Friday after work I shot down to Old Havana Cigars in West Chester, PA. They were having a Room 101 event and Matt Booth was there, along with the Davidoff rep who prefers to retain his anonymity so we’ll call him “Tom Smith”. I was disappointed that they only had the Serie SA in the 6×60 size, as I had wanted to get some more of those, but Matt talked me into the new Namakubi Ecuador in the Ranfla size, which is a 6.5 x 50 perfecto. Now, it’s no easy feat getting this cheap SOB to spring $10 for a cigar. I find that every time I come back from a cigar factory visit, my price threshold seems to go up a little as my education and appreciation for the work that goes into making these things. It turns out that this cigar was well worth the investment, and I’m glad I got two (and a pair of Ecuador Papi Chulos and a SA). The cigar burned perfectly, drew perfectly and had spectacular flavor. I enjoyed the heck out of the cigar while hanging out in the front of the store watching the antics of some of the regulars and talking with “Tom”. The lounge in the back of the store was packed, so I didn’t even venture back there. I also had the good fortune of meeting Evan, of TheSmokinGreek.com, another blogger who I recently discovered lived in my area. I had a great time, the events at Old Havana are always a hoot. If you ever find yourself in south-east PA, stop in, and as Tony the owner says: “just buy your cigars and get the f*** out!”. It’s always a pleasure hanging with Matt, he’s a character and a hell of a good guy.
Saturday I spent the afternoon hanging around my patio with my childhood friend, Jeff, smoking cigars and shooting the bull. I started with a Gurkha Beauty XO (6” x 60) that was a hand out at the grand opening of the Cigars International store in Hamburg, PA last November. Jeff enjoys the occasional cigar, and prefers milder ones when he smokes, so I set him up with one of my favorites, the Joya de Nicaragua Cabinetta. I enjoy the heck out of that cigar, and I think it’s educational as well. The two inches of Nicaraguan leaf on the head of the cigar gives a totally different mouth feel than the Ecuador Connecticut leaf and is a great way to illustrate how the wrapper changes the entire cigar. I enjoyed the Gurkha, it was a mild and smooth cigar, and had a nice flavor. For the first cigar of the day this one wasn’t bad. After we finished with these, round two featured a CAO Concert Roadie for me, and a Rocky Patel Edge Candela for him. I figured (correctly) that he had never had a green cigar, and thought it would be a good continuation of his education. I chose the Concert because we were talking and I wanted a solid, flavorful and familiar cigar that I didn’t really have to pay attention to. I have had occasions in the past when a particularly good cigar distracts me from personal interaction. Not to say that the Concert isn’t particularly good, it is, but I’ve smoked enough of them that I know what to expect. Despite the breezy day (it was only in the 60s, which is disappointing for Memorial Day weekend) my cigars burned straight and well. Jeff had some problems with the candela, but that probably wasn’t the wind’s fault, I’ve had crooked burns with candela cigars plenty in the past. It was nice to spend an afternoon catching up with an old friend and smoking some nice cigars. For those who care, I enjoyed a Vernors Ginger Soda with the Gurkha, and an IBC Rootbeer with the CAO.
News Update (addded 05/27)
Of local interest, and perhaps only of interest to me, The West Chester PA shop, G & G Cigars was recently sold to the Cigar Cigars chain of stores in SouthEastern PA. This will increase the CigarCigars chain to seven stores, including a store in Freehold, NJ (which used to be the brick and mortar side of Firehouse Cigars, which was an early online cigar seller). According the Doug Gianforte, who owned the shop along with his wife, Jan, they will be closing the deal tomorrow and all of the employees are staying on, except for he and his wife, obviously. I will miss running into Doug and Jan at the IPCPR show (where I seem to see them more than I do at the shop). I will be interested to see what changes, if anything, at the shop.
That’s all I got for now, it’s another beautiful day out, and tomorrow is Memorial Day, so spare a moment to smoke a fine cigar in remembrance of all those who gave their lives so that we can sit around smoking cigars!
Until the next time,