It’s time again for another issue of Brian’s The Week In Smoke. And this time, it’s a little scary, in keeping with the time of year and the weather in some parts of the country. 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!
5 Vegas Gold Maduro Toro
There’s no denying this is a Sherwin Williams special. Unlike the Mighty Mighty Maduro I covered in the last edition (which seemed suspect), this smoke had a lot of color transfer, hence the paper towel. It wasn’t an awful smoke though. I tasted of coffee, cedar, mild pepper and a little chocolate. But there was also a touch of mineral bitterness, and it had significant burn problems. I think I’ll pass on 5 Vegas Gold Maduro in the future.
Drew Estate Liga Privada Unico Serie Ratzilla *
A rare smoke that was given to me by a friend to smoke while fishing, I actually got to it in a quiet moment one evening afterward. In keeping with expectation it was a pepper bomb, full of chewy, dense flavors of earth, toffee, coffee and sweet spices. And of course, it was smokey as hell, and I would have been a little disappointed if it weren’t. A rare treat.
EP Carrillo Cardinal 52 Maduro (IPCPR Sample) *
For a while this cigar was a bit of a mystery. Ernesto Perez-Carrillo called it “Red Box” when he gave it to me at this year’s trade show, and mentioned that it was a new full-bodied blend. But then there was some confusion on our part between this and the Core Line Maduro packaging change. So I decided to hang onto it for a while until I was clear on the specifics. (Besides, Jerry already weighed in on his sample a while back.) The details are now clear and so is another thing: this cigar is killer. Syrup, chocolate, coffee and pepper, aromatic cedar, and caramel is just a short list of the flavors I encountered. It definitely burns like it’s made of heavier tobaccos: slow, and sometimes unevenly, but it’s definitely one to look out for.
Tatuaje Little Monsters Baby Face
You probably remember the full-sized version of this Little Monster, The Face, it’s the one with a ragged lighter tobacco leaf in the place of a band. It’s an idea I still think is great: a smokeable band! However, that’s balanced with an unfinished foot (not a fan) which made it a little tough to get the cigar lit initially. Once it got going, it was all about rich leather, pepper, a nice touch of vanilla and butterscotch sweetness, with some cedar and cinnamon developing later. I still dig it.
Tatuaje Little Monsters Frank Jr.
It’s pint-sized version of the very first monster, The Frank. (Can you believe it’s been four years?) And it was spicy right off the bat. As it developed, I picked up rich tobacco, wood, caramel, earth, bittersweet chocolate and pepper. It didn’t burn that pretty, or very unevenly, but it tasted great. I’d smoke another in a heartbeat. And since the box has two, that isn’t an idle threat.
Tatuaje Little Monsters Lil’ Drac
As I recall The Drac wasn’t as popular as The Frank (possibly due to the box issue at the time) but I recall thinking it was pretty good. The Lil’ Drac exceeds expectation by a long shot with it’s rich and varied chocolates, pepper, caramel, coffee and sweet, at times orange-like cedar. Based on this single smoke, this was definitely the best Little Monster of the bunch. I did not see that coming, but I’m glad I have more.
Tatuaje Little Monsters Mini Mum
I’ve yet to see this year’s Mummy, but if it’s anything like this little guy, I’ll probably like it. The Mini Mum kicked things off with rich and slightly sweet almond and spice to start and stayed pretty creamy and spicy. Later on, I picked up some graham, cocoa and cedar. The draw was the tightest of the bunch, but it probably had the best looking ash as well. (The Lil’ Drac was gave it a run for its money.)
Tatuaje Little Monsters Wolfie
I didn’t get around to smoking last year’s The Wolf, so I can’t compare compare this little guy with his predecessor. What I can tell you is the Wolfie was really rich and had quite an array of flavor. I noted pepper, leather, wood chocolate, graham, coffee, caramel and some great sweet spice. Until I smoked the Lil’ Drac, this was my favorite Little Monster. I may have to look into finding the original.
* 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. The creepy banjo music and screaming you hear is coming from Ben’s trailer. It’s best if we all just ignore it.
** 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.