I’ve been asked countless times in the past few weeks what I thought of different cigars that premiered at this year’s IPCPR trade show. The thing is, with all the time spent tracking down interviews, I really didn’t smoke that many of the new releases. But I have been slowly working my way through the new cigars I was given since I got back. So I’ve decided that instead of a review this week, I’m going to put those samples to work in a special IPCPR edition of 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 may be 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!
AJ Fernandez Pinolero Robusto (IPCPR Sample) *
Reported to be AJ Fernandez’s most potent cigar to date and it doesn’t disappoint in the flavor department. It ran the gambit from rich caramel, butterscotch and creamy coffee to chocolate, earth and pepper. I’ve heard differing opinions on the band’s design, but where it counts, the Pinolero is excellent.
Asylum Toro (IPCPR Sample) *
I don’t know much about Asylum Cigars, they’ve partnered up with Christian Eiroa’s new cigar company, CLE, and produce potent Nicaraguan puros. The toro I smoked definitely wasn’t for the faint of heart or empty of belly. A dense and enjoyable combination of pepper, an interesting creamy leather, earth, chocolate, coffee pepper and hints of cherries was what greeted me. This cigar should do well.
BOTL LE 2012 Lancero by Drew Estate *
A limited edition cigar produced by Drew Estate that was handed to me on the floor of IPCPR by Tim Podwika. It had a slightly firm draw, but nothing terrible. I didn’t mind, as it oozed with rich dark flavors of espresso, mocha, raisin-like sweetness, cedar and pepper. But the most interesting part was the smoky chipotle pepper note I picked up well into the cigar. Definitely a first for me. It’s a shame I only had one.
Cuenca y Blanco Lonsdale Club (IPCPR Sample) *
There isn’t much more to say than what I said in my recent review. It was rich, creamy and leathery with cinnamon and floral cedar notes. It’s a cigar I plan to spend a lot of time with in the future.
El Primer Mundo Clase Reserva (IPCPR Sample) *
The Clase Reserva is Sean Williams first real limited edition cigar and one I’ve been really looking forward to trying. My experience was was earthy, peppery, and leathery, with sometimes syrupy notes of caramel, graham and vanilla. Another great smoke from a boutique that has been producing quality smokes for years.
EP Carrillo Inch No. 64 Maduro *
Though definitely not my preferred format, if Ernesto Perez Carrillo makes it, you know I’m going to try it. It had a smoky, rich tobacco beginning with a little coffee. Along the way, it produced caramel, nougat, earth, chocolate and a little pepper. Aside from some minor issues, like a triple cap that fell off just as I was about to cut it, and a flaky ash, it was a solid cigar. (Hey, it is a trade show sample, after all.)
EP Carrillo Inch No. 64 Natural *
Much like it’s maduro brother, the Inch Natural had a smokey start, with hints of pepper and coffee showing up early. I also got butterscotch and fruit sweetness, chocolate, and even some nuts out of this mammoth smoke. There was an ashy quality to the profile at points that I didn’t care for, but other than that, it was a good cigar.
Herrera Esteli Robusto Extra (IPCPR Sample) *
This Herrera Esteli wasn’t just any trade show sample, it was one of the few that were rolled during the Drew Estate party by Big Willy Herrera himself. Like Jonathan Drew said in our interview with Willy, “The pepper is there man. It’s got it.” But I also tasted cream, sour cream, hints of vanilla and toasty notes. It burned very well for a cigar right off the table. I’m looking forward to trying it again once it starts shipping.
J. Fuego Edicion de Familia (IPCPR Sample) *
I’m a big J. Fuego fan, so you know there was no chance I was missing this one. The Edicion de Familia is an intriguing cigar, starting with it’s unusual dill and fatty compost wrapper aroma. Once lit, rich caramel, nuts, herbs, earth dark chocolate and wood kept me guessing. It’s one of those cigars I definitely need to try again just to get my head around it.
My Father Cigars Flor de las Antillas
One of the few cigars I lit up recently that didn’t actually come from the trade show. A friend was was really talking them up, and I decided to revisit it. What I found was an enjoyable medium-bodied smoke offering creamy coffee, cedar, chocolate, nuts, pepper and a touch of sweet spice and graham.
Oliva V Melanio Figurado (IPCPR Sample) *
The new and much anticipated Melanio Figurado is a beautiful box-pressed stick. I’m sure fans of the original V will enjoy the earthy, dark chocolate, woody and peppery profile with touches of sweetness and cedar. The smoke is incredibly dense and the cigar is every bit as attractive as it burns as it is sitting in the box.
Padilla Invictus Toro *
A little before the trade show, Ernesto Padilla sent me a couple of samples of his new products, the Invictus was one of them. With all the changes, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I found was a complex profile featuring earth, oak, creamy graham, coffee, silty cocoa, a touch of butterscotch and later a cedar-cinnamon syrup. It burned well and was a great cigar that I’d love to smoke again.
Padilla Miami Maduro Robusto *
The new Miami Maduro also impressed with it’s rich profile of chocolate sauce, coffee, nuts and dark fruit. I really enjoyed the way the chocolate in the latter stages seamlessly blended into pepper. There were a few issues with unevenness, but in all a great cigar.
Recluse by Iconic Leaf Robusto (IPCPR Sample) *
I don’t much about the company, but I paid the booth a visit based on word-of-mouth at the trade show. What came away with was a dark, box-pressed stick with a silver spider on the band, whose body looks very much like two skulls pushed together. The flavor was thick, rich combination of chocolate, nuts and coffee with little pepper heat. A little way into the smoke I tasted something a mole sauce or perhaps bean-based side you might get at a Mexican restaurant. A unique smoke with no shortage of flavor, this one should do well.
* 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. Everyone denies knowledge of and responsibility for the things Mike says.
** 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.
Some 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.