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!
262 Paradigm Lancero
One of the cigars I picked up on a recent weekend getaway was this 262 Paradigm Lancero. I love the vitola, and I recalled enjoying the blend. I was absolutely right. This cigar was delicious right out of the gate. It began sweet, reminding me of gingerbread cookies. What followed was an assortment of delight rich flavors like caramel, vanilla, raisins and even coconut. Spices were also present. The cigar turned to toasty, leathery and peppery flavors toward the end. I wish I had more these. Heck, I wish I bought the rest of the box.
Davidoff Nicaragua Box-Pressed 6 x 60 *
Davidoff just released a limited edition run of 6 x 60 vitolas in their Yamasa, Escurio and Nicaragua lines. Though it’s not my preferred format, you can hardly blame them for doing so. A quick glance in any cigar shop’s humidor shows that’s what consumers want. Undoubtedly they’ve had many requests for the addition of the hefty size in the popular newer lines. Naturally, I immediately gravitated to the Box-Pressed offering, because as I’ve been saying for years, if you’re going to go 6 x 60, the box press is the way to go. One lit, the girthy cigar produced a lot of thick, earthy, chewy smoke. I picked up varying chocolate notes, generally closer to bittersweet chocolate, but occasionally more like milk chocolate. For the first half or so, there was a sweet tart element that struck me as something close to red currant. Further in, I noted flavors like nougat and even peanut butter. Throughout, pepper lingered, but never seemed particularly dominant. Overall, it was a good cigar that was easy to enjoy. I’m not surprised, Davidoff knows a thing or two about blending tobacco to fit the vitola.
Drew Estate Liga Privada Unico Serie Ratzilla
I don’t commonly smell the wrapper of Liga Privadas cigars. I realized this as I removed the cellophane on this Ratzilla, the air around me smelled like I had just stepped into the Drew Estate factory on Cigar Safari- in the best kind of way. Sweet, fermenting tobacco all around me. After years of considering the pros and cons of cellophane, I’ve decided I like my cigars cellophaned, because it protects the cigar from damage. The fact that removing the it often releases a wonderful aroma is just a bonus. Applying fire to the situation, the Razilla was earthy from the start. I could have sworn I tasted a little Kentucky Fire Cured tobacco in the cigar for the first inch or so. From there on out it was all about earth, chocolate with wood, coffee, pepper and a touch of sweetness.
Eiroa The First 20 Years 646 Prensado
The Eiroa The First 20 Years is a cigar I’ve been looking for for a while. I’d actually forgotten I was looking for it when I ran across a box of them during a recent weekend getaway. I didn’t hesitate to buy one. It occurred to me as I was walking up to the register that I probably should have grabbed more than one, but I already had a fistful of other interesting finds and my hand was developing carpal tunnel syndrome from all the credit card swiping that weekend. With all the running around, it wasn’t until I got back home that I had a chance to light it up. That’s just as well, the familiar environment made it easier to focus on the cigar. The First 20 Years was syrupy and woody to start, it reminded me of an oak barrel. In short order a lot of rich pepper and molasses joined the prominent wood. Pepper took over the profile as the cigar continued. Along the way, I noted milk chocolate, some nuttiness, and a hint of anise. I really enjoyed the cigar, but it’s definitely an end of the day smoke. Meaning the big peppery profile doesn’t leave a lot of palate behind for other cigars. I’d love to smoke this again after eating a good steak.
L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER14 **
For such a limited release, I was a little surprised to see the Extension de la Racine ER14 still on the shelf at a local shop. They were released at the end of 2014, making them around 2 1/2 years old at this point. There’s nothing I love more than complimentary cigar aging, so decided to treat myself to one of these well-aged smokes. I was not disappointed. The ER14 supplied me with oodles of rich, thick, even viscous smoke. I noted wood, leather, sweet spicy cinnamon, vanilla, orange peel, leather and ample pepper at different points. It was all sunshine and rainbows until a little way into the final third where I ran into some unexpected and unpleasant bitterness. But like a nasty little cloud drifting across a clear sky, it cast its shadow and passed on, allowing the cigar to end on a positive note. I’d smoke the ER14 again, even with the hitch at the end.
Perdomo 20th Anniversary Connecticut Robusto
I’ve had the 20th Anniversary Maduro and Sun Grown blends from Perdomo many, many times, but up until this week I had not tried the more recently added Connecticut blend. And I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t on my A-game when I was smoking it. I could tell as soon as I started puffing on it. And by that, I mean palate fatigue and a little dehydration. (It was a long weekend, and I still feel it a little even now.) But what I tasted was promising. My notes included wood, molasses, earth, toast and some creaminess. It struck me as a good cigar to pair with a cup of coffee, and I probably needed one.
* 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 hazy office) 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.