Brian’s The Week In Smoke, Issue 84

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 Divino **
I was digging around through a humidor that I haven’t disturbed much in a year or two and I found a bag of old La Traviatas. The cigars probably date back to around the time CAO became a part of General Cigars, give or take a few months. And the four plus years have treated them well, but also seemed to lighten up the overall profile. The cigar offered up a lot of sweet, syrupy flavors, like caramel, butterscotch and vanilla, underneath that there was an occasional sour note, coffee and a little cedar. It won’t be easy to find La Traviatas this old in the wild, but they also don’t seem to move as quickly as they once did, so you may get lucky. Sometimes it pays to return to old favorites.

Hechicera by Sotolongo Corona Prensado
I’ve seen quite a few mentions of the Hechicera on social media, but until recently I hadn’t seen one in person. And when I did, it came with the hearty recommendation of a local tobacconist. He called it a “sleeper cigar”. At that point you just have to pick one up, and so I did. A day or two later, I lit it up, and my initial thoughts were that it tasted like an earthy, buttery cinnamon roll without the over-the-top frosting sweetness. A little way in, sweetness did ramp up, but it was more of a syrup than a frosting. As the cigar moved into its conclusion it was still buttery and toasty with some spices, vanilla and cedar. In all, it was really good smoke. With the attention it has gotten since release, I don’t think I can say it’s a “sleeper” but it’s definitely worth smoking.

Leccia Luchador El Hombre
I actually smoked this Leccia Luchador a few weeks ago, but my notes for it got lost in the shuffle. Now that I’ve found them again, it’s time to remove the mask and reveal the cigar as friend or foe. The verdict: friend. The cigar had a pleasing, somewhat meaty profile of coffee, dark chocolate, earth and pepper, with occasional notes of caramel, vanilla and anise. It’s worth the time to tangle with the Leccia Luchador.

Nestor Miranda 70th Dominican Lancero **
I’ve had several of the 70th Dominican Lanceros in the past, and they’ve generally been a pretty good smoke. Of course, the Nicaraguan Lancero was easily the better of the two, but these weren’t bad. This time around, the cigar seemed a little lackluster. It had a chalky earth quality to it I didn’t care for. But aside from that, it offered a subdued combination leather, wood, white pepper and meatiness with a pretty consistent sweet acidity. Perhaps it was a fluke, or maybe the Dominican Lancero blend is beginning to fade with time. (If you’ve smoked one recently, let me know how it was in the comments.)

Rocky Patel Royale Robusto
Nearly a year ago (doesn’t seem that long), I smoked a Rocky Patel Royale at a whiskey, cigar and steak dinner at a nearby cigar-friendly steakhouse. The event was a great time, but what stuck with me was how well the Royale worked with everything. I happened to find one again this week, and thought it’d be good to smoke it just by itself and see how it performed. It did well. Woody and nutty flavors were pretty dominant, pepper was apparent, and there were also sweet notes that varied from honey-like to tart berry. Not quite as great as it was at the dinner, but still a fine smoke that I’d have no problem lighting up again.

Winston Churchill Petite Corona
I spent part of this week getting to know the new Winston Churchill, the featured cigar at Kevin Rathbuns annual barbecue. I burned a few robustos at the event, but I saved this one for quieter day during the week. And besides, I had plenty of time at the event, why burn a good short smoke when time is in abundance? As it turns out, I enjoyed this Petite Corona more than the Robustos. Flavor-wise, I noted sour cream, grassy acidity, mushroom and butterscotch, which seemed to carry with it a somewhat mineral-like quality. I have a few other vitolas left to try, but I suspect this one will prove worthy competition.

* 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 secret stash of aged cigars) 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.