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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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The Tabak Especial Colada Dulce

I honestly didn’t know if I was going to be able to smoke this cigar or not.  Not because it was full-bodied, but because of the weather!  It seems like this time of year we are always under some sort of warning or watch whether it be tornado or thunderstorm!  In fact, I had this cigar cut and ready to go when I realized that it was drizzling outside so I had to wait for that to pass.  But it finally did pass and I was able to sit down outside and light up.

Here are the cigar’s details:

  • Size:  Colada (4 x 38)
  • Wrapper:  Connecticut
  • Binder:  Sumatran
  • Filler:  Nicaraguan
  • Strength:  Medium

This cigar was one of five different shapes in the Dulce line.  Apparently the cigars are infused with Nicaraguan coffee before aging to make for a deliciously sweetened coffee-like cigar.  This petit corona size was just perfect for the amount of time I had.

Using my double blade guillotine, I cut the cap of this nicely constructed cigar.  It had just the right amount of give when squeezed and there were no noticeable blemishes in the wrapper.  The pre light draw was loose and I immediately tasted the sweetness from the Connecticut wrapper.

Lighting the cigar was easy and created lots of creamy, white smoke.  The sweetness that I tasted before lighting was still there with a hint of coffee and earthiness.  It kept an even burn throughout the entire cigar.  I didn’t even have to think about touching it up.  The ash holds on strong with a nice smoky, gray color for almost an inch before I had to tap it off.

This is one of the few cigars I’ve had that didn’t feature much of a taste change throughout.  It was a very sweet, coffee flavored earthy cigar from start to finish.  I can’t say that it’s my favorite cigar, but definitely not bad.  It would be the idea early morning cigar as it’s not too heavy.  Enjoy this with an espresso!

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2011 in Reviews

 

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Sickness

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 CAO Criollo Bomba

Today I was reminded why it is that I enjoy cigars so much.  It was one of those mornings where I was constantly being bombarded with opportunities to be uncivil towards people.  And I was getting closer and closer to seizing those opportunities.  And then, 1 o’clock hit.  Lunch hour.  My escape from the insanity.

And so I was able to leave the stress of work behind for an hour while sitting down to smoke the CAO Criollo Bomba puro:

  • Size:  Bomba (5 x 50)
  • Wrapper:  Nicaraguan
  • Binder:  Nicaraguan
  • Filler:  Nicaraguan
  • Strength:  Medium

This CAO has been aging in my humidor for a few years now.  I think I originally bought it because of the unique “pigtail” shaped cap because that was what brought it to my attention this morning as I pored over the cigars in my humidor looking for just the right one to smoke today.  The cigar was firm and had a dark brown wrapper that appeared to be in perfect condition.  I really liked how the vintage band looked on the cigar.  This cigar was very nice on the eyes.

I stepped out from my office and into the breezy afternoon.  The place I like to smoke is shaded and the breeze brought just enough of a chill to make the environment quite enjoyable even if it wasn’t a leather chair at my local tobacconist.  I used my bullet cutter and noticed a fair amount of resistance as I took the pre-light draw.  I immediately tasted some woody flavors.  I lit the cigar trying my best to do so slowly.  I’ve seen some people light up and just torch the heck out of the foot of the cigar but I find that if I am slow in this step, I’ll be rewarded with an even burning, natural tasting cigar.

As I got into the first third, I still tasted the woody flavor but I also sensed a sweetness too.  I’m not sure if the sweetness came from the wrapper or the smoke, but it was enjoyable.  The draw in the first third was a little tight, but I’ve had much worse and it didn’t really bother me.  The thing that impressed me the most about this cigar was its resilient ash.  Ok, maybe it wasn’t the most impressive thing, but the ash was around 2.5″ long before it fell off.

I started getting more flavor and more strength as I pushed into the second third of the cigar.  I began tasting a lot of pepper and the finish started hanging around longer.  The draw loosened up nicely in the second third and the cigar seemed to be producing twice as much smoke as it had previously.  The final third was much like the second third just with even more flavor and more strength.  All in all, this was an enjoyable cigar that I smoked all the way down to the nub until it got too hot.  All the while I tried to tell myself I was on a beach enjoying the heck out of life, but reality, this respite from reality was only short lived.  This weekend, however, should give me ample time to enjoy some smokes and I hope the same goes for you.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2011 in Reviews

 

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The Hoyo de Monterrey Sabrosos

Up for review today is the Hoyo de Monterrey Sabrosos.  Here are the details for this cigar:

  • Size:  Petit Corona (5 x 40)
  • Wrapper:  Ecuadorian
  • Binder:  Connecticut
  • Filler:  Dominican, Nicaraguan and Honduran
  • Strength:  Full

I was trying to remember how long ago it was that I purchased this box.  It had to have been late 2007.  So these cigars have been aging quite nicely for quite some time.  As I was digging down into the depths of my humidor last night, I came across a handful of these and remembered why I had purchased them in the first place.  The reason I purchased the box was because, at the time, I was looking for a short smoke that wouldn’t break the bank.  After perusing Famous Smoke Shop, I found you can still purchase a box of 25 for under $40.  So it remains to be a good deal, but how does it stack up as far as construction and taste are concerned?

I figured the bullet cut would just wreak havoc on the cap so I opted to use the Cuban Crafters double blade guillotine cut.  Doing so essentially removed the whole cap, but that didn’t seem to change the construction.  Speaking of construction, it was quite appealing albeit a little dry.  Lighting a petit corona is both easy and fast and this cigar was no different.  I was a little surprised as I started smoking that there was very little aftertaste since I remember this cigar to be medium-to-full in flavor.  Maybe this little gem had mellowed with age.  The burn was even and the smoke was creamy and voluminous.  The dark gray ash was very strong and hung on for close to 2 inches.

The mild first third led to a spicy but pleasant second third.  This is where the aftertaste started hanging around longer, the smoke became a little less dense and the strength of the cigar started to shine through.  There was nothing over the top as far as strength is concerned, but what was noticeably absent in the first third was definitely present in the second.

I was a little nervous that I would be rained out–or rained in, as it were–due to the heavy clouds, but they stayed away just long enough for me to start picking up on some dark coffee flavors as I reached the point when the cigar started getting too hot for my likes.  All in all, I really enjoyed this cigar.  It’s a perfect cigar for the mid-day smoker that doesn’t have an hour and a half to devote to a cigar.  I’m so glad I found them in my humidor and I suggest you pick up a box too.  For the price, they’re hard to beat!

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2011 in Reviews

 

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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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The Onyx Reserve Robusto (Square Pressed) Maduro

I never would have thought that I would have been able to enjoy a cigar outside today because of the rain and thunderstorms we experienced this morning on the commute to work.  But around 10am, the clouds moved out and the sun began drying us out.  As the old saying goes “if you don’t like the weather, just wait ten minutes.”

  • Size:  Robusto (5 x 50)
  • Wrapper:  Blackened Connecticut Maduro
  • Binder:  Nicaraguan
  • Filler:  Dominican, Nicaraguan and Peruvian
  • Strength:  Medium

 

So it is with great delight that I am able to bring to you a review of The Onyx Reserve Robusto (Square Pressed) Maduro.  At first look, this cigar is a real eye catcher.  It features a dark brown/black maduro wrapper and the elegant black, white and gold Onyx band.  Upon closer inspection there were a few flaws in the outer wrapper, but nothing that gave me much cause for concern.  After punch-cutting the cap, I took a draw which was met with quite a bit of resistance  The draw problems continued as I lit the cigar.  I was really having to work to get any smoke at all!  The flavors were dark cocoa and black coffee with a very short aftertaste.  Usually I’ll sip water as I smoke a cigar, but there was no need to with this guy!  The taste were there, they just weren’t very strong and didn’t stick around.

A breakthrough came in the second third of the cigar as it opened up and produced some thicker smoke, but it was still a bit of a struggle.  I still enjoyed the dark, espresso tastes into the second third.  The burn was very even throughout, but again, it was a hot smoke.  Towards the end of the second third is when I had to set this cigar down.  I started getting an almost metallic, bitter taste.  You’ve heard of grandpa soaking his cigars in cognac, right?  It was like this cigar was soaked in jet fuel.  The closing tastes coupled with the super tight draw are enough to keep me from ever purchasing this cigar again.  But that’s the great thing about this hobby, isn’t it?  You never know if you’ll like it until you try it!

 

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2011 in Reviews

 

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