It’s once 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!
Gurkha Official Pre-Release Sample *
I don’t think the name of this sample has been released yet, but this oily, box-pressed, toothy looks pretty good even with the sample band. In terms of flavor, I picked up a lot of thick, earthy wood with touches of cinnamon, vanilla and a light syrup. It definitely tastes significantly different than any Gurkha I can remember smoking. Overall, a solid smoke.
A friend gave me this well-aged rarity as a birthday present recently. It’s not my first eccj, but it’s been so long since I had one, I wasn’t sure what to expect. (It turns out that Jerry and I did a rough precursor to Herfin’ Heads on it back in 2009.) The smoke had a dense, almost chewy initial mouth feel. In terms of flavor, the profile was pretty subtle and complex. It started off like a chardonnay with a touch of a not unpleasant coppery tart and mild dried fruit syrup. Later spicy earth, coffee, roasted nuts and woody flavors grew, leather made an appearance and some floral notes were present in the retrohale. In all, a wonderful cigar and a rare treat.
In the plethora of great cigar options out there, it’s easy to forget about some good ones along the way. The Jameson Black Label is one of those I keep forgetting about. After really enjoying a Santos De Miami recently, I went humidor diving looking for more Jameson options and emerged with this torpedo. Its profile of leather, sourdough bread, cedar with mild spices and and a nice touch of cherry-like sweetness was a nice change of pace from the heavy Nicaraguan cigars I’ve been smoking lately. I have one more left, and it won’t be around long.
Joya De Nicaragua Celebracion Toro
Unlike some of the other cigars in this Week In Smoke, this one is a recent purchase. Dr. Alejandro Cuenca made a visit to my home shop, and when the doctor is in, you buy Joya De Nicaragua. Out of the cellophane the Celebracion Toro had a pungent barnyard aroma and once lit it was all about rich, heavy and sweet Nicaraguan tobacco. More specifically, cedar, roasted nuts, earth and syrupy pepper. Once upon a time, the Celebracion tended to have a tight draw, but not any more. Now it’s one of those cigars that always delivers, and is a good option if you find the Antaño 1970 a little too potent for your tastes.
I’ve been digging through the humidors a lot this year, and this is another stick that’s been waiting for a visit from the torch for years. I believe it’s from the second release. From an appearance standpoint, the Satori Zen is one my favorite Viajes: It’s black night and the colorful stylized band makes a nice contrast. But on the flip side, it also turned out to be a reminder to me of why I’ve fallen out of love with perfectos and other figurados. Simply, they can be a bit of a pain to get the draw I like. In this case I wound up clipping both the ends twice. But once that was done, it was a very enjoyable peppery smoke, with mellow creamy flavors including cocoa, coffee, nougat and caramel. It ended on a high note with cinnamon and spices adding some variety to the mix. Once I locked in a good draw, it was an enjoyable experience.
Viaje Super Shot 12 Gauge Criollo
I’ve been smoking a lot of these short, dark mottled reddish stick with an unfinished foot lately. They’re pretty handy to have around when you don’t have a lot of time, and don’t want to smoke something cigarillo-sized. Unsurprisingly, the Super Shot has a heavy dose of tongue tingling spice up front, but that fades a little way in. The profile is a tasty combination of roasted nuts, ample pepper, wood, earth and coffee with a sweet tart zing to it. Like a shotgun shell, it’s little but it packs a wallop, particularly in terms of flavor.
* 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.