As you well know, I’ve been tiring of smoking in the cold lately, so I paid a visit to a local shop on Sunday afternoon for a smoke. Lightn’Up in Glenmore, PA is only about 5 miles from home, and I pass it just about every day. I haven’t made a habit of stopping there because the inventory has been quite thin over the last few years. I heard that the store, along with it’s sister store in nearby Frazer, PA, was recently purchased by the CigarCigars chain which is growing steadily in the south-east PA area. I wanted to see what had changed, and the inventory is vastly improved. I selected a couple La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli, a CAO Flathead V642 Piston and a huge Foundry Compounds, Elements and Musings Uranium (I have to admit to a fascination with the Foundry line, and I dig the skeleton band on the Uranium. When I’m smoking a 7×70 I can’t say. This, along with the Carbon, are going to be regular production cigars, the rest in the Compounds, Elements and Musings line are limited editions). I sat down and lit up the LGC Esteli, which I like quite a bit. I think it’s the best in the Serie R line. It was the typical cigar shop scene, a few guys sitting around shooting the bull while the History Channel is on the TV. Yes, I wondered why there wasn’t some Olympics on, but there was a show about the White House (actually history programming on that channel, who’d think it?). They close at 4 on Sundays, which isn’t a bad thing, I was there for two hours enjoying the smoke, and it was good. Glad to see the shop improving. It’s in a good spot and is certainly convenient to me. I need to go visit their other recent acquisitions in my county. I was not impressed with the Frazer location when I stopped in last year, and I haven’t visited G&G Cigars in West Chester since they took it over. I’ll be interested to see how they have changed.
After I got home and ran out for Chinese take-out, I figured it would be a reasonably good time to try a cigar I got at the IPCPR show. for the last several years I’ve seen the huge, elaborate booth of the China Tobacco Chuanyu Industrial Co. Limited. I’ll admit that entering the booth held little interest to me. I guess I’m a little closed minded, I see premium cigars as a Latin American product, and it’s hard for me to associate cigars with anything else. I have to applaud the companies persistence, it has to cost a bundle to bring this enormous booth to the show every year, and I honestly don’t recall seeing a lot of traffic there. My friend Mitchell passed his bag from the booth on to me, and I’ve been passing up sampling the coronas that were in with the glossy 50+ page brochure. I figured I already had a great cigar earlier in the day so I figured this was the time to try something outside my comfort zone. Not many things bother me more than wasting quality cigar time on a sub-par cigar. The cigar is called the Great Wall Tudor No. 2, and is about 5 1/8″ x 42. It is described as having Indonesian wrapper and binder and “domestic” filler, which I assume is grown in China. I was expecting the worst, given I’m not a fan of Indonesian wrappers, but it wasn’t a terrible smoke. It was fairly neutral, with some interesting flavors. It burned and drew well, I should hope that a factory that turns out five billion cigars a year (I’m assuming that not all are handmade). I’ve smoked worse, and I have a couple more floating around including a Great Wall Flourishing Age III, which is cello wrapped with a handy pull tab that’s described as “sweet flavored”. This one may wait for a while.
Monday evening I selected a Monte Pascoal Belicoso for my evening walk. This 5½” x 52 cigar was given to me last year by a gentleman know as Matt Ross on Cigar Federation and Twitter. I met Matt up in New Jersey last year when we had a bit of a herf at Cigar Emporium in Lyndhurst, NJ. I figured I was meandering from the traditional tobacco regions with the Chinese cigar, so it wouldn’t hurt to smoke something from south of the equator. This is a Brazilian puro, wrapped in Mata Fina, but not a maduro Mata Fina like we are used to seeing. These are terribly tasty smokes, and I can’t recall smoking one that misbehaved. The laws are such in Brazil with their regulation that it’s costly and difficult to introduce new blends. This is precisely what the FDA would like to see happen here in the US, which will virtually eliminate the need to walk into your tobacconist and ask “what’s new?” Good reason to support all the efforts out there to keep the FDA out of our humidors (CRA). Many thanks to Matt for the cigar! It was greatly enjoyed.
That about concludes today’s journey around the world! Until the next time,