Charlie’s Month in Smoke, vol. 7
Busy, busy, busy… but what else is new? People keep asking me what it’s like to be the first-time father of a newborn. I generally respond that it’s a lot like being back in military basic training: you hardly sleep, you’re constantly getting screamed at, and you have basically no idea what you’re doing half the time. Between all the baby-related tasks and tying up a few last loose-ends following our recent move, things started to settle down into a manageably hectic rhythm… until, that is, my house got struck by lightning last week. Lots of electronics were fried and there may be faults in the house’s wiring, so now I get to have fun filing a homeowner’s insurance claim and having my stuff inspected, repaired, and replaced. Joy.
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!
Perdomo Lot 23 – It just so happens that the Lot 23 is the favorite cigar of one of my younger brothers. He’s usually got a box resting in his cabinet humidor whenever I visit him. I find them ok, but Perdomo has better offerings. This chunky 4.5×60 gordito produced big smoke volume despite a loose draw. Flavors were a bit washed-out, featuring a mild white pepper and woodsy notes. Construction left something to be desired, as I encountered canoeing, a flaky ash, and a void requiring a major touch-up.
La Herencia Cubana Core – Picking up this very square boxed-press cigar, I detected a strong chocolate aroma coming from the wrapper and a nice mocha off the foot. The roll felt a bit spongy, and the loose cold draw, which offered a sweet cocoa powder, led to a loose draw throughout the life of this cigar. I never got much smoke production, although it gave off an abundance of standing smoke. Flavor-wise, I noticed a delightful toasted marshmallow, but this was overshadowed by the aforementioned construction problems culminating in a severe crack underneath the band. Not nearly as good as the last one I had.
CAO La Traviata – Another cigar making a repeat appearance in my Month in Smoke series, La Traviata is a fairly reliable smoke with wide appeal. The sheeny wrapper provided a rich aroma of leather, while I found earth and dark fruit coming from the foot. Once lit, I enjoyed tons of creamy smoke, along with toasty wood, caramel, and cream flavors. The draw was good, if a bit on the snug side. A small void led to a brief period of burning flavors which quickly subsided. The ash and burn were good, as this encounter ended with sweet woodsy notes.
CAO Cameroon l’anniversaire – This mini perfecto vitola (called the “Napoleon”) was a great little treat. The wrapper, which smelled of sweet hay, showed virtually no veins but had a few minor water spots. The foot revealed a bit of dark fruit, while the cold draw offered up the perfect amount of resistance and a pre-light flavor dominated by straw & wood. Upon lighting, it was snug with a sweet, creamy cinnamon. The cigar quickly opened up to produce lots of dense, creamy smoke, as flavors transitioned to a tingly, syrupy cinnamon. Savoring this cigar by smoking it nice and slow, I maintained a nice white ash and noticed a not-unpleasant sourness developing towards the end. The cigar appeared to be well-rolled upon initial inspection, and this assessment was confirmed by a perfect burn and construction throughout.
Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real – My office is going through a bit of a baby boom as of late, and this cigar was handed out by one of my co-workers to celebrate the birth of his child. Both the wrapper and foot offered sweet hay aromas, while I noticed some green spots and wrinkling on the wrapper. The draw was a tad snug, but it produced lots of thin smoke and mild flavors of cream, caramel, and wood. A decently strong gray ash rounded out a nice choice to appeal to casual smokers who might not appreciate a more full-bodied smoke.
5 Vegas AAA – The gorgeous wrapper on this stick smelled like rich chocolate, while the foot was more of a spicy dark chocolate. The cold draw was open and had just a suggestion of dark fruit. The first puff produced a delicious blast of red pepper with tons of great smoke. Great ash, good burn, and definitely worth sweating my ass off outside in the heat of the day. Finishing up with peppery chocolate and black coffee, this was a great medium-full cigar that I’d happily reach for again.
Partagas 150 – I picked up this pricey cigar as part of a special offer during Benji Menendez’s visit to W. Curtis Draper in Bethesda last October. The wrapper leaf was a bit rustic-looking and the stick felt very solidly-rolled. I noted dark chocolate off the wrapper, cocoa powder off the foot, and a very distinct taste from the open cold draw… perhaps baking spice and potpourri? In the first third, I was treated to a good draw and tons of rich, dense smoke along with a solid, white ash. Dominant flavors were wood, leather, and chocolate creme. In the second third, these transitioned to leather and wood, with a new floral component along with red pepper. I briefly noticed a slight metallic sensation, but this was quickly replaced by a lusciously-rich chocolate brownie flavor. The final third presented hazelnut coffee with a hint of orange peel. The burn was flawless throughout, overall strength was pretty mild, and the flavors were certainly interesting enough to warrant nubbing even if this wasn’t such an expensive cigar.