This week has been a bit of a scramble for content. My plan was to crack open one of my coolers and do another Humidor Diving video, since they seem to be well received. As the week progressed, I had a couple of things pop up and I kept pushing off the recording.
I’m no stranger to last minute recordings. In the past I’ve recorded a video in the evening and managed to upload and write a post for midnight, just a few hours later. This time things are a little different and I’m just not feeling up to that last minute scramble.
Instead, I thought I’d take a page out of Jerry’s playbook for when time is tight and content is needed. I opted to go the route of a quick little week in smoke. The mildly amusing part of this post is that I wasn’t planning on using this weeks photos for a Week In Smoke, which is pretty clear just as soon as you lay eyes on them.
I was in the mood for something with a little punch behind it. I’ve been smoking through the Cain F line like it was going out of style and felt the urge to change it up a bit. I cracked open one of my coolers and started rummaging for something that would fit the bill.
I came across a Rocky Patel ‘The Edge’ that I purchased several years ago. Just seeing it brought back memories of that dark wood box, cigars standing vertical, with the label warning smokers that this was full bodied to the max. I still snicker and shake my head at the thought of that label.
I purchased a handful during an event and fired one up. To be blunt, I thought it was a lousy cigar and I regretted making the purchase. I was in the minority, people loved that cigar then and still do. To me, it was terribly unbalanced and harsh.
After a few years of rest, I hoped that time would smooth out those rough edges. I popped the band off of the foot, clipped the tapered head, and set flame to foot. More than three years in my cooler did change the cigar, but not in the way that I had hoped.
The body fell to the medium range and the flavor level dropped to the mild range. The harshness that I remembered was still present and was the dominant force. The Rocky Patel ‘The Edge’ wasn’t my thing back then and it isn’t now. While time was kind to the blend, it just wasn’t kind enough.
In times past, the Padilla Obsidian was a staple on my CigarBid shopping list. If you bid smart, for around $15.00 you could not only get yourself a five pack of these cigars, but you could have them delivered as well. For this reason the cigar was very popular among the online cigar community.
The Padilla Obsidian had solid flavor and produced plenty of thick, billowing, smoke. Cheap and it tasted great, there must be a catch, right? Yes sir, this cigar was a nightmare to keep lit. We would joke that the only way you could smoke this cigar is if you had a can of butane at the ready because your torch would need refilling at least once.
Despite touching it up between puffs, this cigar delivered a good bang for your buck. I loaded up on them before moving on to other things and I’ve been smoking them here and there for the last couple of years.
While rooting around in my cooler, I decided to light up one of my last remaining Obsidians. That first puff brought back fond memories. Before I could take a second puff, the cigar was out and I had to reach for my torch.
I think I managed a streak of about five puffs before the cigar needed a touch-up. Smoking it was frustrating but the flavor was decent, although it wasn’t nearly as rich as I remember it being.
I’m not sure if this is still being produced or if the blend is even close to what it used to be. Despite the flame-retardent reputation of this stick, it still brings back fond memories.
Padilla Achilles – Edicion Especial 2006
When it comes to the Padilla Achilles, I can’t help but smile at the memories it brings back. This cigar hit the scene at what I think of as the height of the Don Pepin Garcia craze. All of the cool kids smoked Pepin product and the affordable price of the Archilles made it very popular.
I can remember members of the old Club Stogie forum buying up this cigar like mad. If you were one of the odd-balls that didn’t like it, you bought it anyway because you could always use it to trade up. Unlike the other Edicion Especial ‘Enter Date Here’ cigars, when this one was gone, it was gone. While the cigar did resurface later, the blend was overhauled as Pepin was no longer making product for Padilla.
I’m not sure how many of these cigars I wound up with, but I smoked them frequently. They were, if you will, all that and a bag of chips. Like any other cigar, I slowly transitioned away from it and the remaining few have been tucked away in my cooler for a time when I was feeling nostalgic.
This week was one of those times and I sought out an Archilles for the occasion. My home made band dated the cigar as going into my cooler in February of 2007. I pulled the cigar from its cellophane tomb and prepared it for smoking. I tried not to get my hopes up, after all, the other older sticks that I smoked didn’t live up to what I remembered.
Not only did the Achilles live up to what I remembered, it surpassed it. The variety of flavors married and made a single, wonderful, core flavor. The cigar produced plenty of thick smoke and burned great.
I probably have three or four Padilla Achilles tucked away and I can’t wait to revisit it. If I could go back in time, I would have bought more and did my best to forget about them for a few years.
Litto Gomez Diez SB IV
When it comes to La Flor Dominicana product, I have a serious lack of experience. I’ve smoked plenty of the Ligero and Double Ligero offerings, but when it comes to the limited production and/or specialty offerings, I’ve smoked almost none of it.
Mike, from Buckhead Cigar Club, was kind enough to put a Litto Gomez Diez (LG) SB IV in my hands for my Gun Podcast (where I do a cigar and drink pairing). It was the first and only one that I had in my possession and I was eager to light it up.
La Flor Dominicana has a reputation for putting out some seriously full bodied offerings and this cigar has a reputation for topping the charts in that regard. This cigar lived up to every bit of that reputation and pounded my pallat. Even so, I loved it.
Despite the cigar being enough to knock a medium-bodied smoker senseless, it had great balance. I picked up a woody core flavor with tastes of raisins and black peppercorns drifting in and out. The smoke volume and construction were both stellar.
The only downside to this cigar is the price. Coming in at $17.95 MSRP, this isn’t something that I’ll be purchasing anytime soon. If money was no object, this is definitely something that would be a staple in my humidor.
Over the years, we have developed a very good relationship with Jon Huber. Jon is what I would consider one of the good guys in the industry. That isn’t to imply that there are very many bad guys out there, it just means that Jon has always been a straight shooter. If you ask him a question, he doesn’t dance around it or tell you what you want to hear. He is passionate about the industry and it makes him a pleasure to talk to.
A few months back Jerry, Brian, and I were asked if we would be interested in trying some samples. No reviews, just some blind cigars that he wanted our personal opinion on. These cigars were what would become Four Kicks. We accepted happily and each of us did our best to provide all the feedback we could.
Of those four cigars, One was stellar, two were good, and one was okay. A couple of weeks later we all received a couple more cigars to evaluate. I don’t remember too much about those but I do remember practically writing a book report for Jon, which included a handful of photos.
Not long after the evaluation, Jon announced that Ernesto Perez Carillo was making the highly anticipated Four Kicks. I watched from the sidelines as the cigar released and received high praise from the blogosphere.
It wasn’t until this week that I had the opportunity to try the official Four Kicks line. Jon was kind enough to send out a sampler of four cigars and a hat (When my wife saw the hat, she said “Awwww, you got a new beenie!” in a childish voice that I could only laugh at. I really do like the hat and it will come in handy when the Pennsylvania winter strikes).
I wasted no time and fired up the Belicoso that night. Not only was it good, it was better than the sample that I thought was stellar. The following morning, I fired up the robusto and enjoyed it thoroughly. Had I smoked more of these prior to putting together my Favorite Cigars of 2011 List, it would have most definitely made the cut.
During the 2009 IPCPR Trade Show in New Orleans, the Joya de Nicaragua Antano Dark Corojo wasn’t the Antano Dark Corojo. I believe it was some sort of test blend and branded the JDN-ADC El Martillo 2009.
While Jerry and I were making the rounds on the trade show floor, we were pulled aside by Dave Lafferty of Drew Estate. We talked for a few minutes and were handed a few of the El Martillo 2009’s. Dave described the cigar as an amped up Joya de Nicaragua Antano 1970 before we parted ways. Jerry handed me his sample and told me to smoke it as it sounded like something I would enjoy.
Not long after the trade show, I fired up one of those cigars and wan’t impressed. It was all power and had no finesse. When the Dark Corojo was released a bit later, I was surprised to learn that it was the El Martillo from the trade show. Even more surprising was the praise that Jerry gave it.
Shortly after that review, I tried another El Martillo 2009 and enjoyed it more that I did the first time around, but it was still out of balance. On a whim, I pulled the last sample from my humidor as I sat down to write this Week in Smoke.
A little time in the humidor did this cigar a lot of good. The power settled down and allowed the flavors to shine. It is rich and heavy while producing plenty of dense smoke. It makes a great compliment to a strong cup of black coffee. Simply put, I wish I had a few more of these.