Brian’s The Week In Smoke, Issue 99

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. Last Friday I was looking at the calendar thinking “how is it Friday already, and didn’t I just ask myself that same question yesterday?” So I’ve been uncharacteristically quiet for a while, but I haven’t been so busy I didn’t have time to enjoy some fine cigars. And as they burned, I thought about what to review next. I have a few ideas, but I don’t yet have one that’s ready to go for this week. (If you have a cigar or two you’d like to see reviewed, by all means feel free to leave a comment any time with your request.) What I do have is some notes I’ve jotted down about what I’ve been smoking lately. So that means…

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!

Alec Bradley Black Market Robusto
It’s been quite a while since I lit up an Alec Bradley Black Market, a onetime favorite of mine. I’m not alone in my appreciation, when I bought it the shop owner said “that’s the best cigar they make.” I don’t know if that’s true, but I’ve spent more time smoking the Black Market than any of their other lines except maybe the Prensado. This one was good, but not as good as some of the ones I burned back in the day. I noted leather, caramel, chocolate, some almond and a little pepper. Still a solid smoke.

Crux Passport Corona
As the owners of the brand like to say, I decided it was time for me to “go Crux myself” again recently. As you might recall, the Passport line was was featured in my Top 10 list for 2014, so my expectations are always high. I wasn’t disappointed, though the draw was a little firmer this time around than I’d prefer. Flavor-wise it was all there. The sweet creamy bread, the coffee, the notes of vanilla and even some toffee. It’s hard to complain.

HVC Edicion Especial 2015 Toro *
I like surprises like the HVC Edicion Especial 2015. I won’t lie, my expectations were low. It has a band that looks a little more suited to a bundle cigar or a house blend than a ten dollar premium stick. I know, I’ve said it before, you don’t smoke the band. Also the saying about books and their covers. But it is part of the first impression, which is important when you’re standing in the humidor trying to decide what to buy next. (I didn’t actually buy this one, so I didn’t have to make that decision.) On to the important part, the flavor. It was really good, sweet spices, vanilla, butterscotch, light earth, some leather. It was like smoking dessert. And when it comes to dessert, smoking it is my favorite way to enjoy it. I was impressed with this sample, and I look forward to smoking another. Enough maybe to even search the Internet for it instead of waiting to bump into it at a local shop.

Illusione Nosotros Corona **
I’ve had this little Nosotros for quite a while now, it was probably one of the last few left at the shop where I found it. This ill-fated collaboration between Illusione and Drew Estates has been a fun curiosity ever since it was discontinued sometime in 2010. Kind of a “remember when…” kind of smoke. Because it’s been nearly six years at this point, briefly, it was a great idea that never quite worked out the way either of the collaborator expected. Ultimately production issues took this cigar off the market shortly after it was released. So it’s been a while, how is it now? Well, it seems faded from what I remember. It has some of that Liga Privada 9 earthiness, but with diminished and somewhat papery bread, graham, leather and sweet notes. I’ve always thought it a shame the Nosotros didn’t work out, but I’m also glad I didn’t save this one for later.

The Griffin’s Nicaragua Robusto
Over the past week or so I’ve smoke a couple of The Griffin’s Nicaragua. Given that it’s a Davidoff product, neither the time of introduction nor the flavor profile is that surprising. It strikes me as the milder brother in the family that includes recently released Davidoff Nicaragua and the AVO Syncro Nicaragua. Like the other two, creamy, earthy favors abound, but are lighter and sweeter like honey or at times caramel. In the most recent smoke, there were some minor burn and construction issues that turned out to be only minor annoyances. I’d say The Griffin’s Nicaragua is a good milder alternative to the Davidoff’s take on the Nicaraguan tobacco profile.

* 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 irons in all these fires) 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.