Thursday was one of those days where through the course of the day I think of a cigar I want to smoke in the evening, then forget bt the time I get home. I really should make a note to myself because it’s frustrating. Sometimes I remember as I’m rooting through this humidor or that, sometimes I don’t. Thursday I couldn’t remember. I came across the cigars that my not-so-secret Santa sent me and got me to thinking about him and how his recent surgery was putting him on a cigar hiatus for a while, and figured smoking a cigar he gave me would be fitting. Of course, it could go the other way and seem like it was throwing it up in his face that he couldn’t enjoy a cigar, but I trusted that he’d appreciate the sentiment. Tangent: The Secret Santa we did with a few readers seemed to go well, there were only about ten participants, hopefully everyone felt good about the exchange? The feedback I did receive was positive, and, in keeping with my experiences in cigar exchanges over the last 20 years, most cigar smokers have terrible math skills and can’t count. I know I have that problem. Anyway, if people enjoyed it, I’ll do it again next year and get an earlier start. Back to the cigar! I smoked The Collective, which was the first cigar from the social media site Cigar Federation. The Collective was blended by the guys at Ezra Zion Cigars, who founded Cigar Federation in 2011 and later sold it to Logan Lawler. the cigar is a box pressed toro, measuring 6¼ x 52 with a San Andrés claro wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers made at the Casa Fernandez factory in Miami. The production was limited to 250 boxes of 20, so I really felt fortunate to have been able to try this cigar. Too bad it sucked. No, I’m kidding. It was the absolute polar opposite, it was a fantastic cigar! I’m not sure if I remembered reading about this cigar a couple of years ago when it came out, but I kept thinking “Aganorsa” as I was smoking it, there was a unique flavor that I recall from some Casa Fernandez cigars present, it was loaded with flavor, and a very “clean” and refined cigar. Thank you George! (and Chris, and Kyle and Logan…). I’m sure these are rarer than hen’s teeth at this point, but worth trying if you have the chance.
Friday I came across a Leaf by Oscar Maduro that looked like it needed to be smoked. This brand has really taken off from a house brand of Jim Robinson’s Leaf and Bean shop in Pittsburgh, to being on the shelves in something north of 400 stores. I think the reason it’s so popular is because it’s a really great cigar! Normally I’d lean towards the maduro, but I remembered that in this line of cigars, the maduro is near the bottom for me. It’s got a sour flavor that I don’t love, I actually like the Habano and Connecticut much more and have to remember that the next time I buy these. Don’t take this as a bash on the Maduro, it’s a terrific cigar if it works for your palate, the construction is awesome, and the Nicaraguan maduro wrapper is a thing of beauty once to peel away the tobacco leaf outer wrap (they use a leaf instead of cello). Also, this isn’t a great choice if you are a band collector, as they use a rough, homogenized tobacco paper which doesn’t come off in one piece. The plus side of the band is you can just smoke through it with no adverse effects. Oscar just released his own line, which I will pick up and try in the near future, it’s in a candela leaf outer cover, but isn’t a candela cigar. Leaf and Bean is on my list of shops to visit the next time I find myself in Pittsburgh.
Saturday I spent a lot of the day painting the newly drywalled living room, watching the Flyers lose, then watching the Flyers Alumni game against the Penguins Alumni, which was far more entertaining than the earlier game. To bring this on topic, Bernie Parent, who is a big cigar guy (BSB No.1 cigars by Rocky Patel), was in the broadcast booth in the third period and is hysterical, and Brian Propp, also a cigar guy, played just a year and a half after suffering a stroke! I’ve featured both gentlemen on here in the past. So, logically, I should have selected a cigar from Bernie’s line to smoke, that would have made sense. I had my hand on one of his 40th anniversary cigars a couple of nights ago (the BSB No. 1 40th Anniversary cigars come in a box of twelve, with four each of three blends, the Vezina, the Conn Smythe and the Lord Stanley, celebrating the anniversary of Bernie winning all three of those awards in consecutive years, which has never been done before or since) but I decided against it. Instead, I selected a Bobalu Dos Capa toro, their barber-pole cigar. I bought a sampling of cigars from Bobalu a while ago, and this was a bonus that came with the purchase. I really like the Tres Capas, it’s a nice cigar, and this was pretty good too. It has Connecticut and San Andrés wrappers applied in a spiral, so the flavors blend together well and make for a nice smoke. There’s the bit of a grassy flavor, along with the earthy sweetness of the Mexican maduro that is entertaining. Bobalu cigars are rolled in Austin Texas, making all three cigars featured here today having some US roots, an unintended coincidence.
If I may rant a bit on the above mentioned cigar maker…I was very close to not smoking the Bobalu cigar. I tend to avoid politics, for me it, like religion, is too divisive a subject to combine with the relaxation that a cigar is supposed to give me. I received a relative deluge of e-mails from Bobalu Cigars advertising the cigar they created celebrating the President elect. I know that a lot of people in the cigar industry see the incoming president as their savior, and I hope that he does something about the onerous over-regulation that is being imposed upon the industry. I doubt it is a big enough blip on the radar for the administration to be concerned about, especially since it’s an unpopular product with well-funded opponents, and is one Mr. Trump doesn’t approve of anyway. My personal feeling is that electing a television personality makes us look foolish on the world stage, but it is what it is, and I am just hopeful that it all works out OK in the end. I suppose it did with Reagan, but he, at least, had some political experience. Anyway, my point is that I can do without the commemorative presidential cigar advertisements in my inbox, as it takes away from my personal enjoyment of the product. I’m sure I will be vilified for stating this, but that’s my opinion, feel free to disagree. I still like a lot of the cigars made at this factory and would visit if I find myself in Austin, I just don’t need the political BS ruining my relaxing cigar time!
That’s more than enough from me, until the next time,