Brian’s The Week In Smoke, Issue 85

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!

AJ Fernandez San Lotano Habano Robusto
I lit up this San Lotano Habano recently and kind of expected to feel the way you do when you smoke an old favorite after a lot of time has passed. Like your tastes have changed new blends just seem more interesting to you now. But I didn’t feel that way at all. Instead I thought about how nice it would be to have the San Lotano Habano back in my regular rotation. Sure, it isn’t the most complex of blends, but it’s hard to argue with the coffee, caramel, cedar and peppery flavors it offered me that night. I’m not smoking one as I write this, but I’d like to be.

Casa Fernandez Aganorsa Leaf
My home base for smoke-filled evening activities has just picked up several Casa Fernandez cigar lines, including another old favorite, the Aganorsa Leaf. It’s been over four years since I declared the Aganorsa Leaf box-worthy, and it’s still a worthy competitor for any premium cigar in its price range. I lit this one up the day the cigars arrived at the shop and it burned like a champ. As in previous cases, it’s a cigar that rewards you for your attention. I probably didn’t give it as much of as it deserved, but even distracted there was no missing the peppery, earthy and meaty profile with lighter notes of caramel, cedar and licorice root. It’s going to be great to have these back in the rotation.

La Gloria Cubana Trunk Show 2012 Liga YG-23 **
Years ago I was making the rounds and happened upon an assortment of La Gloria Cubana Trunk Show cigars. What made them interesting to me was the concept of cigars with smokeable bands. As I recall, the bands are made of homogenized tobacco, printed with a special ink. They may look like tan paper bands, but trust me, it isn’t coming off the cigar like one, you’re going to smoke it. As is my custom, I bought a few, put them in my humidor and promptly forgot about them. Now years later, I found one and light one up. And this one is a big one. Bigger than I’d prefer, but I’ll try anything once. It did turn out to be a pretty good smoke, that is, right up until that “smokeable” band. The band burned, but not very well, and was oddly bitter and unpleasant. Before the band, the cigar was an enjoyable, but straightforward combination of leather, syrup and the occasional fruity note. If come across one, my advice is to smoke it to the band.

Punch Signature Robusto *
Jammy is a term I most commonly hear in discussions of wine flavors, not so much with cigars. But as I burned through this Punch Signature, it’s the word that kept coming to mind. The profile peppery, nutty and even leathery, but there was an intriguing jammy quality to it that I don’t recall in previous smokes. To make things more interesting, at points there was a berry-like finish as well. I don’t see this as a negative, though I wonder if this cigar was a one off, or if this is a characteristic of the blend that develops as the cigar ages. I’ll have to keep smoking Punch Signatures until I find out.

Quesada Serie Limitada 35th Anniversary **
It’s been quite a while since I had a Quesada Serie Limitada 35th Anniversary, and to be honest, it doesn’t taste anything like I remember. Of course age has to figure into that, this cigar is probably around five years old. The more robust flavors of coffee and chocolate had faded considerably, leaving behind lighter notes of earth, charred wood, grass, pepper and fruity sweetness with some perfume-y aromatics in the finish and the retrohale. If you have any of these cigars squirreled away in a humidor, you might want to start smoking them now.

* 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 disorganized 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.