Editor’s Note: I warned you last time that today’s post might be late! I was writing this on my tablet on the road, and somehow, I inadvertently posted the first paragraph last night. Sorry for the false start! It’s not quite as easy posting from the tablet. So here’s the real deal, better late than never.
This weekend my wife and I got in the car and drove north to New Hampshire for a weekend getaway. One of the destinations on our list was the 2 Guys Smoke Shop in Nashua. I’ve been hearing about this chain of shops for years through various channels, it was about time I paid a visit. Dave Garofalo just celebrated his 28th year in business. As well as running the three stores in New Hampshire, he has a mail order business and sits on the boards of the IPCPR, the TAA, and the CANH (Cigar Association of New Hampshire). The store in Nashua is impressive. They have 1100 open boxes in display cases surrounding the shop, a huge walk-in humidor filled with boxes, and a Diamond Crown Lounge. The pricing is excellent considering there is no cigar tax in New Hampshire, and they do my home state of Pennsylvania one better by not having sales tax. I bought a handful of cigars and settled in with a Bandolero Traviesos robusto and chatted with Dave. The Bandolero is an exceptional smoke. It was sweet, smooth and had a curious little twang in the background. This cigar is made by Nelson Alfonso, the guy behind a lot of Habanos S.A.’s packaging like the ceramic jars and such. The packaging for these is equally as cool. These are offered in tin “jars” each of which has a picture and the story (in Spanish) of the Bandolero, who was someone who kind of black marketed tobacco in the days when Spain had a monopoly on cigar production. The tins even have a humidifying element in the lid. It’s a terrific cigar with great presentation.
One of the things Dave does in his free time is a two hour radio show every Saturday called The Cigar Authority. I’ve been listening to the podcasted version of the show for a couple years and have corresponded with Dave several times about things that have come up. I was excited when Dave invited me on the show, clearly it was a slow week for them. The first cigar we smoked was a Psyko 7 from Ventura Cigars, which was very nice. It was medium bodied and had a nice sweetness. It was quite enjoyable. I’m not going to go into what was discussed, you can listen yourself at TheCigarAuthority.com or find it on iTunes. I ended up sitting in on the rest of the show. In the second half we smoked one of Dave’s own brands, La Gianna Havana, in honor of his daughter’s birthday. He gave me a Maduro which was a really nice, tasty mild cigar. While I was sorry to put the Psyko 7 down, this was a suitable replacement. It was a great time, an I was honored to ba able to participate. My one regret was that I wasn’t able to follow the chat-room or Facebook and failed to give a shout out to my old friends Mike Perry and Mark Williams (and maybe Dan Poe). Sorry guys! Jenn was trying to type it in a large enough font on her tablet for me to see but the show was over by then. Next time, I promise. I also had the pleasure of meeting a Facebook friend, Charlie Pitarys, who has a cigar lounge in Tennessee. He was there celebrating his birthday. Many thanks to Dave and Mr. Jonathan for their generosity! They made us feel like family and that we belonged there.
I’m not sure when I’ll visit New Hampshire again, but you better believe I’ll be visiting one of the three 2 Guys shops while I’m there. In a funny coincidence, we ran into Johnny Brooke, the PR guy for Drew Estate, who just moved to the Boston area from Miami. He was there with Derek Stewart from the reddit.com/r/cigars forum. I had no idea John had moved north and it was a bit of a “what the f*** are you doing here” moment for both of us! Small world. Jenn and I said our goodbyes and headed to Maine for a lobstah dinnah, and passed the 2 Guys Seabrook store on the way. Today we headed to Burlington, Vermont, then home to PA. We had a whirlwind weekend, covering eight states! Lots of fun and lots of great friends and cigars.
Until the next time,