Brian’s The Week In Smoke, Issue 113

Drew Estate

Hopefully you’ll have a chance to eat too much, put your feet up, and light up a few good cigars this week while being generally thankful for the good things in life. That’s my goal. Before donning my combat gear and rushing out at o’ dark-thirty to buy a 937” razzamataz definition television with the latest 3D virtual cup holders. I hope someone brings a camera to Walmart, I’ve choreographed a pretty epic brawl sequence, if I do say so myself. But before the all the festive gluttony, sloth and violence…

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!

Balmoral Añejo XO Petit Robusto
Many of the cigars I smoked over the past week have been on the heavier, fuller end of the spectrum. I decided it mix it up one day and go a little lighter with a Balmoral Añejo XO. As in times past, the cigar burned flawlessly, producing creamier notes initially and following that up with cinnamon, light wood, earth and some pepper.

Camacho Shellback Limited Edition ’15
The Camacho Shellback was a recent impulse buy, and I didn’t realize at the time how long it had been resting in the humidor. I’m all in favor of free cigar aging. The cigar got off to a peppery start, and there was a touch of bright acidity to it. Wood, chocolate, earth, caramel and a deep dried-fruit sweetness developed as the cigar burned. Pepper, earthiness and a touch of char grew toward the end. It was a solid smoke that does not seem to have been harmed by its prolonged sleep.

Cornelius & Anthony Senior Esugars Robusto *
I had a cigar in mind to light up, but sometime between the time I made a note of it and the time it was time to smoke, I misplaced it. My guess is I’ll most likely find it the next time I defrost the freezer, along with a slew of lost keys and cutters. While I was looking for the cigar in the usual places (i.e. humidors), I spotted this Cornelius & Anthony Senior Esugars and decided to quit looking. I knew it was a left over sample from IPCPR, and I really needed to be smoked ASAP. Fresh out of the cellophane, the wrapper had a bold and enticing leather aroma. The flavor was full of rich earthy (and sometimes sweet) chocolate, leather and light touches of both pepper and spices. There were some issues with the burn, but I’m giving it a pass this time. I’ll be more critical when I smoke one that didn’t survive Las Vegas. I enjoyed it and would smoke it again.

Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Mi Querida Ancho Largo
Ordinarily when I’m picking which cigar to smoke, I look through the selection available. When I’m at the shop, that means looking through the selection of new product, and if none of them arouse my interest, I go back to old favorites. On one evening this week it was different, I was looking for something dense, earthy and chocolaty. It probably had something to do with the colder weather and shorter days. By the time I had taken two steps into the humidor, I knew I wanted a Mi Querida. And really, the story stops there. I bought it, lit it up and enjoyed it immensely. It was exactly the right cigar for that moment. I wish it were always so easy to decide.

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Robusto
A while back I was smoking a Pappy Van Winkle Tradition and on a whim, I decided to visit the Pappy Co. website to see if the original Family Reserve was in stock. It had been a while since I checked, and the last time the cigars were completely sold out. This time around I was in luck and I pulled the trigger. I lit one up when the package arrived, and then set them aside for a while. This week I grabbed another to see how they were burning. The answer is well, the cigar burned flawlessly both times, and the draw was perfect. In terms of flavor, I noted a pleasant combination of sweet creamy notes, booze, oak, funky smoke, graham cracker, some clove and other spices. And the flavors really linger. It’s a pretty unique cigar that garners mixed reviews people I’ve spoken to about it. I’ve enjoyed it both times I’ve had it so far, but it’s definitely a cigar that I need to be in the right mood to light up.

Punch Gran Puro Nicaragua GPN 4 *
General Cigar was nice enough to send me some Punch Gran Puro Nicaraguas a while back when they heard I was fond of them. As a result they frequently make their way into my travel humidor. They’re easy to smoke any time, and the flavor is bold enough that I’m never worried about lighting one up no matter what manner of shenanigans I’ve been up to. I lit this one up one evening after a few beers and enjoyed bright peppery, raisiny, leathery profile. I was a little tired and didn’t spend much time dissecting the profile, I just put my feet up and blew 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 this viking horn of mead) 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.