12 Feb 2014
About a year ago, when I reviewed a pre-release version of the Recluse Draconian Robusto from Iconic Leaf, I mentioned that the sizes of the blend would not be disclosed until the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) Trade Show in Las Vegas.
Typically, the announcement of vitolas is a non-event. But, last winter, well before the IPCPR convention, Iconic Leaf assured us three of the sizes would be in a never-before-seen format called “Sidewinder,” and this created some intrigue. (Iconic Leaf fans will recall Recluse was likewise rolled out in an inventive format called “Kanu,” which has a head-turning kayak-like shape).
As best as I can describe it, the Sidewinder shape is reminiscent to a flattened oval that has a slight box press and a bit of a taper at the cap. Three Sidewinders appear in the Recluse Draconian portfolio: No. 1 (5 x 57, $8); No. 2 (6 x 57, $9); and No. 3 (7 x 57, $10). They join three other standard vitolas, all of which are box-pressed: Robusto (5 x 54, $7.50); Toro (6.25 x 50, $8.50); and 6 x 60 ($9.50).
All of these cigars are rolled in the entubado style at the Tabacalera Leyendas Cubanas factory in the Dominican Republic. They share an Ecuadorian maduro wrapper around a proprietary binder. The filler includes a Ligero leaf that’s unique to Iconic Leaf, as well as Dominican Ligero, Piloto Cubano, and Braziago.
The Recluse Draconian Sidewinder No. 2 is a sleek-looking smoke with a smooth surface, minimal veins, and barely visible seams. Notes of caramel, leather, and red pepper are apparent off the foot. A small V-cut is all that’s needed to open up a clear draw, thanks to the entubado rolling technique. In a nod to its unique shape, the cigar fits comfortably in the mouth despite its large ring gauge.
Ample spice, dry wood, espresso, pepper, and bread characterize the flavor profile. The smoke is heavy, toasty, and abundant with a thick texture. Traces of cream and peanut come and go. Throughout, the construction is very good—the ash is firm and stable, the burn line straight, and the draw smooth.
I thoroughly enjoyed both Sidewinder No. 2s I smoked for this review, though I can’t say I liked either considerably more or less than the pre-release Robusto. Still, I’d imagine some will prefer the Sidewinder format over the traditional Recluse Draconian sizes because of the ability to comfortably smoke a large ring gauge, and the ability to effectively control the concentration of the smoke by choosing between a V-cut and a standard guillotine cut. In the end, this vitola is worthy of a rating of four stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys