Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Visit From St. Nick (a poem)

Heard this from one of my cigar buddies and just had to repost it here!

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the flat I was all on my lonesome, except for the cat;
Earlier that evening, when I got home from work, My girlfriend was waiting, just to call me a jerk;
She called me insensitive, she called me a lout, She called her new boyfriend to help her move out;
Then before she left, just to "even the score," She flushed every cigar from my humidor.
With the smoke shops closed and an Arctic wind blowing, My girlfriend gone and my john overflowing,
I settled on the couch with my old cat Frisky, With lots of self-pity and lots of Scotch whiskey;
Because of the stress, or because of the booze, It wasn't too long before I started to snooze,
But I was not destined for a long winter's nap, When Frisky dug in his claws and sprung from my lap.
As I grabbed at my crotch and screamed out in pain, Thoughts of kitty homicide danced in my brain;
Then I heard a commotion from out on the street, Undoubtedly the noise that caused Frisky's retreat;
I went to the window and lifted the blind, And seriously thought I was losing my mind;
On the street a fat midget all dressed in red, Drove a team of small reindeer pulling a sled.

Whether real or not, onward he came, Whistling to his deer, calling each by his name,
"Now, Cohiba! now, Hoyo! now Monte and R.J.! On, Bolivar! on, Sancho! on, Upmann and El Rey!
To the top of the stoop! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As if sensing my need for a little more proof, Santa and his reindeer flew up to my roof.
I decided to embrace this psychotic break, Fighting these visions would be a mistake,
So I faced the fireplace where I knew he'd arrive, And out flew Santa like a bee from the hive;
I said, "welcome Santa, to my humble home." He replied, "who are you and where is Ramon?"
I told him that Ramon had sold me his lease, And retired to Miami to live with his niece.
Santa started to turn and his bag fell agape, Revealing boxes and bundles of familiar shape;
Then I noticed the robusto clenched in his teeth, Sending out the aroma of aged Cuban leaf;
I said, "don't leave yet", pushed him back in a chair, "You've a long night ahead, and it's freezing out there."
Then I ran to the kitchen to fix him a bracer, A cup of scotch and a sugar cookie chaser.

St. Nick must have thought it was juice from the udder, He shot down four fingers and started to sputter,
His nose and cheeks glowing a redder rose than before, He handed over the cup and asked for some more;
As we drank, he must have seen my look of despair And noticed my humidor, open and bare,
Because he handed me the most wonderful thing, An eight inch cigar with a fifty-four ring!
The wrapper was rich brown, like coffee with cream And smoother than silk with no visible seam;
A thin layer of oil caused the whole thing to glow, Like a deep polished wood, or moonlight on snow,
And the aroma it emitted was so rich and sweet, My brain almost mistook it for something to eat;
Once lit, the draw was neither too loose nor too tight, With a burn so slow I could smoke it all night.
And the flavor! How can I describe perfection? I have never smoked such a complex confection;
I could taste sugar and spice, wood and coffee, There was pepper and chocolate, cinnamon and toffee;
Each draw brought a different blend to the flavor, Some unique combination for my palette to savor;
Somehow each draw I took was able to surpass, The complete perfection of the draws that had past.

I said, "Santa, I have never smoked such a brand, But I noticed your picture here on the band,
And 'El Rey del Norte,' I assume that is you, Does this mean your days making toys are all through?"
Santa smiled a sad smile and slowly shook his head, "I fear the demand for hand-made toys is dead;
My elves are 'Old World' and stuck in their ways, They know nothing of computers or video displays."
"We let the parents take over, we thought we could rest, But we found that work is what elves like the best;
Then the idea hit me -- retrain all of my elves, And premium cigars could fill Santa's shelves;
I've been flying folks out of Cuba since '59, So I called in some markers, I asked for their time;
I flew a few dozen experts up to the Pole, To educate my elves in the art of the roll!"
"Now each year Cuba loses some of its best leaf, And no one has been able to capture the thief;
With this tobacco and skill, and magic and mirth, My elves roll the best cigars on the face of the earth;
I consider this 'recovery,' it's not really theft, Most of my product goes to Cubans who left,
Like the guy who once live here, your old pal Ramon, These folks deserve something for losing their home."
"My supply is quite small, It's used once a year, It's a really good workout for me and the deer;
I'd like to include you, but what can I say? Maybe if production increases some day."
Well I was not about to let opportunity pass, As Santa talked I kept refilling his glass,
And when his speech slurred and his voice became thicker, I discovered that elves could not hold their liquor.
By the time Santa left he was totally pissed, As an "Honorary Cuban" I was put on his list!
He restocked my humidor, it was filled to the brim, And he promised that next year he'd restock it again;
I helped him up the stairs and into his sleigh, He wouldn't be driving, the deer knew the way,
And as I watched the old elf fly into the night, I thought, "what a great Christmas, now who has a light?"

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy Holidays everyone

I can't believe how fast the holidays have snuck up on me. Ive been working everyday, and will be until christmas. Christmas eve/xmas morning ill spend with my dad and family, and then the day after christmas ill be heading to Green Bay to visit even more family for the weekend with laurie. I hope everyone has a great holiday, and to those who are like me, make sure you get a chance for a good cigar and a few too many great drinks!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Why Cigars?

I often get asked why i am so into cigars, whats the appeal, etc. I figured as i sit here smoking a Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Toro (a cigar i highly recommend) that i would answer some frequent questions i get about this hobby.

So, onto the main question, why do i smoke cigars? Cigars bring a lot of pleasure to my life on multiple levels. First, as most people that really know me are aware of, i tend to be on the anxious side and fairly stressed in general. Cigars were the first thing i found that really makes me sit down and relax and just take it easy. When having a cigar, there are many things to kick back and enjoy. From the fantastic flavors and aromas that different tobaccos from different countries possess, to enjoying a totally hand made product that takes an amazing amount of skill to put together. So much thought and skill goes into each and every cigar, from the care it takes to grow,dry, ferment and age the leaf, to the actual blending of the cigar, and then finally onto the construction.

Yes, there are some health concerns when it comes to cigars, but i feel that as long as consumed in moderation, its something im willing to deal with. Cigars arent an addictive product like other types of tobacco, no matter what other people say about them. Ive never once thought to myself, wow, i really need a cigar right now. I can go days or even weeks without a cigar and be completely fine about it. Not that i wouldnt want to enjoy a cigar during that time, but ive never needed one like people do that smoke nasty cigarettes. The day i feel like i need a cigar on a physical level, is the day i stop smoking cigars because then it wouldnt be an enjoyable activity. The only addicting part about cigars is buying, collecting,and trying out all of the new stuff on the market. The downside being that its a bit of an expensive hobby.

Another thing about cigars that really drew me to this hobby, is the community surrounding them. I became very active in the online cigar community, and have made to be what i consider some very good friends around the world. Ive traveled across the country for cigar events just to hang out with these people, and have been humbled by the generosity of many people who share my passion for cigars.

There is always something new to learn about the world of cigars as well. Im constantly reading about whos blending what, whos putting new product out, history behind brands and about legends of the industry.

Another really fun part is trying different drinks with different cigars. A cognac may work with one cigar, but then not at all with something else. Its interesting to see which liquors/beers go with what blends.

If anyone has any questions, lets hear them!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Who is reading this?

Just out of curiosity, i was wondering who out there actually reads my blog. Im sure most of my readers (if there are any) arent big cigar fans,but im wondering if anyone reads my reviews. Ill still continue to post, probably most of my blogs will be cigar related, but hopefully ill be able to post an occasional non cigar blog. So, for any of you out there who read my blog, please comment! Id like to know who my readers are.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Illusione cg4

This is a cigar I've had a few times, and have really enjoyed. Illusione is a boutique brand of cigars that are Nicaraguan Puros made by Dion Giolito. The Illusione line is blended with tobacco from first generation Corojo 99 and Criollo 98 seeds. (borrowed some info on this cigar from a few different sites). The wrapper is a nice dark Colorodo with a nicely constructed cuban style triple cap.
The size im smoking is a 5 5/8inch by 46 ring, a classic corona gorda. This is a medium bodied cigar with a very bold and rich flavor. The draw is very cubanesque, with just the right amount of resistance. This is a leathery cigar with some cocoa coming through, and definitely an earthy characteristic. The espresso flavor im getting is powerful, like a freshly pulled shot from your favorite cafe. Its not bitter, but very pleasant. I think its funny that i really enjoy a coffee flavor in a cigar, yet dont yet dont enjoy drinking coffee. The finish is very long and really coats the palate. This is a complex cigar to say the least. Some of you may wonder about my tasting comments, and notice that yes, i do record reoccuring flavors among many cigars. This is probably because i smoke a lot of nicaraguan cigars for this blog and they all have a familiar taste from the Nicaraguan tobacco, but each cigar has its own unique profile, even if im getting some of the same flavors between brands.

This cigar is similiar to Tatuaje, another nicaraguan puro, but has its own unique twang to it. Illusione has much more espresso flavor, while tatauaje is much spicier. I really like the simple packaging behind this brand. Simple white band with black lettering, presented in a simple hinged cabinet box. There is something to be said for simplicity in a cigars packaging. I like a brand that doesnt have to rely on flashy packaging and gimicks to make you want to buy their brand.

Im enjoying a glass of Goose Island Nut Brown Ale with my cigar today. This is probably my favorite beer from Goose Island, and works very well with a nice full flavored cigar. The nuttyness of the beer balances out the heavy espresso flavor of the tobacco.

Overall, i recommend Illusione cigars to anyone looking for a complex Nicaraguan smoke. This cigar is great now, but also has wonderful aging potential.