An extended Week in Smoke this episode. Normally I would break this into two episodes but with IPCPR this week I had to clear out the queue. I’m sure the next episode of Week in Smoke will be an IPCPR edition (sponsored by Drew Estate). Many have asked me what cigar(s) I’m looking forward to trying at this year’s show? To be honest, I really don’t pay too much attention to the endless stream of press releases that have been delivered to my inbox. A few years ago before Charlie Minato started The Cigar Feed which eventually morphed into what is Halfwheel today, he was kind enough to send us all kinds of press releases and trademark search results that he had come across before the show. It was really cool, thorough, insightful and overall a ton of information to process. By the time I hit the show floor I felt like I knew everything! This really put a damper on my enjoyment of the show because nothing was a surprise to me. Enjoy this episode of Week in Smoke and get ready for our self proclaimed, Award Winning, coverage of IPCPR sponsored by Drew Estate 🙂
La Palina Maduro 50 – Ben reviewed this cigar back in April and I can’t argue with his assessment. His review was spot on. The La Palina Maduro opens up with leather, earth and a nice sweet cocoa. The second third has a bit of spice that comes in mostly in the retro hale and a woodiness that slowly ramps up. A nice long finish throughout and you can really detect the spice on the back of the palette after some of the other notes have faded away. Overall a very well made and blended maduro. Highly recommended.
Reinado Habanito – I don’t know what is harder: Blending a flavorful big ring gauge cigar or a small ring gauge? While the Reinado Habanito maybe small in stature it is big in flavor. Perfect cigar when you need big flavor experience in under 40 minutes or cleaning out the Jetta before vacation so all the luggage can fit. While Antonio’s latest release of the Grand Empire Reserve may get all the attention lately, don’t sleep on the original core line that started The Empire, especially the Habanito.
La Aurora Preferidos Diamond – The family recently went on a week long vacation at Captiva Island in FL. As soon as we arrived it was a beautiful resort, beautiful weather, beautiful beaches looking out onto the Guld of Mexico. I needed to start the vacation off right and the La Aurora Preferidos Diamond hit the spot. The Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper was just as beautiful (if not more) than the backdrop. Nutty with lots of espresso notes. Probably one of the most perfectly constructed cigars I’ve come across in a long time. Expertly balanced from start to finish. This maybe my deserted island cigar.
Nat Sherman Timeless No. 5 – Whenever I smoke a Nat Sherman Timeless I always ask myself why I don’t smoke more of these? I have no idea why I don’t! Woody with a warm dark sweetness to it. A great mid-morning cigar with that second cup of coffee after hitting the all you can eat waffle buffet. Not your grandfather’s Nat Sherman!
La Aroma De Cuba – I’ve been reaching for the La Aroma De Cuba a lot lately. Not sure what it is but the stuff hitting the shelves right now are just hitting my palate right. Toasty and nutty with just the right amount of Nicaraguan zing.
Cuba Aliados Miami – Thanks to Brian Hewitt for sending me this classic. It has been a few years since I had the pleasure of enjoying one. I can’t remember if they go by Reyes Family or Cuba Aliados these days. Seems like forever since we’ve heard of anything new from Reyes Family. I think we’ve missed them the past couple of years since Jose Ortega left and joined My Father. We will have to rectify that this year. Who needs new when you have a classic cigar like the Cuba Aliados Miami? Woodsy at it’s core. A well made, versatile cigar enjoyed any time of day. A great candidate for aging.
Ashton ESG 22 Year Salute – The ESG is always an interesting topic of conversation. I think I’m in the minority who will choose the ESG over the VSG. Many say that when you take price into account that the VSG is a much better choice. For me I love the subtle differences found in each iteration of the ESG. Whether you are talking 22 Year or 23 Year or whatever; it is a cigar rich in flavor that makes any day better.
Casa Magna Domus Magnus – My reigning Cigar of The Year for back to back years. There is only one cigar that I put on a pedestal like I do with the original Domus Magnus (scroll a few spots down). The Domus Magnus continues to be artfully constructed, balanced to perfection, copious assortment of smooth flavors that engulf all of your senses and not to mention its ingenious and engaging complexity. The Casa Magna Domus Magnus continues to be a cigar for the ages.
Tatuaje Mission Pipe CQ1 – Another shout out to Brian Hewitt for sending me this little gem. When I posted that I was smoking this cigar, the question I was asked the most was how does it compare to the Little Boris since it uses the same wrapper? Are there similarities? Yes. Maybe I don’t have a discerning palate like a lot of you out there but after awhile, a lot of things, seem to run together ie taste similar. There are similarities. The difference in size makes a difference but for me, I have to dig deep to find the subtle differences. For me, I like the size and feel of the Little Boris. Thats not to say this isn’t a great cigar cause it is just not a dramatic difference. Hopefully I don’t get flamed in the comments section. LOL.
Undercrown Corona Viva by Drew Estate – Ah…the créme de la créme of the Undercrown size! Does it get any better than the Viva! The other sizes of the Undercrown are amazing; the Viva size takes saturating your palate with dark gritty flavors to a whole new dimension! Dirty but yet smooth. Simple but yet complex. At a time when there are so many “pretty good” and “okay” cigars the Undercrown Corona Viva is in one of the cigars in that “rare” or “outstanding” category in the market place today. Everything Drew Estate makes should be made in the Viva size!
Davidoff Colorado Claro Double R – Along with the above Domus Magnus, the other cigar that I put on a pedestal is the Davidoff Colorado Claro. I actually think you get more than what you pay for and I truly believe that this is one of those “once in a lifetime” cigars that if you see, you should get it and smoke it. The complexity maybe lost on the new cigar smoker but a perfect choice if you are looking to treat a seasoned cigar smoker or the perfect ending to a wonderful family vacation.
Davidoff Nicaragua Toro – The latest from Davidoff! I have to say it is good to see Davidoff expanding and not just staying in their comfort zone. If I didn’t know beforehand that this was a Davidoff I would have never guessed it was. It is missing that musky signature Davidoff taste that I enjoy. Buttery, nutty and woodsy. When thinking in terms of a Nicaraguan, a pretty medium bodied cigar at best. It is a conundrum. Davidoff takes a chance, goes out of their comfort zone and develops a Nicaraguan puro that on the surface should appeal to a new generation of cigar smokers but stays safe in the medium body spectrum to appeal to their White label base. The size of Toro played a part in the watered down feel I got. I enjoyed it and will have to try them again when they start hitting shelves soon.
Nestor Miranda Grand Reserve 2011 – Loved the cold draw on the original Grand Reserve. Lots of dark fruity and woodsy notes which translated to a mostly earthy and spicy profile upon lighting it up. How does it compare to the 2012 edition? I’m not sure. I don’t have any recollection of trying the 2012 (blue label). Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper with a rich inviting aroma as it burns. What else do you really need? In general I’m not a fan of torpedo/belicoso-ish shapes and this is the only size these come in leaves me left wondering what a Corona Gorda sized version would taste like.
Leccia Tobacco Black – Along with the Illusione Rothchildes the Black by Sam Leccia is currently one of my go to cigars. One advantage it has over the Illusione is that for whatever reason, it is easier for me to find locally. As passionados we always craving something new, something different. I had my doubts at first about the Black but from cold draw to lasts smokey puff the Black is filled with a unique assortment of rich and balanced flavors.
Partagas 1845 – Picked up a bottle of Jameson Select Reserve Black Barrel the other day and as I was preparing to grab some ice for it I came across a cloth bag of Partagas 1845 branded whisky stones in my freezer. I was fortunate as I’ve said numerous times, deciding on what to smoke is one of the hardest decisions I have to make in the course of my day. So the whisky stones prompted me to reach for the Partagas 1845. What a combination! The Partagas 1845 features a versatile, balanced, rich flavor profile with a sweet woodsy natural tobacco core, touch of a creaminess and a sprinkling of spice. The smokey aroma and flavor profile really enhanced the dark sweetness and smoky nutty flavors of the Jameson Black Barrel. I don’t know why, but I feel like these would be super sexy in a black matte tubo like the Partagas Serie P (Cuba) Tubo.
Ashton Aged Maduro – It is easy to overlook the classic Ashton Aged Maduro. The Ashton Aged Maduro is most notably known for the wrapper being aged in Sherry finished French oak barrels. I love the subtle citrus notes that pop up occasionally to brighten things up in-between deep waves of spicy, smoky woodsy and nutty characteristics. Strong ash with a slow burn.
Reinado Grand Empire Reserve (GER) Corona Gorda (CG) – Part of the new size extension to the Reinado GER is a beautiful Corona Gorda. I’ll be honest. I smoked this with Antonio while he visited the DC area and we met up at Civil Cigar Lounge. So my little snippet is a bit partial. Great balance of sweet and spicy notes with a nice natural core tobacco flavor. Perfect burn line and paired remarkably well with the slight saltiness from a splash of Jameson 12 Year.
Intemperance EC XVIII by RoMa Craft Tobac – Thanks to my buddy over at Humidor Notes for sharing this treat with me. I seem to get stuck focusing on the Knuckle Dragger from the original Cromagnon brand (cause it is so good). As I expose myself more and more to the newer RoMa Craft brands I find myself being impressed. Creamy and savory with a very slight and subtle spice on the finish. Elegant bouquet of aromas with lots of beautiful white smoke. An impressive treat.