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!
1502 Emerald *
1502 cigars are new to me, and I was pretty impressed with this initial experience. The Emerald had pretty intricate flavor profile. It began with cedar and I picked up floral notes, creaminess and caramel, wood, roasted nuts and an earthy funkiness. I’m going to keep any eye out for this cigar. (And if you too are unfamiliar with 1502, check out Mike’s Interview with the brand owner here.)
1502 Ruby *
My experience with the Ruby was also mostly positive, but it got off to a bad start with some brief tunneling. Fortunately it recovered it pretty quickly. The Ruby’s profile seemed sweeter than the Emerald and not as complex. I noted plenty of honey sweetness, roasted nuts, cinnamon and cedar. Despite early burn issues, I enjoyed it and I’d like to try it again.
Curivari Buenaventura BV 500 Robusto
Recent publication of a high-profile top ten list reminded of this gem, which got an honorable mention in my top ten last year. It produces plenty of great flavor, it’s a little different than everything else out there, and it bears a very friendly price tag. I’m surprised it slipped back off my radar. Once lit, it began with a familiar sour cream, a touch of earthy minerals and mild spices. A little later a little citrus acidity picked up, before transitioning once again into sweeter notes spicier notes of cedar, cinnamon, cocoa and caramel. It may be hard to find the Buenaventura for the next little bit, but they’re definitely worth tracking down.
George Rico Miami S.T.K. American Puro Robusto
If you didn’t know this cigar was made with Kentucky fire-cured tobacco, testing the draw before lighting it would make that abundantly clear. That cold taste is a mixture of sweetness, and something on the order of hickory smoke. But as I’ve found with other cigars featuring fire-cured tobacco, the flavor isn’t nearly smokey as you’d imagine. Sure it’s there, but there more to it than that. It’s meaty, with sweet notes of cedar, barbecuing spices and a touch of vanilla. It was a pretty enjoyable cigar.
Raices Cubanas 1941 Robusto
Named for the factory that has produces a disproportionately large number of excellent cigars, this cigar is a collaboration between Alec Bradley and Raices Cubanas that was released at this year’s trade show. Naming the cigar after the factory sets the bar pretty high, and I think they did a good job of living up to it. I noted roasted almonds, earth, pepper, cinnamon, hints of vanilla and a touch of honey. There’s rich, ample flavor to be enjoyed here, and it really lingers.
Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Corona Gorda *
One of the first things I noticed about this Grand Empire Reserve is it’s probably the first I’ve had that isn’t box-pressed. It’s hard to say if it was the size, or minor tweaks to the blend to accommodate not being box-pressed, but there did seem to a bit of a difference. Normally I note a good amount of a vinegar-like spice in the Grand Empire Reserve, but it didn’t play much of a part in the Corona Gorda. What I experienced instead was sweet roasted nuts, meatiness, wood and varying spices, especially early and late in the smoke. I enjoyed this cigar a great deal.
* Big Brother would have you know these cigars were gifts or free samples, and that my opinions on them is suspect. My opinions (and this bottle of rye) are my own, your response to them is your own. Anybody seen Charlie? I think he owes me twenty bucks.
** 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. And he’s ugly when he cries.