Brian’s The Week In Smoke, Issue 77

It’s once time again for another issue of 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 (or the past month, or however long it has been since the last issue), along with a couple of quick thoughts that came to me at the time. These are not full cigar reviews, but quick blurbs based on a single smoking experience. As such, they may be 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!

CAO La Traviata Luminos
When I lit up this La Traviata, I made a comment on social media to the effect of it being a solid, inexpensive smoke that seems to have been forgotten. And for the most part this experience lived up to my statement. But, as I smoked it, I thought it didn’t quite live up to my recollection of it. That could just be mental rose-colored glasses. I noted creamy, caramel-like flavors, as well as earth, pepper, dark chocolate and an unfamiliar minty quality. For the price, it’s hard to complain, it’s still a solid smoke.

Carmelo Primeros Toro
I was making the rounds recently and I dropped into a shop I’ve never visited before. In a place like Atlanta with an unusually large number of shops per capita, that’s pretty easy to do. And when I hit a new place, I always look for the interesting selections they have that I don’t see elsewhere. This Carmelo Primeros is just such a cigar. I remembered liking it, so it was an easy choice. The profile was woody and earthy with sweet vanilla and spice notes. I did pair it with a generous pour of Old Forester Birthday Bourbon which definitely contributed to my enjoyment. My only complaint was the unraveling of the wrapper beginning very early on. It’s been a while since I last had one, but I don’t believe that’s the first time I’ve had that problem with this cigar.

Casa Cuba Pre Release 2013 *
I gave a buddy a beer one evening this week, and he handed me this Casa Cuba Pre Release. I’ve had a few them over the years, and my experiences have been mixed. Some of them have been pretty good, others I didn’t care for. This one was delicious. Though I had finished my beer before I started smoking it, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if the double IPA I had prior set me up for maximum enjoyment. I picked up grass, white pepper and hard candy sweetness with occasional notes of gingerbread. The next time I light one up, I think I’ll grab and IPA.

Epicurean Gonzo Santeria 2009
I don’t recall where or when I picked this Santeria, but it’s another one of those smokes I’ve been carrying in my travel humidor waiting for the mood to strike. And it did this week. Like precious Epicurean cigars I’ve smoked, it didn’t fail to impress. Flavor-wise, there’s a lot of interesting complex things going on here. Wood, caramel, coffee, toffee, toast, cinnamon and other sweet spices. If you’re looking for a cigar that’s packed full of flavor and you spot one of these, you don’t have to look any further.

ROMEO by Romeo y Julieta Añejo Toro *
I lit up this sample of the ROMEO line with no real expectations. I’m not a big fan of the original ROMEO and I figured that this would be a similar experience only with the ligero turned up a few notches. As it turns out, I was on the right track regarding increased potency (a little), but wrong about the flavor profile. I wouldn’t say it was complex or even balanced, but I did enjoy the mix of earth and sweeter notes of butterscotch and vanilla. As the cigar progressed it became a little more minerally and acidic, but overall the cigar was a pleasant experience.

* Big Brother would have you know these cigars were gifts or free samples, and that my opinions on them is suspect. My opinions (and deep pour of Old Forester Birthday Bourbon) 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.

Some of the pictures in Brian’s The Week In Smoke first appeared on twitter or instagram. If you’d like to see these lists constructed in real time, follow Brian on twitter or instagram. If you don’t, you’ll make the Fail Whale cry. And he’s ugly when he cries.