In the interest of full disclosure, I received two of the Recluse Draconian cigars from the Iconic Leaf Cigar Company for the sole purpose of reviewing.
The cigars did not come with specific measurements, as the actual release vitolas have not yet been announced. They were, however, very similar to a robusto in both length and ring gauge.
I smoked the first of these cigars a couple of weeks ago and today finished off the pair. Occasionally when one smokes two identical cigars, they will behave quite differently, making it difficult to write a truly objective review. This time, however, the two cigar were consistent with each other, so I feel no conflict.
The pre-light smell was pungent, being of a slightly sweet, barnyard nature. It isn’t often that I pair those two things–sweet and barnyard–but it fits here. It was quite pleasant, actually, avoiding the overwhelming manure scent that certain other cigars sometimes have. There are cigar reviewers who claim that the more a cigar smells like manure, the better it is going to taste. I have experienced some of these, but it isn’t a constant. Certainly not something on which to base your cigar purchasing choices.
The wrapper was a medium-dark brown, with a small amount of mottling, but nothing too unsightly. There were no visible imperfections in the way of tears, rips, or holes.
The cold draw was a little snug and delivered a robust chestnut or oak flavor, very natural and rustic. The construction was solid and the cigar balanced well in the palm of my hand. Tightly packed, it took me awhile to light, and I became a bit concerned about how the burn was going to progress.
Once I got the cigar lit and began drawing, the pre-light flavors shifted to a smooth coffee and nut. The interesting thing was that they weren’t two distinct flavors coexisting. Rather, they were operating as one–if coffee were made with nuts instead of beans, this is what it would taste like. (Granted, coffee “beans” are actually seeds, but let’s not get technical, eh?)
After about a quarter of an inch, I was forced to touch up the cigar, as the burn began going off the reservation. Then, about a half inch in, the ash became flaky and I had to tap it off to avoid getting it all over my pants.
The smoke was leaving a dry feeling in the back of my throat and an oily sensation on my tongue and the roof of my mouth. Describing it makes this sound horrid, but on the contrary it lent a nice lingering flavor. It also seemed to trap only the pleasant flavors, leaving behind none of the harshness that sometimes occurs with a long aftertaste. At this point the smoke also began giving off a nice chocolate scent.
The second third featured a bit of pepper. It wasn’t strong and didn’t leave behind any tingle or burn on the lips or tongue, but was there for about an inch or so and added a good extra dimension to the flavor profile. I did have to retouch the burn again and also tapped off another half inch or so of flaky ash. The draw, which up to this point had been snug, began opening up and the smoke output also increased. There were a couple of points, particularly during a quarter inch or so, when the cigar took on some harsh notes. This could have been due to having to retouch it a couple of times.
A wood flavor became foremost, crowding out the coffee and nut, delivering a nice hickory or oak with a smooth, smoky finish. In fact, the last half, and especially the last third, was my favorite part as the cigar really came into its own. For a brief time a not entirely awesome grassy flavor cropped up, but disappeared quickly.
This cigar was not quite as good as the Recluse Iconic OTG Toro, but is still a great addition to the line. This cigar would benefit from being smoked as slowly as it will allow. This is typically sound advice for any cigar, but especially important for a cigar with any harsh-burning tendencies. When this cigar smoked well, it was excellent. In my opinion, if this cigar had been just a bit less firmly rolled, any existing issues would disappear. The tight roll may have resulted in the slightly erratic burn, which led to the retouch, which may have led to the moments of harshness. I wouldn’t hesitate to try another of these cigars, however, and it was overall a great smoking experience.