Charlie’s Month in Smoke, vol. 1

Week in Smoke6 Comments on Charlie’s Month in Smoke, vol. 1

Charlie’s Month in Smoke, vol. 1

I have to apologize again, folks. Things are extremely busy for me right now, and for the second week in a row I wasn’t able to record a video review. Lots of changes are happening in my life right now: I successfully passed my PhD dissertation proposal, my wife & I recently announced that we’re expecting our first child in May, and I’ve decided to put school on hold while I look for a job… which will almost certainly involve a relocation. As I’m sure you can imagine, I haven’t had much free time lately!

So, instead of a full-length review, my post this week will be my version of our popular Week in Smoke series. However, since I’ll be featuring cigars that I’ve smoked over the past few weeks (not just the past 7 days), and because I don’t plan to do this type of post on a regular basis, I’ve decided to call this my Month in Smoke. Some of these cigars may have already been reviewed by myself or another member of the Stogie Review crew, while others just might make it into a full-length review sometime in the future. Enjoy!

Imperiales by Leon Jimenes (Maduro) – This 7×50 Churchill was included in the swag bag handed out at the Delaware Cigar Festival a few months ago, and I dug it out of my humidor when I had a good amount of time available with no idea of what I wanted to smoke. I’m sorry to say that I was thoroughly disappointed with this cigar and wished I had gone with something else that night. The Imperiales Maduro had lots on construction issues, with constant re-lights and an ash that almost looked like the cigar exploded (see YouTube clip above). Additionally, the flavors left much to be desired. I don’t think I’ll be picking up any more of these.

Partagas Benji Menendez Master Series – I grabbed a box of the Drapers-exclusive toro size at the Benji Menendez event at W. Curtis Draper (Bethesda) in October. I was even fortunate enough to have Benji personally autograph the box and snap a picture with me. If you haven’t yet watched the video that Jerry shot of George Brightman’s interview with Benji, you’re missing out on something special. As far as the cigar is concerned, it’s got a terrific construction and some really enjoyable flavors. I’ve gifted a couple to YoungBuckBOTL from, and he’s liked them as well.

Arturo Fuente Cubanito – These petite cigars are perfect for when you’re short on time and just want a quick smoke, and I’ll often light one up when I’m schlepping across campus or taking the dog out for a walk. Lots of flavor packed into a small form-factor (4.25×32), with a rich nuttiness and a surprisingly good & consistent construction. Definitely worth keeping a tin of these around for when the moment is right.

EP Carrillo New Wave Connecticut – I was gifted this cigar by Ernesto Carrillo himself at another recent event hosted by W. Curtis Draper in Bethesda, and purchased a few more sticks afterwards. An absolutely perfect choice for the first cigar of the day when you expect to be doing quite a bit of smoking, as it delivers a lot of satisfying, mild-medium flavors and won’t ruin your palate for later smokes. Not your typical boring Connecticut, by any stretch of the imagination. And don’t miss Jerry’s video from the EP Carrillo event either!

EP Carrillo Edición Limitada 2011 – I also picked up a box of these Dark Rituals at the Draper’s EP Carrillo event. Not having tried one myself, everyone I spoke to absolutely raved about them, so I was really excited to get these home. After smoking a few, I’m still not sure what I think. I can objectively say that it’s a great cigar, but I’m just not sure whether the flavor profile is doing it for me subjectively. It might have been my pairing choices, or what I ate earlier in the day, but I’m just not ready to render my final opinion on the Dark Ritual.

Tatuaje Noella – One of my favorite everyday smokes, the Noella delivers the classic brown label Tatuaje flavor that I often crave, wrapped up in one of my personal favorite sizes. This is the standard Seleccion de Cazador (brown label) Noella, not the Noella Reserva that Jerry reviewed a couple of years ago. I’ve never encountered any real problems with the burn, construction, or consistency, and I find that the Noellas are a great introduction for a smoker who might be new to Tatuaje cigars.

Ashton Classic – I picked up this corona at Lone Wolf Cigars in Santa Monica, California and smoked it while watching the sunset on Santa Monica beach. The view was certainly much better than the smoke. I know some people really enjoy the Classic as a golfing cigar, but it just wasn’t for me. I was looking for something on the milder side at the time, but the flavors were really lacking. It would probably go much better with a coffee, but all I was picking up was some oak and cloves. However, the construction was phenomenal and it kept a beautiful, long white ash. I don’t smoke many Ashton cigars, and this experience will almost guarantee that I’ll stick with their higher-end stuff like the VSG.

Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series – I selected a Diplomatico to enjoy at the end of a long day of traveling as I watched the Monday Night Football game in the lounge at Santa Monica Tobacco. Not surprisingly, it smoked like a Padrón, but I kept tasting the Ashton Classic that I had smoked several hours earlier in the day. The Diplomatico went quite well with a decaf café au lait, but I really wished this had been my first cigar of the day instead of my last. I really had a hard time picking up the complex and somewhat delicate flavors after all the work my palate had done earlier between the previous cigar smoking and the In-N-Out Double-Double Animal Style I had for lunch.

About Charlie:
Charlie has been enjoying cigars since 2000 and generally prefers a medium-bodied, full-flavored smoke. A USAF vet, he is currently pursuing a PhD in computer science, focusing on artificial intelligence and computational linguistics. Originally from Connecticut and now residing in Delaware, Charlie is also a fan of football, science fiction, political philosophy, and single malt scotch. You can contact Charlie on Twitter @greenbacker

Charlie has been enjoying cigars since 2000 and generally prefers a medium-bodied, full-flavored smoke. A USAF vet, he currently works as a data scientist focusing on natural language processing and is pursuing a PhD in computer science in his spare time. Originally from Connecticut and now residing in Northern Virginia, Charlie is also a fan of football, science fiction, political philosophy, and single malt scotch. You can contact Charlie on Twitter @greenbacker.

6 thoughts on “Charlie’s Month in Smoke, vol. 1

  1. Congrats on all the good things going on with you, Charlie!

    The Imperiales I smoked had terrible burn properties, too. I finally got so frustrated with it, I chucked with more than 2″ left, which is an anomaly for me. It just got too hot, harsh, and mushy.

    Best of luck with your job search.

  2. Not a bad lineup. A couple of my all time favorites in there with the Tat Noellas and Padron Anni’s. I like the Maduro Exclusivo size with them best. It’s a shame that ashton ruined it for ya. That is the only cigar in Ashtons lineup im not a fan of. I love everything else they do. For a Conneticut wrapped cigar i stick with the Cabinet with them. Little more body and a lot more flavor.

  3. Charlie, congrats to you and your wife! I somehow missed this bit of information. I hope that your relocation doesn’t take yo too far away. Nie line-up ou had. I’ve really enjoyed the Benjis I’ve smoked, but not as much as the time I had the priveledge of having spemt with him. He’s an amazing gentleman!

    Best to you, I hope we can get together soon to smoke a few!

  4. Congrats on your impending fatherhood. Becoming a father is one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences any man could enjoy. I wish you all the best & welcome to the fraternity of Dads!

    I enjoy your reviews so please keep up the good work. I know I have a box of Tatuaje Regios that are smoking fabulously right now. I think I may have to pull the trigger on a couple of the Benji Partagas….so many good reviews.

    Good luck on your job search.

  5. Great month in review! I share your frustration with multiple cigars in a day sometimes leaving you disappointed (rather, the subsequent cigars not the first). I find there are many factors, but for me the primary one is that the 2nd cigar needs to be fuller in body to “cut through” the muddy palate. I still haven’t mastered this myself … maybe this would be something worth doing an article on?

    And I’m with you on the Tat Noella, never disappointed in one of those. in fact, I need to get some more now that the winter has arrived.

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