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!
Alec Bradley Black Market
“It’s been a while since I had a Black Market”, were the words that went through my head as I made this impulse buy. That and remembering smoking one years with Chris McCalla (formerly with the IPCPR) on a golf course watching the PGA Tour Championship. Good times, memorable smoke. This experience was good as well, but not as good. The flavors were enjoyable and varied, roasted nuts, pepper, caramel, but the draw was tighter than I prefer for the first half. Still, a solid cigar that I will always associate with good times.
El Cobre Torpedo **
Few cigars have as much history with Stogie Review as the cult classic El Cobre, a dark beast of a cigar made by Oliva that grew quite a following without any hype or marketing. All word of mouth. The combination of full body and mild price tag made it an easy choice. (Even now you can get it online for around $4 a stick.) I think this one was the last of a bundle I bought three or four years ago. It was more cedary that I remembered, and a touch milder thanks to years in the humidor. But it still brought the heavy, thick, earthy, spicy smoke. It must be time to get another bundle.
J. Fuego Americana Originals
I’ve been eye the “soft pack” of J. Fuego Americanas in the humidor for a while now, but I haven’t brought myself to pull the trigger. I enjoy the blend in other sizes, but I wasn’t sold on the idea of the spending $30 on the pack. It turns out I didn’t have to, my local tobacconist cleverly opened up a few packs and put the singles in a tray by the cash register. It turns out the blend really works in this small, hand rolled format. The temptation is to burn the little cheroots quickly. And you definitely can, it’s not meant to last long a long time. But if you slow it down a bit, there’s a lot of flavor to be here to be enjoyed. Things like leather, wood, pepper, molasses and the spices common in most J. Fuego cigars. I like these more than the Origen Originals, and that’s high praise.
Juan Lopez Seleccion No. 1
Before anyone gets excited, this is the domestically available Juan Lopez that was recently reblended to feature Nicaraguan tobaccos, not the contraband from the legendary island. (In case the photo doesn’t make that clear.) A local shop had them on special display, pitching it as a good value buy. I decided to take it for a spin. It’s not a great cigar, but for 6-ish bucks, the profile of sweet earth, chocolate and coffee is satisfactory. I’d be a little more excited about it if the draw was a little less snug.
Quesada Oktoberfest Kaiser Ludwig
I remember having a Quesada Oktoberfest a few years ago, and not being very impressed. I didn’t dislike it, I just didn’t get the Oktoberfest tie-in. I got it this time, and I dug it. The cigar seemed to have flavor parallels to malty sweetness you’d get from an Oktoberfest beer, Alt ale or even an Amber. I also noted wood and spices. I’m looking forward to smoking another with the appropriate beer.
Padron 1926 No. 6 Maduro
Here’s another example of why it’s always a good idea to look through any humidor you come across in your travels. This gem was uncharacteristically discounted. (I suspect it was in error, but who knows.) Ordinarily I prefer the 1964 line, but I took the price as sign. Surprise, it was a good smoke. I noted a lingering earthiness, dark chocolate, wood, herbal notes and some pepper. For my money, I still think the 1964 is the way to go, but you can’t go wrong here.
* 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. All your base are belong to us.
** 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.