My Week (In Smoking) In Review - 10/29/13

Welcome to another installment of "My Week (In Smoking) In Review"!  Been a bit since my last blog as it was my first wedding anniversary and then I've been traveling a lot lately, but this has allowed me to stop at some great shops (shoutout to Just For Him in Springfield, MO) and smoke some great cigars like the Vato Cuban Blend, La Palina Mr Sam and JD Howard Reserve.  Let's check my thoughts...

Kauai Cigar Company Island Prince Momona Dark - On October 12, 2012, I got married and one of the stops on our honeymoon was the gorgeous Hawaiian island of Kauai.  While there, I kind of randomly stumbled upon Kauai Cigar Company cigars and picked one up.  Its been sitting in my humidor for a year and I finally pulled it out today to smoke on our first anniversary as I figured it'd be a fitting tribute.  I take it out of its coffin and its a dark, milk-chocolatey brown that looks surprisingly good - minimal veins.  I snip off the cap and take some pre-light draws that are a bit tight.  Upon light, I'm hit with an immediate pine note.  This quickly turns into a salty flavoring that is interesting, but not overly enjoyable.  Luckily, the saltiness went away in time and turned into a really enjoyable earthy flavor.  Definitely an interesting cigar, but at the price point of nearly $15 (its Hawaiian prices), probably not something I'd go out of my way to get.  With that said, I imagine some people bring out Padrons or Opus or ISOMs to celebrate big occasions, but this was the ideal smoke for me on a great day!

Chinnock Cellars Terroir Torpedo - Before I left for a few weeks in Missouri, I sent out some bombs and included one of my last Terroirs to Dustin (because I think the flavor-profile is one he'll enjoy) from my box which inspired me to light one up as I hadn't smoked one in quite some time. I'll admit that when I first smoked this cigar, I didn't love it, but this Willy Herrera blend has really grown on me as a great first cigar of the day and an ideal Saturday-morning-in-the-fall-with-some-coffee cigar! It is a mild-medium cigar with some nuttiness that is extremely smooth on the draw.  As it smokes, some subtle pepper hits me, but never pushes the profile above a medium at best.  I'm surprised to see these finally show up in one of my B&Ms recently, but happy that it coincides perfectly with me finishing my first box!

Vato Cigars Cuban Blend Petit Lancero - So, two weeks ago, I was traveling for work and stopped in one of my favorite shops - Just For Him in Springfield, MO. Probably the best part of traveling for work is getting to experience new places (and new cigar shops) and what Christian and Jess have done at Just For Him is amazing.  Christian is often recognized by the CRA for promoting smoker's rights in Missouri and their humidor provides a wealth of fantastic smokes that I have difficulty tracking down. The first cigar I picked out was this Vato Cuban Blend on the recommendation of Tank (Christian's nickname). I had never had a Vato before and I was looking for something a bit lighter since I hadn't eaten yet and I had come directly from the airport before I even checked into my hotel. Very mild for me, but probably a mild-medium for "official" purposes.  Smooth creaminess with a grassy/hay flavor seems to be consistent throughout.  Had a bit of a canoeing issue early, but it corrected itself and the draw was perfect.

La Palina Collection: Mr. Sam - Not one to avoid going overboard, I had to venture into the Just For Him humidor a second time and pull out another cigar.  As I walked around their pretty expansive humidor, I kept finding cigars that I have yet to enjoy, but then I saw it - the La Palina Collection: Mr. Sam.  I've heard great things about La Palina cigars and I struggle to find them locally so when I saw this - a limited edition offering nonetheless, I immediately picked it up.  A dark, reddish-brown wrapper adorns this cigar.  Burn and draw are excellent, but are overshadowed by the amazing flavors.  Earth and cedar with a bit of underlying spice meet me off the initial draws.  A nuttiness comes on towards the second third.  I think I was giddy at this point about how flavorful this cigar was and how much I was enjoying it.  Some pepper came back in the end as I nubbed it - the cigar was that enjoyable and the construction that perfect.  This is one I loved and definitely suggest tracking down.

Crowned Heads JD Howard Reserve HR-48 - One last day in Missouri and one more trip to Just For Him - I was in Springfield for 3 nights and spent 2 in this shop!  On this trip, I finally noticed the JD Howard Reserve that I've been wanting to try and finally did. I have a bit of an odd relationship with Crowned Heads.  I really enjoyed the Four Kicks, but did not really love the Headley Grange and thought the Mule Kick was a bit overrated so I have no preconceived notions going in. The burn was perfect, but draw was a bit tight for my liking. I found the initial draws to be a bit weird - almost sour - and I'm left wondering if, even though my first cigar was extremely mild, if it was a mistake to light this up as my 2nd cigar of the night.  As I continue, the sourness dies down a bit (but doesn't go away) and I get a bit of spice and earthiness.  The sour notes I sensed earlier have changed slightly - kind of like a black coffee now.  The burn continues perfectly until I put it out.  I want to smoke this one more time before I make a final decision as, like the rest of The Crowned Heads' offerings, I seem to be the only one who just doesn't "get" them.  The cigar was fine for what it was and the construction was perfect (if not for the draw which I would have liked a little bit looser), but the flavor profile just didn't fit in my wheelhouse.

Another great week of cigars and some that I think you should go out of your way to try! Have you had any of these yet?  Were your experiences similar or different?  I always love to hear, so let me know.  Thanks for reading!  Goodbye for now!

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Comment by Nate Martin on October 29, 2013 at 11:17am

Very interesting. I've only had the Mule Kick. The JD-HR sounds rather interesting. I see the La Palina Mr. Sam all over.

Comment by Generally Useful Jared on October 29, 2013 at 11:20am

Awesome that you got to check out Just For Him!  I order ALL of my pipe tobacco from them - they have the most amazing custom blends!


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Comment by Matt Ross on October 29, 2013 at 11:32am

Its a great shop - been going there whenever I'm in town over the past 2 years.  Love it!

Comment by Catfishbluezz on October 29, 2013 at 7:07pm

I dug the JDH, haven;t had many 4Kicks I liked though, but it was a solid smoke for my tastes.  You got me all excited on teh Herrera blend now, I really dug his stuff he did at El Titan de Bronze, so I assume this was made there before the DE move?  


Mod
Comment by Matt Ross on October 29, 2013 at 7:51pm

Yes, made at El Titan de Bronze prior to the move.  I think you'll find them a bit different than the Herrera Esteli.

Comment by Fourkicksfan on October 29, 2013 at 9:03pm

It's great that we have so many options when choosing our sticks. It's amazing how different two people can see the same cigars. There are only two vitolas I really gravitate in Four Kicks, and even those I don't head for a ton, but the HG and even now JDHR, I absolutely can't get enough of! To each their own though, we have options for a reason. I'm looking forward to the Mr. Sam, haven't seen it round these parts yet though. I did smoke two different La Palina sticks this week, Kill Bill II and Classic Toro, but wasn't overly impressed.  The Goldie No. 5 I've had though was epic! Can't wait to find a Sam. Thanks for the write up bro!


Mod
Comment by Matt Ross on October 30, 2013 at 7:54am

Thanks for the comment, Robert.  Its one of the interesting things about cigars - and Cigar Federation - we all have different palates and with 6 of us regularly "reviewing" cigars here, we have a wide range of tastes and preferences.

Comment by Bill Williams on October 30, 2013 at 9:21am

Vato, I smoke a lot of those as he and his wife Sarah are good friends. I'm sure you will get to meet them when you come to IPCPR, they throw a party on top of Binion's downtown opening night. I think Rob, Logan and Jered will tell you Paul is quite a character.

Looks like you had the Las Vegas Blend which is their mildest blend. Their Cuban Blend is a fuller cigar and has good flavor profile. Will see what I can do about getting you all 4 of their blends to compare.

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