Top 5 Post-Thanksgiving Dinner Smokes of 2011
There’s nothing like sneaking off after a heavy Thanksgiving feast with the relatives to grab an hour or two of well-deserved relaxation with a fine stogie. What makes a post-Thanksgiving dinner smoke even more special than usual is that after stuffing yourself to the brim with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and whatever else (I usually don’t pay much attention to the other stuff), there’s no nicotine buzz you can’t handle. Anyway, without further ado, here are my top five post-Thanksgiving dinner smokes of 2011:
Liga Privada Undercrown
The torcedores responsible for Liga Privada created Undercrown when Drew Estate told them to stop smoking Liga Privada because the company was having trouble meeting demand. The result is a spicy smoke that is just as good as its predecessors, despite the fact that is made with slightly-less-rare tobaccos. Undercrown uses a super-dark Otapan Negro Ultimo Corte wrapper leaf from Mexico, along with a Connecticut-grown stalk-cut Habano binder (the same one that wraps the T52) and Brazilian Mata Fina and Cuban-seed Nicaraguan filler leaves. The result is a chocolaty, peppery, and leathery smoke that is significantly less powerful than the No. 9 or T52 blends, but just as satisfying.
As rare as it is tasty, the Quesada Oktoberfest was blended with one goal in mind: to pair perfectly with a hearty, Oktoberfest-style beer. So when you’re having a post-feast drink, few smokes will hit the spot better than this one. Quesada Oktoberfest is a Dominican puro that is available in two sizes—The Bavarian, a reasonable, 5 ½” x 52 robusto, or The Über, a mammoth 6” x 65 beast of a smoke. These stogies burn as perfectly as any others from the Quesada family and boast flavors of nuts, cocoa, oak, and a bit of sweetness that ties it all together.
Alec Bradley Black Market
If there’s one thing I really love about Alec Bradley, it’s that they don’t overdo it. Many companies will release so many new blends every year that they can’t possibly all be good. Alec Bradley, on the other band, tends to release only one or two new blends a year. The two big ones for 2011 were the Alec Bradley Black Market and Alec Bradley American Classic, and while the American Classic is a very tasty cigar, I think the Black Market is better suited as an after-dinner smoke. These dark and well-rolled beauties are surprisingly smooth and subtle with notes of dark cocoa, leather, hay, and just a bit of pepper that slowly creeps up throughout the smoke. Check out our review of this stogie here.
Rocky Patel Vintage 2003
I’ve always thought that the Cameroon wrapper leaf added a lot of toasty, baking spice notes to a smoke. That said, is there a better smoke to round out Thanksgiving night than the Rocky Patel Vintage 2003, which features an 8-year-old Cameroon wrapper? These well-rolled smokes are medium-to-full-bodied with notes of cedar, butter, coffee, caramel, and baking spice, and thanks to excellent construction, they are truly maintenance-free from the moment you light up to the moment you, well, light up another one. In my opinion, the guys at Rocky Patel rarely fail to impress, and this is yet another solid smoke in their ever-expanding roster.
601 La Bomba
I know I’ve talked up this smoke like no other, but I’ve now smoked a handful of these and each one has been absolutely killer. Also, after smoking a few of these, I now know that the best time to enjoy one would be after the biggest meal of your life—Thanksgiving dinner. These powerhouse stogies deliver massive flavors of red pepper, leather, coffee, and a little bit of earth while burning razor-straight and delivering a huge quantity of smoke with each effortless puff. I should add that even after an epic feast, it’s still a good idea to smoke this one as slowly as you can without letting it go out. Check out my review of this stogie here.
And there’s the list—if anyone else has anything to add, feel free to post it in a comment. Otherwise, have a safe, happy, and smoky Thanksgiving!