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!
Crux Passport Half Corona *
It’s pretty well established at this point that I’m a fan of the Crux Passport. And my love of short, hand-rolled premium cigars is also no secret. But what happens when the two come together? Magic, that’s what. It’s like the time someone got their chocolate in someone else’s peanut butter, or vice versa. It has all the rich flavors of the larger vitolas, but in a size you can burn leisurely when you don’t have time for the lancero. My flavor notes were much the same as before, though possibly sweeter, and with a little more pepper presence particularly starting out. Bread, sweet cream, coffee, roasted nuts and vanilla are a few things you can expect from this fine short smoke.
D’Crossier Imperium Class Vintage Taino *
This week I lit up a D’Crossier Imperium Class Vintage that’s been resting in my humidor for quite some time, and the experience was much like ones I’ve had previously. The flavor was good, but the problem it has are its combustion characteristics. It tends to burn hot or go out, and almost every time I smoke it tunnels. And when it comes to burn flaws, tunneling is up there with plugged cigars in terms of ruining the experience. When it’s burning properly, you can expect a little spice, bread, cedar, sour cream and a little sweetness. If they burned better, I’d be a fan.
Daniel Marshall Red Label Toro *
Digging through my humidor I found another sample I’d forgotten about, this Daniel Marshall Toro. It’s been a while since I’ve crossed paths with one of these, so I did a little quick Googling to double check my facts. Though to my eyes the band looks kind of brown-ish, it’s actually the Red Label line, which are Dominican cigars produced by Manuel Quesada. As I puffed on it, I noted denser, earthy flavors, cocoa, black coffee and charred wood. Not a bad smoke. Time seems to have really diminished the pepper I tasted the last time I burned one.
Leaf by Oscar Corojo Toro
There are a lot of unusual looking cigars out there, ones with interesting presses, crisscrossing barber pole wrappers and even ones that look like footballs. The Leaf by Oscar may be unparalleled when it comes to rustic or primitive appearances. That’s because in the place of cellophane, each cigar comes wrapped in a tobacco leaf. Fastening that leaf to the cigar inside is a simple white band that looks like it could have come someone’s printer. The cigar inside that tobacco shell was a different story- it was considerably less rustic and nicely oily. But it did have a few blemishes, a couple of cracks and what appeared to be a roughly applied patch. That’s the drawback to unconventional packaging like this, you really don’t what you’re in for until you buy it and open it up. Those issues turned out to be cosmetic though. Once lit, the cigar was zero maintenance. In terms of flavor this Corojo was a spice bomb, especially early on. It lightened up midway and the creamier, sweeter notes came through. Things like caramel and maybe a little fruit. I also picked up mild woody notes. In all, the Leaf by Oscar Corojo is a pretty solid cigar, one you’ll definitely want to try if you like a spicy corojo leaf.
Montecristo Espada Ricasso
The area’s Altadis rep stopped into the shop this week, and as is my custom when reps visit, I decided to buy one of his products. I picked the ornate, triple (or is that quadruple?) banded Montecristo Espada because I hadn’t had one before. After freeing the cigar from its numerous decorative bands I lit it up without any real expectations. With exception of the 75th, I’m not a big fan of the domestic Montecristos I’ve had in the past, but this one surprised me. It was a really good cigar, good enough that I didn’t mind the cracks that formed in the wrapper as I smoked. It delivered a pleasing profile including caramel, earth, coffee, nuts and pepper. It’s a cigar I’d definitely smoke again.
Punch Rare Corojo El Diablo *
If you’ve been following Stogie Review for very long, you know that the prevailing opinion here is that cigars 60 ring gauge and larger are just too large to enjoy comfortably. I’ve added the caveat “unless they’re pressed in such a way that they become comfortable to smoke”. I think General tried to do that here, and though they didn’t quite succeed, I appreciate the attempt. Once lit, this girthy Rare Corojo initially offered some solid flavor- sweet spices, wood, earth, a hit of citrus acidity. But before long, the flavor seemed to wash out almost completely, making for a long, unexciting smoke. I like the Rare Corojo blend, I just don’t think it works very well 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 these pictures of rare beer I don’t remember drinking) 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 or instagram. If you’d like to see these lists constructed in real time, follow Brian on twitter or instagram. If you don’t, you’ll make the Fail Whale cry. And he’s ugly when he cries.