It’s once time again for another issue of Brian’s The Week In Smoke. This edition covers both cigars I had prior to IPCPR 2013, and a few I’ve had since. (Look for a more IPCPR-centric edition soon.) 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!
Big Delicious by Room 101 and Smoke Inn
The Big Delicious was a great looking box-pressed torpedo with an oily, toothy wrapper. The profile started off cedary, but as it continued its journey nuts and pepper, along with sweet flavors like caramel and honey. At one point it noted that it tasted like honey, nuts and cinnamon on a cedar sleeve. An impressive cigar that I’m sure I’ll be smoking again.
Bloodline O.P.A. Connecticut Shade Churchill (IPCPR Sample) *
The Bloodline O.P.A. may have had the most interesting backstory of any cigar I encountered at the trade show. As discussed in our interview with Micah Johnson, the tobacco goes through a process they call the “soft crush”. I didn’t notice anything about it visually that would have clued me into the process, it just looks like a well-made cigar. Once lit, it tasted of bread, cedar, leather, cinnamon and a rich sweetness. It’s like they turned up the volume knob on the run-of-the mill Connecticut Shade cigar. I enjoyed it, and would recommend trying it to anyone who likes a good Connecticut smoke.
Diamond Crown Cameroon Select **
This cigar came from a special limited edition three pack from a few years ago. I don’t smoke many Cameroon sticks any more, so it was a nice change of pace. The profile was tasty combination of caramel, cedar, citrus, grass, candy-like sweetness and a little spice. It’s a shame these aren’t readily available.
Hoyo De Monterrey Reposado En Cedros Marco (IPCPR Sample) *
It’s not a new cigar, but it was handed to me on the floor of the trade show, and I probably haven’t had one since shortly after they were introduced. It was a pretty enjoyable smoke offering up dense, chewy cedar with a touch of sweetness, almonds, cinnamon and a somewhat firm draw. If you like a lot of cedar in your smoke, this is a cigar for you.
Hoyo De Monterrey Dark Sumatra Coronacion *
Two things make this cigar particularly interesting to me, the first, I used to smoke a lot of Dark Sumatras. The second, according to the Hoyo website, this size doesn’t officially exist, and web searches weren’t very helpful. I followed a hunch and it paid off, and determined it to be a JR exclusive. It started off with a rich leather and finished with concentrated cedar, and along the way it went back and forth between those flavors with a notes of smoke, chocolate and coffee making appearances. Overall, a solid smoke.
Illusione m7 (aka “Magdala”) **
Everything about this cigar is rare at this point, I bought this long discontinued figurado from a shop that ceased to exist back in late 2009. As I recall, it was discontinued due to the expense and difficulty of making the cigar, which contributed to it’s significantly higher price tag. (I paid $17.95 for this one, which is a little higher than retail was at the time.) It was replaced by the MJ12, which had a much better reception. The cigar has held up nicely over the years, the profile was wonderful mix of leather, hints of vanilla, earthy cedar and occasional hints of graham cracker. It was a little tough to keep it lit initially, but it so good I didn’t mind the extra butane.
J.D. Howard Reserve HR50 (IPCPR Sample) *
As you’ve probably heard, the J.D. Howard Reserve takes it’s name from the handle Jesse James while he was living in Nashville, Tennessee, the home base of The Crowned Heads. I think the outlaw would have approved of the dense, mouth-coating flavor his namesake offers. Rich earth, cinnamon, dark chocolate at the start, it develops woodier, leathery flavors as it burns, but also gains that rich sweetness I find common in cigars made by the legendary EP Carrillo. This won’t be my last, and I’d recommend keeping an eye out for these.
J. Fuego Connoisseur Corpulent (IPCPR Sample) *
When Jesus handed me this cigar, he said he really wasn’t a fan of 60 ring gauges, but this blend in this size was really growing on him. Before lighting it up, I noted an interesting dill wrapper aroma, that I remember getting from the Sangre De Toro at times. Ordinarily I find that large ring gauges wash out the flavor a little bit, but that didn’t seem to be the case here. The profile was rich and flavorful, and seemed to be constantly evolving. My flavor notes include, smoke, wood, pepper, cream, a pronounced coffee, savory spices and herbs and a subtle sweetness. It’s a little hard to summarize when one puff is like a mouth full of coffee, and a little later it tastes like almonds and a distinct aromatic pineapple. This is a great cigar, and I will definitely explore the other sizes to see if I can get the same impressive flavors from a smaller vitola. I’d recommend trying it, even if 60’s aren’t your thing.
KILO (IPCPR Sample) *
This pre-release stick is being produced by Miami Cigar Company, but is actually the brainchild of Barry Stein, reformed blogger turned Miami Cigar marketing guy. As soon as I lit it up, I could tell it was going to be potent, and it was. Flavor-wise, I noted rich chocolate, pepper, wood, coffee and earth, but it also had a nice candy sweetness to it. Overall, it’s a hearty full-bodied smoke that doesn’t sacrifice flavor for power, which is a problem I have with some strong cigars on the market. I think it will be well received.
La Aurora 107 Maduro *
I think the original 107 is a good cigar, but based on the samples I’ve had, I like the 107 Maduro more. It smokes like a dessert, full of rich sweet chocolate, with touches of pepper, coffee and cedar. In fact, it’s probably one of the chocolaty-est cigars I’ve had in awhile. I really dig it.
Leccia White 552 *
Fans of Sam Leccia have been waiting for years to see what his next project would be. I’ve been curious, so his new White label 552 was one of the first cigars I lit up after the trade show. The profile was a mixture of earth, dark chocolate, smoke and charred wood that felt incredibly heavy in the mouth. There was also a sweetness that grew and developed into a light caramel as the cigar progressed. I enjoyed it, and plan to get to his Black line soon.
Navarre Robusto Aramis (IPCPR Sample) *
This is one of the things I love about IPCPR, discovering things like cigars made in France. And by that I mean a French puro. This cigar with the unusual pedigree looked immaculate and produced a surprisingly dark ash. It tasted of sweet cedar, cream, light nuts and had a touch of vegetal bitterness (which sounds worse than it actually was). It’s a pleasant, easy going smoke, best suited for early in the day.
Rocky Patel Private Cellar Robusto
This Broadleaf-wrapped cigar was part of a cigar dinner event I attended that I wound up smoking a few days later. The profile was bready, cedary with a lingering touch of sour cream and earthy spices. A solid smoke.
* 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 torpedo-shaped head belongs to Jerry.
** 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.