It’s been a busy week, but not so busy that I didn’t light up an interesting assortment of cigars. And since it’s been a minute and a half since I did one…
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!
CAO MX2 Box-Press
I was on the way home from a beer event when I realized was going to pass by a shop I haven’t been to in years. A cigar sounded good to me (which goes without saying) and the adventure of a different shop also seemed appealing. I was rewarded with a few options I don’t often see, including this MX2 Box-Press. (Remember those MX3’s? Those were great.) I have no doubt that the beers previously sampled had an impact on the flavor, but chocolate cake, cinnamon and light pepper notes didn’t seem too out of the ordinary. My one beef with this cigar is that the cap came off before I got a third of the way through it. I was reminded that I used to punch cut these cigars to help maintain their structural integrity.
Foundation Charter Oak CT Shade Rothchild **
This Charter Oak is the victim (or beneficiary) of accidental aging. I’m sure I’ve had it for at least a year, and possibly two, just laying there in the humidor waiting for my attention. This week I set it free. And it turned out to be quite a tasty little smoke. Very creamy, with bready and toasty notes that had me thinking of pastries. Cedar, linger pepper and even some maple-like sweetness was also present at points. I took at Ben’s review of the cigar back in 2016, and he mentioned some bitterness. That was not my experience. The time spent in the humidor was kind to this budget-friendly cigar.
Foundation The Wise Man (El Güegüense) Maduro Corona Gorda
As long as it’s been since I last did a Week in Smoke, it’s been even longer since I lit up a Wise Man Maduro. How these aren’t in nearly every cigar shop in town, I don’t know. You may recall that this cigar was my honorable mention in the Top Ten Cigars of 2017. And just the last time, I paired it with a stout beer- this time it’s a locally made coffee stout by Monday Night Brewing called Whirling Dervish. The beer is a pretty ideal companion for a cigar like this, you have the sweet malt and coffee notes, but it’s not so intense that it upstages the earthy chocolate, espresso, caramel and nougat-ish notes the cigar has to offer. Of course, The Wise Man Maduro needs no companion to be enjoyed, it’s great without a backup band.
Romeo y Julieta Rare Corojo 2006
These special, limited edition Romeo y Julietas appeared on my local shop’s shelf not too long ago, and I had to take one for a spin. My initial impression was that of spices, fruity sweetness, black tobacco and pepper, but creamier, nuttier flavors emerged as it burned. The cigar held a sizeable solid ash, but a wrapper crack formed midway that made the burn less than stellar. By the end, the cigar had transition into flavors more along the line of walnut, cedar, peppery black tobacco and a hint of mintiness. I thought it was alright.
Viaje 5th Anniversary *
Last year a friend gave this Viaje 5th Anniversary, a smoke that made it high into my top ten back in 2013. It’s the only one I had, so I’d been waiting for the right time to light it up. Unfortunately, clumsy handling on my part caused a little wrapper damage on the underside of the cigar. The time for waiting was over. A day or two later I lit it up with fingers crossed. Sadly, the wrapper damage did make it burn poorly for a while, but overall, it was still a very good cigar. It’s been five years since it was released, and it tasted like it was starting to fade. Cream, bread, vanilla, mild spices, earth and syrupy notes were still present, but seemed more subdued than I remembered. If you still have any of these in your humidor, it’s time to start smoking them.
* 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 pint of coffee stout) 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.