Brian’s The Week In Smoke, Issue 107

Man, that week went by quickly. It seems like I had barely enough time to finish a cigar or two before I was staring down the barrel of another Monday. But I’ve gotten in a few sticks in since the annual top ten lists went up. 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!

AJ Fernandez New World Navegante Robusto
The AJ Fernandez New World is one of the more popular cigars at my local shop. The proprietor smokes them, as do a number of the regulars. (One of said regulars bought another after he saw me smoking this one. I think he was worried the shop might run out.) It has also been one of Walt’s favorite cigars, featured in a number of his posts over the years, including one on the cigar’s “satisfaction guaranteed” band. At this point I was basically duty-bound to smoke another. And so I have. It seemed like this one may have been bolder and earthier than the last one I had. Big earth, espresso, charred wood, pepper and even a little earthy funk bordering on mushroom are what the New World offered me. It’s nice to have an inexpensive, quality alternative to some of my favorite earthy cigars out there.

Davidoff Colorado Claro Short Perfecto *
This Colorado Claro was part of a Christmas present from the guys at Buckhead Cigar. They know me well, I’ve been a fan of the Colorado Claro for years, but they’re a luxury I don’t often get to enjoy. I’ve been kind of overdoing it with them this month, and most recently I paired one with a can of Creature Comforts Koko Buni, a very well made coffee milk porter. I always enjoy a darker beer like a porter, stout or brown ale with a cigar, and when you add coffee to the equation, it’s a no brainer. So it’s established, the beer is good. And the cigar? Exactly what you’d expect from a Colorado Claro. Some of that Davidoff earthy mustiness right from the start, followed by more savory, almost buttery flavor as the ring gauge increases. As it burns through the widest part, I noted wood, spicy cinnamon, creaminess like nougat and a little mushroom. It’s no Double R, but it is a cigar that has a lot to offer even without a fine drink to accompany it.

Drew Estate Nica Rustica Belly *
Another big earthy cigar I lit up in the past week (or so) was the Nica Rustica by Drew Estate. I’m not entire sure how long I’ve had it, or where I got it, but I suspect it’s a sample that’s been kicking around in my humidor a while. It didn’t taste especially aged or mellowed, which just adds to the mystery, but it did taste good. Rich sweet earth, espresso, leather, cedar and pepper are what I noted.

Room 101 Johnny Tobacconaut Fileroid **
The news came out in a couple of weeks ago that Matt Booth was leaving the industry to focus on his growing Room 101 jewelry business. (Can you blame him? It’s a tough time for the cigar business.) It seemed like a good time to light up one of my favorite Room 101 cigars- Johnny Tobacconaut- as a symbolic send off. Sure, there is talk of him doing a farewell tour, but there’s no telling when that might happen. I might get hit by a bus between now and then. So I decided to hedge my bets and light it up now. And it’s smoking about as well now as it was when I put it on my top ten list last year. There was a touch of sourness in the one I smoked, but I think I also had a little palate fatigue going on that evening too. Aside from that, a lot of really nice caramel up front, followed later by cedar, mild spices, some minerals and a surprise note of cherry around the halfway point. And as expected, Johnny Tobacconaut rockets into the cedar stratosphere at the end.

Tatuaje Black Cazadores
After reading through Ben’s Top Ten list, I was struck with a desire to light up a Tatuaje Black. And as long as I was going that route, it only made sense to light up the one he recommended. And did the next time I came across one. But I also really wanted to try Westbrook Brewing’s recently released 6th Anniversary Hazelnut Chocolate Stout. I didn’t plan on a drink pairing theme for this Week In Smoke, but there’s a lot of great beer out there right now, and I drank all of them. It’s not surprising that it turned out to be a chocolatey, hazelnutty experience. But the cigar also offered caramel, savory earth and spices to the pairing. It was really enjoyable, I’d do it again. And I believe I have all the necessary ingredients to do so.

Warped Villa Sombra
Would you believe me if I told you I think this was my first Villa Sombra? That may not actually be true, but as far as my various cigar notes (and suspect memory) are concerned, it may as well be. No big deal, I’m sure Ben has smoked my share of them since their release- he’s good for that when he’s not down with a serious case of the sniffles. The one I lit up this week was an impressive cigar, my notes discuss caramel, oak, silty earth, cafe con leche, ample vanilla and toasty notes. If this was my first, it certainly won’t be my last.

* 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 long list of unfinished tasks) 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.