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Stogie Reviews: Hammer + Sickle Robusto

28 Apr 2010

The hammer and sickle flew on the flag of the Soviet Union from 1923 until the disintegration of the USSR in 1991. In that period and since it has served as an emblem for communism, intending to represent “proletariat” industrial and agricultural workers.

Hammer + Sickle RobustoThis controversial symbol strikes me as a curious logo to brand a product destined for sale in the U.S.—a country where communism is widely despised. But that’s exactly what the people at Hammer + Sickle Vodka did when they launched their spirit in 2005.

Hammer + Sickle is more than just a luxury vodka, according to company chairman Eric Hanson. The brand is a “lifestyle offering” that crossed over to cigars at the 2009 IPCPR Trade Show. “Like Hammer + Sickle Vodka,” says the company website, “these cigars are an authentic experience for the creative aficionado.”

While the vodka is made in Klin, Russia, the cigars are handmade in the Dominican Republic with five-year-old Connecticut wrappers and three-year-old Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. They are distributed by Victor Vitale’s The Cigar Agency. This New Hampshire outfit is also responsible for Ortsac 1962, a blend named for the Kennedy Administration’s plan for a military strike against Cuba.

Hammer + Sickle is available in four traditional sizes: Churchill, Toro, Torpedo, and a five inch by 50 ring gauge Robusto. Retailing for about $7-9 apiece, the latter features a smooth, caramel-colored wrapper with few veins, a well-applied cap, and pre-light notes of honey. The feel is slightly spongy.

Once lit, the Robusto kicks things off with a medium-bodied flavor that’s very salty and somewhat peppery. The nutty resting smoke smells far more interesting than the cigar tastes. After only half an inch, though, notes more commonly associated with Connecticut tobacco come to the fore: cream and almond. They are complemented by the original salt and pepper profile, making for a lively, mild-mannered cigar.

This well-balanced interplay continues for the remainder of the 60-minute smoke. All the while, the physical properties are near perfect with a straight burn, an effortless draw, and a gray ash that holds firm for over an inch.

I’m always on the lookout for mild cigars that strike a harmonious balance, don’t break the bank, and exhibit consistently good construction. Based on the two samples I smoked for this review (both provided by The Cigar Agency), I’ve found a winner. That’s why the Hammer + Sickle Robusto, notwithstanding its insignia, is worthy of four stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

7 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Hammer + Sickle Robusto”

  1. cigarfan Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 7:29 am #

    Curious marketing. It doesn't appeal to me, but maybe there is a niche out there for those who dropped their history books in the gutter on the way to school.

  2. Sticks Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 5:05 am #

    I guess I feel the same as as cigarfan. They might as well have put a swastica on it. Sometimes one has to have good taste and a sense of history instead of trying shock marketing.

  3. Scott Guerva Friday, January 14, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

    The Revolution continues! Capitalist pigs! We won against the Nazis at Stalingrad! Now we will conquer the Americas!

  4. John Friday, June 8, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    Hopefully by now the word will have gotten around that the hammer and sickle WITH A STAR was the communist regime's flag from 1923-1991. Before the revolution in 1917, the hammer and sickle without a star was the symbol on the Russian flag. Please note that all the H+S products use the pre-revolution hammer and sickle (no star). My understanding is that the creator of the H+S brands did not realize it would be mistaken for a communist symbol and was simply honoring his traditional Russian roots. I believe his concern for the misunderstanding was the reason behind releasing the Berlin Wall line, which clearly is a symbol of the failure of communism.

  5. Guido Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    Of course, there is the communist Cuba reference that has been done in cigars before. Just look at the La Vieha Cubana line with its cogwheel and star symbology. It's not that great a leap. Actually, there's a certain interesting symbolic connection, to me, with the Atlas Shrugged John Galt dollar sign cigarettes.

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