We have a big day today so I need to get this written. We have tickets to a series of Philly Pops shows in the city (Philly, duh…), so we make a day of it, dropping by the Franklin Institute, grabbing a bite, maybe stopping in Holt’s to make sure it’s still there, that sort of thing. Today they art performing a Billy Joel program, should be good. Anyway, once again, I found myself smoking spectacular cigars in the second half of the week, which started with a La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amour Reserva Maximo which I had picked up at Holt’s back in the fall when we went to the first in the Pops series, which was a Sinatra tribute. This 5½ x 54 Robusto has a dark San Andrés Oscuro wrapper and what I have to assume is Nicaraguan fillers, although the website fails to provide such details. These are made at the My Father Factory which is reasonably evident on the first puff. This cigar is right in my wheelhouse with a nice dose of strong black coffee notes, some earth and that spice right off the bat. I enjoyed the crap out of this cigar, probably just as much as I enjoy the regular Mi Amour line.
Friday I got lazy and selected an Drew Estate Undercrown Toro Grande for my evening walk. It’s no secret that I like to celebrate the end of the work week with a guaranteed winner, I have to be in the right frame of mind to smoke a “new to me” cigar on a Friday, usually I want a tried and true cigar to relax and usher in the weekend. This particular cigar had suffered some wrapper cracking somewhere along the line, I might have dropped it, who knows, but it had some tomes when it wasn’t as visually appealing as it could have been. While I certainly get some joy out of how a cigar looks when its burning, I overlooked it because I enjoy the flavor of the Undercrown line so much. I still like the Corona Viva size the best, but the Toro Grande was a very nice smoke, hearty, savory and sweet, just about everything I was craving. I can’t really decide if I like the Undercrown or the Undercrown Shade better, fortunately I don’t have to choose, they both have their time.
Take a look at the Kickstarter campaign I ran across for a unique cigar accessory, the Fanelli Cigar Rest and Bottle Opener. We’ve all probably seen similar cigar rests, heck, I made on out of a piece of bamboo years ago, but this one has a unique twist (that’s an unfortunate bit of wordplay), it has a bottle cap lifter concealed in the base. It’s aluminum, so it doesn’t seem like it would be too heavy, and because it’s aluminum it can be anodized in different colors, of which there is gold, silver and black proposed. I like the black version personally. I was offered a review sample, but I declined because, really, what’s to review? I can see from the drawings that it will accommodate up to a 64 ring cigar, and I haven’t had a need for a bottle opener in 25 years, but I trust that it works. If this is the sort of item you like to have, and you like supporting entrepreneurs, throw them some cash.
Yesterday was the launch of the 1502 XO, fortunately the release party was held at the Wooden Indian nearby, so I made my way out there to see Enrique and smoke one of his very special cigars. The XO is quite special, as it’s made with tobacco aged 18 years, with the exception of the wrapper which is only about five-year old. Enrique explained that 18-year-old leaf is very hard to use as a wrapper, and I can understand that (although it’s been done in the case of the Partagas 150 from 1995…I have one around someplace and a few months ago I smoked a La Gloria Cubana that was the exact same blend and it was spectacular and the wrapper was 38 years old!). Anyway, I picked up some 1502s, grabbed some of the Lanceros in the Black Gold and Ruby blends, a couple of the 1502 Nicaragua Churchills, and a single XO (listed at 6″ x 50 with a box press, seemed shorter though..I smoked number 004147, nobody else on the planet can say that!), because $17+ a stick is outside of my comfort zone, but I was there with Enrique and it seemed like the right time. I smoked the cigar and it is a very good cigar, it has the signature Flavor Lock™ foot (snicker), it drew perfectly and burned reasonably well. It was indeed well-balanced, very smooth and pleasing to the palate, and there was a spice that came and went here and there that was hard to put a finger on, something from the baking spice category kind of like cinnamon, but not cinnamon, know what I mean? I don’t have a great wealth of experience with exotic spices as I’m not what you’d call an adventurous eater (picky eater is closer to the truth). It was entertaining, and I smoked it comfortably until nearly burning my fingers. I had to re-light a could times, but I was chatting with Dave, the owner, Enrique and several other patrons, so I’ll take responsibility for it going out. Great cigar, Enrique is a terrific guy (he was hiding behind the stores wooden Indian when I came in, waiting to surprise me…) and the Wooden Indian is still the premier cigar shop in the area. When I got home I took a walk with a 1502 Black Gold corona that was a year or so old and it was dynamite! It was full of rich espresso and cocoa and everything I love in a cigar. It’s funny, 1502’s catch phrase is “it’s not a cigar, it’s a 1502”. When I pulled out this corona my wife commented “that’s not a cigar”, and I responded with “it’s a 1502!” She was commenting that it was a smaller cigar than I usually take for a walk, but I found it funny. It was a great end to a great Saturday.
That’s enough out of me for today. Until the next time,