I promise to get back to reviewing cigars. I have some new and revisit reviews in the works. I’ve just been enjoying myself lately hanging at W.Curtis Draper and even visited a great new shop this past week. By “new” shop I mean a new shop to me. If you haven’t noticed I tend to only visit W.Curtis Draper but I’m trying to find a balance between being loyal to my crew but also getting out and seeing what the other shops in my area have to offer. So I’m sure some local shop reviews will be done. Lots of great smokes this edition of Week in Smoke. As always a good mix of new and old but also a bit heavy on the Tatuaje side. And yes, I continue on my Davidoff Special R kick. What can I say? Its tits! Real quick short out to my boy Cirilo from Humidor Notes for hanging out with me the past week.
Fausto FT127 & FT157 – I smoked a couple of each of these sizes. On the surface I thought I’d enjoy the smaller FT127 but found it too one sided and too much concentration on power. Now, I know these are based on the famed T110 blend so I expected the power but the FT127 seemed to focus too much on that power provoking a spell of uncomfortable hiccups. The bigger FT157 was so much better. The power was still present but balanced by an array of earthy and peppery notes. Another instance of when size matters outside the bedroom.
Davidoff Special R – I continued on my Davidoff Special R kick this week. You can’t stop me, you can only hope to contain me. This is by leaps and bounds the best first cigar of the day. It’s by and far the best cigar for when you know you will only be able to smoke one cigar that day or for a couple days. I know folks balk at the price tag but to me, its well worth it. Smooth, decadent, elegant, balanced and for me, its perfection.
AVO 85th LE 2011 – I got a box of these last year when the annual Avo birthday tour came through. It was an amazing smoke out of the box and I decided to check in and see how these were aging. Whether by accident or by design, the Avo 85th is aging nicely. A lot of new nuances came to the surface adding a new layer of flavor. Smooth and cool to smoke. This is an instance where I should’ve stocked up. I suspect these will continue to age and sweat nicely.
Gurkha Seduction – I will have to politely disagree with Mike’s recent review of the Gurkha Seduction. You see Mike didn’t set the mood correctly. He obviously doesn’t have any game. You need to pair the Gurkha Seduction with some Barry White playing in the background. Turn the treble down and the bass up. I enjoyed the Seduction much more than I thought I would. Now I’m not saying I’ll be smoking them every day but just like my wife has to be in the mood for certain things, so do I when it comes to the Seduction. I found the exotic aroma and diverse flavor profile to be refreshing and a nice change of pace to my typical “grind”.
Four Kicks CG – Still an amazing cigar that unfortunately is getting tougher and tougher to find. I sure hope some of the local shops here get a re up soon. Luckily for me the Corona size doesn’t fly off the shelf as fast as the Sublime does. People seem to enjoy that size more. I’ve been timid to revisit the other sizes but I feel like I must be missing out. I’m looking forward to the future releases from Jon Huber et al. If you see Four Kicks near you, be sure to stock up.
La Riqueza – I still firmly believe that the La Riqueza is the most underrated line that Pete Johnson owns. It gets unfairly overlooked. Like the Four Kicks above, the La Riqueza is one of the cigars that I always describe as being Cubanesque. Great construction, great balance, great array flavors that never tries to be more than it is. Consistent from cigar to cigar no matter what size you pick up. La Riqueza is a favorite of mine.
CAO La Traviata Maduro – A fun thing to do one day when you have time to enjoy three cigars. Smoke the last two cigars above and the CAO La Traviata Maduro. All three are in that solid medium-full range. I did this the other day and was fascinated at the level of diversity and creativity in the flavor profile of all three of these cigars. You could stock your humidor full of these three cigars and be a very happy cigar smoker. On Facebook a lot folks asked me which I prefer more, the Natural or Maduro version of the La Traviata. I love them both and don’t think you can go wrong with either but I tend to lean towards the maduro. The Natural has more complexity but the Maduro has a more penetrating flavor.
Illusione MK ~ultra~ – I was gifted this smoke by Rahul Gupta when I visited his shop, Tobacco Leaf, in Jessup MD. Its one of the few Illusione lines that I haven’t had the chance to sample so I was excited when Rahul gifted me this one. Out of the gates the MK ~ultra~ is fast and furious. Lots of flavor, lots of body that your palate is just going crazy trying to process it all. Strong is an understatement…complex is an understatement. I don’t think I’m capable of truly appreciating this gem of a cigar. Somewhere after the halfway point, this came to a crawl and my palate was able to catch up but I feel like I missed a lot. I hope I’m able to track down more of these.
My Father Le Bijou 1922 Box Pressed Torpedo – I’ve always been a fan of the Le Bijou line from My Father Cigars. I’ve never really been a fan of box pressed cigars or even torpedo shaped cigars. So when these were released at the 2011 IPCPR I was a bit hesitant to try them as I thought it would sour my opinion on one of my favorites. What the fuck do I know? Who knew that the Le Bijou 1922 could get better just by box pressing it and offering it in a torpedo vitola? A nice smooth concentration of natural tobacco flavors with a slight citrus and woodsy flavor. If my Special R kick ever ends it will be because of this.
Tatuaje 7th Natural – The other day I was at W.Curtis Draper and as usual its an endless cycle of trying to decide what to smoke. I don’t know if anyone else does this but when I have time to kill where I know I can smoke 3 or 4 cigars I try to find a theme for the cigars I choose to smoke. This time I decided to do a vertical tasting of the Tatuaje 7th line. Up first was the 7th Natural and I thought it was okay. Nice, easy and balanced. Nothing too challenging or game changing. It was a pretty good, okay cigar. I don’t have anything glowing to say about it nor do I have anything negative to say about it. It was, a pretty good cigar.
Tatuaje 7th Reserva – The 7th Reserva has always been the favorite of the three cigars that makeup the 7th line. I love the complexity, the smoothness and the deep penetrating flavors of the 7th Reserva. If you ever smoke with me, you know I typically don’t “nub” my cigars. Typically when I get halfway through the final third ( thats a quarter to the end right?) I usually put the cigar down, reach for some soda water and then light the next cigar. The biggest compliment I give a cigar is when I do smoke it down to the “nub”. The 7th Reserva is one of those few cigars that I can’t bring myself to put down and end up burning the tips of my fingers.
Tatuaje 7th Capa Especial – Probably the most controversial or at least, most talked about, review I did in 2011. I never really said that the Capa Especial sucked or that I hated it. I just said it was my least favorite of the three in the 7th line. Was the 7th Capa Especial better than I remembered it being? It was. Does this change my opinion on it? No. Still my least favorite in the line which goes against popular opinion as it seems the Capa Especial is the fan favorite. I’m not sure what it is but the blend just comes off as sour to me. Nothing there to really impress me. It still doesn’t have the “wow” factor like the Reserva. The 7th Natural doesn’t have it either but the Natural is a bit more balanced.
So after the vertical tasting, my “ranking” within the Tatuaje 7th line remains unchanged. The Reserva is top notch with the Natural in the middle and the Capa Especial still bringing up the rear.