Brian’s The Week in Smoke

Drew Estate

Due to some positive response to my recent coverage of the new cigars at IPCPR 2010, and some encouragement to smoke through the rest of them, I bringing you something I’m calling “The Week in Smoke.” Like the preceding article, this covers many (though not necessarily all) of the cigars I’ve smoked in the past week or so, 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 maybe 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 normal smoking experience.) Also, an appearance in The Week in Smoke does not preclude nor guarantee a future in-depth review.

262 Paradigm Torpedo *
I decided to give the 262 another shot, as I really didn’t give the first a fair shake lighting it up during the festivities in the cigar shop on Canal Street. The Paradigm made for a great first smoke of the day with its velvety leather, cocoa and vanilla profile. My initial assessment was correct though, the cigar remains pretty static.

Alec Bradley Tempus Maduro *
So dark it’s almost intimidating, making the smooth and delicate cocoa and cedar flavors a little surprising. Also surprising is that the Tempus Maduro didn’t seem to build much in body or change that much as it progressed.

Arturo Fuente Sungrown Hemingway
This rarity from the latest production batch is a rather enjoyable smoke, one you don’t see around that often. Citrus that isn’t too acidic, wood and a little coffee.

Augusto Reyes Signature Robusto *
A lot of interesting initial impressions from this cigar. It had a wrapper that smelled of honey and perfume, and an initial couple of puffs with a pronounced and spicy herbal and wood combination. As time progressed, the spice remained along with a prominent wood flavor that picked up a chalky flavor and mouth feel.

Augusto Reyes Sixth Generation Robusto *
Much like the Signature, this stick starts you off with an intriguing herbal cedar and spice flavor combo. But this time, the blend has a salty characteristic I didn’t taste in the Signature. The spice carried on through the stick, but the wood became a little charry and was joined by nuts and some orange sweetness as it burned.

Berger & Argenti Entubar Quad Maduro *
I’m not the biggest fan of extra decoration at the head or foot of the cigar, but there’s no denying the tastiness of the Entubar Quad Maduro. Cocoa, caramel, syrupy nuts and a great aromatic cedar are what you get once you’ve thoroughly roasted that filler pillar at the foot of the cigar. This cigar is such a winner.

Cain Nub Maduro 464T *
If I’m going to light up a cigar in this format, you can bet it’ll be one with a torpedoed head, it’s just easier to smoke. The Cain Nub Maduro is a pretty enjoyable maduro, offering up a very smooth, well blended combination of coffee, chocolate and some faintly charry wood.

Davidoff Puro D’Oro Deliciosos *
At a time when every new cigar seems to be sized to cork the business end of a tuba, it’s can be easy to forget a cigar with a mere 43 ring gauge can deliver a lot of flavor. Earthy, woody, coffee and a nice touch of coppery zing. Very enjoyable.

Dignity Black Gold Robusto *
This may be my first foray into “eco-friendly tobacco,” as inscribed on the band. And honestly, I wasn’t too impressed. The cigar tunneled for a while early on, and turned bitter and harsh quite abruptly around 2/3 of the way in. In between, there was some decent woody, earthy and mineraly flavor.

El Cobre Torpedo
This word of mouth, Oliva-made favorite is like a photo developing lab in the Playboy Mansion at midnight. Which is to say, really dark and oily. But what keeps people buying them is the full, rich flavor profile of cocoa, coffee, spice, bittersweet chocolate, potent smokey cedar and a touch of anise.

Graycliff Heritage Royale Pirate (Formerly “Project X”) *
After a spicy and unusual beginning that’s hard to describe, the cigar took on sour and acidic flavor that dominated the profile. Did not care for it alone, or with beer. Where I to try it again, I’d see if a heartier spirit like scotch or bourbon might produce more favorable results.

Gurkha Ninja Knife
Another cigar with an aggressive beginning. Spice, syrupy and charry wood, pepper and espresso come after you as soon as the stick is lit. With that beginning, and the generous cloud of smoke it produces, the Gurkha Ninja maybe out for the kill, but it’s not being stealthy in the least about it. It does mellow a bit after a while, losing some of the spice, and gradually the sweetness. I liked it, and considering the price, the power and profile, I think this one will be very popular.

Honduras Caribbean Tobacco Maduro Churchill *
Noted an interesting herbal aroma to the dark, reddish wrapper, a little like cumin. After a promising start (an enticing syrupy leather and coffee flavor), the cigar developed draw problems, and ultimately a tunnel. The cigar never recovered. A shame, it had potential.

Illusione ~mj12~
I decided to take a break from smoking new cigars to return to an old (relatively) favorite. And it didn’t disappoint. Syrup, roasted nuts, cinnamon, wood and a little spice. Still a fantastic smoke, and it seems like they just keep getting better.

J. Fuego 777 Maduro Robusto
A dark, rustic cigar with a little hole in the wrapper near the head. Dark chocolate, pepper, a pronounced wood note and a little of that sweet paprika. I enjoyed the 777 Maduro more that I remembered, but it’s no Gran Reservera Corojo No. 1.

J. Fuego Delerium Minuto
Though I much prefer the Gran Reserva Corojo No. 1, the Delerium isn’t a bad smoke either, and there are similarities between the two. I get some of the same earth, spice and sweet paprika flavors as the Corojo No. 1. However, I also noted a gamy vegetal flavor I’m less keen on, but what makes up for that is a really enjoyable aromatic, flowery cedar this smoke produced.

J. Fuego Gran Reserva Corojo No. 1 Corona
Me telling you I loved it should come as no surprise. It was my top cigar of 2009, after all. However, this particular experience wasn’t the best. A flaw somewhere in the cigar resulted in a looser and airier draw than usual. The flavors were still enjoyable, earth, sweet paprika, spice and wood, just not quite as full as usual.

J. Fuego Origen Originals (aka the “Soft Pack”)
I like the packaging and the cigars enough at the trade show to put in an order for a couple soft packs on the first website I found that carried them. These ugly little cheroots are convenient for whenever time or space is limited, and offer a good amount of flavor. Very earthy, with an orangy acidic tingle and some of that sweet spicy paprika I’ve noted in many of Jesus Fuego’s cigars.

La Aurora 107 Corona
A line extension that I thought was released with a lot of buzz and fanfare, that is until twitter exploded at the thought of a 107 lancero. An enjoyable smoke with a dominant citrus element and just enough sweetness to balance out the acidity. Also picked up faint hints of grass and cedar.

La Caridad Del Cobre Natural Charada No. 90 *
A large, churchill wrapped in a light, finely-veined, flawless leaf. Sweet bread, caramel and woody buttered toast, with hints of coffee and cinnamon. A fine cigar that invites you to pour a cup of coffee and relax.

Liga Privada “LP JD #4” *
The LP JD #4 has the same dark, oily and toothy wrapper you’d see on the regular Liga Privada, but has a woodier, smokier, pepperier flavor profile. And a more body.

Oliva Connecticut Churchill
A favorite cigar of mine to pair with high gravity and Belgian ales. The sweet creamy bread, slightly dry cedar and occasional savory herb just seem to work beautifully with the sweet potency of powerful ales. This occasion was no exception, I enjoyed it with a large bottle of Allagash Curieux.

Quesada Tributo Alvarito
Bucking the big ring gauge trend, the Tributo Alvarito could almost be considered a cigarillo with it’s 4 1/2 x 40 size. Don’t be fooled, it has a lot of flavor. I noted roasted nuts, spice (especially early on), acidic, sometimes fruity sweetness and oak. A great size, and a solid smoke.

Padron 4000 Maduro *
I don’t light up Padrons all that often, and when I do, those first couple of puffs are that much better for the absence. The combination of rich cocoa, bittersweet chocolate, occasionally syrupy wood and earth will make you a repeat customer. There may be a box purchase in my near future.

Perdomo Champagne
A pleasant cigar with a good cup of coffee. Sweet buttered bread, dry cedar, and the right amount of acidic zing. My only complaint, the cigar had a weak, flaky ash. It was impossible to avoid wearing at least some of it.

Perdomo Habano Maduro
The Habano Maduro had no trouble standing up to the evening’s many drams of Balvenie scotch. Right of the bat, it was smokey and peppery with a little acidic paprika sweetness. Before long, savory, smokey wood, spice and leather was added to the mix. This cigar made me want to fire up the grill.

Pinar Del Rio Clasico Exclusivo Lancero
Though not quite as good as the Clasico culebra I lit up in New Orleans, this lancero is no slacker. Malty, bready and toasty with a little bit of sweetness and cedar.

Savinelli Liga Especial Robusto
A new band and possibly a new blend for the Savinelli Liga Especial. (Specifics are scarce at the moment.) A very enjoyable evolving profile that covers the bases from sweet and tart cherry to leather and finally wood. Reminds me a little of the Edge Sumatra.

Torano Brigade *
Probably the lightest wrapper I’ve seen sporting this kind of tooth. Opened up with a sickly-sweet flavor that reminded me of a behind-the-scenes tour of a brewery, but unlike the Single Region I covered in the last list, it seemed to work this time. (Or perhaps I was just more receptive to it this time around.) Very interesting profile, buttered corn, earth, cedar and syrupy brewery sweetness. I’m not sold on the Brigade, but I will try it again at some point.

Thirteenth Floor Robusto *
This one will wake you up in the morning. Really spicy with a strong cedar flavor at the start. It mellows before too long and starts to taste very much like a cedary cinnamon roll, frosting, butter, cinnamon and all. A really good smoke and a nice surprise.

Winner of the Week: Berger & Argenti Entubar Quad Maduro *

* Big Brother would have you know these cigars were gifts or free samples that may have been included in the Twitter Brother of the Leaf press kit. (Thank you again, sponsors.)