Back again with another edition of Week in Smoke. I think these have started to become more popular than my actual reviews. To answer a question I get repeatedly; Yes I do plan on bringing back the video version of Week in Smoke. Surprisingly it actually takes the most amount of work but its advertising money we could use to offset our ever growing hosting expenses. I start this edition with the classic CAO Brazilia and end with a pair of prototype blends in the CAO RR #4 and CAO RR #8 that CAO sent curious for my feedback. I’ve missed this since Jon Huber left CAO. I always felt appreciated by Jon and the guys at CAO whenever they asked for my opinion on blends going back and forth with our thoughts. Along with the RR #4 and RR #8 I also get a chance to give some feedback on the ZEN by Nish Patel slated to be released at this year’s upcoming IPCPR in Las Vegas. Don’t worry, Stogie Review will be there to bring you another year of coverage.
CAO Brazilia– Classic CAO cigar. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy the Brazilia. I always thought that till I learned that Jon Huber never was a fan of it. But I’ve always been stunned by the barrage of flavors. Nutty flavors, as well as pepper, bitter chocolate, and nice woodsy notes to keep things in check. Like I said, classic cigar with a complexity to challenge your senses.
CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger – I was on the fence as to whether to add the Knuckle Dragger to my Favorite Quick Smokes list. I’m sure one day it will be there as the size and more importantly the blend is just taking over my palate. I actually find my palate craving the Knuckle Dragger. If you are looking for a cigar that will challenge and crush your palate, look no further. Complexity, strength and a balanced savoring flavor profile make the CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger tits in my opinion.
Illusione ~burn~ – Naples FL was my most recent destination. On the agenda was a little rest and relaxation with close family along with a visit to BURN by Rocky Patel. If you are ever in Naples, BURN has to be on your list as a cigar destination. Great atmosphere, great selection and the bathroom attendent is killer. The eye candy isn’t bad either but a bit older for my taste. I could definitely see a Real House Wives of Naples coming soon. As for the Illusione ~burn~ its unlike anything else Dion produces. A little bit of Epernay…a little bit “Cruz”ado is the best way to describe the Illusione ~burn~. Looking forward to other BURN editions from La Flor Dominicana, Padron and many many other. Shout out to Patrick Vivalo for the VIP treatment while I was there. Also I’ll admit, I stole the Epernay/”Cruz”ado thing from Patrick.
Arturo Fuente Curly Head – Did some humidor diving again and came across a slew of Arturo Fuente Curly Heads. Probably haven’t smoked one since I reviewed them back in the pre-video days of Stogie Review. I wonder if I can still find them for under $2 today. Still the same cigar as I remember probably the best cigar I can think of for the true novice on a budget. Adding to that is the Fuente name. A beginner can walk into any B&M, say the name Fuente and 99.99% of the tobacconists out there will know what brand the smoker is referring to making their job a little bit easier to help a newcomer find a good smoke.
Camacho Legend Ario – I remember when this was the Camacho El Legend-Ario and it was a totally unbanded cigar and only available in a Corojo and Maduro wrappers. Then they introduced it with only a foot band. Today its the Legend Ario complete with a band at both ends and available in a Corojo, Maduro and Connecticut wrapper choices. This is the Corojo and its nothing like I remember it from the unbanded days. The best description I can give it; flat and flavorless.
Alec Bradley Prensado – I always feel bad for the Prensado. It doesn’t get as much attention as the Tempus but in my eyes its just as good and on some points, possibly better? While a popular line for Alan Rubin, I think it under rated. Starts off on the mild-medium end but eventually progresses to a medium-full range on strength and flavor. Burns razor sharp with a hint of blue tint to its smoke. I enjoyed every minute of it.
La Gloria Cubana Serie R Limitada 2005 – In 2005, La Gloria Cubana created a total of 21,000 special cigars and called them the Limitada 2005. At the time, the ring gauge was an almost unheard of 62 RG. You are going to need a full stomach and a couple hours to devour this 7.75×62 monster. Smooth from start to finish. Lots of great natural tobacco flavors with a sprinkling of nuttiness. Cigar burns cool and consistent. Normally when smoking cigars of this size I tend to lose interest or the flavor profile gets so airy that I never finish them. Neither of which were experienced.
Nestor Miranda Special Selection Atlanta Braves Alumni Edition – I’m a baseball fan. I’m an Orioles fan but a baseball fan first. It use to be America’s game but I love the strategy and the skill involved to play ball. Some people say nothing is more American than baseball and apple pie. Now I like pie just as much as the next fat guy but for me, there is nothing more American than baseball and cigars. This is the perfect spot to plug the upcoming Chattanooga Cigar Tweetup where both baseball and cigars will be consumed. Maybe we can get Nestor to make a special cigar for the event? If you are a baseball fan and more specifically a fan of the Atlanta Braves, give our friends at Buckhead Cigar a call to order these special cigars created to celebrate 45 Years of Atlanta Braves baseball.
ZEN by Nish Patel – Thanks to Nish Patel for thinking of me and wanting me to give his ZEN cigar a try before its release at IPCPR. Also thanks to Patrick Vivalo for being the mule to transport them to me. The tag line for ZEN is “rethink Connecticut”. Upon lighting one of the ZENs I did just that. I had a similar experience when I first smoked the New Wave Connecticut by EPC. In fact I think I mumbled the same phrase of “no way this is a Connecticut”. I’ve only smoked one so far but I’m impressed. Smooth smoking experience with an exotic creaminess and lots of complexity that really challenges, engulfs and sends your palate into overdrive. Watch out Ernesto…ZEN by Nish Patel may give you a run.
CAO RR #4 – My initial thought on the CAO RR #4 was that it reminded me of a lot of a La Traviata but with some LX2 (or ligero in general) added to it. Lots of well defined spice and pepper notes throughout and a killer flavor bomb experience when retro haling. A few burn issues. I had to babysit but no relights. Enjoyed the cigar but the spice factor really dominated the palate and it was hard to pick up anything else.
CAO RR #8 – Same or similar wrapper to the RR #4 so my guess is that only the blend is the difference. My guess is that the RR #8 has less ligero. The spiciness and strength was present but definitely toned down with more of a creamy factor. A lot more assortment of flavors over the RR #4. The toned down spiciness really let the blend open up and really challenged my palate trying to decipher everything going on. Which was better? Both were great and I’d probably buy either. If I had to choose one? For me, I think the variety and complexity of the flavor profile of the RR #8 edges out the #4. Who knows, I could have this all wrong but thats what I got.