Almost a year ago, I shared about my experiences smoking cigars after COVID-19. Looking back, it’s amazing just how similar my story in February 2021 is to my story in January 2022.
My senses haven’t fully returned yet, but there have been days recently where I’ve gotten much more out of a cigar than in all of 2021. What’s really interesting is that my ability to taste is usually preceded by drastic changes in temperament and humidity, such as flying to Vegas from Virginia or touching down back on the East Coast from the Middle East.
On my best days, what I can taste feels really subdued. It reminds me of when I first started doing cigar reviews, having to isolate myself with a pen and paper to fully focus on the experience. I find myself closing my eyes a lot with food, whiskey, and cigars. It’s almost as if I could taste it better if I just focused hard enough.
What’s This Post About?
If you’re wondering why I’m making this post that’s fairly devoid of updates, it’s to share what I’ve been enjoying in case anyone else is in the same boat. I have a different viewpoint today than I had a year ago, and I’m no longer so sure everything will go back to normal like I was. I might have even forgot what normal was like. Lol.
On the plus side, I haven’t woke up with morning breath in over a year! I still chew gum after a cigar to be considerate, but that feeling of cigar breath hasn’t been an issue at all since Covid. I’m sure if/when everything returns, I’ll look back on the last 12 months fondly for that reason alone.
Without further ado, here are the cigars that have kept me entertained the most for 2021:
1) Dunbarton Sobremesa Brûlée Blue
My first experiences with the Sobremesa Brûlée were of bewilderment. I didn’t expect a noticeably sweet cap, and there was a lot of dialogue on the interwebs (check out the Blind Review) about whether it was or wasn’t sweetened. I’ll leave it up to you to experiment with and decide for yourself, but the Sobremesa Brûlée Blue was one of my favorite treats the last few months in Iraq.
It smokes a little faster than you would expect for a cigar of that size, but Blue had the perfect body for me. The body was rich enough to have a noticeable weight to it, but light enough that the texture was interesting to someone that could barely taste.
Sweetness was one of the first senses that began returning a few months ago. While I couldn’t tell you what kind of sweet perception I was tasting, I could identify that the sensation was sweet. Oddly enough, bitter has yet to return. Coffee is bland to me, and I’ve only had one bad cigar experience in over a year – even smoking extremely fast has yet to produce the acrid, bitter taste (for me) that I know should be present.
I say all of that to say that this cigar really hit home for me on all levels. The leftover sweetness on my lips was a welcome break from the mundane, and the texture of Brûlée Blue’s smoke was what I craved. This was a major shift from the heavier Broadleaf blends I was smoking a year ago.
2.) Liga Privada
I remember reading one of our Blind Reviews where California mentioned how smoke production wasn’t previously on his list of things he desired from a cigar, but how he appreciated it. That sentence really struck a chord with me, because I felt the same way when smoking Liga Privada and Undercrowns.
When most cigars taste like air, it’s amazing how much more satisfying it is when they’re billowing smoke like a chimney! The oily nature of these blends also gave the mouth feel much more to work with, and Liga Privada kept me grounded when I needed a smoke for some personal time.
3.) Crowned Heads Juarez
I can’t stress enough just how good this cigar is! I recommend it to anyone and everyone looking for a value cigar, and I’m pretty sure that I’ve smoked more of these than any other cigar in 2021. Juarez is unapologetically so in your face with flavor, that I swear I can still taste it based off the memory alone from 2020. The body is also perfect for me, having the right density to it for my liking.
4.) Room101 10th Anniversary
I can’t explain it, but the texture of the 10th Anniversary smoke reminds me of graham crackers. I fanboy’d over this cigar back when I could still taste, and it’s still one of my favorites. I was beyond happy to see that we received more of these. I don’t taste the notes that I used to, but I’ll be damned if this doesn’t feel like my face is being massaged by Boofy’s soft hands every time I smoke it.
5.) Illusione x Jeremy Piven PIV Robusto
This is one of the first cigars that I was able to truly taste recently, although the profile that I get is drastically different from what normal people experience. To me, the experience was limited to what I would consider a spicier Epernay. I was getting bread and peppercorn, peppercorn and bread. It was heaven being able to taste such exquisite flavors; so much so that I smoked a bunch of these back-to-back.
Our Blind Review Panel got a lot more out of this cigar than I did, but I can’t describe how great of a feeling it was to feel like I was experiencing something at 100% even if it wasn’t the whole picture. I was beyond ecstatic to read their reviews that week and see bread listed repeatedly. This cigar will forever be engrained in my memory as the first time I was feeling like I might get all of my senses back. Thanks Illusione!
If you have any questions, please feel free to drop a comment below. Would also love to hear from anyone else in the same boat! What have you been enjoying while on the mend?