Once again, a busy schedule has gotten in the way of a proper in depth review. And you know what that means: 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!
Davidoff Colorado Claro Double R
Recently it was announced that the CEO of Davidoff, Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard had joined twitter. It seemed like as good a reason as any to light up the last of my Colorado Claros. As ever, it was a great experience from the outset. The cigar had a candy like cold taste, and the smoke was an enjoyable combination of cream, caramel, wood, sweet spices, and a touch of smoke, pepper and that trademark Davidoff funk. Curiously, this cigar struck me as a little fuller in body than previous experiences. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Don Pepin Garcia Blue Imperiales **
As you can tell from the yellowed cellophane and old band, this Pepin Blue has been waiting for trial by fire for quite some time. My guess is around three or four years. Pepin has been quoted as saying that he blends cigars to be smoked immediately, but I’ve found time can be kind to them as well. Time certainly didn’t hurt this smoke. It had intricate profile of spice (obviously), subtle wood, chocolate and a touch of vinegar to start, and then expanded to include vanilla, caramel, leather, cinnamon and smoky spices. It was a very impressive cigar, and it makes me want to try a fresh one for comparison.
Emilio Cigars La Musa Mousa Robusto *
Remember that crazy looking cigar with the big yellow eyes on it and tongue twister name? The Grimalkin? (I remember thinking “what the heck is that?” when Jerry posted his review of it about a year and a half ago.) Well it changed it’s name and got a facelift like it was going into the cigar equivalent of the witness protection program. It’s now La Musa Mousa. But underneath it all, it’s the same cigar that once stared unblinkingly at you from the shop shelves. But enough about deceiving appearances, here’s how it tastes. It had a sweet and vinegar-like spice to start but eased into a caramel, wood, roasted nuts and hints of vanilla later on, and in interesting combinations. The only draw back was a touch of bitterness toward the end of the smoke that kept me that last little bit. Overall, a good smoke. I’m sure it won’t be my last.
J.L. Salazar Y Hermanos Reserva Especial Serie Maduro Robusto *
The full name is quite a mouthful, isn’t it? Somewhere along the way, someone mentioned that the J.L. Salazar was a good cigar. And when I was given one recently, I was reminded of my desire to try it out. It turned out to be very nice for a milder smoke. Cedar, papery chocolate a touch of coffee, caramel and sweet earth is what I found. Not a cigar I’d buy or smoke often, but if you like your cigars on the lighter side of the spectrum, it isn’t a bad choice.
La Cava Del Puro Sello Negro Oro Mareva *
Ever hear of La Cava Del Puro? No? Neither have I. This cigar came into my possession from a friend of a friend who recently traveled to Colombia. It wasn’t the most attractive cigar I’ve ever seen, the light wrapper had a lot of dark markings and was a little lumpy. Based on a online currency conversion tool, it’s not intended to be a bundled cigar either. (It retails for around $7.85.) Not knowing what to expect, I light it up. It was light, papery and a touch smokey to start. But as things got going pleasant flavors like wood and honey appeared, but so did a vegetal bitterness, an unpleasant dirty tobacco flavor and touch of ammonia. There were some good elements to the cigar, but not enough overshadow the bad, and no where near enough to make me ever want to smoke one again.
Montecristo Epic *
The Epic is a a good looking smoke with fine veins and equally fine tooth. Though the name seems a little trendy, I appreciate that the cigar retains a fairly traditional appearance. Flavor-wise, I noted chocolate, leather, earth and interesting cedary-herbal pepper with a touch of sweetness and some caramel. Unlike most domestically available Montecristos, the Epic has a little oomph to it. A solid smoke overall.
Tabanero Churchill *
Here’s another one you may not have heard of before now. But this one isn’t from an exotic distant land, it’s made in Tampa. Noting the oily, light, rustic wrapper with a honey-like aroma I was intrigued. The draw turned out to be firmer than I prefer, but the flavor was pretty good. I noted a touch of aromatic herbs, salt caramel and bread, with a transition toward a somewhat muddy earthiness toward the end. Not a bad cigar, but not a great one either. I think a shorter vitola would suit the mostly static profile better.
* 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 dilapidated trailer in the swamp belongs to Ben’s momma.
** 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.