Brian’s The Week In Smoke, Issue 116

Drew Estate

A lot has happened since the last time I did The Week In Smoke. There was a tradeshow or two (less than five, certainly), the weather started to cool off again (sorta), people started putting pumpkin spice in inappropriate places (mouths, mostly), and we started doing numerical ratings here on Stogie Review (terrifying, but this is a safe space). It’s hard to keep up with it all. So I’ve done the only thing I know how to do, smoke as many cigars as I can fit in to my schedule, mostly between brewery visits. And while I have several new reviews in the works, I don’t want to forget about the various delicious distractions of the late summer and early fall. 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. Jerry may have retired from the cigar review life, but Jerry The ‘Stache never will. And you won’t know until you click.) Enjoy!

Arturo Fuente 858 Rosado Sun Grown
A recent arrival at my local shop, and I couldn’t resist lighting one up on the spot. I was rewarded for my impatience with some cosmetic structural issues, in the form of wrapper cracks. But aside from the minor nuisance, the cigar was not ruined. It delivered a lot of enjoyable flavor- wood, earth, light sweet spices, orange peel, leather and a little pepper. I probably should have given the cigars a little time to adjust, but really, if I had a do over, I wouldn’t have done anything different. If they’re still around on my next visit, I will undoubtedly buy more.

Crux Epicure Toro *
I’ve had a number of Crux Epicures over the years, but this one had an unusually noteworthy wrapper aroma. Something aromatic and perfume-like that I just couldn’t put my finger on. To the touch, the cigar was a little lumpy- though the wrapper leaf had few fine veins, it seemed to be hiding some significant ones in the binder. But nothing bad to report here, flavor-wise it was just fine. A lot of creaminess, vanilla, sweet cinnamon and cedar, with a little earth, and a little pepper. Another mark in the win column for Crux.

Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Sin Compromiso Selección No. 5 *
The Sin Compromiso was one of the cigars I was most looking forward to trying at the trade show. But in this case I exercised some restraint and waited a few weeks after I got home to light one up. The cigar got off to an impressive start, rich and subtle, with earth, light pepper and lingering sweet notes of dried fruit and cedar. My tasting notes got a little wild after that, I was clearly enjoying the cigar, and perhaps myself, a little too much. I talk about things like nougat, cherries and toffee. No need to go into all the gory details, just keep an eye out for this one, and make sure you buy a few when you see it. Also, check out Ben’s review of the Sin Compromiso if you haven’t already.

EP Carrilllo Elencos Elites **
This was one of those smokes that I’ve had for a while, and can’t remember where or when it came into my possession. I suspect I bought it on a trip to the gulf coast a few years ago, meaning to smoke it on a deck overlooking the water. Unfortunately, my deck overlooked a parking lot (I knew the deal was too good to be true), and I didn’t get as much smoking time as I thought I would either. I think it worked out though, I’m sure I enjoyed the cigar more in my quiet office than I would have watching cars circle the lot looking for parking spaces. I noted spices, sweet dark dried fruit, caramel, pepper, wood and roasty coffee.

Hoyo La Amistad Black Rothschild *
I’m a fan of the La Amistad line of cigars, I’m always happy to light one up. As it happens, the most recent cigar I smoked for this Week in Smoke was this La Amistad Black Rothschild. Great size at 4 1/2 x 50, and great delivery of enjoyable flavors. Chocolaty from the start, with a nice dose of spice. Pepper, earth, caramel, and hints of vanilla (midway, mostly) made this an experience I’d be happy to repeat.

Royal Agio Balmoral Oscuro Gran Toro *
The folks at Agio really upped their game this year, adding two new Balmoral lines to their portfolio, and a collaboration with EP Carrillo. (Keep an eye out for a review of that Dueto collaboration here soon.) This Oscuro is one of those new offerings, and it’s a solid smoke. In the one I lit recently, I noted creamy earth, cocoa, vanilla and coffee notes with a light touch of sweetness and pepper. It’s cigar that’s dying to help you enjoy that cup of coffee.

* Big Brother would have you know these cigars were gifts or free samples, and that my opinions on them is suspect. My opinions (and some charming banter about the weather these days) 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.