Brian’s The Week In Smoke, Issue 94

It’s shaping up to be a fun week. I don’t really mean that, I have a chest cold which was probably exacerbated by a very good weekend. So that means a taking a break from cigars for a few days. I know, I hate it too. The good news is I think I have enough pictures and notes laying around from before I caught the whooping cough to throw together a decent Week In Smoke. So…

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!

Coronado by La Flor Lancero **
As the original Coronado has been discontinued for quite a while at this point, it safe to assume this cigar is at least a couple years old. I didn’t smoke Coronados often enough to be able to comment on how well it has aged, but the indications are good. After lighting it up and taking note of the light sweet grass, leather, coffee and earthy flavors, I poured a little Woodford Reserve Rye to go with it. It was a very enjoyable combination.

Crowned Heads The Mason-Dixon Project Limited Edition 2014 Southern
The word went out a while back that Crowned Head’s The Mason-Dixon Project was returning with a new 2015 limited release. The news appeared to have inspired my local shop to put 2014 version on special to make way for the new edition. I took advantage of the situation because I’m a fan of the original Southern edition, and I’m a sucker for a deal. The cigar certainly wasn’t any worse for all the quiet time in the humidor. Wood, earthy cinnamon, caramel, roasted nuts and a long rich finish remind me why it was a top ten smoke for me last year.

Davidoff Nicaragua Belicoso (Unreleased) **
So at one point in time there were plans for the Davidoff Nicaragua to come in the belicoso format. Those plans were scrapped, but not before a number of cigars were produced in that size. And a month or so ago those two year old cigars quietly went on sale at a few cigar shops, one of them local to me. I’m not a big fan of the vitola in general (I think Davidoff made the right call), but these cigars have aged beautifully. Honey, caramel, cocoa and cinnamon with some spices. It’s downright decadent. It’ll probably be difficult to track these down at this point, so the take-away here is that the Nicaragua blend ages very well.

Frank Llaneza 1961 Pyramide *
This Frank Llaneza 1961 was one of a couple of Altadis brands from four or five years ago I lit up recently. This wasn’t one from deep in the humidor, instead it was a new (or newer) stick I picked up on a recent trip to a cigar shop. I hate to say it, but I was disappointed. The cigar produced pleasant flavors of earth, pepper and leather with a touch of sweetness, but it just didn’t live up to my positive, but foggy recollection of the cigar. It struck me as dull. Tastes changes, I guess. Or blends do, but I’ll assume it was me.

Montecristo 75th Aniversario Churchill **
I used to enjoy these Montecristo 75th Aniversarios back in the day but they were just too expensive to be a regular smoke. Unfortunately it seems the majority of the cigar smoking populace agreed with me, and they’ve disappeared. Well retail shops anyway, some version of them may still be made for catalogs. They’re holding up really well, I noted creamy coffee, a touch of acidity, caramel and sweet spices in the one I lit up.

Vivalo Serie Exclusivo Gordo *
It’s been fun to watch the evolution of Vivalo Cigars over the years- from Patrick’s project while he worked for Rocky Patel to the stand alone, rebranded cigar line it is now. This week I picked the largest of the samples that arrived in the mail to see if he could pull off the blend in the large 6×60 format. It’s tough to do well. Just because a blend works in a corona, doesn’t mean it’ll be any good when you add a lot more filler. Patrick acknowledges a difference in flavor between lines, but insists he’s made it work. And from what I can tell smoking this one, he’s right. It had a consistent, but enjoyable profile of wood, raisiny-caramel and black coffee. I don’t see myself becoming a 6×60 convert, but if you’re a fan of the larger ring gauges, the Vivalo Serie Exclusivo is a good option.

* Big Brother would have you know these cigars were gifts or free samples, and that my opinions on them is suspect. My opinions (and an LE bottle of bourbon barrel-aged Tussin DM MAX) 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.