Tag Archives: Cuban Cigar

Wow, WTF happened here???

So, its been months and months since I’ve even been on here.  My last post was way back on November 20th of last year. Holy fuck, where the HELL did the better part of the last six months go?!?!

That last post was my wrap-up after last November’s trip down to Havana for the Friends of Partagas Festival.  I know, I know – like so many other things on here from the past year plus, I know I still need to do further updates.  Your text messages and emails have reminded me of such, lol!  I still have to publish a number of posts on some work stuff, some TASO missions, and other goodies.  And yes, further on that last Havana trip, as well as oodles of cigar reviews and tastings from last year.  I’ve got a SHIT-TON of this stuff to catch up on, as well as getting to some emails and other things.  Hell, I haven’t even been on the FOH forum in just about as long, and I opened up my email the other day (for the first time in about four-and-a-half weeks) to find 1189 emails wating for me!  Lol.

Actually, it was a text message / pic sent from a former co-worker that reminded me I need to get stuff caught up on here.  A picture of me porning-out over street-meat when we were in Germany doing the Syrian refugee flights in Nov/Dec 2015:

So his message reminded me to get going on here again.

Likewise though, I could also post photographic proof that shows that black men have apt skills when it comes to deep-throating pork products.  So, c’est la vie.  Lol

In all fairness though, it’s been a busy if not productive chunk of time for me.  My wife and I basically gutted our house and refinished it, all except for the kitchen itself.  Main bathroom refinished, downstairs bathroom completed, new carpets and specialty flooring throughout, some upgraded electrical and Cat6 and “smart home” stuff, reclaimed wide-plank hardwood flooring, all-new baseboards and trim throughout, rebuilt front foyer and custom wrought-iron balusters and railings, new LED lighting throughout, etc., etc.  All with fresh coats of paint top-to-bottom, refinished kids’ rooms, and a redone master.  This “jack-of-all-trades” definitely had his hands full, and I was especially grateful when I had two local specialty-contractors (good family friends) come help me out with two tricky things.  Lots of pictures were taken (even of the Mrs. in yoga pants and smashing out flooring tiles!), so I’ll do some posts on that series of projects too I guess.

We’re in the home stretch finally though.  About two weeks of relatively minor finishing touches to get done.  My schedule is going to be freeing up more after this week and upcoming holiday weekend.  I’ve got lots of rough sketches in place for blog posts, so it all will definitely (and finally) be coming down the pipeline shortly.

In the meantime, how about this???…….

I looked back on some notes, and I’ve nary even smoked any cigars since the last Havana trip ended back on Nov 19th or so.  A fucking travesty, I know!  Some of those cigars make up my last actual notes on cigars smoked.  I do remember I had a fairly good custom “robusto largos” (from Jorgito at the Club Habana LCDH [of “Monsdales” fame], Nov 2016 rolled) back at the tail-end of March for my birthday while soaking up a starry evening and hanky-panky in the hot tub, but I’ve got no detailed tasting notes or general info on that one (lol).

So, while your tardy scribe has been sitting here compiling this, he’s been enjoying a Ramon Allones EL 2011 Allones Extra.  Short review?  “Mmmmmmm – YUM!”

I do believe ithis stick was from an “RAE, Ago 2011” box (which has generally been a great box code, for what it’s worth, be it with these or any other Partagas/Ramon Allones/associated cigars).  Start was at 2:00 pm, enjoyed with the remnants of a bottle of Burmester 10-yr Tawny Porto (that I bought in either Prestwick, Scotland or Lages, Azores , Portugal early last year), and followed up with big cupfulls of blended strawberry daiquiris with what can only be described as way-too-much Bacardi white and Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos rum (hindsight being 20/20….hiccup!)  A hot, breezy day (27 degrees Celsius, 54 % RH, and 37 kph winds) that honestly reminded me of smoking cigars in Cuba, but a just reward for nearly wrapping up on the home remodel stuff, and getting the “great outdoors” / yards-and-back-deck all ready for spring and summer enjoyment.

The cigar started off with a kick to the nuts.  Powerhouse flavours from the get-go; dried cranberries, raisins, nutmeg, sweet molasses, all wrapped in heavy-/rich-and-oily tobacco essences.  Smoke volume wasn’t overly impressive, nor was it particularly viscous on the mouth-feel.  That said, the flavours definitely let me know I was in for a treat.  Strength and flavoursome all wrapped up together, with a bit of faint aged-elegantness starting to come into play now with nearly six years on them (coupled onto the two-plus years of age that the EL cigar tobaccos have to start with).  A few relights (due to winds and such, though I was relatively sheltered on the back deck).

I’ve generally always been a fan of this cigar.  I’ve had some lackluster boxes, and some stellar ones.  I know it’s one of those polarizing cigars that people either like or don’t.  I’ve even bought some boxes from others who weren’t fans, and those have turned out to be wonderful boxes for me.  But these are performing so consistently for me over the years, and are starting to hit such a finessed stride now, that it’s hard for me to not recommend them to anyone and everyone willing to give Ramon Allones / stronger / Limited Edition cigars a try.  A great brand, a wonderful retro band, classic RA box styling, an EL cigar at a reasonable price point (boxes initially sold for $279 USD, I believe, for a 25-box of corona-sized stick), and great burn and flavours…what’s not to love?  If you can still get any, I’d say to jump on it – even for upwards of $400-470 USD at this point, at least, if you can still find them anywhere.  I’ll definitely be savouring my five-plus boxes remaining.

An easy 94 – maybe even upwards of a 96 (but points deducted for heavy booze on the palate affecting the informal scoring, lol).  Finished at 3:25 pm.  And savoured well.

Here’s to many more!

Cheers all.

Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Cigars Smoked (Part 1 of 2)…

For some of the previous posts on this trip to the Iberostar Grand Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica, please use the following hyperlinks:

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: A Beautiful Escape in Montego Bay…”

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Fun In The Sun…”

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Food Fit For a King…”

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Pirate Beach Party and Local Flair…”

So, as I’ve done with previous trips, instead of doing full-on reviews, here’s a bit of an abridged version of what cigars smoked well, and where they were seeming to perform for me when on this trip last spring to Jamaica.  The smoking weather was comparatively perfect at a slight plus-or-minus variance of 28 degrees Celsius and 74% RH right at the mid-afternoon point daily almost.  And, as an added plus, the resort itself was a smoking-friendly resort (which I worry about a bit, when looking at resorts or hotels in “Americanized” locations in the Caribbean), and I smoked on our room’s terrace relaxingly, as well as quite a number of cigars being smoked poolside, with ashtrays supplied by staff, and no funny looks or questions about the “stinky cigar smoke” from either staff or other resort guests.  Frankly, when I did puff away, most were intrigued, and not a single nasty look or comment was noted (nicely enough).

1.  Quai d’Orsay Imperiales.  Oct 2012 “MUR” coded.  Enjoyed this with a Bacardi 8 & Coke, then with some Red Stripe beers.  Smoked well.  Lots of light cedar wood, cream, loads of vanilla bean, almost a hint of sweet almond nuttiness, and a heaping of refreshing citrus zest.  Delicious, with a wonky curve too.  Solid 94.  What a start!

2.  La Gloria Cubana Medaille d’Or No. 2.  Ago 2008 “TEB”.  Light black tea base tones.  Light herbal / floral essences waving in and out.  Rosemary with roses.  Then, carnations and dill almost (wasn’t sure if I was hallucinating in the heat or not, LOL).  Very fragrant combos.  Waves of dried cut grass in there.  EXACTLY what I love about nicely aged LGC sticks – like a spring breeze a day after the lawn was cut, and the yard work was satisfyingly done.

Excellent draw.  The ash held on in one-inch groups, but was very lightly compresses and easy to flick off.  Razor-sharp burn, no need for relights aside from one cosmetic touch-up.  A solid 93-point smoke.  Not an overly “filling” cigar, per say, or potently flavourful in an overpowering style, but an extremely nuanced and mature-tasting smoke, with a subdued finesse…PERFECT to start that particular day off.

3.  Ramon Allones Superiores LCDH Release.  May 2012 “MUR”.  An awesome mid-day smoke.  This one seemed a bit more muted than previous I’ve had, but I have high hopes for this particular box code.

4.  QdO Corona.  Ago 2008 “TEB” coded.  Like most of these cigars, another one of Czar’s HQ / PSP offerings.  This one was slightly tight with a restrictive draw – due, in part I think, to me accidentally leaving it out of my travel humidor during the evening before, and sucking up a bit more humidity than I like to store my sticks at (62% RH).  That said, potent flavours of leather, orange zest, and rich demerara sugar.

Mild burn issues throughout (again, like the slightly tight draw, something that’s tied in with over-humidifying it), and needed multiple touch-ups and relights.  Could have been better and was a bit unfortunate.  An 86.

5.  Cohiba Siglo IV.  Oct 2013 “POU”.  Wow – what an ugly cap this thing had.  This was enjoyed wholeheartedly with several piña coladas with double-shots of Appleton 12-year dark rum…and I enjoyed every minute of it.  Unfortunately, this cigar was one with another slightly tight and restrictive draw, and thin whispy smoke therefore.

That said, it had STRONG flavours of smokey honey and lemongrass tea, damp hay, and some buttered toast.  Rich flavours, but a bit of a paradox in that there’s just slightly closed-in about them.

I was thinking this may also be because this cigar is just not quite ready yet (just over a year-and-a-half old; baby-aged for Cohiba almost).  Will be amazed to see what these are like at 3- and 5-years, and how they may develop then.

More to come on this…

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.

Some blog and online shout outs…

In getting this blog going, I’d like to make a few shout outs for some cigar-resources and blogs already out in cyberspace.

These are some various (mostly cigar-related) blogs and whatnot run by some good friends and acquaintances in the cigar world.  Each and every one of them have their own styles, their own individual aspects and backgrounds that they’re able to bring to the cigar world.  Some may be more active than others, but all have influenced the cigar world and me myself in one way or another over the years (and hopefully they all continue to do so in the future).  I think mostly all of these guys I’ve been able to trade cigars with, and even share many good cigars and drinks and great times with in person as well – they’re all good friends.  Whether their reviewing styles match up with your own palate/choices or not, these guys are some true “brothers of the leaf”…

  • The ‘Dirty’ Ashes:  http://thedirtyashes.wordpress.com/ – this is a great blog solely on cigar reviews by a good local friend here in Canada, Art Sanchez.  Similar to most of us, myself included, he follows the “usual” cigar-review format (pre-light inspection, first-, second-, and final-thirds, as well as a final impressions).  His pictures are great (including his nicely manicured hands!), and the flow of his reviews are very clear, concise, and all-encompassing.
  • Nino’s Flying Cigar:  http://flyingcigar.de/ – this is a well-known blog that’s been around for many years and run by Nino Muñoz out of Germany, my Spanish/German conquistador friend-slash-adoptive-uncle-slash-das-German-curmudgeon.  A very insightful fellow.  Like him or hate him (as recently some do unfortunately, out of some online spite lately over the upcoming Min Ron Nee encyclopaedia update / v 2.0), he’s brought a wealth of insider’s-views and knowledge to the online Cuban cigar world.  From great write-ups to some awesome photo spreads, he’s recounted us for years about some amazing cigar experiences while travelling the world and going to wonderful places with varying gastronomic experiences, as a recently retired (lucky bastard!) former banker and porter from Lufthansa Airlines.  Though some of his own personal posts have taken a backseat lately to the posts of some other close friends of his during his blog “retirement”, this blog has an extensive archive and wealth of knowledge from over the years, and hopefully will continue to be around for many, many years yet.
  • The Cuban House of Cigars:  http://www.cubanhouseofcigars.com/ – this online blog / review site is the work of another good friend, Simon, as well as with Antonio (the manager for LCDH Montreal).  Simon’s put together a great blog and cigar review webpage here, in cohorts with LCDH Montreal as a business venture as well.  Though he’s just a young buck (don’t touch his hair!), he’s definitely got a way with words, and they’ve put up some great cigar reviews and some insightful looks into the events  and special goings-on of a wonderful LCDH that we all love to go to (great staff, and an awesome lounge – something that’s a rare occurrence in today’s non-smoking bylaw environment in Canada).  Simon’s a great guy, an old-soul in that kiddo (loves good jazz and other music too!), and his blog is one that’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Also, I’d like to mention few other resources here, mostly that I’ve become knowledgeable of (and also usually become personal friends with) through the cigar community at-large as well.  From coffee to book-learning, these are some great folks as well.  Now, I’m specifically not going to mention cigar retailers here.  There are lots of lists around the internet for that, so I don’t need to rehash about how or where to buy cigars online – there’s some great various primers out there, mostly on the various cigar forums on the internet.  But these are some great resources to also save the bookmarks for…

  • Friends of Habanos forum [FOH]:  http://www.friendsofhabanos.com/forum/ – the FOH forum is a damn fine one.  It’s the only cigar forum that I waste my precious time on!  Run out of Australia through an online cigar vendor, the FOH forum itself has an amazing cigar community attached to it.  A great place for respectful discussions of nearly all kinds, it’s run without the vitriol or “flame wars” that some online forums can unfortunately suffer from.  Be sure to check out FOH’s YouTube channel here for some great video cigar reviews – even if they are hilariously disfunctional sometimes!  And as long as Rob keeps my PSP list regularly stocked, I’ll be a happy camper, whether Ken (lovingly?!) regularly refers to us as “seal bashers” or not!
  • Canadian Cigar Forum [CCF]:  http://canadacigarforum.com – while only around for a few years, the CCF forum is a great one too.  Obviously Canadian-centric, it’s another great group of guys and gals.  While I’m not personally a member of this forum, I’ve met a number of the members from it at local events (as Canadians from FOH and CCF frequently get together locally), and it’s a stellar group as well.
  • Cuban Cigar Website:  http://www.cubancigarwebsite.com/ – one of the best resources on the internet for information, measurements, pictures, years-of-availability, and packaging explanations for Cuban cigars, bar none.  The information presented here usually far surpasses even that which Habanos S.A. releases through its own “official” channels.  Started back in 2006 or so by Trevor Leask, it’s mostly being run lately by Alexander Groom (some awesome blokes from Australia).  A number of items that could previously only be found in the Min Ron Nee book “An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Post-Revolution Havana Cigars” can also be found here, through a co-operative arrangement (very useful if you don’t happen to have a copy of that tome).  CCW for years has been the most kept-up-to-date and authoritative resources around on Cuban cigars – just phenomenal.  Please, as a member of this community, please also remember to donate to help with the costs of running this non-commercial / non-profit and invaluable resource, and to keep it around for years yet.
  • Yul Cigars:  http://yulcigars.blogspot.ca/ – one of the best Cuban price-list resources around, for those travelling to the island.  Run out of Montreal by another great BOTL, this list is fairly regularly updated / accuracy-checked and is pretty much the most comprehensive of MSRP-style prices at the state-run stores in Cuba (be it LCDH stores, Caracol outlets, factory shops, etc.)
  • Habanos S.A.:  http://www.habanos.com – well, they make the cigars we all love (well, they’re the distribution conglomerate anyways), so their webpage sometimes does come in handy for information and size format particulars.  More of a marketing tool than information resource, the English needs interpretation to comprehend, but they still are a resource that’s out there.  Their warranty-seal barcode checker is accurate about as much as a rookie weatherman, but it is a neat party favour.
  • Rocketfuel Coffee:  http://www.rocketfuelcoffee.com/ – my wife and I love Lisa’s custom joe blends.  A great sister-of-the-leaf as well.  You really get some amazing coffees for a great price with some inexpensive shipping.  If it’s not Cuban coffees (Cafe Serrano or Cubita) in my cup, generally it’s one of Rocketfuel Coffee’s blends – the Jamaican Blue Mountain, the pure Hawaiian Kona, and the Konakazee blend (Kona and expresso beans) are all awesome.  While I’m not mentioning cigar-related vendors here specifically, I’m mentioning this due to a cup of Lisa’s coffee being a perfect pairing (if you’re not having rum other other booze) to compliment a great cigar.

So, there’s a few of my most used and respected online resources and such.  Obviously, by no means is this anywhere near all encompassing or comprehensive.  And, if I neglected to mention a particular blog or webpage, in no way is this meant as a slight or negative – it’s just that the above have the “flavour” that best matches my wants and needs, and are some of both my most used, as well as the generally most respected within the cigar community.

Hopefully, some of the above can come of some use to you, if you weren’t aware of them before.

Cheers all.

[September 12th, 2014]