For those that don’t yet know a lot about me, well…hi! I’m a long-time member from the www.friendsofhabanos.com forum under the handle “CanuckSARTech”. I’m a 30-something guy from Ontario, Canada, and married to a beautiful and sexy nurse who’s DEFINITELY my better half, and we have two stunning and amazing children (thank goodness for my wife’s genes!!!) – a 6-year-old son and a 2-1/2-year-old daughter. The three of them, and their health and happiness, makes everything I do worthwhile.
I’m a…[gasp]…cop, currently in the Canadian Armed Forces as a member of the Military Police. I have quite a bit of experience relating to the security and law enforcement fields since the late 90’s, and in search and rescue – I’m a qualified/certified civilian/volunteer SAR [search-and-rescue] instructor (all levels) and Search Manager, and former Training Officer for a local SAR unit that I have been a member of for over a decade now. And yes – I’m a gear whore. The toys definitely make a lot of these passions fun! I can’t imagine being a member of “the thin blue line” back in the early days, before radios and MDT’s and semi-automatic weapons. In my mind, there’s almost no better time to be a cop – it’s about mind-over-matter more now, as gone are the days of heavy-fisting someone in a back alley. It’s an intellectual job and profession now, a lifestyle and brotherhood, not just a simple paycheck.
As for my other passion-slash-hobby-slash-lifestyle-slash-online-buying-addiction, I have been savouring cigars (almost exclusively Cubans), since about mid-1998 after my introduction to them by a former boss, a president of an advertising firm in Toronto that I worked for at the time. He led my hand into the culture of appreciating Habanos – I’ve learned about them, inspected them, appreciated them, understood and collected the various vitolas and marcas for aging and enjoyment, and absorbed reams of information about the mysterious and sometimes confusing world that is Cuban cigars. I also received guidance and experience at the same time through a security job that saw me move around the Toronto area with many film stars and VIP’s, many of whom were infatuated in the late 90’s with the booming cigar craze. And yet, as many others in the cigar world (with much, MUCH more experience than me) would also say…I’m still but a student of Cuban cigars.
We in Canada of course have had to muddle through the tax issues and smoking-ban complications as in many other areas – I am no stranger to this, as a former cigarette smoker also, from about 1993 until completely quitting cigarettes in 2002. After staying away from cigars at that point for a year or two, to enable me to drop my dreadful habit of smoking cigarettes, I then stepped back into smoking cigars, and am completely full-throttle into it again now since about 2004/2005. I generally smoke an average of about 2 to 3 Cuban cigars a week over the course of a year’s average, in enjoyment and analysis (but during some stretches, even up to three or four a day even, if the mood strikes and the weather is nice), and I think that my fresh (perhaps youthful??!) outlook on Habanos are beneficial to my enjoyment of them. I’m lucky enough to have some very good acquaintances within the Havana House organization (exclusive Canadian authorized importer and distributor of Cuban cigars) and La Casa Del Habanos stores in Canada (licenced dealer of Cuban cigars). I also have been blessed with some great connections and friends in Cuba, formulated from trips to the country (as well as other cigar-loving Carribean nations) over the years, and of course a long-standing mutual appreciation of cigars. My first visit to a cigar factory and farm was in the Dominican Republic in 1994/1995, as a teenager on a missionary trip there. I wasn’t a cigar smoker at this point – as a goofy teenager, I was all about the cigarettes. But I came to realize at that time that there is a profound pride and skill-level possessed by those who are connected to the production of fine cigars. This was something I held with me until my true initiation into Habanos in 1998, and obviously since then as well. I have always been told that I have a great palate (hey! – I actually lucked out as winner against some pretty stiff competition in the first FOH blind tasting competition, back in 2011), as well as an understanding and appreciation for the blends present in the different Cuban puros, and that I’m an excellent sounding board for discussions on the matter.
Now, if you read all this about me as a primer to this blog, thanks a bunch. Kudos. Many would say that’s a whole BUNCH of hot air from my big head posted up there! But, as you’ll find out about me on this blog, I’m not shy for words!
[September 11th, 2014]