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 likely, the past month), 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’ve linked to a photo of Jerry The ‘Stache. You won’t know until you click.) Enjoy!
262 Paradigm Box-Pressed Toro *
I won this one in a recent contest, and was quick to light one up when it arrived. I remembered the 262 sample picked up at IPCPR being pretty good. And “pretty good” seems to still be an apt description. It was really light on the palate, with tart cherry syrup early on, followed light sweet cinnamon, mild leather and aromatic hints.
Alec Bradley Family Blend No. 1
At burn time, rumors were circulating about the Family Blend earning a high position on a certain popular annual list of cigars. I haven’t smoked a lot of these, but I could see why that might wind up happening. The cigar begins with a rich flavor assortment of roasted nuts, cream, leather, caramel and cedar. It remains a solid, and rather tasty stick throughout, with sweet rich cream that lingers as you smoke it, transitioning into a peppery cedar near the end. A great smoke, and a contender for winner of the week.
Arganese ML³ Robusto **
I found this guy lingering in the deep recesses of one of my humidors. I remember really liking them once upon a time, but it’s been ages. Even with the first puffs I could feel some spice and heat, along with earth and some chocolate. It’s still a good application of Ligero.
Avo Compañero **
It’s been ages since I had a Compañero, Avo’s limited edition from 2009, and I’m impressed. I don’t remember caring much for these when I first tried them. No matter what has changed in the interim, my tastes or the tobacco (by aging that is), I really enjoyed this cigar. It was creamy and had that hint of that trademark mustiness, but it also had rich cocoa, earth and caramel flavors along with a healthy dose of sweet grassy spice. It’s no Heritage or LE 10, but it’s a worthy smoke.
Cain Habano 550
For a cigar that’s mostly ligero, it doesn’t punch you the way you might expect. It begins smooth and earthy with elements of wood and nuts, but as it progresses the spice begins to build, the earth fades a bit and it’s like potent black coffee with a smooth peppery finish. It’s a potent smoke to be sure, but you wouldn’t know by the way it tastes. A solid smoke, but unfortunately it developed a large wrapper crack in the final third. (Which usually doesn’t happen.)
A very impressive cigar that serves up a rich medley of salt caramel, leather, vanilla and cedar flavors. The combination almost defies description. This experience makes me wonder why don’t I smoke these Cruzados often. Such a great smoke, such a winner.
Don Pepin Garcia El Centurion Lancero *
Given to me by Charlie, aka “The Burberry Bachelor”, who is a big fan of the now rare limited edition cigar. I can see why, Pepin packed a lot of flavor in this slender stick. I noted rich nuts, earthy chocolate, coffee and some faintly aromatic wood. The spice you expect from Pepin kicked in around half way, but was short lived. Silty earth and chocolate seemed to linger long after the smoke dissipated. I’d definitely pick some up if the opportunity presents itself.
El Cobre Churchill
You can expect a lot of full flavor and solid white ashes from this big dark smoke. I noted rich dark chocolate, wood, earth and black pepper spice. For less than four bucks a stick, this cult favorite is still one of the best bargain smokes on the market.
Esencia Petit Corona
The Esencia Petite Corona is a cigar I’ve been smoking a lot lately. I never get tired of its incredibly rich and creamy profile featuring notes of vanilla, caramel, aromatic cedar, and roasted nuts. Whether or not it wins this week, it’s won a spot in my humidor.
Falto Mi Viejo Liga #8 *
Falto is a line of cigars I don’t know much about, and I didn’t know what to expect. What I discovered was a cigar that produced a Davidoff-like musty, savory cream as well as salt caramel, wood and spice. At times it reminded me a bit of an Avo LE 10. Unfortunately, the wrapper split a little after halfway in. It was a pleasant surprise, and though the crack might keep it from winning the week, it’s a cigar I’d happily smoke again.
Graycliff 1666 PGX **
This 1666 PGX is another one of those sticks that’s been on an extended vacation in my humidor. As I smoked it I detected a savory touch that’s hard to put my finger on, caramel, leather, a little cinnamon and charry earth. Not sure I’d pony up the full $13.50 retail price for another, but not a bad smoke, either.
Gran Habano Gran Reserva #3 Churchill 2008 *
An indulgent cigar offering and enjoyable array of buttery and creamy flavors, including aromatic cedar, mild earth and almond. An excellent choice for first smoke of the day. I will be smoking more, if I can find them. Recommended.
La Aurora Corojo Robusto *
I had to revisit this one after Jerry put it on his top ten of 2010 list. What I found was a hearty dark-ashed smoke full of meaty and earthy, wood, aromatic sweet grass and pepper. It’s a smoke that seems to have improved with age.
La Flor Dominicana Maduro Salomon
This Maduro Salomon is easily the most expensive stick in this list, Jackson will need Lincoln’s help at the cash register. But I heard good things, I had to try one. I’m glad I did, this beautiful dark oily beast of a cigar produced rich meaty and peppery flavors with an intriguing hint of vanilla sweetness. An enjoyable ride, but a little to expensive for me to go on again.
La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chiselito
I don’t often smoke the “chisel” vitola, and this time, I tried the pinch cut. That is, giving the sides of the flattened cap a squeeze. It seemed to work very well, which would make this format really convenient when you find yourself someplace without out a cutter. In terms of flavor, I got a lot of it through that tiny chisel. Rich earth, leather, black coffee and grassy cedar with nice amount of pepper and a little sweetness. What a great little smoke, I can’t wait to light up another.
Perdomo Champagne Robusto
In celebration of Nick Perdomo’s birthday, I lit up a Champagne. Syrupy sweet grass, tart green apple, light earth and spice made for a pleasant afternoon. I’m not much of a bubbly drinker, and would be happy to smoke one of these in lieu of tipping back a flute.
Perdomo Criollo Robusto
In addition to the Champagne, I also picked up a Criollo since I haven’t had one in a while. A solid smoke offering notes of cocoa, bittersweet chocolate and coffee. A great cigar for the price.
Viaje Skull and Bones
I gave the cigar with the Jolly Roger band another go around and found it had to offer a rich and savory combination of cedar, coffee and chocolate. A pretty good cigar, though not as good as some of the other Viaje products I’ve had in the past.
Winner of the Week: Cruzado Domenicos
* Big Brother would have you know these cigars were gifts or free samples, and that my opinions on them is suspect. My opinions are my own, your response to them is your own. The leprechaun beard belongs to Jerry.
** I have too many smokes, and this denotes that the smoke in question has been sitting in one of my humidors for at least a year, and thus qualifies as “aged”. If my collection continues to grow, the chances are good I’ll be on that Discovery Channel show about people who hoard stuff and face eviction.
Many of the pictures in Brian’s The Week In Smoke first appeared on twitter. If you’d like to see these lists constructed in real time, follow Brian on twitter. If you don’t, you’ll make the Fail Whale cry.