Category Archives: General Topics…

Snowbirds Flying Around…

The Canadian Forces “Snowbirds” just flew over my house about twenty minutes ago…

…and I couldn’t get to my effing iPhone / camera in time.  LOL.  Nice little flyby in their standard formation, cruising at only about 250-300 feet max.  Shoulda been a nice little look-see for the kiddies in town.

Apparently, they were just flying over a local school, on their way from the London / St. Thomas, ON airshow this past weekend, down to a Michigan airshow over the next few days, and then I believe they’re expected at this weekend’s big military airshow at CFB Trenton this weekend (which I’m taking the family to).  More pics and such of that after the weekend.

But a quick recent review coming later today, then continuing on with the catch-up posts from the past year…

Cheers all.

Happy Father’s Day, All!!!

Happy Dad’s Day, to all my fellow pops out there.  Hopefully your kids were somewhat courteous like my own demon-spawn this morning – left you alone in the morning so you could have morning nooky with the spouse, then all letting you sleep in for an extra twenty minutes, have homemade gifts made up, and then helped the spouse make some fresh pancakes with strawberries.  Perfect!!!

Now sitting out on the back deck, cigar in hand, enjoying a read of the weekend’s news, and catching more of a tan…

Montecristo No. 4, Oct 2009 “RAS” stick, HQ stick from Czars’s, perfect with a creamy Cafe Cubita coffee in the morning warmth (a sunny and clear, slightly breezy morning, 26 C with 51% RH to start the day).  A solid and dependable 89-91 stick to start me off today.

Remember Dads – our only job is to keep our sons outta jail, and our daughters off tha pole.  We succeed at that, that’s all we have to be focused on no matter our other failures, and we can always consider ourselves successes in life!

Lol.  I’ll admit THAT test is still a ways away for me – son is only seven, and daughter is four.  But, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for then, and enjoying the fruits of my successes now!

And – over the next few days and weeks I’ll FINALLY be starting the process of updating posts on here, to get all the stuff caught up from the past year.  I think I’ve got all my computer issues sorted out finally, recovered most photos and documents, and got myself caught back up.  So, it’s coming, y’all!

Cheers all.

Shit, I Hate It When My Hard Drive Fries Out…

Best laid plans, huh???  Fuckin’ ‘puters!!!

So, the day after my last post on May 9th about my recent visit with Hamlet, and after I had spent the previous number of days in getting a whole bunch of blog posts all put together with text and photos readied in files, my computer’s main hard drive decided it was gonna glitch out on me.  Shitty deal.  Normally, it would be a quick reinsertion of a new hard drive, install the backup from my secondary hard drive, and relatively good to go.  But, since I installed Windows 10 back just before New Year’s, for whatever reason, my Acronis backup software was turned off.  So, with the last backup completed on December 30th, that means that I had almost 5 months of pics, docs, e-mails (both personal and work-related), etc., all gone POOF!!! into the night.

Anywho, I’ve relatively been able to piece together what I had from before.  Thankfully, the vast amounts of pictures that I transferred to my computer in that timeline from my iPhone and other digital camera cards were either backed up on other portable drives, or still on my iPhone.  So, a TEENY little bit of sweat was wiped from my brow on that note.  That said, it has been an exercise in frustration in trying to do data recovery and reformatting, pulling stuff from here there and everywhere, to try to get to the same place that I was at already at the start of this month.

Fingers crossed for no more hiccups like that anymore.  Or at least for a good long while, until after I get all caught up on here.

More after the jump.

Cheers all.

Hmmmm…New Rum I Found…

So, when traveling over to Detroit with Don / “Hubba” to do another meet-up with Hamlet (post on that coming Monday)…

…I stumbled across this interesting bottle of rum:

I don’t know if the hype on the bottle is worth a lick or not.  But, at only $22 USD for a bottle, I figured it’d be worth a try.  After my previous rum tasting adventures, I might give this one a go!  I only fear from the label’s notes, of filtering through coconut charcoal, that this may be a slightly-more-potent version of Malibu coconut-infused rum.  Fingers crossed, I’ll have more on it shortly.

Cheers all.

Ahhhhh…Long-Stint Vacation Time!!!

So, April 21st has come and gone.  Vacation time!!!

I know, I know, I know – I’ve been promising more posts and updates for months now, but I know I’ve definitely been lacking in producing them.  Close friends and family are aware of goings on, but I’ve been getting a number of messages and e-mails from readers and other extended friends, wondering where the updates are, and what’s going on!  LOL.

Basically, long-story short…

The last little bit in the Military Police has caused some hardships at home.  It’s definitely been a trying few years, with the time away from family, but the last year specifically more so.  As I’ve said to others – it’s sometime hard to swallow always being away for days on end, protecting other people’s homes and kids, when I can’t even be home to tuck my own in every day.  So, there’s that issue to reconcile with my family life.  There’s also been some wooing from outside agencies too.  So, I made a decision back in the fall to take a bit of a step back.  I’ve currently released as a full-time, “regular force” patrol MP.  I’ve done a “component transfer” down to the reserves, as a still-credentialed MP (sort of – it’s as/when needed), still potentially able to do TASO / air marshal-type duties, etc.  And, it allows me to still do any overseas tours in the future.  As well, I’m looking towards a potential September or October-ish start with a civilian police force too.  So, that would let me have the best of both worlds, coming from the Military Police / TASO world, to have a civilian policing job, but still in as an MP reservist and TASO.  Very cool, and might be the best path forward for me and my family.

The plan for right now though is to take a number of months off to repair and replenish the homefront batteries – I’m planning to do relatively nothing until the daughter starts full-day junior-kindergarten in September.  Ahhhh, Canadian summertime – PERFECT TIMING!  Lots of time to smoke cigars, drink rum, watch the kids, do some home-repair / honey-do-list stuff.  And, lots of time to get stuff updated on here finally.

I have some stuff going back to last June almost, with quite a number of cigar reviews to get caught up on too (uuuhhhh, remember when the Diplomaticos Bushidos FIRST came out early last year???  Well, I got a nice sample from LCDH Toronto, but then failed to actually post my review up of it.  Oooops.)  Lots of flyin’-around-the-world-and-shit stuff to get up on here also.  I’m guessing, all told, I might have a post up on here roughly every other day or so, for the better part of almost two months, JUST to get caught up.  Pretty psyched actually.

So – that’s some of the background of what’s been going on.  Hope you enjoy the following few weeks of posts, until I’m back to “real-time” reviews again, and it should help get all of us all caught up again.  Sweeeeeeeet.

Cheers all.

Too Long Away, Too Much Support…

Yet again, another bullshit excuse from me, I know, I know.  

It’s been too much time back and forth away lately.  Too much time overseas, taking care of business needs, and not enough personal- and family- and friends’-needs.  Lots to catch up with soon enough – will try to get up to date soon enough, but will DEFINITELY have loads of time coming after April 21st (more to come on that, too). 

In the meantime…

Glad to know my childhood boys are always there for me.  These guys keep me grounded with a strong sense of home, self, and personal humanity – no matter how much it may waver or get lost from time to time with the trials and tribulations of the past few months and years.  They know everything that’s been going on, and still believe in me for who I am.

I am – an asshole.  Tried, true, and delivered.  And they love it regardless. 

   
    
    
   
My non-work-related brothers, in every sense of the word. 

So glad that bond remains strong. 

Cheers all. 

Havana Trip, Nov 2015: An Orchestra’s Street Performance…

While out at the Plaza de Armas during this past November’s Havana, Cuba trip, and while wandering around checking out the various antique / old junk vendors around the plaza there and along Obispo, I was pleased to take in some wonderful entertainment.

As an orator told the crowd, it was a student orchestra from a regional music college, and was guesting maestro Raphael Cello on saxophone.  Just a little clip here, but wonderful nonetheless to experience…

 

Cheers all.

Fun With The In-Laws’ Camera…

Lord knows it’s been a bit since I’ve done updating on here again.  And, this must seem like the umpteenth time that I’ve wrote on here saying as such, and that lots of updates are incoming, blah, blah, blah.

Well, it’s true – again.  LOL.  It’s been a hectic couple o’ months, surprise surprise, and I know I need to do some massive updates on here.  Soon enough I will explain all the delays.  But I got some wicked things for photo spreads and updates coming still, all the way back from the spring and summer too (Jamaica trip, range days, cool work-related and flying-around stuff, Las-Vegas-BABY! trip, another Havana trip update from mid-November, some awesome cigar reviews [RA 898, Bushidos, book releases, special custom sticks from the ISOM], etc., etc.)

In the meantime, here’s a fun little morsel for you all.

Note to those curious – do NOT leave your camera around when my wife, me, or any of our friends are drunk.  We’ve all picked up the habit from an old friend of mine, who (ironically enough) absolutely HATES to get his picture taken, but then when he’s right liquored, will wander around and find people’s cameras, and absolutely fill them up with candid drunk-him shots.  Remember those old disposable Kodak cameras from the 90’s and early 2000’s?  Well, when people in our circle of friends were first starting to get married, the in-vogue thing was to have one of these on each table at the reception, for a different viewpoint of the festivities.  Well, my buddy Jer, once hammered, would wander around the receptions, and fill up everyone’s cameras with shots.  Sometimes getting waaaaaay too cosy into the personal spaces of those he’d never met before.  Funny as hell though.  I’m pretty sure he was the inventor of the drunken selfie, prior to the invention of smart phones.

Anywho, something similar happened on Christmas Day, when we had my wife’s family over for that afternoon and Christmas dinner (I must say I did a KICKASS applewood smoked ham).  My Mother-in-law left her digital camera here – and the wife and I were quite liquored and in a good mood after.  So…

Thank gawd we didn’t take any worse pictures.  Or, at least, ones that we weren’t smart enough to at least delete before giving the camera back!  LOL.

Cheers all.

 

Ramon Allones 2014 RE Alemania 898’s – They’ve Finally Arrived!!!

So, they’re here…

Sadly, the band shortage must have been the reason for Habanos S.A. delaying on these for a year.  Lol.

A bit lighter than I normally like to see RA, and not overly oily either, but nice aromas, and an EXCEPTIONAL gesture that myself and a few other Canadian amigos received in assisting us to get the transaction set up.  Very happy to have these in hand finally – a year late is better than never!  And, though it’s only two boxes, I’m glad to at least have part of my order too!

Boxes 0279 and 0347 of 2000, both Jul 2015 “RAE” coded.  Can’t wait to dig into them and give them a good reviewing.  Will be doing that towards the tail-end of November after the next Cuba trip, and after these have 30 days or so to settle.

Cheers all.

 

Rum Vertical-Slash-Horizontal Tasting (Part 4 of 4)…

So, here’s the last of my rum tastings.  If you want to read up on the previous ones, go here for Part 1, here for Part 2, and here for Part 3.

As with previous tastings, these five rums are sampled straight up, about an ounce of each, with no mixers, ice cubes, or chilling, and enjoyed at room temperature.  These were all enjoyed last night, after a honey-glazed ham dinner with scalloped potatoes and fixin’s.

Here goes…

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14.  Dictador 12.  (42% alc/vol, Columbia)  This rum from Columbia is an “ultra premium reserve” rum that’s made using the solera system (similar to my favourite sipping rum, Ron Zacapa).  Funny thing is, the label itself says 40% alcohol by volume, but then there’s an amendment sticker affixed to the reverse-side label that shows it at 42% instead.  This particular bottle was won at auction at one of the Toronto MegaHerf events, and it’s be a slow-use rum for me.

In the glass, this stuff is a bit lighter than similar 12-years.  It’s a fair bit thinner in viscosity as well, and doesn’t so much leave legs in the glass compared to just a slight oily coating.  This rum is made using virgin sugar cane as well (rather than molasses or Demerara sugar), and it shows.  The aroma is fairly bland and light, with slight floral tones, brown sugar, and buttered roasted almonds, and then perhaps some overlapping caramel fringes.  Once sipped, flavours of butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sweet carmelized sugar remind me of pancakes and syrup, or French toast and syrup – quite nice.  However, it seems to be somewhat overpowered by the alcohol heat, which really takes over the other flavours, and lingers long after.  This rum for me isn’t so much as a good sipper as it perhaps is something that’s best cut with a bit of Coke.

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15.  Ron Santiago de Cuba Extra Anejo 12 Anos.  (40% alc/vol, Cuba)  This 12-year-old rum has a rich, dark copper colour, and coats the inside of the glass well, and has very nice, long-holding legs.  The bottle for this is only slightly distinguishable from the standard Anejo (one has a brown-background on the label, the other has the black background), but the price and the quality still do set it aside.  That said, this one is fairly excellent value, being picked up for $40 CUC down in Cuba.

On the nose, slight lemon zest is there, along with an almost sour-but-sweet aroma – I’d almost say a slightly sweet malt vinegar tinge; yes, while it may seem a bit crazy it seems to work.  Everything on the nose is blended well with a molasses tinge.  Once sipped though, a slight sourness is initially apparent.  Butterscotch, honey, and fresh dough (like that for fresh and soft white dinner rolls) are most apparent, with the alcohol heat really only hitting at the back of the palate and back of the throat.  Everything is evened off of each other quite well, and though that sourness is a bit off-putting at first, it does seem to make this rum pair up quite nicely with lighter cigars (think aged Trinis, Cohiba, and LGC fare).  If the sourness is too much for you, some ice cubes in the glass with it alone do wonders for this rum.

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16.  Ron Flor de Cana Centenario 18.  (40% alc/vol, Nicaragua)  This bottle was a kindly gift from BOTL Rob / “Freefallguy”, he of the Nicaraguan Children’s Feeding Mission, and grabbed for me as a kind gesture during one of his trips down there.  He frequently gets a chance to visit my home and family during trips up here to the Frozen North, and my kids enjoy when Uncle Rob brings bubblegum for them, and then coffee and booze for Mommy and Daddy.  This rum in particular is a slow-aged, single-estate sugar plantation rum, and has a fair bit of fans out there.

The rum is a lighter golden colour in the glass, a bit surprising being that it’s a slow-aged traditional rum that’s 18-years-old, and being a lighter hue than other younger and solera-aged rums.  That said, once it’s in the glass, it’s all old hat.  Long slender legs are aplenty in the glass, and strong banana, caramel, and lemon-honey-tea tones are readily scented.  Tasting it, the creme brulee and caramelized-sugar sweetness hits you first, and then WHAMMO!, get’s overran by the alcohol heat, which travels front to back on your tongue and then even hits you in the nasal cavity.  After the burn subsides a slight bit after a second or so, background flavours of prunes, bread, and pears round it out.  A wonderful sipper that would be a sacrilege to cut with anything aside from a handsome cube or two of ice.

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17.  Ron Zacapa 23.  (40% alc/vol, Guatemala)  What can I say – this is my absolute favourite sipper.  This Ron Zacapa 23 (as well as the following Ron Zacapa XO) is made from “first-crush virgin sugar cane honey” (that’s a mouthful) and then aged in the mountains of Guatemala at an altitude of 2300 meters.  The location above the clouds allow for a unique warming and cooling process of the barrel houses throughout the course of a day, and accelerate and accentuate the aging process of this rum.  The Zacapa 23 particularly contains rums with a minimum of six-years of age, and a maximum of 23-years, and is matured in a mixture of barrels that previously held American whiskeys, sherries, and Pedro Ximenez wines.  The packaging of this rum is also top-notch as well, with its black, red, gold, and tan outer-packaging, and then the very distinguishable bottle with the rattan weave around the circumference of it.

In the glass, this is one of the richer copper-coloured rums I have, and has wonderful long-holding legs in the glass.  The aroma is loaded with caramel right from the get-go, and then even some marshmallow and sweet apple pie notes.  Upon sipping, a buttery softness and caramel breadiness makes me a very happy man, and the alcohol heat slowly steps into the fold with some sweet fruits and savoury spices, notably some allspice.  This rum definitely has set the bar for me as a sipper, and is my overall favourite, and though the availability seems to be getting harder to find, and the pricing seems to be getting higher, this is still a must-have.

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18.  Ron Zacapa XO.  (40% alc/vol, Guatemala; bottle # T465143)  Like the Zacapa 23, this XO has a lot of the same production aspects.  However, what sets this one aside is that the rum ages are from six-years to 25-years (rather than only 23), and then the rum is finished in French oak casks that previously aged cognac.  The packaging on this one is stellar as well, and a very elegant bottle is contained within a well-protecting outer box; that said, I almost like the Zacapa 23’s bottle better, in that it just fits into a cabinet more neatly!

This rum, almost identical to the Zacapa 23, is such a dark brown colour it’s wonderful to behold in the glass.  Again, long legs in the glass when swirled, and beautiful aromas of caramel, this time accented with breadfruit and nectarines, with a cinnamon and nutmeg tinge.  On the palate, tastes of caramel and whipped cream are helped along right from the get-go with an alcohol warmth, and continue on with a hit of banana and coconut-cream pie.  This is a very sweet rum, caramel laden, and not overly distinguishable from the Zacapa 23.  Both are excellent rums, and at the top of most rum lovers’ wish lists, and are equally well-paired with any cigar but the lightest (I avoid long-aged LCG and Trinidad with these).

So, there we go.  Eighteen rums, two evenings, zero bottles or glasses broken, one whole dishwasher load of shot glasses and rocks glasses, and only two Aspirin used (for a completely different issue altogether).  Glad I went through these – some in here that I haven’t delved into too much lately, and this was a nice refresher on what to start drinking down for this upcoming holiday season.

Cheers all.