Brian’s The Week In Smoke, Issue 119

It’s time once 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 a more 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!

A.C.E. Prime M.X.S. *
My first encounter with A.C.E. Prime cigars was at the trade show this year. I had heard a little chatter about the company in the weeks leading up to the show (probably on one of Coop’s 900 pre-IPCPR facebook live videos), so I decided to set up an appointment with them. It was a good call. I got to meet NBA stars Dominique Wilkins and Tiago Splitter, and talk to them about this cigar as part of our trade show coverage. (See the video here.) This particular cigar is Dominique’s blend, and I tasted milk chocolate, caramel, earth, and gradual transition to a more peppery profile by the end. Struck me as a medium to medium-plus body, definitely not something that’s going to overpower you. Overall, a solid cigar I would be happy to smoke again in the future.

Drew Estate Undercrown ShadyXX *
It’s the sequel to the very popular, and very limited, ShadyXV from back in 2014. With a name like ShadyXX, my first question was, why isn’t it an Undercrown Shade blend? But then I realized, the Undercrown Shade line was not introduced until the year following the ShadyXV. So it all makes sense. I know I enjoyed the ShadyXV back in the day, and had high hopes for the sequel. I was not let down. The cigar delivered a pleasing combination of rich earth, coffee, and a touch of sweetness.

Joya de Nicaragua Antaño CT Toro*
I’ve had a couple Antaño CT’s at this point, and despite being trade show samples that suffered the punishing dry heat of Las Vegas, they have all burned perfectly. Of course this latest one did have the benefit of a couple months of proper humidity. Though this cigar bears the Antaño name, it does not bring quite the boldness or power of the other cigars in the line. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing with this blend. It does have have the earthy spicy element you would expect from an Antaño, but also creamy, vanilla and toasty notes. Fans of the brand will likely find this a good option for earlier in the day, and people that aren’t down for the power of the original may find this to be the Antaño that’s right up their alley.

Southern Draw Cedrus Toro *
The toro vitola is one of the new Cedrus sizes that was introduced at this year’s trade show. I believe this is my first experience with the Cedrus, and given the name, I went in expecting a lighter cigar with big cedar presence. I was partially right. Cedar is definitely there, but I wouldn’t say the Cedrus was on the light end of the scale. And it’s much more than cedar, I kept coming back to how this cigar reminded me either of biscotti, or some sort of spiced cookie you might have in the fall or around Christmas. Sweet notes and baking spices were a big part of it. I really enjoyed the cigar, and look forward to smoking another.

The Griffin’s Nicaragua Robusto **
Those two stars next the The Griffin’s Nicaragua name above mean this is a cigar I’ve had resting in my humidor for a good long while. Over a year, at the least. And it sure tastes like it. As it started burning into the middle third of the cigar, it just blossomed. Just a ridiculous amount of rich flavor. My tasting notes include cedar, vanilla, light baking spices, caramel, almond, and underlying earth. Not to mention a really nice floral component when retrohaled. This cigar made our Top Ten Cigars of 2017 list, and it remains box-worthy. I just wish it was easier to find.

* 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 cooler full of fresh, hazy IPA) 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 social media does when it isn’t doing what it should be doing. Anyway, they’re ugly when they cry.