Brian’s The Week In Smoke, Issue 118

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!

Balmoral Serie Signaturas Dueto Gran Toro *
It felt like time to revisit one of my favorites from the past year. While Ben has been busy smoking every Balmoral Añejo XO Connecticut ever produced, I have been sneaking in some of the original Añejo XO’s from time to time. But it’s been months since I last lit up a Dueto. It was as good as I remembered. Sweet notes of dried fruit (often raisins) and spices, almonds, coffee, and pepper. I stick by the rating I gave it last year.

Camacho Liberty 2015
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending Kevin Rathbun’s annual charity barbecue here in Atlanta. It’s always a great time, and it’s for a good cause, so attending is a no-brainer. But what I love about going is the special cigar section of the event. Sure you have to pay a little extra, but it comes with a nice selection of high-end cigars and it’s right next to the bar. This Camacho Liberty 2015 was one of those cigars. It’s been forever since I had a Liberty, but I’ve always enjoyed them. This was no exception. I tasted sweet almond, cedar, some light spices, and varying degrees of pepper in the one I lit up a few days after the barbecue. (I would have lit it up during the barbecue, but I didn’t want to make it compete with all the WhistePig rye I was drinking.) It was a fine cigar.

Camacho Hard Charger
The Camacho Hard Charger is another cigar I picked up at the barbecue, and this one I did smoke during the event. I knew it could handle some rye whiskey, and it did. And then I smoked another a few days later to get some better notes. The big, oily smoke offered some really nice coffee, chocolate, molasses at the start, followed later by aromatic cedar, spices, and dark fruit sweetness. I enjoyed it, I would smoke it again.

Cohiba Connecticut Robusto *
Samples of the new Cohiba Connecticut arrived in the mail, and really that’s the only reason I still bother to check the mail- the possibility that it might contain cigars. Usually I’m disappointed, but not this time. I didn’t give the cigar any time to rest before I lit it up. I was curious to see what a Cohiba with a Connecticut Shade wrapper tastes like. In a word, solid. Toasty, earthy, creamy (especially early on), and some light candy-like sweetness. I have a few more, I’ll give them a chance to rest a while.

Diesel Whiskey Row PX Sherry Cask Robusto *
Like a lot of people, I am a fan of whiskey that has been finished in sherry barrels. And with all the tobacco aging in various spirits barrels these days, it makes sense that eventually sherry would get involved. Not all the tobacco was aged in the barrel (only the binder), but the pre-light aroma of the cigar was decidedly funky and boozy. It was bright and sweet in the beginning, with more obvious sherry-like boozy notes making making themselves known a little later. Toward the end, the booziness tamed a little and it was easier to taste notes of cocoa, earth, and some light pepper. Port is a traditional companion of a premium cigar, but I think a nice black coffee or roasty stout is what’s called for here.

* 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 half empty bottle of WhistlePig) 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. Or Fail Bird. Or whatever Twitter does these days. Anyway, they’re ugly when they cry.