I had a great time with Hammer + Sickle’s La Habana Tradicion Serie Robusto yesterday that I decided to dedicate this New Year’s Day weekend to reviewing all their cigar lines. Today’s cigar is their Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall) cigar in the robusto vitola.
While there were a few notable veins on the wrapper, the Berliner Mauer looks and feels like a better cigar than the La Habana Tradicion. The Honduran Criollo wrapper didn’t have any marks or imperfections at all, though that can easily be attributed to a good batch. There’s also a nice sheen on the wrapper that surely adds a lot to the cigar’s overall looks.
The stick’s band is probably its most notable aesthetic attraction. At first I thought it was just a thin copper foil pasted on a gray strip of paper, but after peeling it off from the cigar, the copper part apparently wasn’t made of foil but a soft, pliable copper metal strip.
Wood, leather and what I believe are floral notes were present on the body and foot. The draw was slightly easier than the La Habana Tradicion and suggested that I was going in for the same smooth creamy smoke.
Overall, the Berliner Mauer has the looks, but is it all show and no go?
As expected, the first few puffs were pretty impressive. The slightly easy draw delivered tons of creamy smoke and a full-flavored, medium-bodied experience. Hammer + Sickle didn’t skimp on the complexity either. Notes of wood and leather seemed to be the dominant flavors, and the long finish hinted on a little spice after each puff.
The burn and ash is where I found a bit of disappointment. The burn was uneven and though it kept on correcting itself, the ash was flaky and loose, with small portions falling off throughout the entire experience.
The same flavors and complexity continued on towards this part of the cigar together with the great draw and exceptional smoke volume. Sadly, the burn and ash still left something to be desired. The ash was so unreliable that I found myself tapping the cigar above the ash tray several times more than I’m used to for fear of having the ash fall unintentionally on somewhere else.
At this point the burn was just being a bit obnoxious that I needed to correct it. That seemed to work and the last third became more of a pleasant experience, with the surprise appearance of a creamy flavor.
I have to admit, burn issues aside, this cigar was hard to put down during the last third with that creamy flavor showing up. Not only does it have the looks, it also has the flavors that make this cigar a great smoking experience. I’d put this cigar on the middle shelf just for its looks alone, but the flavor definitely moves this up a notch to above middle shelf.