Leading up to and returning from IPCPR has been a whirlwind of activity. It has been tough to keep up with everything going on and try to smoke cigars for review. This has left me empty handed for a review this week. Instead, I thought I’d talk a little bit about some of the IPCPR samples I’ve smoked so far.
Jerry, Brian, Charlie, and I have all talked and we don’t want to review IPCPR Samples unless we can’t help it. This is because we have seen many instances where trade show samples tasted little like what hit store shelves. However, there is no reason why we can’t put together a Week In Smoke and take a peek at some of those samples.
In this case, since I’m running short on time, I’m going to look at the last three show samples I’ve smoked (I’ve been busy and haven’t gotten through a lot of new product). Going forward, I’ll try to keep a few notes and make more substancial posts in the future.
So without any further ado, here is my Week In Smoke – IPCPR Roundup
Reinado Grand Empire Reserve:
Reinado Cigars is a brand that I’ve heard of but not one that I have any experience with, tot until recently, that is. While making the rounds on the trade show floor, we stopped off at the Reinado booth and I met Antonio for the first time. We recorded an interview with him and before parting ways, he handed each of us a cigar.
I tend to run hot and cold in terms of how appearance affects my judgement. Sometimes poor packaging can ruin a cigar for me, now matter how good it might be (Those cartoonish Rocky Patel Era 601 Bands come to mind). On the flip side, a good looking cigar can do more to pique my interest than industry buzz. The Grand Empire Reserve, simply put, looks amazing and I just had to try it on a clean palate.
The Grand Empire Reserve smoked as good as it looked. Not a single burn issue to be mentioned, plenty of dense smoke, and good flavor. My only complaint, which isn’t much of a complaint at all, is that the finish was a bit dry. Had I not been sipping on a cup of coffee throughout, I think I would have sought out a beverage to help with the dryness.
Speaking of coffee, this cigar went great with a hot cup. It had a molasses-like sweetness and a easy-going bitterness that paired well with my beverage of choice. In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed my sample.
Pinolero by AJ Fernandez:
On the first day of the trade show, we stopped in at the AJ Fernandez booth. Amid taking photos and video, we were handed samples and told ‘this is the strongest cigar AJ makes’. This thing, really? The two women churning butter on the band was very misleading.
Later that night, Jerry and I were back at the hotel room putting together show floor interviews to post later. While working, Jerry grabbed a Pinolero sample and lit up. I don’t recall if he finished it, but the next day he commented that he could still taste it. Perhaps it is the most powerful cigar AJ Fernandez produces?
A few days after I returned from Orlando, I cinched up my athletic supporter and fired up a Pinolero sample. It was pretty damn powerful. It was so powerful that less than an inch in, I was considering ditching it. After some peer pressure on Twitter, I stuck with it a bit longer. The power settled and it turned into pleasant, yet powerful, smoke.
A couple of days later, I geared up for round two. My second Pinolero sample was not even in the same league as the first, in terms of power. Deep down inside, I wanted to revisit that same wild ride I had before. Only this time it was like getting on one of those quarter operated kiddie rides outside of the supermarket.
This is the problem with IPCPR Samples, sometimes you get a very different experience from one sample to the next. Not to mention, from show sample to what is released to stores. Even so, I’ll be keeping an eye out for this one.
La Hermandad by Primer Mundo:
Sean Williams is the man behind Primer Mundo and now, La Hermandad. Sean is one of the good guys in the industry (I know we say that a lot, but he really is) and it is always a pleasure to talk with him. During our interview at IPCPR, I spied a box of cigars with paper bands (paper as in – hey, it looks like those are homemade). Despite the bland band, I’ve never met a Primer Mundo that I didn’t like, so how could this cigar be any different?
Sean gave each of us a sample and I saved mine for when I returned home. After a long day of chasing my daughter around the house, she went down for a nap and I had a craving for whatever the La Hermandad had to offer. An occasional touch up was required but the cigar smoked wonderfully, otherwise.
The flavor profile was hearty and seemed to just lay on the palate. The smoke had an oily kind of texture about it and the room aroma was mildly offensive. Thinking back on it, it is sort of like a darker version of El Cobre. Needless to say, I enjoyed my sample and hope to come across a few more in the future.