Brian’s The Week In Smoke, Issue 81

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!

Bloodline OPA Habano Lineage
A few years ago I interviewed the owner of the Bloodline brand because I was intrigued by their interesting fermentation process, which included what they called a “soft crush”. It’s a method of extracting aroma (and in this case flavor) that borrowed from perfume manufacturing. A while later I lit up one of the Connecticut line and did notice it was a little different tasting than most Connecticut cigars currently on the market. But I didn’t came across the Habano line until this week. Unfortunately trouble began early with this stick, the cap split and the wrapper cracked badly when I cut it. With a little finesse and strategic positioning of the band I was able to proceed. What I found was a solid cigar offering muddy earth, coffee, caramel and a considerable herbal quality. The later I suspect was enhanced by the soft crush.

Epicurean Armando Gutierrez Azul Vintage 2008 Toro
The AG Azul Vintage 2008 is a cigar that met with expectations. That’s seems like a bland thing to say, but in reality it’s anything but. So far, everything I’ve had from Epicurean has been both unique and very enjoyable, so my expectations pretty high. As with other of their products, it offers a lot of sweeter flavors, like cherry-ish syrup and vanilla over top of notes like leather, coffee and cedar. I continue to be a fan, and make a point to buy these whenever I come across them.

Illusione Fume D’Amour Lagunas
Many cigars are an open book, you smoke them once, and you feel like you know them pretty well. The flavors are bold and direct, without subtlety or much complexity. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, there are plenty of occasions that call for that sort of cigar. That was not the case with the Fume D’Amour. It’s a cigar I think I’ll need to smoke a few more times to really know it. My notes included some unusual flavors and there were a few I had trouble nailing down. For example, at one point I swear I tasted popcorn. I do feel comfortable saying it’s a very good cigar. My notes also included cocoa, oak leather, candy sweetness and vanilla. It won’t be my last adventure with this intriguing smoke.

La Jugada Habano Robusto
I picked this smoke out of a selection I brought back from last year’s Chattanooga Tweetup. I’ve heard good things about the La Jugada and the rumors seemed to be accurate. It was an enjoyable smoke offering wood, cocoa, pepper and coffee with some sweet notes and some spices.

Punch Signature Robusto *
This is the most impressed I’ve been with a Punch cigar in quite some time, probably since lit up my first Punch Champion. And that’s been years. Don’t get me wrong, I’m generally a fan of Punch cigars, they used to be the cigar I’d buy whenever I was at a cigar-friendly venue with the tiny desktop humidor at the bar. These days I’m almost never without cigars, because those questionably-maintained bar humidors are disappearing as quickly as the smoke-friendly venues. But back to the cigar. I’ve had a few of them now, and each one has been great. Big, easy, smokey draw, great burn, viscous mouth-feel and rewarding flavors. I noted leather, earth, mocha, roasted nuts, vanilla and plenty of honey-like sweetness. I love this cigar, and I recommend trying one when you have a chance.

Rocky Patel Edge Corojo B-52
A nearby shop started carrying these short, stout Edge Corojo variations, and despite my aversion to 60+ ring gauges, I decided to check it out. The B-52 got off to a promising start with combination of creamy, silty earth, leather, light wood, mild spices and and an orange-like sweetness, but about a third of the way in short smoke, it flatlined. The flavor transitioned into a profile of wood, some earthy chocolate and a general light sweetness and stayed there. Maybe “flatlined” is too strong a term, it’s kind of like putting a car in neutral and letting it coast. It wasn’t a bad cigar, but it did get a little boring at the end. If you’re itching for an Edge, my advice is to skip this one and opt for an Edge Sumatra.

* Big Brother would have you know these cigars were gifts or free samples, and that my opinions on them is suspect. My opinions (and the millions of pollen particles in my office) 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.