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 cigar 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!
Crowned Heads The Angel’s Anvil
This limited edition Churchill-sized smoke was made by Crowned Heads exclusively for TAA member shops, and happened to visit one recently. Unfortunately this stick suffered some minor travel damage between the shop and my ashtray. The good news is that had no real impact on how well it smoked. And it smoked well indeed. The profile was an enjoyable combination of earth, wood, leather and black tobacco with hints of vanilla and lingering spices.
Drew Estate Cigar Safari 2014 Blend aka “Brian’s Sweet Southern BBQ”
One of the first things I noticed when I picked up this cigar is how sweet the wrapper leaf smelled. It’s like it was dunked in honey. I lit one up a few months after I got back from Cigar Safari, and was disappointed. It didn’t turn out anything like I hoped. It’s a different story this time, it just needed some time. The sweetness, wood and smoke are really coming out now. It’s not quite like puffing on a plate of barbecue, the coffee and sweet touches of vanilla and caramel throw a monkey wrench in that, but it’s a success in that it’s both sweet and smokey. Also because I really enjoyed smoking it. I’d buy it if were produced.
Illusione does make an Epernay that’s slightly larger than this purple-banded 6 ½ x 56 beast, but this is the largest of the offerings I’ve lit to date. Even knowing who the maker was, I found myself instinctively expecting the washed-out profile I often get from blends stretched into large ring gauge cigars. Silly me, Dion’s not going release boring junk like that, and he has a track record to prove it. The flavors were rich and syrupy, especially early on. I noted vanilla, oak, toast and mild earthy spices. My only beef was the ash was pretty flaky and it did make a bit of a mess on my desk. That’s not going to stop me from smoking another, though.
J. Fuego Heat Robusto *
I don’t recall how I came by this cigar, but I’m pretty sure it was something I was handed recently. The tunneling that took place as I smoked it seems to support the idea that it spent some time out of a humidor looking for the right ashtray. It was a pretty solid smoke overall, offering earth, cedar, coffee and nuts with some sweet notes.
La Aurora Untamed Robusto *
Austin, my local Miami Cigar rep, regional hipster and bow tie connoisseur swung through the area with his boss Jason Wood to shake hands and kiss babies. On their way out for the night, Jason handed me this new La Aurora Untamed, which I believe hasn’t hit store shelves yet. While I was fiddling around with my lighting gear I took a few cold puffs off the cigar, and rather enjoyed the chocolatey cold draw. I prefer to smoke my tobacco, but an argument could be made for gnawing on this cigar for a while. Once lit it made me double check the band. It says La Aurora, but it doesn’t taste like any product of theirs I’ve ever had. Bold notes of chocolate, sweet notes of dark fruit, earth black tobacco, espresso and pepper. If they’re looking to draw fuller-bodied cigar smokers into the fold, this cigar could do it.
* 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.