Charlie’s Month in Smoke, vol. 5
Lucky me: that’s all I can say. Having recently discovered that my company’s wifi reaches all the way out to the picnic tables just beyond the parking lot, I’ve fallen into a nice rhythm of taking my work outside the smoke a cigar and enjoy the nice weather. That, plus attending a couple of cigar launch events, have made for a nice month overall.
Here’s a recap of some of the cigars I’ve smoked since my last Month in Smoke, in addition to any I evaluated for a full review or featured first impressions. Some of these cigars may have already been reviewed by myself or another member of the Stogie Review crew, while others just might make it into a full-length review sometime in the future. Enjoy!
Partagas (Red Label) – I picked up this stick as part of a special at the Benji Menendez event hosted by W. Curtis Draper last year, and pulled it out of my coolidor in preparation for the impending launch of the Partagas 1845. The wrapper appeared quite rustic, but it sported a clean roll and no veins. Right off the bat, I got leather, coffee & cream, and lots of cinnamon — something I’ve been picking up very often lately for some reason. It produced a good volume of thin smoke. The cream continued throughout, while I noted a sweetness with some tanginess towards the end… almost citrusy like grapefruit.
Perdomo Reserve Ltd Champagne Noir – This one was the weird little figurado (4.75×56) from the popular line. Every time I see this vitola, it reminds me of a large-bore rifle cartridge. Anyhow, the draw was perfect and put out tons of dense smoke, although the ash only held on for a half-inch at a time. I tasted coffee & cream with a distinct nuttiness, and as the cigar developed, I also picked up a nice meaty/umami flavor. It burned quite well, despite some small cracks hidden under the band.
Nestor Miranda Art Deco – Picking up this cigar, I detected a strong aroma of chocolate coming off the wrapper. The flavors, in contrast, were mostly black pepper and meat. The draw was good, but there wasn’t much smoke volume being produced. Along the way, I noted some bready notes, woodsiness, and nutty spice. The burn required a single relight, and the flavors seemed to fade away towards the end of this medium-full bodied stick.
EO Brands Murcielago – Although Eddie Ortega has since moved on to a solo project (which I regretfully still have not yet tried yet), I decided to pull this cigar out of my coolidor after it had been resting for some time. The wrapper was rustic and featured a chocolate aroma. Starting off, the flavors were quite nice: black pepper, coffee, and cherries. Again, it had a good draw, but not enough smoke volume. As time went on, I noticed some spiced bread, as the cigar built up a nice light-gray ash… hanging on for two inches in a stiff breeze. Unfortunately, things sort of took a turn for the worse, as it began to burn awful quickly for a toro grande, and then some tar developed as the flavors turned sour. DNF, sadly.
W. Curtis Draper 124th Anniversary Limited Edition Sumo Short Robusto by La Aurora – Although I didn’t attend last year’s anniversary event at Draper’s, Jerry was kind enough to share a couple of these limited edition cigars with me. Based on his notes, it featured the La Aurora 107 blend with the Guillermo León wrapper. Inspecting the cigar before lighting, I got a barnyard smell from the wrapper, dark cocoa from the foot, and a faint manure from the loose cold draw. Once lit, the flavors were nice and complex — I actually wrote “cinnamon toast crunch with a bit of black pepper” in my tasting notes. It was also very creamy and put out a good amount of smoke. The ash was nice & compact like a layered biscuit with just a few flakes. Near the end, I got red pepper and cinnamon, with some chocolate and Dominican twang.
W. Curtis Draper 125th Anniversary La Aurora 100 Años – The third of four limited edition cigars honoring the 125th anniversary of W. Curtis Draper, this special version of the 100 Años was launched by Guillermo León at an event last month. The wrapper gave off virtually no smell, while the foot offered some faint chocolate. Upon lighting, I was greeted by a rush of big, dry cedar and lots of thin, white smoke. The ash and burn were both excellent. As time went on, a creamy nutmeg flavor developed, not unlike egg nog. The draw was inconsistent: noticeably loose on one sample and a bit snug on another. Overall, it was very smooth and enjoyable, though a bit milder than I prefer.
Partagas 1845 – I picked up a handful of this latest release from General Cigar at the launch event hosted by Leesburg Cigar & Pipe last month with local General rep Dan Greenwald. The wrapper was a nice even brown color, with small veins and a “classic look.” As I held it to my lips, I could only describe it as “succulent” in the way that it seemed to deliver flavors through direct contact. The first third was dominated by a chocolately syrup, and although the chocolate faded over time, the sweetness continued to build while some spice could be found at the back of the palate. The burn was spot-on and the ash was a nice light gray that held on for about an inch and a half. The construction was absolutely perfect, as I also detected a mild Dominican twang from this decidedly medium-full bodied cigar. Although I generally prefer the corona extra format, I agree with Jerry that the robusto size is much better in this line. The smaller vitola just couldn’t deliver the same exceptional experience as its slightly larger sibling, and really only provided a salty chocolate flavor that faded into the “meh” zone and left me wondering if these were really even from the same line. I guess it just goes to show how seemingly minor details, such as the size difference between a 5.5×49 robusto and 4.5×46 corona extra, can make such a big difference.