Category Archives: Pipe and cigar thoughts

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.


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


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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  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.


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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So much to be thankful for

The news coming out of Alabama is just horrific.  So many people have lost all they’ve ever worked for.  Many have lost their lives.  Please join me in lifting up this storm-ridden part of the country by praying for them, sending positive thoughts, etc.  And please count your blessings.  My humidor is full, my wife and son are alive and well, my pantry is full, I have a roof over my head and there’s a little gas in the tank.  In short, I’m blessed.  And so are you.  Take time to be thankful for those blessings today and remember to pray for those who are suffering the pain of loss right now.

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Posted by on April 28, 2011 in Pipe and cigar thoughts


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These past few days have been somewhat rough because I have been sick.  And sickness means no smoking.  I had a great time on Saturday afternoon at my local cigar lounge.  I enjoyed a La Gloria Cubana Serie N JSB and an Oliva Serie V Belicoso.  On Sunday, I enjoyed a 5 Vegas Gold Toro on the deck at my house.  That evening, things started going south as I developed a little scratch in my throat.  By Monday morning, it was a full blown sore throat/allergy/sinus thing that I’m still dealing with today.

I haven’t missed any work, but I probably should have stayed home today.  Hopefully work won’t kick my butt and I’ll be able to sip some hot tea throughout the day.  Rest assured, there will be more reviews and tobacco talk once this sickness releases its death grip on me.

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Posted by on April 19, 2011 in Pipe and cigar thoughts


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The ardent and apathetic

In the years that I’ve been smoking, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting quite a few tobacco stores throughout the country.  It is a joy for me to go into a new brick and mortar to see how they have things arranged, peruse their selection of handmade cigars and enjoy the comforts of the surroundings.  I specifically enjoy, as you might assume, being able to relax in a nice leather chair while smoking my purchase(s).  It is especially fun to talk to the staff and get their suggestions on what to smoke.  Many, dare I say most, of the employees I encounter there are very knowledgeable in the craft of cigars, but there are two types of tobacco store employees that tend to really get on my nerves:  the ardent and the apathetic.

The ardent tobacco store employee is, by definition, passionate about cigars.  That’s not what bugs me.  What bugs me is their determination to impress me with unnecessary facts or drop names of cigar industry big wigs they’ve had the pleasure of meeting.  They talk so much that our “conversation” sounds a little more like a well rehearsed speech.  Any time I try to interject an opinion or a comment, I’m cut off with more information!  How are you ever going to know what I prefer if you don’t stop to listen?  So my advice to you, ardent tobacco enthusiast, is to back off the coffee a little bit, take a deep breath and listen to your customers.  Your store depends on your customers and always remember: the best salesmen are great listeners.

The apathetic tobacco store employee is just as annoying, but for the exact opposite reason:  they don’t talk at all.  You’re kind.  You’re cordial.  You try to pick their brain about a brand you’ve never heard of and you get a bland, uninformed response.  My advice to you, apathetic tobacco store employee, is to actually show some interest in your job.  Try out different cigars.  Try out different types of tobaccos.  Form opinions.  Discover why you like what you like.  Take an interest in the art of socializing.

These are just some pet peeves of mine.  I suppose if I could add a quick third pet peeve, it would be the tobacco store employee that doesn’t (at least) greet me or walk into the humidor after me asking if I need any help.  Is there a type of tobacco store employee that grates on your nerves?  Leave a comment and let me know!

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


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Smoking Spiritualized

I came across this poem some time ago.  I loved it the first time I read it and have read it many times since.


This Indian weed now wither’d quite,
‘Tho’ green at noon, cut down at night,
Shows thy decay;
All flesh is hay.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

The pipe so lily-like and weak,
Does thus thy mortal state bespeak.
Thou art ev’n such,
Gone with a touch.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And when the smoke ascends on high,
Then thou behold’st the vanity
Of worldly stuff,
Gone with a puff.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And when the pipe grows foul within,
Think on thy soul defil’d with sin;
For then the fire,
It does require.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And seest the ashes cast away;
Then to thyself thou mayest say
That to the dust
Return thou must.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

Was this small plant for thee cut down?
So was the plant of great renown;
Which mercy sends
For nobler ends.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

Doth juice medicinal proceed
From such a naughty foreign weed?
Then what’s the pow’r
Of Jesse’s flow’r?
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

The promise, like the pipe, inlays,
And by the mouth of faith conveys
What virtue flows
From Sharon’s rose.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

In vain th’ unlighted pipe you blow;
Your pains in inward means are so,
‘Till heav’nly fire
Thy heart inspire.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

The smoke, like burning incense tow’rs
So should a praying heart of yours,
With ardent cries,
Surmount the skies.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.


Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Pipe and cigar thoughts


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