Brian’s The Week In Smoke, Issue 101

Drew Estate

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!

Davidoff Golf Scorecard Edition 2016
Usually when I light up a Davidoff, it’s a good experience. This time, it’s either a sad tale or a comedy of errors. My first mistake was probably buying this cigar after it sat out all day at beer festival. Hey, I’d been drinking and the guy gave me a good deal. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The next error was not putting it in my humidor when I got home and forgetting about it for a few months. And finally, the perfect storm was setting fire to it on an very humid, rainy day in Atlanta. The humidity was about 150%, give or take a lake. It’s the kind of day you need scuba gear to sit on the patio. So I’m not going to even talk about it, other than to say it seemed promising for about 10 minutes. The good news is I have another Golf edition, which you can expect in a Week In Smoke in about 3 months. But for now, this entry is how not to smoke a cigar.

Gurkha Vintage Selection Shaggy Toro *
I don’t smoke a lot of their cigars, but the people at Gurkha have been supremely generous with me over the years. Case in point, they recently they sent me a bunch of Shaggys. I haven’t had one in ages, but I remember thinking they were pretty good cigars. My memory served me well in this case, it was in fact a good cigar. I noted spices, leather, cocoa, earth, cedar and a good amount of vanilla. If I were in a humidor looking through the Gurkha selection, based on my experience the Shaggy is the one I’d pick.

H. Upmann The Banker Currency
This week I lit up an H. Upmann The Banker for a couple of reasons. The first of which is I don’t believe I’ve ever had one. I searched my memory (a.k.a. Stogie Review’s Cigar Review Index) and found no mention of it. Another reason is that it’s a cigar that has come up in conversation several times over the years, and at one point someone asked me to review it. The review isn’t going to happen, at least not yet, as I hear the cigar has been reblended and the new version will be appearing soon. So keep in mind my comments here are refer to the current version.

I came into it expecting something really mild, along the lines of a Macanudo or something. Not sure how I arrived at that, but it was completely inaccurate. The cigar is a solid medium, and brags of bready, creamy, earthy and even nougaty flavors, with occasional raisin-like sweet notes. I’m surprised, it’s a good smoke. I have to wonder why they’re changing it. I can only assume it’s to follow the trend of ever bolder, stronger cigars.

J. Fuego 777 Silver Maduro Robusto
As most of our viewers are aware, I’m a fan of Jesus Fuego’s work, most notably his short “Originals” version of larger cigar blends. Also the original Gran Reserva Corojo No. 1. So understandably I was on the lookout for the new 777 Silver when I heard it was released. I lit this one up the same day it showed up at my local shop. I usually prefer to give cigars a little time to settle, but it’s hard to resist sometimes. The cigar got off to a spicy, peppery start and went on to offer meaty, earthy and savory flavors, as well as espresso and a light touch of a sweetness along the lines of anise. A good smoke right off the truck, I look forward to trying it again down the road.

Macanudo Cru Royale Toro
Speaking of Macanudos, I happened to spot my favorite one in a well-maintained liquor store humidor this week. One of those large chain stores with a walk-in humidor full of General Cigar product. I figured it’s high time I revisit it and see if I’m still a fan. It turns out I still am. The one I lit up this week started off with a bang of sweet spices. I think the best way to describe it is a mixture of cinnamon and allspice. Bang is a good word for it, as the wrapper split while I was lighting it. No harm done though, the draw was fine and by the time the initial spice subsided the damaged food was in the ashtray. From there cream, bread and cedar took over, with cedar growing until around the final third. At which point it turned to coffee. The Cru Royale is always a good choice.

Perdomo Habano Maduro Epicure
I was at another local beer event this past weekend that combined the release of a rare, barrel-aged beer and Perdomo cigars. I didn’t light up this Habano Maduro there, deciding to save it until the next night where I paired it with a really enjoyable pour (or two) of Ardbeg Dark Cove. The cigar produced a very noticeable bourbon aroma as I slid it out of the cellophane, which is not surprising considering the tobacco is aged in bourbon barrels. (Chris Harper, Director of Sales was there and quick to point out that they’ve been barrel aging tobacco ages.) That aroma translated into a very bourbony flavor profile, no doubt enhanced somewhat by the scotch I was drinking. Other than that I noted earth and prominent spices. It was a good pairing, I’d do it again, provided the scotch lasts that long.

* 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 lengthy to-do list) 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.