I had a long day Sunday with my brother-in-law framing out two walls in my living room. I guess in the late 50’s when the house was built heating was cheap and insulation wasn’t a big concern, so putting drywall right over brick and block walls was OK. Over the years people also thought it was a good idea to wallpaper, then after wallpaper was out of fashion it was OK to paint the wall paper. We’ve been systematically removing old drywall and insulating the outside walls. This is all irrelevant except that it was a long day, and by the time I got to a cigar, I wanted something short, but satisfying. At the IPCPR I finally met an old friend, Dave Payne, and he generously shared with me some cigars, one of which was a RoMaCraft CroMagnon Firecracker, this years Two Guys Smoke Shop special edition. In years passed they have had the Firecracker vitola made by La Flor Dominicana and Tatuaje (I think?). It’s a 3″ x 50 with a closed foot and a long pigtail “Fuse”. I have to think this is a goosed up version of the CroMagnon blend, it’s a powerful little cigar and was just what I needed to wrap up a productive day. While it was strong, it was loaded with those deep, dark flavors that I love in the CroMagnon blend. Of course, I wanted it to be longer, but it was a great little smoke. Thanks to Dave for sharing it with me, Skip for making it, and Dave Garofalo for dreaming up this vitola. I have a suspicion that this will be a very hard cigar to find.
Monday I figured it was time to give Steve Saka’s Mi Querida another try, dubbing the occasion “Mi Querida Monday”. Maybe we can make this a thing, #miqueridamonday needs to enter the lexicon. Anyway, I smoked one of these at the show and saw the potential, trade show samples smoked in the Las Vegas environment is rarely a good way to sample a cigar. I found another one in my samples, and had been salivating over it waiting for the right time to smoke it. Monday was the night. I’m anxiously awaiting these showing up in one of my local shops so I can put some more in my humidor. This cigar had everything I love about cigars, great construction, perfect draw and the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper was delicious. This could become one of those “goto” cigars that always satisfies. I obviously have a bias, I’ve known Steve for 20 years, but I know him well enough to be honest with him if I don’t like something he made, but I would like this cigar no matter who was behind it. Another winner from Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust.
Tuesday I came across a cigar that came from the Bugatti Cigars booth, which was within the Meier and Dutch booth (the distribution arm of Cigars International). This was a toro called Belstaff Bond, and is made in General Cigar’s Santiago, DR factory. This cigar had a nice, dark Ecuador Sumatra wrapper, and was quite a good smoke. I have smoked several cigars from the Bugatti line, and found them to be quite nice. This reminds me that I’ve been using the new Xikar Xidris lighter pretty exclusively for the last few weeks and am finding it to be an excellent lighter. It holds a lot of fuel and lights every time. It has a solid, hefty feel, and Xikar says that it has super car styling (see the tie in?). It’s a classy lighter, I just have to make sure I have it oriented the right way or I’ll burn my palm one of these days. It’s a very nice lighter.
Tonight I got a hankering for a “goto” cigar, and opted for the CAO Flat Head Steel Horse Apehanger, a 5½” x 58 cigar with a Connecticut Habano wrapper. I really love the Flathead line, the Steel Horse series is round instead of square pressed, but still has the flat cap, which is best approached with a large-bore punch. The released two new sizes this year at the show, and I’ve yet to get my hands on either one (the Handbrake and the Roadkill, both in the robusto range at 4½ x 50 and 5½ x 54 respectively), and as soon as I come across some I’ll be picking them up, but the Apehanger does it for me. I once joked about putting Apehanger handlebars on my Yamaha Majesty 400 scooter…
Finally, you’ll recall a year or so back I mentioned some nice cigar tubes that Kevin Shahan was making in his Florida machine shop, and he’s moved into making another useful cigar product, the Cigar Prop. This is a machined aluminum cigar stand that is very handy. I tried to make a poor man’s version of this a few years ago out of a piece of bamboo and a 1″ hole saw. I would walk to the local convenience store, set my cigar on the ice cooler outside (or the top of the Red Box machine) while I went into the store. One day a Liga Privada number nine rolled off and I had to reach under the machine to retrieve it and it had been damaged in the six-foot drop and just wasn’t the same after that. That’s when I started carrying the bamboo stand with me. Not that I have too much of a need for that anymore, but this Cigar Prop is a handy addition to the collection of cigar tools. It’s very nicely machined, cradles the cigar nicely and is attractive. You can see it in use in two of the photos above. Give Kevin’s Cigar Prop site a look, and for you bearded guys, he also has a line of beard products called Irish Beard Balm.
That’s ll for today, until the next time,