Happy New Year! If you’re reading this, you made it through another calendar. Nicely done. Whatever you thought of 2013, I hope 2014 is better year all around. Now, ideally I’d have my Top 10 list ready for your New Year’s Day enjoyment, but that’s not quite ready yet. Soon. In the meantime, I have a fresh new issue of Brian’s The Week In Smoke documenting the cigars I smoked while not working on that top 10, including some of those fun new limited edition Fuentes. So…
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!
Arturo Fuente Don Arturo Destino al Siglo Amore
This sharp-looking, double-banded figurado hit my local B&M recently, and I couldn’t resist giving one a try immediately. It had a sweet, syrupy beginning, developing earth, grass, citrus, cedar and butterscotch flavors as it burned. There are some similarities between Destino al Siglo and the OpusX, but it struck me as more than just an OpusX tweak. The Destino al Siglo is an excellent smoke, one I hope I can buy more of before it disappears.
AVO Maduro Robusto **
When I found out my local shop had four year old AVO Maduros on special, I couldn’t resist picking up a few. I haven’t had one in probably as many years, and it wasn’t a favorite at the time, but I’ve found AVO’s tend to age very well. And, there’s nothing finding a well-aged gem in the humidor, is there? And gem it was- rich tobacco, earth, grassy acidity, nougat-like creaminess, cedar, a touch of mustiness and some varying candy sweetness. Though I doubt a fresh one will be as good, I am resolved to find one to see how it compares.
Camacho Ditka 89
Unfortunately I missed the virtual #DITKA89 herf that Camacho organized a while back, but after thoroughly enjoying the Throwback, I wasn’t going to miss the Ditka 89. What I found cigar that was more reminiscent of the Zino Platinum Emperors of years past than any Camacho that I’ve had recently. Flavor-wise, it was a combination of cream, cedar, earth and coffee with a touches of cocoa, Davidoff funkiness and grass. I think they did Coach Ditka right with this one. I’d recommend trying one if you haven’t.
Diamond Crown Julius Caeser 1895 *
This perfecto is the newest vitola in the Julius Caeser line up, but unfortunately this sample picked up a little damage along the way, at the very tip of the foot. The good news is, that’s the first part to burn, and it had no impact on my enjoyment. The profile was all creamy caramel, cocoa, nuts and some sweet syrupy notes. Had it not been for very really uneven burn and the tight draw (which probably muted the flavors somewhat), I might be raving about the 1895. Even with those flaws, I enjoyed it, and am likely to try it again.
Fuente Fuente OpusX Angel’s Share Robusto
There was plenty of limited edition Fuente fun at the end of 2013, and the Angel’s Share is another in the year end humidor virtual takeover. Billed as a lighter OpusX blend, with a name inspired by the terrible fire that consumed several warehouses full of well-aged premium tobacco a few years ago. And it did taste very much like a toned-down OpusX, with its cedar, grassy acidity, sweetness and peppery tobacco profile. What didn’t seem to be toned down was the spiciness, there was still plenty of that. It may be a mellower Opus blend, but it’s not a mild cigar. It’s definitely a fine smoke, but I think I’d rather have a regular OpusX.
Gurkha Rogue Armageddon *
A sampler of these giant 6 x 66 beasts appeared in the mail recently, and after being amused momentarily by the name and size (Armageddon and 666, get it?) I was pleased to note that it was box-pressed. I’ve been saying for years now, if you’re going to make a cigar with a really large ring gauge, at least box-press it so it’s comfortable to smoke. While I’m not a fan of the size, it’s a pretty enjoyable smoke. I noted cedar, leather, caramel, cinnamon, pepper and spices. I haven’t had them all, but this is probably the best Gurkha I’ve had so far.
J.D. Howard Reserve HR54
After seeing it hit Jerry’s Top 10 list for 2013, I was inspired to pick up another J.D. Howard Reserve. I have to agree with his assessment, it’s a very good cigar. It had a very solid woody core with creamy notes, hints of vanilla and cinnamon, and some nice sweetness. Had it not been for damage done by a heavily glued band, it would have been an excellent experience. I enjoyed it enough to risk that again in the future.
La Palina Classic Robusto
Somehow I went all year without trying the La Palina Classic, and I decided to correct that oversight. Once lit, I was treated to sweet cream, cedar and earth with notes of almond and mustiness. It was very enjoyable smoke, one that seems incomplete without a good cup of coffee.
* 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.