Brian’s The Week In Smoke, Issue 86

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!

Carmelo Blue Churchill **
This week I burned several of old, well-aged favorites, one of them was this Carmelo Blue. I haven’t had one in years, and I kind of expected it to have faded with time. I was pleasantly surprised, it turned out to be a very good, slow burning smoke. It started off aromatic and sweet with notes like butterscotch, honey and vanilla before transitioning into deeper flavors of nuts, wood, leather and graham. I don’t think they’re officially discontinued, but I haven’t seen one in ages. I’d recommend buying them if you do see them.

Casa Fernandez Miami Reserva Robusto
I’ve been a fan of Casa Fernandez cigars for quite a few years now, but I’ve been through a bit of dry spell with them for a while. So I’ve been reacquainting myself with their lines with the help of a good nearby selection. I opted for the Miami Reserva this time around and was treated to an enjoyable array of full-bodied flavor, including cocoa, caramel, coffee bean, cedar, ginger, leather and spices. The burn was a little mixed- it was slow which is good, but the wrapper cracked up quite a bit as progressed. Overall, still a positive experience.

Cuesta Rey 1884 **
From the depths of an old humidor I retrieved this mild favorite from a bygone era. I still love the size, and the lighter profile makes it an ideal smoke if you’re planning on refilling that morning cup of coffee. That is, if you can find it. I haven’t seen them in the wild in ages, but they are still listed in the J.C. Newman website. As old as this cigar must be and as mild as it was to begin with, I was surprised by the flavor it still delivered. Nuts, coffee, cedar and touches of cinnamon and vanilla. I don’t often dip below medium-bodied, but I’d still make the occasional exception for the 1884.

Fuente Fuente Opus X Perfecxion No 4 *
Last week after smoking a two plus year old Opus X Perfecxion No. 5, I wrote about whether or it still makes sense to age Opus X cigars. Briefly, I was convinced it was a few years ago, but now I’m not. At the time of the writing, I hadn’t had the most recent batch of Opus, so I made a point to light one up this week. There weren’t any Perfecxion No. 5’s to be found, so I opted for a similarly sized No. 4 to test the theory. It was considerably better than the aged No. 5. It was rich and syrupy at points, savory and meaty at others with supporting notes of pepper and grass. Could it improve with age? Probably. Is it better than the Opus of a few years ago? Undoubtedly. It’s a good time to be a fan.

Sancho Panza Double Maduro Quixote
The Sancho Panza Double Maduro is one of those cigars I always buy when I see them. They’re a good, inexpensive and unpretentious smoke that was an early staple here at The Stogie Review. And in keeping with tradition, I forgot to use a punch, and it rewarded me with the customary unraveling cap. (Again, good cigar, not perfect.) Though I bought the cigar within the past week, it’s possible it spent a while on the humidor shelf. It had a little unexpected nuance to the flavor profile. I noted chocolate, earth, some syrupy fig-like sweetness and something along the lines of nougat. For under five bucks, that’s a win in my book. You’re not going to impress anyone with one of these humble smokes, but they’re still a good bang for the buck. Just be careful cutting it.

* Big Brother would have you know these cigars were gifts or free samples, and that my opinions on them is suspect. My opinions (and a good case of sleep deprivation) 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.