • Second Third 89% 89%
  • Final Third 91% 91%
  • Draw 92% 92%
  • Burn 92% 92%
  • Construction 91% 91%
  • Overall Experience 89% 89%

Total Score - Very Good

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To view the complete scores and notes, click here.

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