Cigar Review: Hammer & Sickle Icon

Cigar Review: Hammer & Sickle Icon

Hammer & Sickle Cigars
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: USA (Connecticut Shade)
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Size: 6″ x 50
Strength: mild
Price: $9.50

Overall Rating: 7.7

The Hammer & Sickle cigar brand is one of those little known gems in the cigar world. Blended by Hendrick Kelner, the brand has quickly become one of my favorites. (See my earlier Moscow City and Tradicion reviews.) The Icon is the mildest cigar in the brand’s portfolio, but lacks the interesting flavors that can be found in the Hammer & Sickle Tradcion. Like all Hammer & Sickle cigars the Icon is has some impressive packaging; it comes in a very nice leather box. Unfortunately, the Icon is long on packaging but lacks some of the complexity that is typical of the other Hammer & Sickle cigars.


Pre-Light: A very light Connecticut shade wrapper covers the Hammer & Sickle Icon. The silver and white band continues their tradition of beautiful bands. The silver hammer & sickle and silver lettering are a bit hard to make out against the white of the band in bright light. There is something about this cigar (maybe the packaging and band) that brings to mind David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago.

There is a slight scent of oak to the wrapper of the Icon. A very unique sweet vanilla aroma comes from the unlit foot of the cigar. The pre-light draw is neither overly easy or overly firm. On the cold draw a strong grassy flavor come through.


Burn: The burn on the Icon is even from beginning to end. The near perfect draw of the Hammer & Sickle Icon lets through a ton of smoke. Unfortunately the ash does not hold so well to the cigar, so it’s important to ash often in order to avoid an ash covered shirt.


Flavor: The Icon begins with a fair amount of hay flavor to it. During the first third a fair amount of oak and nut flavors join the hay that is ever present throughout the Hammer & Sickle Icon. As the second third begins there is a very mild herbal note that is more apparent on the retrohale. The exist hay, oak and cashew flavors are still the main flavors while very mild herbs and spice appear in the background. Entering the final third of the Hammer & Sickle Icon the herb and grass flavors come to be the dominant flavors. Spice begins to come through on the retrohale, as a mild coffee flavor joins mixed nut, oak, grass and hay. In the final inch of the Icon there is a harsh bitterness that creeps in.


Overall: So far, I’ve been impressed by the Hammer & Sickle cigars that I’ve had. I had high hopes for the Icon, but I found it underwhelming. Unlike many long time cigar enthusiasts I still enjoy mild cigars quite often as long it’s still got a fair amount of flavor and complexity to it. The Icon just seemed to be a mix of grass, hay and nuts with little real development to the cigar. It seems odd that the Icon even exists when the Tradicion already fills the mild spot in the line quite nicely. There are bright spots of herbs and hits of spice, but these never seem to develop fully. At some point I’ll give the Icon another try, but it’s not a cigar that will find a regular place in my humidor.


Pairing: A cup of cappuccino, coffee or black tea will pair nicely with the Hammer & Sickle Icon. This is a cigar that lends itself to pairing with a glass of red wine.

Reviewed by Jonathan David (@JonDavid1210)