It’s time again for another issue 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!
Añoranzas Robusto *
Not long ago the good folks at Miami Cigar sent me an Añoranzas sampler. The timing couldn’t have been better, I had basically forgotten about the line, but the end of the year top tens put it back on my radar. It’s time to revisit the cigar whose name means “longing and yearning”. My experience was one of roasted nuts, spice, earth, caramel and some chocolate, with coffee and leather appearing later on. If you haven’t tried this one yet, you should.
EP Carrillo Cardinal 52 Natural *
The Cardinal Maduro was very much on my mind in the past few months, and I neglected it’s lighter hued Ecuadoran Sumatra brother. It had a sweet cold taste, and pronounced funky cheese wrapper aroma. Once lit, I was in for intriguing profile of toastiness, bread, raisiny or molasses sweetness, dried fruit, cinnamon, cedar and spices. A great smoke that deserves more attention.
EP Carrillo Edicion Limitada 2012
Time got away from me in 2012 and I didn’t get to the annual limitada from EP Carrillo until the year was just about over. As expected it offered up a complex array of darker, rich flavors including coffee, dark chocolate, leather, a somewhat musty earth, smoke, spices and pepper with some sweeter notes. Does Ernesto Perez-Carrillo know how to make a bad cigar?
Flor De Las Antillas Toro Gordo
Yeah, yeah, we all know why this is making an appearance. I had to double check and make sure I didn’t miss anything in my previous experiences with the Flor De Las Antillas. Since the Toro wasn’t available (and probably won’t be for a while) so I picked up a Toro Gordo instead. I haven’t had either vitola before, so perhaps the secret is in the size. In this encounter I noted the expected early Pepin spiciness, which mellowed an inch or two in, but never completely disappeared. In addition to that, roasted nuts, pepper, and a rich syrupy quality that meshed well with those elements. Even further along, some very enjoyable honey and vanilla notes as well as wood. I stand by my choices for top ten, but it is definitely a good cigar.
La Flor Dominicana Oro Natural
I’ve been looking forward to lighting up another Oro since that very memorable one I smoked one evening at the 2012 trade show. The wait is over, the golden tubos touched down in my region late in December. (Rumor has they appeared much earlier in other areas.) And it’s enjoyable profile of roasty, spicy, woody, leathery and peppery notes with a nice touch of sweetness didn’t disappoint. If you’re looking for great flavor and power, the Oro Natural is a very good choice.
Oliva V Maduro (Original 2008 Release) * **
This well aged smoke was given to me by a generous fellow at a recent Christmas herf, and I’ve been looking forward to lighting it up ever since. The profile of wood, pepper, chocolate, leathery and coffee was familiar. But the oodles of bright, sweet vanilla that developed around halfway in was a bit of a pleasant surprise. I loved these when they first came out, and they’re magnificent now. Time has been very kind. I’ll bet I have a few hidden deep in my humidor somewhere, it’s time to do some digging.
Zino Platinum Emperor 2009 **
Despite it’s stout size, higher price tag, the Emperor 2009 is a cigar I was sad to see go, and one I’ve been reluctant to light up due to scarcity. At the same time, the holiday season demands fine cigars, so lit up one of my few remaining sticks. Chocolate, leather, cedar, caramel, coffee, charry wood and pepper reminded me why I’ve been hanging on to them for so long. And of course, It still has that touch of Davidoff funk. Still a great cigar, one that’s a shame to put down when it’s finished. And despite being several years old, it still packs a punch.
* 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. No amount of comment trolling will change that.
** 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.