Love it or really love it, The Week in Smoke is back with another list of shoot-from-the-hip mini-reviews. (Or should that be, burn-from-the-hip? On second thought, no, no it really shouldn’t be.)
In case this is your first Week in Smoke, be advised that it covers many (though not necessarily all) of the cigars I’ve smoked in the past week or so, along with a couple of quick thoughts that came to me at the time. These are not full reviews, but quick blurbs based on a single smoking experience. As such, they maybe influenced by the natural variations that occur from one cigar to another. Your mileage may vary. (If I know the cigar well enough to comment, I may mention if an experience strays from what understand to be the norm.)
An appearance in The Week in Smoke does not preclude nor guarantee a future in-depth review. Whenever possible, I’ve linked to more a thoughtful and thorough review of the cigar in question. (Failing that, I may just link to one of Jerry’s reviews for entertainment value.) Enjoy!
7-20-4 Dog Walker *
As the name implies, a diminutive 4 1/4 x 40 smoke that’s just enough cigar to take fido out for a walk. Rich aromatic cedar, roasted nuts, caramel and chocolate. With a smoke this good, you’ll be hassling the dog to go out for a walk. (A few days later I also lit up the 7-20-4 vitola, and it just couldn’t compete with the Dog Walker.)
Alec Bradley Family Blend No. 1
You ever have a friend tell you about this cigar they enjoyed, and they waxed poetic on it’s smoothness? This could be the cigar they’re talking about. This firmly drawing stick is all about creamy smooth flavors. Caramel, milk chocolate, and subtle hings of nuts, cinnamon and coconut.
CAO Gold Perfecto
This obese Gold Perfecto was the first thing I lit up after a few days out with a nasty cold. This vitola continues to be my favorite of the Gold line, and what a great time to revisit it. Creamy, bready, nutty and woody with a little cinnamon-honey sweetness. This is 60 ring gauge done right.
CAO La Traviata Maduro Radiante
Much like the naturally wrapped La Traviata, this cigar is a budget smoker’s dream come true. Excellent burn properties and construction, and a rich palate of flavors that are a little more earthy and chocolaty than it’s brother. I also detected a fruity sweetness, light cedar and the occasional coffee note.
CAO LX2 Lancero
An unusually rugged looking lancero, I wondered if I accidentally mangled while I was carrying it around. Despite the rough appearance, it burned just fine, producing potent dark chocolate, coffee, pepper and spice flavors.
Camacho San Luis Y Martinez No. 4
This flashy tubo’ed Camacho is a stick I that’s been hiding out in my humidor for quite a while. I’ve never had one before, and I had no idea what to expect. Lighting it up, I discovered that what it has in common with other Camachos pretty much ends at the band. Not particularly spicy or potent, the flavor profile was an uneventful savory earth, minerals and cocoa.
Carlos Toraño Noventa Santiago
This was my first experience with this densely packed, immaculately burning, perfectly drawing Nicaraguan puro, and I really enjoyed it. As the name implies, this was a cigar released in 2006 to commemorate Toraño’s 90 years in the industry. And it tastes like 90 years of expertise, with a complex early profile of meaty, savory, nutty flavors followed by wood, leafy-leather, syrup, fruit and spice. It makes me wonder why I haven’t seen them in my neighborhood before now.
EP Carrillo Edicion Especial 2009 Encore
A substantial feeling smoke, a bit heavier in the hand that you’d expect. Immaculate construction, a slightly firm draw and sweet wrapper aroma. Lighting up, the Edicion Especial immediately lets loose with a lot of light, but rich flavor: Cream, raisin sweetness, butterscotch, caramel, cinnamon and light cedar. Still a great smoke. For best results, smoke it early, and as your first cigar of the day.
Davidoff Colorado Claro Special T *
More or less coinciding with Gracie Cruz’s birthday, I lit up this Davidoff rarity that Jerry gave me at the IPCPR trade show. It became apparent immediately why Jerry is such a fan. Great roasted nuts, slightly musty cream, faint caramel and light spice started flowing just as soon as the flame hit the foot. As it progressed, the profile got woodier, buttery, a little aromatic and spicier. Excellent cigar.
Erez Habano Edition Lonsdale *
This is another one of those loose sticks that I found the collection of cigars I brought back from IPCPR. I don’t know much about the cigar and the brand, but I found it to be a pretty good smoke. Very earthy with a little cedar and some dark coffee and chocolate touches.
God of Fire Carilto 2006 Double Robusto *
A surprisingly rustic looking smoke close up, especially with the all the extra pectic prints on the wrapper. But whatever the appearance, a tasty smoke, offering toasty flavors along with fruit sweetness and frosting as well as nice touch of aromatic cedar.
Illusione Eperney Le Monde
This is my first experience with this, the largest of the Eperney vitolas, and it was a good one. This smoke produces such an exotic combination of complex and subtle flavors, it’s challenging to describe them. It produced some excellent aromatics, graham, earth, roasted nuts and cedar flavors. I was a little disappointed to not be able to nub it, the wrapper split in the final third of the smoke, probably saving my fingers third degree burns.
La Aurora 100 Años Lancero *
With all the buzz going around about the new 107 Lancero I thought it’d be fun to light up it’s lancero cousin. And since it was a Friday evening, I thought it’d be fun to try a drink pairing. I opted for some Pyrat rum. It turned out to be a great combination. The lancero remained spicy and grassy, but the rum brought out some interesting citrus, wood and cinnamon characteristics that I don’t recall tasting before. (Though it has been a while.)
La Flor Dominicana LG Puro 2009 Chisel
I grabbed this smoke because I couldn’t remember the last time I smoked a chisel vitola. And just for kicks, I tried the recommend punch method of cutting. The LG 2009 chisel delivered an enjoyable spicy, meaty, savory and smokey profile that got more woody and peppery as it progressed. But I’m not sure I like side punch, I think I’ll try the pinch cut approach next time.
La Reloba Selección Sumatra Corona
For whatever reason, the Selección Sumatra is a little harder to find in my area than the Selección Habana, which I reviewed a while back. That’s a real shame, because I enjoyed the Sumatra the most of the two. This Pepin-made smoke delivers an tasty and very spicy combination of butterscotch, roasted nuts and cedar, but gradually grows less spicy and more cedary as it progresses.
Luca Del Toro Grande *
I don’t know too much about the Luca Del Toro line, other than it’s a solid smoke with great construction. It had an attractive oily, reddish, toothy wrapper and offered up sweet syrupy cedar, earth, cinnamon and milk chocolate flavors.
Macanudo Maduro Vintage 1997 Perfecto
Ordinarily, I leave the band on a cigar until it nearly catches fire. My rationale is you never know how easily it will come off, and how much damage it might do. In the case of the new Macanudo Maduro Vintage 1997, I slid the metal band off immediately, partly because it I knew it wouldn’t cause damage, and partly because it just felt awkward to smoke with it on. The cigar’s flavor was less flashy, I tasted a mild medley of cocoa, paper, wood, earth and a touch of pepper. Not a bad smoke by any stretch, but nothing here that would make me pony up nine bucks again.
Nestor Miranda Art Deco Double Grande *
Revisiting the Art Deco a few weeks after the trade show, this time pulling a stick from an early shipment at a local shop. Still a very enjoyable any-time-of-the-day smoke, offering up a relaxed palate of apples, cinnamon, caramel and light grass flavors, much like my previous experiences. On the downside, this cigar cracked pretty badly in the final third, which turned out to be nothing more than a cosmetic annoyance.
Padilla Miami Corona (Pepin-Made)
Every now and then you light up a cigar that makes you say “wow”. This Miami with the old band is one of those cigars. Sweet, frosted-tasting cedar with floral notes and vanilla. Much lighter in body than the current Miami, but delicious. Even though I smoked this earlier than most of the cigars in this list, I knew there was little chance any other smoke would beat it for winner of the week.
Though challenged in the construction department, the no longer widely available Padron Fumas still delivers in the flavor department, and with a low asking price. Rich chocolate and earth flavors abound. It’d be a favorite budget smoke if it were easier to come by.
Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary Robusto
This smoke looks like a candy bar, and tastes like one too, well, it would if candy bars had cedar filling. Prominent cedar, chocolate, caramel, savory roasted nuts and coffee. A worthy stick, but one that absolutely will ash all over you. The ash was particularly brittle in the second half of this cigar.
Siglo Belicoso *
This Siglo was a smoke looked a little worse for wear. A patch above the band, and a crack below it. The band on these has changed recently, making them look a little less like Cohiba rip-offs, which I think is a good thing. The Siglo reportedly is one of the last cigars the legendary Frank Llaneza blended before he passed, and it’s a pretty good stick without riding on the coattails of the forbidden fruit. Earth, sweet cocoa and a little cedar.
Zino Embassy Selection
A beautifully made (and priced) perfecto that I’d love to light up daily. Unfortunately now, a little less than a year since I reviewed them, these smokes are completely sold out, so it’s a rare treat. This particular smoke was a little more buttery flavor-wise than previous smokes. Additionally, there was a little bit of spice, cedar and butterscotch sweetness enhancing that core musty/bready Davidoff flavor.
Zino Platinum Scepter Low Rider
A smaller ring gauged smoke with a great honey wrapper aroma and a very creamy mouth feel. Pleasant musty, creamy, paper and lightly cedar flavors that make it a solid choice with the morning cup of joe.
Winner of the Week: Padilla Miami Corona (Pepin-Made)
* Big Brother would have you know these cigars were gifts or free samples. Big Brother is suspicious of my motivation for writing these entries and similarly suspicious of you for reading them. Tinfoil hat recommended.