Charlie’s Month in Smoke, vol. 12

They’re calling it an “epidemic.” This year’s flu outbreak has been pretty bad, spanning almost the entire country. Although I’ve personally not come down with anything (other than a day or two of feeling “icky”), unfortunately my wife and son each fell ill for a few days. Taking care of a sick family caused me to miss the Civil Cigar Lounge launch event, which was a real bummer, but my duties as pater familias come first. Additionally, I didn’t have time to record a video review, so a Month in Smoke will have to tide you over for now.

My standard Month in Smoke disclaimer: 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!

Jameson Santos de Miami (round)

Jameson Santos de Miami (round version) – Pulling the cellophane off this bad boy, I was immediately greeted by strong aromas of cheese and chocolate coming from the rustic wrapper. The foot offered charred wood while the cold draw was nice and open, featuring sweet and salty fruit. Once lit, the cigar produced lots of tasty smoke, with initial notes comprised of peppercorn steak with a slight red pepper finish. The savory flavors persisted throughout, leaving behind a flaky (yet strong) gray ash and a burn that was somewhat ugly but required no intervention. Overall, an enjoyable full-bodied smoke with nice flavors.

Camacho Corojo

Camacho Corojo – This cigar made its way to me as part of a free cigar offer advertised by Davidoff/Camacho/Room 101 in various print media a few months back. When it finally arrived, I must admit that I was surprised by how much packaging was used to ship a single stick. Unfortunately, all that packaging didn’t do a great job protecting the cigar, as it was delivered with a hole and a tear in the wrapper. Undeterred, I picked up nuttiness and a strong dark fruit from the wrapper, with the foot adding some cocoa to the mix. The cold draw was open and tasted like chocolate and dark fruit, not unlike raisinettes. The full, gritty smoke delivered earth, black pepper, and flour notes, soon to be replaced by cayenne pepper and dark bread. Towards the end, the flavors shifted again towards oak and citrus. Ash was flaky and gray, and the smoke volume unfortunately left much to be desired. Nice and complex, but a bit “road weary” from the journey to my door.

Reinado Grand Empire Reserve

Reinado Grand Empire Reserve – After all the recent praise, I was determined to dig the IPCPR sample out of my humidor and see what all the buzz was about. During pre-light inspection of this sharply box-pressed cigar, I noted leather coming from the veinless, dark brown wrapper, black pepper and earth from the foot, and dark fruit from the open cold draw. Once lit, it produced tons of thin, creamy smoke which filled my car with the aroma of s’mores. The flavors were very complex, with a nice nuttiness, white pepper, oak, dark chocolate, corn chips, and a paprika finish. The burn was slightly wavy, leaving behind a flaky, brownish-gray 1.5″ ash. The filler tobacco seemed to burn a bit unevenly, requiring a minor touchup. Final notes included SweeTarts, cream, and charred wood. Very promising from a flavor perspective, and I assume the construction problems I encountered can be attributed to IPCPR handling.

Quesada Oktoberfest 2012

Quesada Oktoberfest (2012) – With the 2012 Oktoberfest holiday long gone, I’m a bit late to the game, but I couldn’t wait until next autumn to fish this out of my coolidor. The veinless wrapper had a great sheen to it, and I picked up a strong leather smell from the firm oval press. The cold draw had a milkshake-like resistance and continued the leather theme. The first few puffs delivered some really nice, complex flavors, including baking spice, black pepper, leathery twang, licorice, and a touch of red wine. The burn line was thin, the 1″ ash was solid and gray, but the draw remained a bit too firm for my liking. Second-half flavors featured more licorice and leather plus campfire smoke, and root beer on the retrohale. Smoke volume seemed to diminish near the end, culminating in a necessary relight. Despite a few annoyances, this was a really nice cigar.

L'Atelier LAT52

L’Atelier LAT52 – For me, this was easily one of the most anticipated cigars of 2012, being a fan of almost everything coming from Pete Johnson and My Father. The resemblance to Behike only added fuel to my fire. The gorgeous, sheeny wrapper had a very strong and distinct aroma combining earth, leather, and barnyard. I got cocoa from the foot, and cocoa plus dark fruit from the open cold draw. Right off the bat, the cigar produced tons of rich, sweet, woodsy smoke, with graham cracker notes rounding out the complex flavor profile. The strength ramped up as things continued, and almost snuck up on me a bit. In the second half, there was a turn towards somewhat sour cedar, with the slightly wavy burn leaving behind a tight, salt and pepper-colored 1.5″ ash. After a great start, I was underwhelmed by the conclusion — perhaps I’ll find the smaller format (or maduro?) coming out later this year to be more enjoyable.

Jameson La Resolucion

Jameson La Resolución – For the second offering from Jameson appearing in this edition of my Month in Smoke, the wrapper on this sample was extremely toothy with a few veins, and smelled strongly of old leather. Musty wood came from the foot and lots of delicious old leather from the open cold draw. The very promising pre-light aromas and flavors, however, were not realized upon ignition. Despite lots of dense smoke, I struggled to pick up many discernible flavors — perhaps red wine and black coffee at the beginning, and charred oak with jalapeño near the end — but these were fleeting and overpowered by the strength of the cigar. The burn was slightly slanted, leaving behind a tight white 1.5″ ash and requiring a minor touch up. Lots of potential in this one, but I preferred the Santos de Miami.

Perdomo ESV 2002 Maduro

Perdomo Estate Seleccion Vintage 2002 Maduro – I picked up this stick back in September at the 2012 Delaware Cigar Festival. The dark, toothy, rustic wrapper gave off whiffs of old leather and earth, while I got bread from the foot and dough from the open cold draw. I struggled to get it fully lit, but once I did, I was treated to some really nice cookie dough flavors and wonderfully thick smoke. This shortly transitioned into meaty, woody goodness with dark chocolate and a long red pepper finish. The thick burn line created a dark, tight 1″ ash and required no touch ups or relights. Towards the end of this medium-full smoke, the dominant flavor became a woody twang. I must say, this was the most enjoyable Perdomo I’ve smoked in recent memory.

Don’t forget: today is your last chance to enter to win my “cigar of the year” prize pack!