Recluse Draconian

CIGAR

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.

Pre-Light

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.

First Third

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.

Second Third

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.

Final Third

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.

Conclusion

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.

La Campina Corona

I smoked a couple of cigars side-by-side today, to get a good comparison on my quest to find a good, economical smoking choice. My two candidates today were the La Gran Fuma toro and La Campina corona.

I decided to light up the La Campina (5 1/2 x 44) first. I can’t say enough good things about the appearance of this cigar. It is a beautiful stick, feels great in the fingers, and is perfectly balanced. It just screams out to be smoked. And that is what I did.

It lit easily and the first puff provided a fantastic draw. A draw that required little more than a puff of the cheeks to obtain a mouthful of smoke. My first impression of the taste was “extremely earthy.” I could almost taste the soil in which the tobacco grew. Eating dirt shouldn’t be enjoyable, but it had a comforting, natural taste to it. As it smoked down a ways, the earthy taste gave way to a nut and wood based flavor, with a hint of spice here and there.

The draw continued to be superb, the burn was even and predictable, and the ash was fairly good-looking. All in all, this is a great, economical smoke. It’s strong enough to be enjoyed in the evening after dinner, but not too strong for a morning smoke as well. Really, the only bad thing I have to say is that it does burn a little hot, which is not unheard of for a cigar with a smaller ring gauge. Up the humidity a bit and that problem may very well go away.

In short, the La Campina corona is a great little cigar for the patio and yet manageable if you need to smoke on the go.

Good Points

  • Easy light
  • Good, solid taste
  • Plentiful smoke
  • Even burn
  • Aesthically pleasing

Bad Points

  • Burns a little hot

La Floridita Limited Edition Toro (Live)

9:05 pm – I’m sitting out on the patio right now, enjoying a La Floridita Limited Edition toro cigar. It’s early for spring in Michigan, but I’m not going to look a gift warm day in the mouth. Getting suspicious of Mother Nature and trying to second guess her doesn’t pay. She always comes back with something you aren’t expecting. So instead I am choosing to ignore the feeling of impending doom and enjoy the mild, although somewhat breezy, evening. Fortunately the patio has enclosed sides, protecting my smoking experience from too much wind.

9:27 pm – I’m about an inch and a half into the La Floridita and I have to say that so far it is meeting my possibly unreasonable expectations. These expectations were mainly due to a couple of largely unpleasant smoking experiences earlier in the day–more on that in a later post. In short, I was ready for something decent. The cigar lit nicely and was good from the beginning. The farther I’ve smoked the better it has tasted. The flavor, a bit harsh at first, has mellowed and since that initial change has remained constant.

9:47 pm – I’m about an inch farther in and happy to report that the pleasant, even taste has continued. The good-looking ash finally fell off of its own accord at about two inches and the cigar continued burning like a champ. The burn got off once, but self-corrected with no assistance from me. It has burned coolly, as well, no hint yet of hot smoke, although we’ll see what happens in another inch or two.

9:55 pm – The draw of this cigar is very good, not fantastic, but good. It requires something of a pull, but it doesn’t make your jaws hurt after an hour of smoking. In fact, I’m beginning to dread the end of the smoke, even though I have at least thirty minutes left. To me that is a great sign of a good cigar when you don’t want it to end. I’ve smoked decent cigars that I was ready to put away long before they died a natural death. So far the La Floridita is not one of them.

10:14 pm – The cigar finally went cold. Apparently I let it sit too long. I relit it, purged it, and rediscovered the flavor. It’s a little stronger now, with only three inches left to go, but it’s still enjoyable. It still hasn’t begun to burn hot. I really like the smoke production of this cigar. I would say it is medium-high volume. It’s sightly, aromatic, and plentiful. I personally like a lot of smoke from my cigars, but too much can be overwhelming. The La Floridita has just the right amount for me.

10:36 pm – Only about an inch and a half of smokable cigar to go and all is well. The cigar has maintained its burn and stayed flavorful. It is beginning to get just a bit harsher, but the smoke has remained cool. It has also lasted a little longer than I expected, with still about twenty minutes to go. Granted, I’ve been writing and not constantly smoking, but it’s still a good run. I’m starting to wind down now and, while not looking forward to the end of the smoke, am feeling content enough to stop when the time comes.

10:48 – Maybe one more inch and I’ll be done with this cigar. It went out again and I had to relight and purge. Even so, it’s still enjoyable. It’s getting a bit brutal in flavor, although still not burning overly hot. The smoke is becoming pretty spicy, but not bad at all. I’m going to go ahead and give this cigar four out of five stars, bid you all a good night, and finish it off. Thanks for reading! Why not pick up a La Floridita Limited and give it a try? If you do, stop back by and let me know how you made out. See you all later!