Back once again here’s 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 the past month, or however long it has been since the last issue), 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!
90 Miles Toro by Flor De Gonzalez
Though they’ve been on the market for a couple of years now, it wasn’t until recently that I found 90 Miles in my area. The stick I picked had an light, attractively rustic, oily wrapper with fine veins and tooth. It was a pretty unique tasting smoke with almost a fatty richness to the body, spice, sweet earth, nougat, a little dark chocolate, and hints of citrus and aromatic cedar. A good smoke, but the draw was a little firm for my taste.
Cuba Aliados Miami Robusto **
While shifting some things around in my humidor the other day, I came across a hidden cache of of these cedar sleeved beauties, quietly resting for years. Lighting one up, I immediately recognized the familiar profile of chocolate, caramel, an acidic tingle and cedar. I’m still a fan, and a little age has done them no harm.
Drew Estate Liga Privada Unico Serie Feral Flying Pig
I’m not the biggest fan of the Flying Pig vitola, but the prospect of the longer smoke provided by the Feral Flying Pig was too intriguing to pass up. So I didn’t. It was a good call. The smoky, peppery, earthy profile with a healthy dose of savory cedar and a subtle sweetness isn’t something I’m going to get tired of any time soon. And it almost goes without saying that the foot gives off that Liga Privada river of smoke.
EP Carrillo New Wave Connecticut El Decano *
It’s been a little while since I lit up a jaw-busting 6 by 60, and I figured I couldn’t go wrong with the New Wave Connecticut sample I was sent last year. I was surprised at the amount of spice this goliath had, at least in the beginning, more than I remember from the smaller sizes. Often a large ring gauge washes out the flavor profile, leading to a more mellow smoke, but that didn’t seem to be as much the case here. A combination of molasses, buttery wood, nuts and a tart sour cream, made for rather enjoyable experience.
GAR Opium Toro (IPCPR Sample) *
Yes, believe it or not, I still have IPCPR 2011 samples waiting around for me to ignite. The time the GAR Opium in hibernation didn’t seem to hurt it any. I was treated to rich syrupy leather, graham, chocolate, spice and cedar. It was a great smoke.
Guillermo Leon Signature Ambassador (Pre-Release)*
If this yet-unreleased Signature line extension looks familiar, you’re not crazy. It does bear a strong resemblance to the Punch Champion. My favorite aspect of the cigar, aside from the interesting shape, is the flavor transitions. Along the way, I picked up butterscotch, pineapple, sweet grass, a dusty cedar, ginger and graham. Gradually, the sweetness fades, with grass and cedar taking over at the end. I may start buying these instead of the Belicoso when they’re released.
Gurkha Wicked Indie Toro *
I think the Wicked Indie is the best of the several newer Gurkhas I’ve had recently. It was toasty, woody and spicy with a subtle graham and ginger sweetness. I’d definitely burn more of these.
Joya De Nicaragua Cabinetta Serie Lancero *
This Joya is a striking two-tone 38 ring gauge smoke with a firm draw. Toasty wood and spice with a bourbon barrel/molasses sweetness, and a transition toward coffee and chocolate when it crossed over into the maduro wrapper. This lancero is clearly superior to all other Cabinetta formats I’ve tried in the past, even if the draw is a tad more snug.
Montecristo Sevens **
From the dark recesses of the humidor, I found a churchill-sized Montecristo Sevens. I’m not sure how long I’ve had it, but the time would be measured in years. It’s a flawless stick, a perfect cylinder, with very fine, light-colored veins, uniform color and fine tooth. It was a little on the mild side, but smoked on fresh enough of a palate, you’ll taste sweet cream, syrupy cedar, hints of coconut and butterscotch with an uptick in acidity toward the end. It’s a fun cigar, and but not one that’s easy to find any more.
Reinado Habanito *
The Habanito is a fun little cigar, a Nicaraguan puro measuring 4 x 38. What it lacks in stature, it makes up for with aggressive flavor. This smoke was earthy, with mixture of sweet graham, wood and a good helping of acidic, vinegar-like spice. In fact, between the front of the mouth heat and the unusual spice, it reminded me a little of a hot sauce. I really enjoyed its unusual profile and it was a shame when it developed a tunnel. (That’s what I get for smoking it right off the truck.) That won’t stop me from trying more Reinado cigars in the future.
Tatuaje Black Petite Lancero
The Tatuaje Black Petite Lancero was robbed, it should have been in my top 10 list for 2011. Its rich spicy earth, wood, and maple-like sweetness make it a hard cigar to beat. I’m running low, I can’t wait for my next opportunity to buy a box.
Bonus: The Week In Suds
I’ve been getting more and more into craft beer lately (or as we used to say back in the day, “microbrews”), and so are some of our readers. So in ill-conceived attempt to justify reckless drinking, I thought I might share some of my recent ale adventures. If you like the idea (or hate it), feel free to let me know in the comments below. Heck, I’ll make it worth your while- I’ll select one comment on February 8th to win a Stogie Review travel humidor with some of this week’s cigars in it. And if you include a joke about short people like Jerry, one of those cigars will be a Feral Flying Pig.
21st Amendment Bitter Amercian 2011 4.4% ABV
It’s beer that comes in a can with a monkey wearing a space suit, so it has to be excellent right? The key is in the words on the the can, “session ale”. It’s a good beer that I can see knocking back in numbers, but it’s not my favorite use of hops. It has a crisp hoppy citrus bite, but it feels a little bit restrained. Or maybe I’ve been drinking too many ridiculously hoppy beers. Anyway, it beats the hell out of a lot of other canned options.
Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Cask 7.4% ABV
I have generally enjoyed all Innis & Gunn beers I’ve had so far, but I think this one’s my favorite. As the label says, it’s a “Scottish stout matured in Irish Whiskey Barrels” and the banana-like sweetness of the stout (try one and tell me you don’t taste banana) work very nicely with the pronounced whiskey flavor. It’s not a pave-your-mouth stout, but I’ll allow it.
Terrapin Moo-Hoo 2011 6% ABV
Friends, this is chocolate milk for grown ups, and you don’t have to deal with a lunch lady to enjoy it. (Unless you want to. I’m not judging.) If a beer with body like milk and flavor like milk chocolate and nuts sounds good, this beer is for you. I love it, and hoard it. I don’t know what the distribution is like, but if you’re in Georgia or passing through, seek it out.
* 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. I’ve got 99 problems and an empty humidor ain’t one.
** 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.