Team Cigar Review: Hamlet Liberation

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Cigar Details: Hamlet Liberation

  • Vitola: Belicoso
  • Length: 6.5″
  • Ring Gauge: 55
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Honduras and Nicaragua
  • Factory: TAVICUSA
  • Blender: Hamlet Paredes
  • Price: $11.10
  • Release Date: August 2018
  • Source: Hamlet

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Pre-light Experience

The half inch of shaggy foot is the first thing you’ll notice about this Belicoso shaped cigar. The wrapper is a darker shade of brown and has some visible and slightly raised veins. The seams are well blended and only visible in the right light. The head is very well finished. There are two bands with the primary aqua and royal blue with a large H in a white background signifying the brand name. The second band is in the same color combination and denotes the line name. The aroma from the wrapper gives a sweet mixture of hay and raisins while the shaggy foot just provides some light wood. The pre-light draw brings more of that hay and raisin that I got from the wrapper along with a mild spiciness on my lips.

Pre-light Experience

The Hamlet Liberation is massive in hand and has a subtle tapered head with a nice shaggy foot. I appreciate that a good shag is present. Nothing worse than a tiny shag on the foot. The cigar comes with a dark natural, basically maduro coloring to it and the wrapper is sporting some decent sized veins with a lot of oils. It is smooth in texture and is well rolled. The foot is showing some stone fruit, raspberry, chocolate and baking spice notes while the wrapper is giving off some cocoa, rich earth and espresso notes.

Pre-light Experience

The Hamlet Liberation is a parejo shaped cigar with some interesting complications. The cigar has a sizeable shaggy foot with approximately half an inch of unfinished end. It also has a 109 cap style which is very rare in the industry. The band is a soft blue, with dark blue outlines against a white backdrop. It also features a secondary ‘Liberation’ band. Nosing the wrapper reveals intense barnyard, aged wood and light leather. In the foot, I’m smelling sweet spices and cedar.

First Third

The cigar begins with some slightly spicy cedar. As the burn reached the wrapper, the flavors become a bit fuller as some mustiness also joins in to the profile. At an inch in, the flavor profile continues to increase in fullness as the spiciness of the cedar is very distinct. The retrohale carries almost a mirror image profile. As the third comes to a close, nothing has changed in regards to the flavor profile. The strength in this third was right at medium.

First Third

The shaggy foot begins by delivering some damp wood, rich earth, leather and some vegetable like qualities. Once the wrapper works itself into the mix, the flavor profile begins to deliver some more spices and it has that baking spice and pepper profile. There are some cocoa, coffee bean and toast notes present as well, and it adds well to the wood, earth, leather and vegetable like flavors.

First Third

My first few puffs and I’m tasting sweet baking spices, and bready notes on the retrohale, with a clean post draw finish. As the first third progresses, some baking spices move into the post draw, with the sweetness and spices building once the burn line moves past the shaggy foot. Once the cigar has established itself, some post draw leather and wood joins the baking spices, with black pepper building at the back of my throat. A few minutes later some faded chocolate joins the retrohale making for an elegant combination. Halfway into the first third, the spice intensity has fallen to a light-plus as some mild sour citrus comes in. The wood flavors evolve into a mixed combination of fresh and aged wood. The chocolate on the retrohale begins to move into the post draw as all the flavors harmonize.

Second Third

As the second third begins, some cream joins the profile and smooths out a bit of the spiciness from the cedar. At a half inch in, the cedar has transitioned to a general wood note although the spiciness from before is still present along with some cream. Some mustiness also joins the profile. At an inch and a quarter, the retrohale is providing a fuller flavor profile of wood, spice and mustiness and is a bit dry. As the third comes to a close, the wood becomes a bit dark while the baking spice and mustiness remain. The strength in this third bumped up to slightly above medium.

Second Third

I’m in the second third and the cigar is delivering some great cafe mocha flavors. It has some light baking spice, white pepper and earthy qualities with that, and while it is not overly complex, it has an enjoyable flavor profile. You could say that it has lost some complexity from the first third, but I actually find this third more enjoyable. The flavor profile is just solid and easy smoking.

Second Third

The second third becomes a profile consistent of light-medium layered wood notes. Some light spices and sweetness return on the retrohale as the middle third settles in. Some post draw light-plus lingering spices come through a few minutes later.

Final Third

As the final third begins, the profile becomes pretty heavy with some char joining the dark wood. At an inch in, a slight cream joins the profile of dark charred wood to go along with the mustiness. At an inch and a half, the cream increases a bit while the dark charred wood remains the primary flavor component. The retrohale carries a fuller version of the same profile. The cigar finishes out with the same profile. The strength in this third remained at slightly above medium.

Final Third

I am in the final third of the cigar now and finding it to deliver a strong coffee flavor profile. There are some nutty qualities present with that and it has some dry earth, toast and barnyard qualities as well. There is very little spice present and it has a chewy finish. There is a creaminess and smokiness present as well to the end of the cigar and it is quite enjoyable.

Final Third

No changes in the flavor profile moving into the last third. Once the last third has established itself, some of the bready notes from the first third return on the retrohale. Some toasted char starts to come through a few minutes later.

Burn

The burn was a bit wavy throughout and required one touch-up to keeps things on track. The ash held on in near two inch increments.

Burn

The construction was fairly solid from start to finish and while the burn line was off throughout, it never produced a problem. It would correct itself and then it would start burning unevenly again. I think it has to do with the tobacco in the filler and the wrapper. Rocky packs his cigars with tobacco, they always feel heavy and I believe that plays a part.

Burn

Even with the shaggy foot, the burn line was fairly consistent through the first third, with pieces of tobacco falling off until it hit the wrapper. Slightly wavy in the middle third requiring a few touch-ups. Ash held on very well in 2+ inch increments.

Draw

The draw was quite snug although using a draw tool did bring some relief.

Overall

The flavor profile was pretty mundane with spicy cedar later transitioning to a spicy general wood note. Some char became quite present in the final third as the wood became darker. Construction was alright, but not a strong point of the cigar. This cigar is fairly large and brings a long smoking time, but with just a passable flavor profile, it becomes a bit boring. I don’t see myself in a hurry to revisit this smoking experience.

Draw

In terms of draw the cigar was great. It was not too loose but was slightly snug and allowed for a concentrated smoke experience which is to my liking. It smoked cool to the end, and I smoked it down to the slightly tapered nub.

Overall

To be honest, I am not sure how sold I am on the Hamlet Liberation. There were some enjoyable aspects to the cigar but no part really wowed me. I keep going into Hamlet’s cigars hoping to be wowed and that just doesn’t seem to happen. It smoked at this solid medium level in terms of body and strength throughout, and the flavors were right there as well. The Hamlet Liberation is an enjoyable cigar but it doesn’t take that extra step to reach the next level. I felt this cigar lacked a lot of complexity, transitioning and depth; and that is what I look for in a cigar. It is fair to say that the Hamlet offerings fail to live up to my expectations/hopes.

Draw

I found the draw to be slightly into the tight/resistant spectrum, although it never seemed to impact the performance.

Overall

The Hamlet Liberation is a stunning looking cigar with some great complications that show off the artisanal nature of handmade cigars. I found the first third to be enjoyable with rich layers of flavor complexity. The remaining middle and last thirds of the cigar were quite average with all of the best parts of the first third absent. This cigar will appeal to the large segment of cigar smokers who smoke light to light-medium bodied cigars.

Aaron
Seth
John
Very GoodPre
Light
Very GoodPre
Light
Amazing
AverageFirst
Third
AverageFirst
Third
Good
AverageSecond ThirdGoodSecond ThirdAverage
SubparFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
Average
GoodBurnAverageBurnVery Good
GoodDrawGoodDrawVery Good
AverageOverallAverageOverallAverage

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

4.90

Cost/Point

$2.27

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

5.50

Cost/Point

$2.02

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

5.85

Cost/Point

$1.90

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Hamlet Liberation
Seth GeiseTeam Cigar Review: Hamlet Liberation

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