A Zen, a Camacho, a La Aroma del Caribe and an Iconic Contest!

Screenshot_2013-04-03-19-14-22My last post was on Easter Sunday, and by the time I was ready to get out the door to have a smoke it started raining.  I don’t like sitting out in the rain, it takes the fun out of enjoying a fine cigar.  So with the garage door open, I pulled up a chair and lit up a Zen by Nish Patel.  This one was a pre-release sample from the 2011 IPCPR show when it was released.  I’ve has a few of these that I purchased awhile back, so I didn’t see any point in having this funky banded example laying around.  True to the hype, this is a Shade wrapped cigar that has some oomph to it. Nice and smooth, with a good bit of spice. It’s a nice smoke and was a great choice for a rainy, post-Easter breakfast carb coma afternoon.


CamachoCorojoMaduro_MonarcaMonday, after a trying day, I needed something satisfying and familiar.  I grabbed a Camacho Corojo Maduro Monarca that I had picked up a few months ago.  It’s interesting to see how the Camacho brand has evolved over the years.  Back in 1996, soon after getting online and finding a community of cigar nuts, I was invited to participate in a blind taste test that one of the newsgroup participants, a young man named Steve Saka, was hosting.  In that tasting group was a Camacho, before Christian Eiroa relaunched the brand with the Corojo wrapper. At the time I really liked the Camacho (but I gave a “dog rocket” rating to a Cuban Monte No.2 and wasn’t at all impressed with an expensive Lane Signet.  Anyway, I’ve smoked tons of the Corojo, Havana blend, and even the Candela, and I always liked the Havana blend best (of course, discontinued). This maduro is a nice, strong cigar, with a good spice and thick, chewy smoke.  I enjoyed it quite a bit until the Flyers game was about to come on, there was only about a half an inch left at that point.



Tuesday evening I picked out a La Aroma del Caribe Mi Amor Belicoso that I received from Tom at Cigar-Club.com, a UK based retailer that specialises in Havana cigars.  This is the non-USA version of the La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor, which I am going to hunt down to see for myself that it’s the same cigar.  Besides my curiosity about the naming, it was a darned fine cigar. I should have known that I’d enjoy this smoke given that it is wrapped in Mexican leaf.  It started out with a blast of spice, then settled into a nice, reasonably powerful smoke that was very satisfying and enjoyable. Thank you to Tom of Cigar-Club.com for giving my the oportunity to sample something that I may not have had the chance to smoke.  This was a really delicious cigar.



I know, it’s only been a few short weeks since the last contest, you have my apologies.  I realize I run the risk of spoiling you all with great contests.  I’ll try to scale it back a little.  This month’s contest is truly something special, so I’m asking for a little bit more than the usual comment.  You ‘ll still need to leave a comment, but this time we need you to answer the question: “What do you know about Recluse Cigars?”  That leads to the prize, which is an amazing box of Recluse Kanu No. 1.  Recluse cigars are one of my favorite new cigars of last year, and the Kanu No.1 shape is unique and a really fun smoke.  So answer the question in the comments, and a week from Sunday I’ll pick a winner. Yes, I’m going to let this contest run for a week and a half (and hope I don’t forget to pick a winner!). Thanks to Scott and the gang at Iconic Leaf Cigar Co. for providing this awesome box of cigars!


This weekend I’m headed to New Jersey for the weekend where I plan to meet up with some folks and smoke some cigars.  If anyone is around Lyndhurst, NJ Saturday afternoon, stop in to Cigar Emporium, and I’m thinking of going to JR Cigars in Whippany, NJ for Lunch Sunday maybe, unless I decide to head into NYC and go to Nat Sherman or De La Concha or someplace.


Until the next time,






Filed under Contest, Review

55 Responses to A Zen, a Camacho, a La Aroma del Caribe and an Iconic Contest!

  1. Patrick Lorow

    I have not had a Recluse Cigar. So I really don’t know!!!

  2. rick Bruce

    Recluse Cigars are a 20 year in the making project from J.R. Dominguez. Rolled in the traditional Cuban style of tubing and each leaf is fermented 8 times. Released at 2012 IPCPR trade show in Orlando Florida.

    Sounds like a great cigar!

  3. Deonn Yates II

    I have never had the opportunity to try a Recluse Cigar. I can tell you that Recluse Cigars are a release from Iconic Leaf Cigar Company. They were released in 2012. They come in 10 different sizes with 3 of them being a unique box pressed perfecto called Kanu. They are so unique, they are a shape not ever seen before in the cigar scene. Recluse cigars are also made the old fashioned Cuban way known as Tubing.This makes them a completely different smoking experience.
    I can also tell you that if I was lucky enough to win this, I would share them so that everyone could experience these completely unique cigar.

  4. Randall Simon

    The company is led by J.R. Domínguez, son of legendary cigar maker Jose Domínguez. He is a true visionary who brings energy, excitement and passion to everything he touches. Iconic’s first release is the RECLUSE and it was revealed at the 2012 IPCPR trade show in Orlando Florida. RECLUSE is offered in ten sizes, three of which are sizes that have never been done before anywhere in the world, and they are now known as the Kanú, Iconic Leaf Cigar’s invention. Every tobacco leaf in the RECLUSE goes through EIGHT fermentation cycles and is a collection of what is truly iconic from around the world. The RECLUSE cigar selection is produced exclusively by Tabacalera Leyendas Cubanas and they are responsible for the Recluse Experience.

  5. Angelea Cooley

    I also have never had a recluse judging from the above comments it sounds like something that would be right in my flavor profile and the shape of which I have never seen before. If I win I would donate half to OP:CFW and share the rest with my sweet LOLA sisters and my Fab CATS family and my sweet hubby to be (Wedding April 20,2013)!

  6. Mike Kestel

    To be honist I have never had A RECLUSE,here on the left coast we dont get the selection ya’ll get back East! That being said where on line can I find them? Or better yet pick me as the winner and I’ll share them through Ward “B”
    Always enjoy your posts dont have much time as of now I am takeing care of my mother who is terminly ill! Keep up the interesting articals!

  7. Garry Cawthorn

    Have not had a chance to try one yet.. But have heard alot about them in the last few weeks.. I’ve tried to win a few but haven’t been that lucky yet.. If I see one at the B&M next time I go u better believe I will buy it to give it a shot… Thanks for the chance!!

  8. jjo

    All I know is that they are made in the Dominican Republic, are rolled entubado style, then box-pressed, and have been getting great reviews. They have a distinctive band featuring what I can only imagine is a Brown Recluse spider.

    Thanks Craig and Iconic Leaf!

  9. Craig

    Another great review Craig no actually just picked up my first Camacho from Old Pald this week and look forward to trying it; the cigar was the Camacho Triple Maduro.

    About the Recluse line. I have to be honest, I don’t know much. I have seen them showcased via Twitter and people’s posts on Facebook but I have yet to experience them. I hope to remedy that sooner rather than later.

    Have a great weekend.

  10. Tommy Berry - Quo155

    Great contest!

    To answer the question, I knew very little about the Recluse brand…other than what you’ve mentioned here. But after reading about them on their website…I’ve learned much about them but the most important thing to me is the pride that they posses in their work, their cigars.

  11. Josh mccoy

    I am shamed to say, i know nothing about Recluse cigars. I will have to find them online and educate myseld asap though 🙂

  12. What do I know about Recluce Cigars? I know that are top class NEW PREMIUM cigars, that I can’t find at any B&M! I’d love to try, review and share these with my fellow BOTL! Thanks for the contest and those who were kind enough to donate and participate!

  13. George Satterfield


    I know more about them now than I did five minutes ago. They sound like an excellent cigar and by the photo they look very well constructed. Would love to give them a try. And as other people have said I would love to share some if won.

    Love your blog and have fun in Jersey.


  14. freakboy791

    I haven’t come across the brand in stores. So, I have not tried them. Consequently, I know nothing about the products. However, I did read somewhere that the founders of the conpany have concealed thier identities. I thought that was genius. It helps the consumer to approach the product in a non-biased manner. I think this says a lot, as the cigars will be judged on quality alone, as they should be. I would love to try one. The shape is really innovative.

  15. Dennis

    until tonight I haven’t heard of these. But I’m always open to try something new. And I really like that shape.

  16. Mark

    These sound great, thanks for the contest, and all the great info. I give away far more than I smoke because of health, but these look quite interesting. I may have to make an order, try one of these beauties, and pass a few along.

  17. Well I picked it up somewhere, possibly from TCA podcast, that there were two principals involved who were being somewhat reclusive as to their actual identity, hence “Recluse.” I can’t find my notes but Jose does the house cigars for 2 Guys, so that part of it, as someone mentioned above, does make sense.
    Looking forward to the full story. Thanks for another great giveaway!

  18. Swede214

    I have learned more about the Recluse Cigars reading all these ”comments” from the guys who have written about this cigar. There are some very good things said about this cigar. This should be a good smoke. Thanks Craig for the give-a-way.

  19. ZQ

    This was a hard cigar to track down but I am glad I did! The cigar was complex with a constant spiciness..there was also some creamy sweetness with hints of cocoa in the 2nd half of the smoke..overall a solid medium- to full bodied smoke that evolves nicely to keep you interested.

    I was able to get hold of a Kanu from a friend but would like to point out that I followed the manufacturer’s designated retailer list in my search but hit some dead ends. I hope the list updated soon!

    I would love to smoke some more Kanus and share them around!

  20. Steven Miller

    Recluse by Iconic Leaf was launched last year as a project by JR Dominguez. He planned it around the old Cuban rolling style of tuning and made a truly unique smoking experience that is being reveled at around the industry.

    But why is it so mysteriously unique?

    That is simply because no one knows anything about the blend. But this cigar packs a punch, delivering a truly breathtaking smoke and a remarkable construction. The Kanu #1, Kanu #2 and Tarantula are all first time rolls. They have never been done by another company! I hope to try it out soon, but this is what I know!

  21. casey

    An eight time fermented Dominican with a Brazilian Maduro wrapper and made in the traditional tubed way! Interesting on top of that they box press the Perfecto and now I know why it’s called a Recluse because everybody wants to smoke it!

  22. Kekoa Kai

    I really enjoy reading your posts.

    Thanks for the contest but I have to admit that although the
    “Recluse” name sounds somewhat familiar I know nothing about this company/cigar line.

  23. MattSRoss81

    I have heard a lot of good things about the Recluse, but haven’t been lucky enough to track one down yet. Still on my list!

  24. TriMarkC

    Another great review Craig! I haven’t had a Camacho in quite awhile, while La Aroma still are a treat – albeit a rare one – for me.

    Regarding Recluse Cigars, I had heard the name, but not seen them in any local B&Ms so not tried one yet. I’m intrigued by the “eight fermentations” – I would certainly want to know more about that (how is that different than normal standard industry practices, what difference does it make in the tobacco and the final cigar, etc). And the fact that the two founders wish to remain anonymous is also interesting. I certainly like that they use entubo, but their statement that the tobacco is “all the finest available” is pretty vague. I do like that Brazilian Maduro wrappers, so that’s a plus for me. Should be interesting to see that matched with a Cameroon binder and Dominican variations in the filler. And sounds like this is a medium-strengthed cigar, which is right up my alley.

    BTW, if I win, I pledge to share half my winnings with our superb military personnel!

    • Great question about the fermentation. Here is the answer.

      Ammonia; every leaf of tobacco in the world has allot of it.

      Fermentation; process of bringing the ammonia out of the leaf.

      How is fermentation done? By wetting down the leaves and as the moisture evaporates from the leaf it brings ammonia out with it.

      How long is the normal fermentation process? Anywhere from 30 to 90 days.

      How long is the fermentation on the Recluse? TWO YEARS

      Why? It removes any trace of ammonia and delivers the flavor without the baggage. It also allows us to use leaf that very few people can use.

      The blend question.
      Wrapper: Brazilian Maduro
      Binder: MBC proprietary
      Filler: Dominican ( 3 Variations) 100% Cuban seed

      We hope this helps to answer these question for you.

      Best regards,

      Iconic Leaf Cigar Company

  25. irratebass

    I have only seen the Recluse though a couple of blogs (your’s included of course), but I have not see these locally or anyone posting pics smoking them.

    Based off the Recluse sight http://www.iconicleafcigar.com/our_products.php it seems they (J.R. Dominguez & crew) took their cigar based off of the Snapple (“made from the best stuff on earth”) beverage.

    What I have learned about this unique cigar is that it goes through 8 fermentation cycles, because they want perfection….sounds good to me heh.

    Also as other people have already mentioned they take each filler leaf and roll it into a tube instead of folding it. Once all the filler leaves are each individually rolled into a tube shape, they are brought together and surrounded with the binder. This sound painstaking, but if it makes for a better smoking experience I am all for it.

    I love that these are box pressed (I have a soft spot for BP’s….they just smoke better to me) I am really curious to try the Recluse’s patented Kani’ shape.

    Thank you for this awesome contest and if I don’t win I’ll be buying some thanks to Recluse Cigars’ link at 2guyscigars.

  26. JScott

    Craig, I know absolutely nothing about Recluse cigars. That’s why I follow you and your blog, to learn about the new products, the cigar industry, and the like. You keep up the good work and I’m sure I’ll about Recluse cigars in short order!

  27. Carl - amazingcigarbargains.com

    Well, unfortunately I don’t know anything about them except what you wrote in this article but I’ll look them up now!

  28. 007MI6

    I’m sure I’ll be learning more as I find it. But I know Recluse cigars was introduced at IPCPR 2012 and more interestingly that 3 of the 10 sizes have never been produced, anywhere in the world. The Kanu series is very interesting, and I love the look of them. Can’t wait to try them all!

  29. JohnG

    I can’t find the Recluse so I have not had a chance to smoke it. I have read quite a bit about it and am looking forward to it.

    The only thing I know about the Kanu is what I read on cigar sites. Apparently the vitola is first of its kind and called Kanú.

    Very interesting and would love to try it. Thank you.


  30. Jason Amodea

    I know they have several distinct flavor zones. They start light and build then slowly the flavor backs off as the heat starts to become noticeable. I believe they call out 7 distinct flavors as you smoke the cigar.

  31. Jimbobber

    That La Aroma del Caribe you posted about looks wonderfully tasty. I’d really be interested to know if the name difference is just a Euro market thing or an actual separate line. As for the Recluse cigars, the only thing I know about them is there apparently aren’t any here yet in the Pacific Northwest, although I did talk to one small retailer who said he is considering them. Thanks, Craig!

    • I smoked a La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor robusto lat night and feel confident saying that its the same cigar as the La Aroma del Caribe Mi Amor that’s available in the UK. Once again, I take one for team!

  32. Paul C.

    I just recently smoked my first recluse and I thought it was a great cigar. Haven’t heard much about this cigar, but I can say I wouldn’t mind trying it out based off of past experience with the brand.

  33. Jerry B.

    Each and every leaf in the RECLUSE goes through EIGHT fermentation cycles.

    Good luck everyone!

  34. Lloyd Ladrillono

    Prior to visiting their website a few minutes ago, I knew nothing of this cigar. The Kanú shape looks like a chiseled perfecto, from what I see in the photo. I’ll try ’em!

  35. rick Bruce

    I know that I want try one!!

  36. Laura

    I was just reading about the Recluse on another blog, and thought they sound like a cigar I’d enjoy.

    I know that it has a Brazilian Maduro wrapper, and the leaves fermented 8x and are “tubed” to create the ideal draw. I also know the kanu is a unique box-pressed perfecto – and that I am fortunate, because one of the only 3 B&M retailers that carry these in the state of Texas is my local tobacconist! (at least according the the Iconic Leaf website.)

    Whether or not I win, I’ll have to go get a couple of sticks to check them out.

  37. czerbe

    I have been looking for these for sometime I really want to try this shape. From what I know they are the only ones making this vitola! Great give away again Craig as always Go Flyers.. What do I know about Recluse outside of them having a serious Family Tradition in the Cigar world which as we all know.. is a good thing! Hope I get to try these bad boys!

  38. Chad Miller

    I know nothing about the

  39. Harry T

    I didn’t know anything until reading your review and the comments here. Sounds like a truly interesting cigar. I’d love the chance to try one or 50.

  40. Phillip Mobley

    All I know is what I read here. Sounds good. Thanks for the contest!

  41. Smokin Aces

    I really don’t know much about Recluse or the Iconic Leaf Cigar Company other than many of my fellow brothers of the leaf have been hearing great things. I sure hope I win so I can find out what all the buzz is about.

  42. Steven B

    Well – I know the owner of the brand is named Lam. The cigars get generally good reviews. The “kanu” name/shape is fun.

  43. Vince

    Hey everyone, jus want to say you have a great cigar. I just returned from a deployment and when I came home the owner of my local Brick-n-Mason, turned me on to these cigars. Just a really great smoke. Thanks for coming out with it.

  44. BigSmokeDan

    Aw shucks, I posted in the wrong place. Haven’t tried a RECLUSE yet and although I have heard of them, have yet to see any in the B&Ms in my area. At least I’m poster #50 in the right place now!

  45. Dr. Hardcrab

    Well, I AM a recluse, but I have never had one. So I must say:

    “Gee. I’ve never…”


  46. Doug Bryant

    From what I’ve read this should be quite a smoke! I’ve had great experiences with cigars rolled with the entubado process and it sounds like they spent a lot of time selecting the best leaves for this blend and fermenting them to perfection. I love the brazilian maduro wrappers. I read one review of them so far and it was excellent. I can’t wait to try them! Very gutsy of them to A) make so many different vitolas of a cigar that is brand new and B) to make 3 completely new ones. My hat is off to Iconic!!

  47. bruce k

    I knew nothing about them & now everything I know is what I read here. I guess I will have to take one for a walk. There, thats what i know, you can take them for a walk!

  48. DB

    What I do know, besides reading about them on their website, is that if they are your favorite new cigar then then have to be great! Good to see all of the postings…
    Fingers crossed here…