Week in Smoke – TGT Edition

Its great to be back to regular posts. IPCPR was fun and all but it was a bit draining encoding/uploading those videos so its great to be back with another episode of Week in Smoke. Lots of new cigars making their debut on Week in Smoke with a spattering of cigars making a repeat appearance. Some that I didn’t get, lots of pretty good but mostly some fantastic cigars. Some I smoked repeatedly and others I only smoked the one so don’t take this as gospel…awe fuck it, Don “Cruz”ado has spoken, write it in stone baby. LOL…I kid , I kid.

Zino Platinum Z Class – Surprisingly I got a box of these solely based on Brian Hewitt’s review and I think he got it right. Simply a stellar combination of a sweet molasses nutty flavors that are amazing. Love the blueish tint to the smoke and the aroma is killer. Definitely a cigar that you will probably see on a few Top 10 lists at the end of the year. I suggest the Pyramid size myself as the standout vitola.

Casa Fernandez Arsenio – Maybe I was ecstatic about meeting and interviewing Paul Palmer, Eduardo Fernandez and Arsenio Ramos at IPCPR or maybe Arganosa leaf is just killer. Probably both. One of my favorite lines that doesn’t get a lot of attention but I think has amazing construction, a great balanced profile and a exotic aroma that is intoxicating and I find myself day dreaming about.

Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ – The 4th Annual Smoke a JJ for JJ Day was a success. Thanks to everyone who participated. Whether you smoked a JJ or something else. Like I told many, its not really about what you smoke, but why you smoke it. Meaning, its about helping me keep and honor the Little Robusto’s memory. I can’t put into words how much it means to me to see many B/SOTL smoking and thinking about JJ.

Casa Fernandez Miami Reserva – One of my Top 3 cigars coming out of IPCPR. Fabulous! Fabulous! Balanced, complex, engaging, memorable and soul satisfying. It doesn’t get much better than this gem from Casa Fernandez. Find it, try it and doubt me never again. 🙂

La Palina El Diario – A new release from Bill Paley and La Palina Cigars at IPCPR doesn’t disappoint. Price friendly than the original Family Series. I smoked two of these and quickly wished I had more. Well balanced whose smoke puts off an enticing aroma. Beautiful rosado wrapper and a nice spicy core brought to you by Fabrica de Tobacos Raices Cubanas and not Graycliff. Right price, right balance truly makes the El Diario a daily cigar.

San Cristobal Elegancia – The newest extension in the San Cristobal line from Ashton features the ever growing popular Ecuadorian grown Connecticut wrapper. I only had one Elegancia and thought it was ok. Good enough to at least try again. Took a bit for the cigar to develop a flavor profile but when it did, it was ok.

Havana Sunrise Maduro – Made by our friends at Casa Gomez. I know Walt didn’t enjoy the original blend but this is the newly blended Havana Sunrise Maduro that I thought smoked flawlessly. Classic maduro flavors…touch of chalky sweetness, nutty and woodsy flavors. I was surprised, impressed and sadden when I finished smoking these. They are all gone and now I have to hunt to find them. Havana Sunrise Maduro pairs perfectly with that pot of coffee in the morning and equally well with that late night espresso nightcap.

Drew Estate Liga Privada MF-13 – Man, if I had to say what the MF stood for I’d say it stood for “Mother Fucker” in regards to its strength and flavor, “Mother Fucker thats strong”. Or “Mother Fucker thats some great flavor”. I’m sure Drew Estate won’t be using that in any of their promotional literature. The MF-13 uses the same stalk cut wrapper you find on the T-52. For me, the MF-13 is like a T-52 on steroids. Everything is ratcheted up but remarkably stays balanced and enjoyable throughout. So much so that I think I’ll be switching my allegiance from the T-52 to the MF-13 as my favorite in the Liga series.

CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger – A multiple repeat appearance here on Week in Smoke and for good reason; the Knuckle Dragger is a pack leader. Now our buddy Skip will say that the Knuckle Dragger isn’t his favorite size that the EMH or Mandible are better but I suspect he’s just saying that to get people to buy the sizes he has in stock. 😉 LOL. The Knuckle Dragger size is always sold out for a reason…

Emilio Cigars Holiday Blend – I’ll probably get kicked in the nuts for this but for the life of me I can’t remember what this cigar is actually called and I can’t read the band from the picture I took. I’ll probably get kicked in the nuts again but the cigar didn’t do anything for me. Snug draw so I had to work hard to puff on it and didn’t get much of a return on my efforts. I believe Gary Griffith told me its something he’s working on so probably the blend isn’t final or the one I got had issues. I’m leaning towards the later.

San Lotano Oval – The newest line by San Lotano and AJ Fernandez. Maybe I’m crazy but there were a lot of Ruination-ish qualities to the San Lotano Oval. And thats not a bad thing at all. Its pretty comparable in strength but the flavors are much more complexed and refined than in the Ruination. Definitely a cigar to keep an eye on as I predict it will make some waves.

La Caridad de Cobre Javelin – LCDC is my dad’s favorite manufacturer. In fact he’s pretty much run me dry of everything LCDC so that my experience with them is limited. Luckily I was able to keep a Javelin to try. A bit stiff on the draw at times but flavors were there. Spicy and woodsy seemed to be the dominate flavor profile. Unique lancero perfecto size and that may account for the stiff draw but I got a glimpse as to why my dad enjoys Frank’s work so much.

Undercrown by Drew Estate – Probably one of the most talked about cigars coming out of IPCPR. I put it up there with the Casa Fernandez Miami Reserva that I talked about earlier. I did experience an inconsistent draw from the samples I enjoyed. Some were stiff, others were wide open. I chalk that up to being possibly rushed show samples. These aren’t due out till next month so I hope between now and then that will work itself out. On the flavor side though, the folks at DE have outdone themselves. Its very rare that I crave a cigar, but since I ran out of samples from the show, I’ve been craving Undercrown and September might be close by but feels so far away.

Viaje TNT 2010 – I found these Viaje TNT 2010 at the bottom of my humidor a few weeks ago. Probably for good reason. Eh…didn’t impress me. Did a year’s worth of age mellow the cigar out so much that it rendered it basically flat? It was like smoking warm air. Probably similar to Brian Hewitt smoking that electronic cigar. Although it does peek my interest to see how the 2011 blend compares. It’s amazing that Andre Farkas even talks to me. The only blend of his that I enjoy is the Fifty Fifty Red Label.

BrickHouse – This always surprises people who ask me what some of my current staples are in my humidor. The BrickHouse has made multiple appearances here in Week in Smoke and each time I adore it’s simplicity more and more. Some say for the price its hard to beat the BrickHouse. For me, when I can’t decide what to smoke or just want something I know I will enjoy, I grab a BrickHouse Robusto.

CAO OSA Sol – The much anticipated release from CAO since the merger with General Cigars. Highly talked about on the show floor and definitely grabs your attention with the bright green on the band. How does it smoke? The one I smoked the other night was really good. Flavorful, unique with a lot of subtle flavors that I’m sure by smoking more I can expand on. Solid all around. Some I talked to said they were expecting more, that the OSA Sol was a safe blend to go with. Maybe…but I think this is the first step of many for Rick Rodriguez and Ed McKenna. They definitely made a solid step in the right direction.

Drew Estate Liga Privada L40 – Should’ve just called this the Week in Smoke Drew Estate Edition LOL. I like to think of myself as a lancero fan. I think the lancero size adds such a unique characteristic to blends and wish more manufacturers wouldn’t be afraid that they won’t sale or how complicated they are to roll. Unlike the Undercrown and the MF-13, the L40 didn’t work for me. Flavors seemed a bit muddled like the blend just didn’t meld together. The citrus and herbal notes were too prominent and there wasn’t anything to bring those, otherwise enjoyable flavors, together. You can’t win them all but hey, two out of three ain’t bad.