It’s time once again for Brian’s Week In Smoke. 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 2, or 3), 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. (Or maybe I’ll just link to a video of Jerry McCruz.) Enjoy!
601 Green La Punta *
A 601 figurado vitola with a name that doesn’t mean what you think it means. That other word doesn’t have an ‘n’ in it. The “Tip” as it’s name translates, offered me good mix of spice, savory, buttery roasted nuts and earth.
CAO LX2 Lancero
Time has been has been kind to this stick. I couldn’t tell you how long I’ve had it, or even where it came from, but as I burned it I was a little sad. I think it’s my last one. And it was delicious, more creamy and with more caramel sweetness than I remembered from previous experiences. Definitely worth the humidor space and the time to age.
Cuaba Piramides Edicion Limitada 2008 *
A rare treat given to me by a friend. Rich and smoky nuts, earth and cedar flavors with hints of vanilla sweetness and spice. A very fine stick indeed.
Cuesta Rey 1884 *
I was given a handful of these, well-aged smaller ring gauged smokes a while back by a friend who needed to make a little room in his humidor. It’s been a while since I had one, and I still find the nutty, creamy cedar to be a pleasant experience with the morning coffee.
EP Carrillo Edicion Limitada 2010*
Following up the well received Edicion Inaugural, Carrillo family introduced a new annual limited edition at the 2010 IPCPR trade show. And like it’s predecessor, it’s a well constructed, beautifully burning smoke. But it’s also a little fuller in body, addressing a complaint that some had regarding the Edicion Inaugural. You can expect earth, sweet fruity syrup, spice, and later chocolate and wood flavors from this year’s limitada.
La Flor Dominicana Air Bender Poderoso
I decided it was time to revisit the Air Bender. It’s been out for a while, and the word on the street was that it was had improved a great deal over time. I found that to be true, it is better now than I remember. I picked up a mixture of cream, grass, caramel, and faint smokiness.
Liga Privada No. 9 Original Release *
Despite the purely functional band, the original release, or as the band says, “Saka LP#9 – 03/2007” is a beautiful cigar. The dark reddish, oily and toothy wrapper makes even the occasional black splotch look good. The profile is an equally beautiful combination of caramel sweetness, smokey and meaty flavors.
Macanudo 1968 Robusto *
Until the Cru Royal came along, the 1968 was this was the best Macanudo General made. (I’m basing this judgement on trade show samples, which is dangerous.) And it’s still a pretty good smoke, despite the crooked burn. Coffee, bittersweet chocolate, pepper, sometimes charry wood are what you can expect from this fuller-bodied smoke with the mild-bodied name.
Macanudo Hampton Court *
Tastes change, and every now and then I pick up a Macanudo just to see how it strikes me. Lightly is the word. The light musty and buttery paper flavors with a little sweetness still don’t do much for me.
Man O’ War Virtue Toro
A cigar with very light connecticut wrapper that features a sweet, creamy bread flavor with a touch of cinnamon that reminds me a little of a cinnamon roll. A very pleasant smoke that’s best to smoke early on in the day, before hearty food and drink roughs up the palate. Unfortunately, the wrapper cracked in the final third, making last bit of the cigar a bit of a nuisance.
Don Pepin Garcia Mi Barrio
A cigar that doesn’t get much attention these days, perhaps due to greater interest in the My Father. Looking for something different that’s had plenty of humidor time, I selected this lonely Mi Barrio, blew the dust off it, and lit it up. And wow, these things age beautifully. I was rewarded for my efforts with cocoa, caramel, wood, graham, a very nice velvety cinnamon. A definite winner.
Nestor Miranda Danno 2010 Buckhead Cigar Edition
With a different wrapper, and a little extra ligero, the Buckhead Cigar edition of the 2010 Danno is a significantly different smoke. But different in a good way. Spicy, creamy, with fruity sweetness, some underlying cocoa and just the right acidic tingle. One thing remains the same, the Danno is a big, beautiful smoke.
PDR 1878 Cubana Especial Toro
This dark new stick from Pinar Del Rio features an oily Brazilian maduro wrapper and delivers dense clouds of rich smoke. (You might want to pull the battery out of the smoke detector for this one.) A lot of syrupy raisin sweetness early on, but it fades a little as the cigar burns, exposing slightly charry wood and mild earth. Not an exciting or challenging cigar, but one for anyone looking for a sweet, straightforward smoke.
Rocky Patel 1961 Salomon
This line extension tiptoed to into the humidors of my local shop recently, with nary a word about it to be found anywhere online. (At least none Google could find.) One of the problems with this vitola is that the rolling complexity commands a much higher price tag. That is, it normally does. I picked up this stick for around ten dollars, which is a noticeable markup from the other sizes, but really not that bad. The curvy, perfectly burning smoke offers a medium-bodied profile of rich earth, nuts and a touch of black cherry sweetness and pepper.
Sosa Super Selection III
A dark, Mexican maduro-wrapped cigar I picked up some time ago on the recommendation of a local brother of the leaf. A promising start of savory roasted nuts, rich chocolate and charry wood but the flavor turned minerally and slightly unpleasant about half way in. It did recover after a bit, but wasn’t quiet as good as before. Immaculate burn properties, however, and a perfect white ash. Could be a bum stick, I’ll probably try it again (if I can find one) before writing it off.
Top Shelf Signature Black Toro Extra
Looking for something a little different, I grabbed the lone Top Shelf Signature Black that’s been loitering in my humidor for quite some time. (Around a year and a half by my estimates.) The sweet and tart graham, spice and wood flavor profile really made it stand out in the week’s line up. Outstanding. I really need to buy more of these.
Viaje Skull and Bones
I couldn’t let Halloween pass me by without smoking something appropriate for the holiday. I never know what to expect from a new Viaje cigar, but my expectations were high. What I encountered was a frighteningly good combination of aromatic chocolate, dark and tart syrupy cherry (at times reminding me a little of a ruby port), wood, and a bit of chalkiness.
Warlock Toro *
Don’t let the this new menacing looking Altadis-made smoke with the science fiction name and creepy magazine ads scare you away. I’ve had a couple of these recently (one I bought and I was given one, for those keeping track) and I’ve found that the only spell it will cast on you is one of delicious happiness. Sweet, creamy toasted coconut and butterscotch early on, followed by earth with a pinch of spice throughout.
Zino Platinum Master Edition 2009
A cigar I picked up on a whim inspired by my recent enjoyment the Zino Emperors editions and the Avo LE 10. Compared to those stout smokes, the Master Edition 2009 almost seems tiny. The flavors I noted were a meaty combination of cocoa, spicy roasted nuts and a little pepper. And after the cigar’s spicy intro, the cocoa started to take on that musty Davidoff quality. A decent smoke.
Winner of the Week: Don Pepin Garcia Mi Barrio
* Big Brother would have you know these cigars were gifts or free samples, and that my opinions on them is suspect. The truth is out there, but you’re not gonna find it sitting there smoking cigars… or are you?