Brian’s The Week In Smoke, Issue 9

Due to a number of factors, not the least of which being an oppressive pollen levels this past week, it’s time once again for 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 (OK, more like the past month, but I don’t feel like changing the name), 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 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!

Avo Lounge Edition Churchill *
You’ll know it when you’ve found one, it’s the Avo with the light blue band. You can expect mild, creamy cigar with aromatic cedar, grass and a light lemon-like characteristic.

Casa Magna Domus Magnus Limitada
To begin with this limitada is a beautiful, lightly box-pressed stick with a reddish wrapper, and attractive bands. It starts off rich and earthy with a distinct sour cream note. As the cigar progresses, the sour cream fades, replaced by nougat, caramel and even vanilla sweetness. A decadent smoke that burns like a champ, the kind of experience that makes you want to go back and buy the rest of the box.

Casa Miranda by Nestor Miranda Robusto
The Casa Miranda is another of this year’s new releases, but this one I picked up at a cigar shop, not IPCPR. It had an intriguing wrapper aroma that resembled honey and perfume. The flavor profile came as a surprise, it was lighter than many of Nestor Miranda’s cigars, offering citrus, aromatic cedar and sweet/sour cream. The jury is still out on this one.

Casa Fernandez Miami Robusto
I don’t often make comparisons between Cuban cigars and those domestically available, but that’s the first thing that came to mind when I lit up the Casa Fernandez Miami. It reminds me of a some of the better ones I’ve had. Savory, cedary, a light touch of vanilla and caramel sweetness and a good dose of spice with a buttery mouth feel. An excellent smoke.

Drew Estate Liga Privada No. 9 Toro (OR) **
One of the best parts of the cigar shop experience is when you discover a hidden gem, like this original release Liga Privada No. 9. It was rich, earthy, with subtle wood, pepper and sweetness. An great cigar. If you have the chance to buy or smoke a well-aged No. 9 like this don’t pass up the opportunity.

Hoyo De Monterrey Excalibur Legend Conqueror **
This well-aged stick came from a three pack set that I bought shortly after the Excalibur Legend was released. Syrupy leather and spice. Pepper. Syrupy, woody dark chock and pepper. Earthy. Savory leathery earth. Maybe a hint of cherry syrup to the leather. A considerably better stick than I remember after sitting in a humidor for several years. With the popularity of super-full, potent cigars, I’m a little surprised that I don’t see more people smoking these.

La Flor Dominicana Factory Press Limitada *
This stick was released between Factory Press I and II and I’m not sure exactly how long it’s been since you could buy these, but I can taste the age. It comes through in a luxurious profile of chocolate, earth, delicate sweet cedar and spice. A very good smoke indeed.

Nestor Miranda Grand Reserve (IPCPR Sample) *
The emerald city band on the new Grand Reserve kept catching my eye, and I decided been resting from it’s IPCPR adventures long enough, it’s time to burn. If you’re familiar with the Special Selection, you will taste some similarities. It has that creamy, rich earth with a touch of caramel but also a potent woodiness, spice and hints of graham and vanilla sweetness. It is pricey, but it’s also a very good smoke.

Padron 45th Anniversary Maduro *
A gift from a far-too-generous friend. I doubt the flavor profile will surprise anyone with it’s chocolate, dark wood espresso and pepper. A wonderful treat.

Pinar Del Rio 1878 Reserva Dominicana Capa Habana Toro
This cigar is decorated at both ends, with a twisted pigtail cap and a shaggy foot. In the flavor department, it was all about woody, earthy flavors with a turn towards grassiness further into the smoke. Along the way mushroom, chocolate and some frosting-like sweetness made appearances. In all, an enjoyable smoke that did have a few construction issues, the burn was off, the wrapper split and a tunnel formed mid-way.

Quesada Seleccion Espana Lancero *
One of several cigars given to me recently by a generous friend, the Seleccion Espana is a stick I heard a lot of chatter about, but hadn’t actually seen until it was given to me. It had a fairly consistent profile of spicy wood and sour cream with a subtle chocolate. What seemed to vary was the level of spiciness and the sweetness of the stick. A solid smoke, but not one you’re likely in North America. This line was created for Spanish market, and the lancero vitola doesn’t officially exist.

Room 101 Conjura Edition Petite Corona *
On the heels of enjoying some of Room 101’s releases this year, I decided to revisit this blend from last year. I didn’t much care for the last one I had, but this experience was better, probably due to pairing it with a Stone Brewing Escodidian Imperial Black IPA. My flavor notes included earthy, coffee, hints of spice and an unusual molasses sweetness. Unfortunately, the gluey/menthol-ish wood I remembered was still there too.

San Cristobal Elegancia Imperial (IPCPR Sample) *
Creamy, bready cedar. Unexciting, and uncomplex. Woody and bland Connecticut flavor. Ash is flaky and weak. Hints of cinnamon, but still that bland minerally wood. An improvement in flavor, a touch of toasty, nutty sweetness with the wood.

The Griffin’s Special Edition XII Tubo (2006)* **
I don’t often smoke The Griffin’s or tubos, so this gift was a nice change of pace. I was struck how much the flawless perfecto smelled of light aromatic cedar when I slid it out of the tube, and the cold draw was similiar, only with a lot more raisin-like sweetness. Once lit, the cigar started with a dry creamy, woody flavor, which gave way to earth, and then onto caramel and cedar. The day’s first cup of coffee couldn’t ask for a better companion.

Torano Loyal Robusto (IPCPR Sample) *
Rich, fatty/savory, initial flavor. Rich savory leather, wood and nuts. There is a dirty component to it too. Faint sweetness. This one is smoking better than the first one I had after the trade show. Woodier, earthier, dryer mouth feel at the end with a hint of pepper. Some chocolate in there. A muddy wood flavor. A little harsh at the end. Pretty good, better than previous experiences.

Trinidad Petite Corona *
A great taste of the forbidden fruit. This illicit treat had a sweet honey aroma to the wrapper and was full of buttery and sweet flavors, including cinnamon, caramel and leather with hints of grass and vanilla. At times like this I can see why so many people choose to misbehave.

* Big Brother would have you know these cigars were gifts or free samples, and that my opinions on them is suspect. My opinions 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.

Many of the pictures in Brian’s The Week In Smoke first appeared on twitter. If you’d like to see these lists constructed in real time, follow Brian on twitter. If you don’t, his ego will suffer tremendously. (But he won’t know that you aren’t unless you follow him and tell him so.)