Brian’s The Week In Smoke, Issue 88

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!

Crux Bull & Bear Gordo Marblehead
I’m a big fan of the Crux Passport, but I hadn’t gotten around to burning their Bull & Bear line until this week. After an initial positive experience, I decided to go in for a second. My second was roughly the same as the first, though I noticed the smoke volume seemed lighter. And that’s my only complaint, because in terms of flavor it was pretty enjoyable. The cigar came on strong with the syrupy candy sweetness up front which faded around halfway to reveal flavors like wood, coffee and pepper. I think the passport is considerably better, but the Bull & Bear is a solid smoke.

La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chisel
I had plans to smoke other cigars the night I lit up this Chisel, but after pouring some Elijah Craig Barrel Proof clocking in at nearly 140 proof (neat), a Double Ligero seemed like the only sane choice. The selection turned out to be more than just sane, it was a great one. The bourbon really magnified the sweet chocolate, leather and anise flavors of the cigar. I heartily recommend the pairing, and that’s not just the bourbon talking.

Oliva Grand Maduro Torpedo **
I used to see these around all the time until a few years ago, which is a little surprising when you remember that the Serie G Maduro replaced the Grand Maduro back around 2006. Even more surprising is I recently found this stick on the shelf of a shop I drop by occasionally. It seems unlikely it’s been sitting there the whole time, but entirely possible the box was discovered in a dusty corner of the humidor and unceremoniously placed on the shelf. Either way it has to be around nine years old at this point. After smoking a number of cigars that have clearly aged past their prime, it was nice to find such an old smoke that seems to have held onto a great deal of its flavor. The sweeter notes of molasses were well supported by rich chocolate, espresso, earth with a slight musty quality and wood. I would not have guessed it was as old as it is, I was impressed.

Ortega Wild Bunch Iron Mike **
My local shop has an assortment Ortega Wild Bunch lines that have been enjoying an extended vacation in the tropical humidor climate. After burning through a couple of great Island Jims I tried my luck with this Iron Mike. It turned out to be a great, easy drawing stick that delivers rich, uncomplicated clouds of chocolate, coffee, a little pepper and sweeter notes like molasses and creamy nougat. It was a little like smoking a mocha. I think there are a few of these left, but there won’t be for long.

Ortega Serie D Maduro No. 6
To keep The Week In Smoke from getting repetitive, I make a point to mix it up. That means going to lengths to smoke something different as often as possible. And I enjoy doing that, but every now and then I get on a kick where I smoke the same cigar over and over again. Take this past week for example. I smoked over a third of a box of Serie D Maduro No. 6’s. And I’m smoking one as I write this. (As in previous smokes, rich earth, chocolate, coffee, wood and caramel. And heck, I think I even taste a little clove in this one.) I considered leaving it out again this week, but this cigar is a box-worthy champ. It’s not the exciting new limited edition you gotta try, it’s the cigar that deserves a permanent spot in your humidor.

* Big Brother would have you know these cigars were gifts or free samples, and that my opinions on them is suspect. My opinions (and this bottle of Kentucky fire water) 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.