It’s once time again for another issue of Brian’s The Week In Smoke. It’s been a few weeks since I posted one, and the smoking notes have been building up, so this one will be a little longer than some. Bonus, right? 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!
Alec Bradley Mundial PL4 *
This smallest of the Mundial vitolas didn’t smoke as well as the larger one I had at last year’s trade show. The draw was a little too tight, and there was a sourness that eclipsed many of the flavors noted in previous smoke, though cedar and cinnamon did break through. I happen to know this cigar changed hands a few times before I wound up smoking it, so I’m going to assume improper storage along the way accounts for the less than stellar performance.
In my experience, it’s probably too soon to really smoke the Avo 88. Not that this new limited edition is bad right now, but invariably Avo cigars (especially these annual releases) improve so dramatically with time. Of course, you kinda have to smoke one now to get an idea of what you’re in for, and I did. I found it to have a very involved profile, noting the usual grass and Avo mustiness, but also interesting spices, pronounced black tobacco, coffee, bread and hints of vanilla. I can’t wait to smoke this one with a little age.
I picked this interesting CAO up months ago when I spotted it at a shop I visit infrequently. I forgot about the Last Stick Standing contest, and didn’t realize that this was the winning blend when I picked it up. (Also it’s timely, as CAO has released the next in what has become a natural disaster-themed line, the Heatwave.) So how did the people do in their selection process? The cigar offered pleasant flavors of roasted nuts, coffee, earth, chocolate and some sweet cherry notes. In all not terribly exciting, but pretty good. The cigar hit a high point toward the beginning of the second third, but after that the storm gradually dissipated.
Crux Passport *
I don’t know a great deal about the Crux cigar company, but they were kind enough to send me some samples of cigars that are just now hitting the market. This particular stick is scheduled for release this month, in fact. Once lit, the cigar offered creamy, woody and slightly herbal flavors initially and then transitioned into coffee, pepper, roasted nuts, more wood and a chocolaty sweetness. It was a pretty enjoyable cigar. If it’s not out yet, it should be soon.
I never pass up the opportunity to buy a Curivari Buenaventura. They’re a budget priced smoke that’s a cut above many cigars twice the price. I didn’t really take notes as I smoked this latest one, but the experience seemed to consistent with previous smokes. It had that sour cream note I always get, and cedar, cinnamon and caramel were also present as I recall. I need quit messing around and just by a box of these already.
Nica Rustica El Brujito*
I was down in Nicaragua on Drew Estate’s Cigar Safari again this year, and the combination of (mostly) pollen-free air during allergy season and availability of Drew Estate cigars meant I got to spend some quality time with the Nica Rustica. You probably already know what to expect- those deep rich flavors of earth, pepper, coffee and chocolate, but they’re also a little sweeter when you smoke them this fresh, and maybe a touch more potent. The Nica Rustica is a victim of its own success in my humidor, I don’t often smoke them, because I keep running out.
Drew Estate Liga Privada Unico Serie Feral Flying Pig *
The Feral Flying Pig is another gem I lit up while I was on Cigar Safari. (Come to think of it, I’ll bet I still have some I bought years ago around here somewhere too. I should look into that.) Anyway the FFP was another bold, smoky treat- rich sweet earth, plenty of pepper, chocolate, dark tobacco, wood and sweet notes of cherry and anise. I look forward to my next one.
The Illusione Rothchildes is another great little stick for the money. They’re not the easiest to locate in my area, but when I see them I make a point to grab a handful. The flavors were varied and enjoyable, I noted coffee, chocolate, cedar, light spices, creamy sweetness and caramel, but there were the occasional herbal and aromatic properties.
J. Fuego Americana
You know I’m a fan of Jesus Fuego’s cigars, and I’ve been looking forward to seeing what he could do with Pennsylvania Broadleaf, a headliner tobacco in the Americana. And what he did was create pretty unique, but enjoyable blend. It was earthy and herbal with some creamy sweetness, a mustiness wood. I didn’t get it right away, but the sweet and smoky spices I associate with J. Fuegos made an appearance later on. I liked it, but this was fresh off the truck. I’m looking forward to lighting up another after they’ve had some time to recover from their journey.
Punch Rare Corojo Salomones *
You don’t see a lot of Salomones being released these days, but if you go back a few years just about everyone seemed to be releasing their blend in this shape. This was before the 6×60 craze, and perhaps even paved the way for it. So it’s a definite change of pace for me now, and the large size is a bit of a time commitment. Once lit the Rare Corojo Salomone started delivering syrupy and leathery flavors. The draw was a bit snug, but as it warmed up a little chocolate and an orange-like flavor started coming through, followed by cedar, spices and a little coffee. It didn’t blow me away, but it was a pleasant way to burn a few evening hours.
Re+United by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo and Michael Giannini
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to think when I saw the Re+United. But my interest was piqued when I realized what they were, an unexpected collaboration between the Ernesto Perez-Carrillo of EP Carrillo and Michael Giannini of Foundry. The two worked together for years at La Gloria Cubana, so this cigar is kind of like “getting the band back together”. They still play well together, the result was delicious. The smoke was so rich it seemed to ooze over my palate. Roasted nuts, creamy coffee, caramel, cedar and spices. The cigar did have a construction problem, a large soft spot beneath the band, but it didn’t have any impact on my enjoyment of the cigar. I’ll be buying more.
* 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. The Partagas Black picture used to belong to Jerry until I stole it.
** 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.