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The Camacho Connecticut Monarca

You can’t judge a book by its cover.  This is a life lesson that has less to do with libraries than it has to do with life in general.  Little did I know that it applies to the world of cigars too.  Such is the case with the Camacho Connecticut Monarca.

I walked into the humidor at my local tobacco shop looking for something different.  It was extremely hot outside, so I wanted to try something mild and mellow.  So when I saw the Camacho Connecticut series, I knew I had to give it a shot.  Automatically, when I saw “Connecticut” I thought “Connecticut.  Mild.  Win!”  Well, you can’t judge a book by its cover, but here are the “book’s” details:

  • Size:  5×50 Monarca
  • Wrapper:  Connecticut shade
  • Binder:  Honduran
  • Filler:  Dominican and Honduran
  • Strength:  Medium

This cigar was very enjoyable, but not for the reasons I had originally thought.  Instead of it being a mild, smooth smoke it was a spicy, creamy smoke.  I absolutely loved the thick, white smoke this cigar created.  When I first lit up, the spices were pretty strong but they were tempered by the creaminess that developed through the middle part of the cigar.

I had no construction issues at all, the bullet cut was perfect and the burn was even throughout.  All in all, this was a nice smoke.  It just wasn’t what I expected.  I paid around $6.00 for this cigar and would definitely smoke it again for certain occasions.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Reviews

 

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The Padilla Series ’68 Robusto

It felt good to finally get back outside and smoke a cigar.  Lately, the Texas heat has just been too much to bear so I haven’t been able to enjoy a cigar on my lunch hour as usual.  But yesterday, the temperatures had cooled to just under 100 degrees so I lit up a Padilla Series ’68 Robusto and sat under a shade tree with a cold glass of water.  Believe it or not, it was perfect.

I had purchased a box of the Series ’68s from Cigars International when they were selling them for the ridiculously low price of $39.99.  That’s right–twenty premium cigars for under $40!  The reason for this preposterous deal was that each box had the words “Refill only…not for resale” on the box.

Silly things like this rarely bother me, so I sprang for the deal and I’m glad that I did.  To make the deal even sweeter, a friend of mine asked if he could buy ten of the cigars from me since he didn’t have room in his humidor for a full box.  This worked out well for me, too, since my humidor is rather full at the moment!

So here are the details on the Padilla Series ’68 Robusto:

  • Size:  5×50 Robusto
  • Wrapper:  Cuban-seed corojo
  • Binder:  Nicaragua, criollo
  • Filler:  Cuban-seed Nicaragua
  • Strength:  Medium/Full

I have written on here before about how important I think cigar bands are.  I know they don’t assist in the taste of a cigar, but the certainly can make or break a cigar’s look.  The Series ’68 helps itself by screaming “quality” when you see the attention to detail in the band.  It actually looks like it’s just one ornate band, but it isn’t until you do a little investigating that you find out it’s two distinct bands.

A nice barnyard or hay smell was the first scent I got once I removed the cigar from its cellophane wrapper.  Upon lighting, that’s exactly what I tasted too.  It started off as a very earthy smoke with just a touch of pepper.  Throughout the whole of the cigar, the burn was really sharp.  I didn’t even have to think about any touch ups which was kind of surprising on a windy afternoon.

The one thing I noticed about this cigar was its lack of flavor transitions.  It started off earthy and it remained earthy through the whole smoke.  There were, along the way, hints of spice and pepper but I never felt the spice or pepper dominating.  They always sat in the back seat to the earthy/woodsy flavor.

As far as strength is concerned, this cigar never went above a medium strength smoke.  It’s the kind of cigar you can smoke at any point in the day and really just enjoy the flavors without having to worry about getting bowled over by strength.  All in all, I’m glad I bought this box because the Padilla Series ’68 Robusto is a great everyday smoke.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Reviews

 

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A little off topic…saving money

A youtube friend of mine made a video the other day asking how we save money.  For the life of me, I have tried posting a video response about seven different times but for one reason or another I can’t seem to shoot a video without interruption.  So instead of shooting a video, I wlll post ways here that my wife and I have saved money over the years.

Basically, our philosophy is if you can do it or make it at home, you’ll probably pay a lot less.  This manifests itself in many ways.  First of all, I have owned an espresso machine since my college days and (thankfully) there are plenty of websites that feature recipes from jilted ex-Starbucks employees!  So instead of paying $4-$5 per drink at Starbucks, I can make the same quality beverage at the house for pennies on the dollar.  When we are out shopping and get the urge for Starbucks, we’ll go to the local coffee house instead of Starbucks since their prices are cheaper (usually by $1 or two) and their product is just as good.  We also make our own bread which allows us to control the ingredients and make it as healthy (or unhealthy!) as we’d like!  We have used the “make it yourself” philosophy in all areas including laundry, baby food, baby wipes, wine, beer, pizza, chicken wings, etc.  If, by chance, you’re addicted to energy drinks, Big Lots usually sells the big ones (over 20oz.) for less than a dollar each which is CRAZY savings when you compare them to the price you pay in gas stations or grocery stores!

Another way we have saved money is by having a certain percentage of each paycheck automatically drafted into a savings account.  That way, it’s not up to me to set it aside myself!  Just contact your HR representative and provide him with the savings account information and the percentage or amount you want deposited.  Easy as that!  Out of sight, out of mind!  I know many people do this and use the money they accrue to go on vacations.

Getting rid of unnecessary services is another way to cut back.  We got rid of our weekly trash pickup a few years ago.  Instead of them picking up our trash, my son and I take it ourselves on Saturday mornings.  So not only have we been saving $32 for the past few years, but that time has also been a great way for us to have fun together!  On Friday nights, he always asks me if we are going to take the trash in anticipation of some time with dad.  Other services to consider getting rid of would be DirecTV or cable, home phone service, internet, daily newspaper (who reads an actual newspaper anymore?).

Finally, I suggest getting rid of things you no longer use.  I do this all the time by selling on eBay.  To me, things are just things.  Items can be replaced, if needed.  This obviously doesn’t pertain to things that have been handed down to me or given to me that are sentimental in nature.  I’ve sold XBOX360′s, Wii’s, guitars, televisions, etc.  The main thing is that I want to own my possessions, I don’t want them owning me.

So these are a few ways my wife and I have been able to save some money.  I might make another post or two about saving money in the future.

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2011 in Other

 

Pipes, pipes and more pipes

Not long ago, a YouTube friend of mine was looking for a little pipe restoration project to hone his skills (in reality, this guy’s skills need no honing.  He’s absolutely amazing at what he does). He probably wasn’t looking to tackle a huge project, but that’s exactly what I sent him.  I shipped off eight pipes total and he carefully restored each one to pristine condition.  My pipe collection isn’t stellar.  In reality, it’s just a collection of mostly cheap ebay finds and one pipe, my first pipe, that I’ve had for about twelve years or so.  But each pipe means something to me and it thrills me beyond words to have them looking so good.

I’ve also made two pipe purchases lately.  The first one is a Mark Balkovec pipe and it is a thing of beauty!

The other pipe is a Stanwell:

The sad thing is that I haven’t even had a chance to smoke either of these two pipes since I’ve been so busy with work and other things!  Hopefully I’ll get a chance sometime this weekend to enjoy both of them.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2011 in Pipe and cigar thoughts

 

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The Cro Magnon Mandible

I am often asked what kind of cigars I like.  If you get asked that question a lot, and if you’re like me, you’ll know that’s a difficult question to answer.  For me, at least, my answer is usually the same:  “it depends.”  It depends on the time of day.  It depends on my current mood.  It depends on if I’ve smoked something already.  It depends!  It depends!  It depends!

Well it has been a stressful few weeks for me.  One of my coworkers is recuperating from surgery and has been out of work for awhile which leaves me as the only other person capable of handling her duties while she’s out.  On top of that, I’m in the middle of about nineteen straight days of working or being on-call.  Add to that some deeply painful family things going on and…well…you see where this is going.  It’s funny how a rise in stress is directly proportionate to a spike in blood pressure.

So on Thursday of last week, my wife and I went out for drinks and a nice steak dinner.  After a wonderfully relaxing evening with her, I stepped out onto the deck, clilpped the Cro Magnon Mandible cigar, turned up the Johnny Cash and lit up!  Here are the Mandible’s details:

  • Size:  4.5X60 (Mandible)
  • Wrapper:  Broadleaf
  • Binder:  Camaroon
  • Filler:  Nicaragua
  • Strength:  Medium/Full

As is my custom, I used a bullet cut on the cap.  The cap took the bullet without harming the cigar which signifies to me that the stick is well made and has been properly humidified.  After I cut it, I took a long look at the Mandible and was impressed with the oily, dark chocolate wrapper.  I’m usually not a big fan of 60-ring gauge cigars, but this one looked mighty impressive.

I lit the cigar up and immediately sensed a rich chocolate and pepper profile.  The draw was perfect, but as I got into the first third I noticed that the wrapper wasn’t burning well.  The Mandible did require touch ups throughout the cigar because the burn was uneven.

The second third’s flavors were much the same of the first third.  There were subtle differences here and there, but the main flavors were still chocolate and pepper.  The second third is where the cigar’s strength really picked up.  It started off as a medium bodied cigar, but at this point I could really feel the strength of the nicotine as I puffed on it.  As I mentioned before, I had burn issues throughout which affected the ash.  It also seemed to affect how hot the cigar was burning but I didn’t sense any off putting tastes.

As the final third progressed, I detected a nice leathery taste.  The leather taste coupled with the full body and the creamy smoke really made for a nice treat.  So you see, it really does depend on my mood, choice of food for dinner, level of stress I’m under, etc.  Many times I prefer a medium body cigar over a full body, but the Cro Magnon Mandible was a great tasting, albeit poor burning, cigar.  If you haven’t heard the story about Cro Magnon cigars, it’s a story well worth your read.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2011 in Reviews

 

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The Liga Privada T52 Robusto

I had heard good things about the Liga Privada line from my friends at BlackOpsTobacco (find more information about these guys through their podcast, twitter or youtube channel), so I picked up a couple sticks from the good folks at pipesandcigars.com.  I bought two T9′s and two T52′s and was able to enjoy a T52 while relaxing on a mini-vacation this weekend in the Dallas area.  Here are the details on the cigar:

  • Size:  5×52 (Robusto)
  • Wrapper:  American Habano
  • Binder:  Brazillian Mata-Fina
  • Filler:  Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua
  • Strength:  Medium/Full

While my son and wife napped, I slipped down to the hotel’s garden area with my T52.  Upon inspection, this cigar was a real feast for the eyes.  The dark chocolate colored wrapper was firm and tight.  I was equally impressed with the quality of the band too.  I took time to read it since I appreciate artistic cigar bands.  I used my trusty bullet cutter since I had forgotten my guillotine at home.

The loose draw was a bit of a surprise to me since the wrapper was so firm.  I could tell from the first few draws that I would need to take my time with this cigar to keep it from burning too hot.  Unfortunately, the Arlington winds were so strong that I think they played at least a small factor in an uneven burn.

From the start, the Liga Privada T52 produced a ton of smoke.  And right from the beginning, the flavors were crazy good:  coffee, caramel, spice, cocoa–all were there.  It seemed as if the flavors changed with each drag!  As far as body is concerned, the T52 started off rather mild but it definitely didn’t stay there.  The T52 built in intensity as the cigar progressed and ended with the strength of a full bodied cigar.

All in all, I would recommend you try the Liga Privada T52.  And I suggest you check out the botcast for everything tobacco related.

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2011 in Pipe and cigar thoughts

 

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The Tatuaje Havana VI Nobles

It has been so long since I’ve posted that I almost forgot how to do it!  I apologize for my absence, but things have been incredibly busy with work and family that it’s been hard to find time to just sit, smoke and review.

Today, I was able to enjoy the Tatuaje Havana VI Nobles.  Here are the cigar’s details:

  • Size:  5×50 (Robusto)
  • Wrapper:  Habano style
  • Binder:  Nicaraguan
  • Filler:  Nicaraguan
  • Strength:  Medium

First and foremost, this is a great looking cigar.  It appeared to be very well constructed with just the right amount of give as you squeezed it.  The wrapper was oily and complimented by the simple, red Tatuaje band.  I used my bullet to punch through the triple cap.  The light wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t have to touch it up.  The draw was a little tight and I think that had something to do with the lack of smoke production.  As I settled into the first third, I sensed some mild leathery and woodsy notes.  There was a lot of flavor, but the strength was only medium bodied.  I was impressed with the ash as it held on nice and tight until I tapped off around the beginning of the second third.

The second third experience was a little strange.  It seemed that each time I picked up a nice dark cocoa note, the next puff would be…well…off.  I’m not sure how to describe it.  Maybe bitter is the right word.  And this happened throughout the rest of the cigar.  It just wasn’t consistent in delivering tasty flavors.  I would be impressed by one puff only to be let down by the next.

Now this is not to say that I won’t recommend this cigar.  I have four more of these and they’ll sit in my humidor until I get the urge to try one again.  Maybe next time around they will have changed.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2011 in Pipe and cigar thoughts

 

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