With the holidays in full effect, I haven’t had the time time to prepare a proper review for this week. The good news is that I’ve had a Brian’s The Week In Smoke ready to go for a while now, so our readers will have a little something to browse in between parties and hangovers. Happy Holidays!
Back by at least one request, it’s time once again for Brian’s The 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 more like 4 in this case), 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 photo of Jerry The ‘Stache.) Enjoy!
5 Vegas Triple-A Toro
Once upon a time, the 5 Vegas A was cigar I smoked pretty regularly, so I was only too happy to burn one from a sampler I picked up recently. The Triple-A isn’t the same blend as the regular A, and it made this plain with its peppery intro. It turned out to be a pretty good smoke, with flavors like smokey leather, chocolate, a kind of dirty-tasting coffee and charry wood.
A. Turrent Triple Play
The Triple Play is another one of those new cigars that had been on my stogie to-do list. My tasting notes included earth, smokey cocoa, cedar and spice. I was a little disappointed that the stick got earthier and blander as it progressed.
Arturo Fuente Anejo No. 77 “Shark”
It’s that time of year again, the rare Fuentes have hit the shops. And I can’t seem to resist lighting up one of these unusually-shaped smokes with their cedar, earth and rich sweet milk chocolate flavors. If you follow me on twitter, you probably already know that I often pair this stick with Grand Marnier.
Ashton Aged Maduro No. 10
Many years ago, the Ashton Maduro was a favorite of mine. And this smoke was a good example of why. Light smokey earth, caramel and chocolate. Though mild, a very pleasant and very attractive cigar.
Ashton Cabinet Series No. 8
This churchill sized Ashton Cabinet is not likely to win the week, but it is a pleasant smoke for a relaxed afternoon. Creamy, toasty and lightly sweet, with a hint of wood and mint.
Avalon Hellhound Black Cat Bone
This stout 5 x 60 smoke was nearly bursting out of it’s cedar sheath when I saw it in my humidor. One thing is for certain, they didn’t leave out a single leaf of tobacco, it was hard as a brick, and had a snug draw too. But it was smokeable, and despite the uncomfortable size, it was a fairly enjoyable stick. I noted a lot of cherry/caramel syrup (especially early on), creamy coconut, spice some mild cinnamon and even milder cedar. I have a feeling the profile would have been a little fuller had the draw been a little looser.
Berger & Argenti Entubar Double Corona
I’m not ordinarily a fan of a non-standard foot on a cigar, but I’ve been enjoying the Entubars enough that I’m happy to make an exception. The double corona had spicy beginning followed by the leafy/vegetal leather, caramel, aromatic cedar flavors I expected. On the downside, this stick had a flakier ash than I remember from previous Entubars. In all, a good stick, but I think the smaller vitolas are the way to go.
Camacho Liberty 2004 11/18
It’s the holiday season, and I was having a particularly good day, so I was in the mood to break out something special. The Liberty 2004 in it’s cedar coffin seemed like a good choice, and bonus, it wasn’t buried too deep in the humidor. I’ve had these before, but again I was surprised at how mild it was. The pleasant and very cedary profile was sweet and featured cinnamon and hints of roasted nuts. If you can find one, make sure it’s your first smoke of the day.
Camacho Select Robusto *
It’s been a while since I lit one of these Selects, and it was better than I remembered. I liked it before, and time has been kind to this stick. (Like many of this week’s cigars, this smoke has been resting for at least a year.) I really enjoyed the combination of faint caramel, grass, sweet cedar, earth and spice. And the construction was flawless to boot.
I really enjoyed the Conuco back when I reviewed it, but time seems to have been less charitable to this particular stick than some of the other aged smokes I’ve lit recently. In addition to pleasant flavors like syrupy nuts, leather and spice, I picked up a little too much of an off-putting green bean element.
Cubao Maduro Churchill
As ever, a solid smoke. Spicy up front, with pepper, chocolate and leather following. Probably a quirk to this specific cigar (or some aspect of its storage), but I got a unusual hint of popcorn in it too.
Cusano 18 Connecticut Robusto
It’s been a while since I burned a Cusano, and I’m certain this has been laying dormant for years at this point. An OK Connecticut stick with pronounced cedar, a light creamy bread flavor and ashiness in the later half.
Drew Estates Liga Privada Dirty Rat
A great new size and blend in Drew Estate’s Liga Privada portfolio. There’s about as much flavor in it as there is smoke pouring off the lit end. (And that’s a lot.) With creamy nuts, smokey, meaty, coffee, sweet paprika and white pepper in it’s profile, wacking a rat has never been so pleasurable. The only drawback is that this rat kept going out on me. And I don’t mean going out to talk to the cops.
Drew Estates LP JD 4 *
I’m told the the LP JD 4 was a candidate blend for the cigar that was to become the Liga Privada #9. This particular blend has more ligero and less sweetness than final version. You can expect smokey, savory meat, black coffee, dark chocolate and nuts with a very subtle sweetness when you light it up. An bonus, it could double as a signal fire, as it puts out as much smoke as a BBQ shack. In all, a great variation on the Liga Privada profile that rumor has it, we may see again in some form in the future. Keep asking for it!
El Primer Mundo Rosado Oscuro Produccion Limitada
This beefy smoke with the half dozen word name is a cigar that was last made in May of 2007, and has been comfortably resting in my humidor since. It had a beautiful toothy wrapper, a slightly snug draw, and a enjoyable medium-ish profile of light earthy chocolate, roasted coconut and a unique sweet piney citrus.
EloGio Serie Habano Robusto
A cigar maker that I don’t know too much about, but it came recommended so I decided to give it a whirl. I’m glad I did, it was a pleasant experience. My tasting notes included butterscotch, wood, and a syrupy nut flavor.
Frank Llaneza 1961 Pyramid
If I’m smoking something Atladis makes, the chances are I’m lighting up a Frank Llaneza. A solid stick you can expect earth, roasted nuts, coffee and chocolate from.
Gran Habano 3 Siglos Churchill
I lit up one of these now-discontinued sticks that dates back from before the “3 SLS” rebranding, remembering having had both positive and negative experiences with it in the past. This was one of the good ones. The well-aged stick with the beautiful reddish wrapper leaf served up a lot of great flavor, beginning with some delicious chocolate and later followed by earth, sweet and aromatic cedar and smokey paprika. A shame they won’t be with us much longer.
Guillermo Leon Corona
For some reason, whenever I light up a La Aurora cigar, I feel like cracking open a beer. That could be because La Aurora’s parent company owns Presidente Beer. And as it happens, pairing their beer with anything they make is a winning combination. I was out of Presidente so rolled the dice with another brew. Luck was on my side. The Guillermo Leon Corona’s buttery, earthy, grassy and spicy flavors played well with Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, bringing out out some interesting characteristics in the hops.
H. Upmann Sun Grown
Not a bad new H. Upmann, tending toward a more acidic, mouth drying favor profile. Spice, woody butterscotch, creamy citrusy nougat, dry earthiness.
My Father Le Bijou Petite Robusto
I’ve had a few My Father Le Bijous in the past, and they have never really impressed me. This smoke was a different story all together. In addition to having a noticeably darker wrapper than most, it was rich, complex and delicious. I didn’t keep notes, so I’m not doing it justice, but I recall tasting rich caramels, nougat, earth and chocolate. Easily the best cigar I’ve smoked in past couple weeks.
Nestor Miranda Dominicano Rosado Coffee Break
The Dominicano is a cigar I’ve been meaning to revisit. The profile was much like I remember, beginning creamy, nutty, and spicy with mild sweet earth component. Then about ? of the way in, the cigar picks up a distinct and potent walnut flavor, and grows progressively drier from that point forward.
Oliva Tobacco Company Angel 100
I found a litte five-count box of these Ange 100’s resting in the bottom of one humidor. How long they’ve been there is anybody’s guess. (Not less two years, to be sure.) I don’t remember what they were like before, but I rather enjoyed the cocoa, coffee, creamy nut and sweet cedar flavors it had to offer this time around.
Padilla 1932 Toro
The Padilla 1932 is another of those once favorites that have been long neglected. But the neglect in the back of the humidor only made them better. And I was treated to an incredible bouquet of flavor including vanilla, lightly creamy nougat, syrupy, velvety cinnamon, leather, rich caramel and roasted nuts. A strong contender for winner of the week.
Padilla Habano Artesano (formerly Burberry Perfecto)
A colorful perfecto featuring three different wrapper leaves that’s fun to light up on a special occasion or anytime you’re looking for something a little different. And the best part is that it doesn’t just look interesting it actually tastes pretty good too. Roasted nuts, chocolate, woody syrup and zing in the finish.
Padilla Miami Salomon
This smoke is a holdover from the short salomon craze a while back. It began with earth, cinnamon, coffee, aromatics and unusual sweetness and grew earthier, spicer as it progressed. There was also some sweet paprika and caramel in the later half I rather enjoyed. Good smoke, but let’s face it, and impractical vitola.
Partagas Black Label Magnifico *
I lit up this jet black 6 x 54 gift from a friend after not having smoked a Partagas Black in ages. And while there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with the cigar, it didn’t do anything to ensure I’d buy more soon. (However, I’m pretty sure I have some more that have been aging in my humidor.) It was a pretty straightforward combination of wood, chocolate and pepper.
Punch CRA Edition
This cigar was a little on the damp side when I lit it up, which isn’t often a problem this time of the year. Ordinarily you have to worry about your smokes being under-humidified. But it didn’t seem to cause any burn problems. In terms of flavor, I noted a slight cherry sweetness, leather and a savory characteristic. By the halfway point, I was bored with this smoke.
As often happens, I got a little caught up in the hype of another special edition Tatuaje. In my excitement, I burned on right off the delivery truck, despite knowing better. The potent blend of earthy roasted nuts, pepper and a cedar shows promise, but was a little harsh. I plan to revisit, but I’m going to give them some time to rest.
Winner of the Week: My Father Le Bijou Petite Robusto
* Big Brother would have you know these cigars were gifts or free samples, and that my opinions on them is suspect. All will be revealed when the colonists arrive. Please sit still for the implant.