I was excited to sit down and interview Eric Hanson of Hammer + Sickle at the 2015 IPCPR in New Orleans. The top reason was their launching the Caleanoch, which utilizes peat fire cured tobacco. The other was that we didn’t’ have a single review of the Hammer + Sickle lineup on Cigar Federation.
Start with the St. Petersburg Hermitage No. 1, we’ll have a series of reviews on most of the Hammer + Sickle cigars. We’ll also have a Sharing Our Pairings episode featuring the Caleanoch and special guest Eric Hanson.
The St. Petersburg Hermitage No. 1 is available in three vitolas:
Robusto (5x52), Toro (6x54), and a Churchill (7x56).
Check out our interview with Eric here:
Check out my video review here:
The nose on the St. Petersburg Hermitage No. 1 has a lot of fermented tobacco and barnyard.
I used a single v-cut and found the draw to be excellent.
The first third starts out with a combination of sweetness and spices with a bit of creamy cedar. As the first third settles in there’s a rich smokiness here like a peated smoke, very well rounded. There’s also a pepper that hits you on a bit of a delay. Some post draw leather starts to come through, mixing in with the creamy cedar. The smokiness starts to remind me a bit of an earthy pipe tobacco. At the 15 minute mark I’m getting an intense blast of unpasteurized honey at the end of the draw. At the 30 minute mark the honey and smokiness are mixing together brilliantly.
As the Hermitage No. 1 transitions into the middle third, the post draw leather has picked up in intensity to a medium plus level and is the prominent flavor. On the retrohale I’m still getting that wonderful, rich savory smoky flavor on the retrohale. Once the middle third settles in all the previous flavors find a balance here and play off of each other really well. At the 1 hour mark there’s a complex chocolate that comes into place, the spice is down in strength compared to the cedar.
In the final third the smokiness has really taken over on the draw, with the leather having fallen to a medium minus on the retrohale. The retrohale is a smooth, sweet creaminess, that finishes with cedar.
The St. Petersburg Hermitage No. 1 was a very high 5 pack buy bordering on a box split for me. The flavors continued to evolve as I smoked, winding up with a complex list of flavors that balanced beautifully.
I’d reach for a root beer, sherried scotch, a scotch ale or porter, or a complex glass of red wine. The St. Petersburg Hermitage No. 1 is going to give you lots of flexibility for pairing.