Brian’s The Week In Smoke, Issue 109

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 Legacy 2004 Limited Edition “Caribe” * **
This entry in the Week in Smoke is a few weeks old, but as this is the first edition since Avo’s passing I just had to include it. As soon as I heard the sad news I went to my humidor and had a look for something special to light up in his honor. I spotted a Legacy 2004 Limited Edition and knew that was the right choice. The second band had “Caribe” printed on it, which is the name of the fourth track on his Legacy album. That reminded me that I actually had album, so I put it on while I smoked the cigar. Caribe is a good track on the album, but I enjoyed the cigar even more. I was a little concerned that the cigar might have faded with time, but that was not the case. It delivered a lot of rich flavor with subtlety and nuance. I noted rich caramel, graham cracker, nuts, hints of grass and cinnamon, mild spices, cedar and even some pepper. It was an excellent smoke, and worthy of the unfortunate occasion. We will miss you, Avo.

Drew Estate Liga Privada Unico Serie Dirty Rat
Another random cigar I lit up this week was this Dirty Rat I pulled from my humidor. I’m not sure how old it was, or even where I got it, and it just seemed silly not to smoke it. After some initial issues, including brief tunneling and a snug draw, it burned pretty well. (I suspect the high humidity at the time had some bearing on those issues.) The cigar offered up the heavy flavor I expected, including earth, espresso, meat, charred wood and a little anise. It wasn’t my best experience with the Dirty Rat, but it was a solid smoke.

Fratello Oro Robusto *
Surprise cigars are the best cigars. I’m not talking about cigars with surprising characteristics (those are nice too, unless the characteristic is them exploding), I mean cigars that surprise you just by being there in your mail. This Fratello Oro is just such an a cigar. Usually I throw caution to the wind and light up a surprise cigar like this the minute it arrives, but I got distracted by work or a squirrel running across the yard or something and didn’t get back to it for several weeks. (It takes long time for a guy in my shape to chase down a squirrel.) So this week I finally lit it up. I was immediately greeted with a bright sweetness that reminded me a little of a pineapple upside down cake, minus the actual cake. As the cigar warmed up, the profile grew creamy and notes of almonds, lemon, milk chocolate, raisins and earthy spices made appearances. While the profile may sound a little unusual, it really worked. I have had the Oro before, and this time around it struck me as a much better cigar. I’m looking forward to smoking another.

Perdomo 20th Anniversary Maduro Toro
Back at the tail end of 2012 I put the Perdomo 20th Anniversary Maduro in my top ten list for the year, and I’ve enjoyed them on numerous occasions since. As I slid the cigar out of its cellophane, it hit me- it smells like I just opened a bottle of whiskey. And this is without getting the stick anywhere near my nose. It was a reminder as to how much of an impact cellophane can have on a cigar. I recall the older, uncellophaned sticks having a much milder wrapper aroma. As a lover of bourbon and other whiskeys, this all seemed very promising. I lit it up with high expectations, and found it to be only just OK, which is a downgrade from my usual experience with the cigar. It did have all sorts of boozy oak initially, but that faded, and before long it was mainly earth, a little pepper and a little chocolate. Maybe it was just me, or maybe the cigar was a fluke, but I was bored well before the end.

Primer Mundo Epifania
So I was out one evening recently for a seasonal beer release. It’s one of those rare annual beers that’s brewed with coffee and bourbon barrels and exotic virgins and moon rocks, so I decided to get there early. I realized as I’m drinking all the beers leading up to the main event that I needed to slow my roll a bit. What I needed was take five and smoke a cigar. The problem is, I forgot to bring any. As luck would have it, there was a small cigar shop about three doors down. The humidor inside had seen better days, but they had a partial box of Primer Mundo Epifanias and they were in good condition. So I got my cigar break with a quality smoke, I got my ridiculously indulgent beer at the stroke of midnight, and, bonus, survived the write about it another day. The crazy thing is the Epifania very nearly stole the show. It was so good right off the bat. I noted toffee, vanilla, raisins, graham cracker, leather, earth, spices and pepper as it burned. In a less than ideal setting, this cigar really delivered. I wisely bought another before I left, but as I thought about it later, I regretted not buying all of them.

Warped Flor Del Valle Las Brumas
I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for the illusive Skyflower recently, which means regularly wandering past the Warped selection at my local shop to see what’s on the shelf. It wasn’t long before I decided to light up one of the Flor Del Valles in stock. I picked the Las Brumas vitola because it seemed appropriate to the time I had available. As expected it was an enjoyable smoke, starting off spicy and then revealing almonds, toast, leather, pepper and sweet coconut. The coconut note was a bit of a surprise, I don’t think I recall than in previous experiences, but it was a welcome one.

* 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 number of ridiculously decadent craft beers) 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.