Welcome to another week of cigar stories! I started off the week with a couple cigars from Fratello Cigars, a Robusto and the H-Town Lancero. The Lancero came first. This cigar is exclusive to Stogies World Class Cigars in Houston (check the ad in the left sidebar for a discount code!). Stogies has a series of store exclusive lanceros from several notable manufacturers and the Fratello joined the ranks earlier this year. I followed the Lancero with the robusto to get a sense of what might have been different. They both share a woody spice, probably due to the Peruvian leaf. The Lancero is a bit milder because of the lack of Ligero in the blend. Both cigars are loaded with flavor and burn perfectly. Omar is a terrific guy, very passionate and charismatic. If you get the chance to hang out with him and smoke his cigars, jump on it. Stay tuned for more on the H-town series as I will be probably working through the line up this week.
Midweek I selected a Room 101 Namakubi Ecuador Ranfla from the humidor. I bought this cigar a couple of years ago at an event at a local shop with Matt Booth in attendance. I still hesitate to spend $10 on a single cigar, but I apparently did it due to the price sticker on the paper sleeve. I suppose when Matt tells you should buy that cigar, you listen. Every time I smoke a Room 101 cigar I have to bitch about the same thing: finding information on a website. Davidoff has made such a huge push in the last couple years you’d think it would be easier to find solid info. What is mystifying to me is that there is conflicting information on retail websites as well as reputable blog sites. I measured the cigar at 6½ inches and many sources list the Ranfla at 5½. Seems odd that a well oiled machine like Davidoff wouldn’t provide the right information to retailers (an easy to find website would help!) I wasted too much time searching for info on this cigar, and bitch about it! It was a very tasty cigar, the salamone shape is cool and the cigar worked as it was supposed to.
I picked up another of the Vega Fina Nicaragua Gran Toro for one of my evening walks. A couple of weeks ago I put one of these down about two inches in because it pissed me off. This one burned great, I’m thinking over humidification was the problem. Now that I’ve had a chance to smoke the cigar properly I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s on the milder side for a Nicaraguan, or maybe “smooth” is a better description. It was a good cigar, not great, or really distinctive, but solid in flavor and balance. While there wasn’t really anything that grabbed me by the collar and shook me around, it would make a good cigar to keep on hand for newbies, or the occasional smoker. I don’t think it was priced unreasonably (or I wouldn’t have picked some up I’m pretty sure!), so you could certainly do worse. There are other cigars in the Altadis portfolio that I would reach for before this one, but it’s better than a sharp stick in the eye.
Yesterday was a pretty good day for my wife and I. My wife had received a very generous gift from a friend for a Beatles themed massage at a salon in Center City Philadelphia (she has a Beatles blog at Beatles-Freak.com), which just happened to be directly across the street from Holt’s Cigars. So I was forced to sit around a cigar shop while waiting for her to get her hour-and-a-half massage. Tough, I know. I picked up a few cigars at Holt’s, although they didn’t have the couple specific cigars I was looking for, much to my surprise. I grabbed some Arturo Fuente Hemingway Signatures in maduro, just because I like them, and you don’t see them everywhere, especially priced at $7.65 each. I also grabbed a few RoMaCraft Cromagnon Mode 5, since I’ve heard good things about them. I sat down in the empty lounge in the rear of the shop and lit up one of the Hemingway maduros. I love that gnarly broadleaf wrapper on that cigar. Don’t get me wrong, the Cameroon wrapper on the regular line is great, as I said, you don’t see the maduros all the time and I’ve got a soft spot for the maduros!! I had a great time conversing with a travelling gentleman (Vince? I’m terrible with names!) who was visiting from South Carolina, once again proving that you can always find a friend at a cigar shop, whether you are there for the first time or a regular. That Signature was great down to a half-inch nub, and went real well with the espresso we were offered by a staff member. After both my wife and I were done with our “treatments”, we walked a block away to Alma de Cuba for dinner. No smoking at this “modern Latin cuisine” restaurant. One of the highlights was an appetizer of dates, wrapped in bacon with an almond and blue cheese, which was an orgiastic feast of the senses. The service was spectacular, the Cafe Cubano was pretty good, and the food was a flavor explosion, almost overwhelming. Quite the spot if you find yourself in Philly, but you’ll have to head to Ashton Cigar Bar for after dinner smokes (which we did not do). I should have poked my head in the door while I was there, but I didn’t, something for another time. It’s directly above Holt’s. So it was a great night out, we each got to do “our” things, and then had a nice dinner.
That about does it for today, time to get some things done around the house so I can relax with a fine cigar later! Until the next time,