Brian’s The Week In Smoke, Issue 96

What a busy time of the year. Shopping for presents, travelling to deliver the presents, listening a friend or relative’s favorite yarn for the 12th time presented in stunning intox-a-vision, watching the new Star Wars, it’s hard to find time to sneak in a smoke. But somehow I always do. It’s either a gift or a personality flaw. In either case…

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!

AVO Syncro Nicaragua Toro
I’ve been smoking the AVO Syncro intermittently since they were released, and I’m a fan. There are similarities in flavor to the Davidoff Nicaragua, but it’s definitely isn’t the same blend. That’s a good thing in this case. This time around I noted earth, wood, caramel, graham and lingering pepper. Recommended.

CAO Pilón Robusto *
CAO has been getting attention for their Flathead line, but this week I lit up the Pilón, a cigar whose tobacco is fermented in a circular pilón, an old Cuban fermentation method that takes a little longer than the modern day approach. (To hear more about it, check out our CAO interview from earlier this year, around 2:50.) Before I lit up this CAO Pilón I noticed it had a really funky, pungent wrapper aroma. Once lit it offered up a pleasant combination of chocolate, earth, leather, molasses, pepper and coffee. Overall, it was a solid smoke.

Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Sobremesa El Americano *
As much as I anticipated trying the Sobremesa, I intentionally put off smoking it for a while to ensure it had completely recovered from its journey. Even though a sizable crack formed at the foot, it smoked without issue. The cigar got off to an earthy, creamy and spicy start with some intriguing strawberry-like sweet notes. As it progressed, the flavor varied somewhat but was generally all about creamy earth, pepper, cedar and black cherry notes. The flavors lingered, creating a most enjoyable smoking experience. Definitely one to try if you haven’t.

Gurkha Royal Challenge Maduro Toro *
I’ve smoked a number of natural Royal Challenges, thanks to the generosity of Gurkha over the years. But this is my first experience with the maduro version. And I can say it’s the better of the two, hands down, even with the issue I had with cracking wrapper. That being said, it’s a pretty straightforward smoke- pepper, chocolate, cedar and earth with some molasses sweetness.

Padilla La Pilar Robusto
I’ve had most, perhaps all, of Padilla’s latest offerings and they’ve all been solid smokes. The La Pilar is no exception. In fact it’s probably the best of the bunch. There was a lot going on here. Clove, gingerbread, cream, wood, cinnamon, vanilla and graham. Impressive for such a reasonably priced smoke, it merits a return visit.

Room 101 Johnny Tobacconaut Fileroid
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Johnny Tobacconaut, Matt Booth spoke of it in grand, but non-specific terms when I talked to him about it. Something along the lines of a celestial tobacco journey. With the new Star Wars movie hitting theaters, it just made sense to buy one when the cigar and I crossed paths recently. I’m glad I did, it was an impressive smoke. A lot of sweet, nuanced flavors in this short figurado. Very creamy with butterscotch and vanilla notes to start, with a growth in pepper, spices and nuts as the cigar progressed, finishing with notes of coconut. I really enjoyed Johnny Tobacconaut and will be on the lookout for more.

Saga Golden Age Toro
Until the Saga Golden Age was recommended to me by a local retailer, I had never heard of it. It was billed as a good, but not necessarily great cigar. I decided to get to the bottom of it. What I found was sweet woody profile with notes of white pepper, earthy spices like nutmeg, mushroom and caramel. I have to agree, it was a pretty good smoke.

* 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 bunch of Star Wars spoilers, like C3PO crowns the wrong Miss Universe) 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.