Sunday my wife and I attended a benefit in Neptune, New Jersey for a friend who recently had surgery. The bands were pretty good, and the venue, The Headliner, was a neat place. I could easily have gone in the outdoor area and enjoyed a cigar, but I wanted to see the bands, and mid way through the afternoon it rained torrentially. It was a nice time, and on the way out we stopped in a cigar shop in Belmar, NJ called Señor Juan Cigars. We were greeted by one of the owners, Nick, who had just purchased the shop from Señor Juan’s widow who had been running the shop for the previous 5 years since the original owner’s passing. It was a nice little shop with cabinet humidors lining the walls, a nice seating area and a selection that is in the process of being refreshed by the new owners. I was impressed with the shop and hope to get back there one of these days. I picked up a couple cigars I either hadn’t tried and should have, or have had one and owed it a revisit. I spent more than I should have, but felt good about helping out a small business, especially in an area that was beat up pretty good last November when tropical storm Sandy had her way with it. Check this place out if you get to the Joisey shore!
As long as I’m on the topic of charity events, I’m going to put this out there once and shut up about it since the only reason it has any cigar tie-in is because it benefits a cause that is very personal to me. I will be helping out at the Ticked Off Music Fest on Saturday, June 15 in Wilmington, Delaware. This is a benefit for Lyme disease research and awareness. I was diagnosed and treated for Lyme a few years back and can tell you that it sucks, and I still have residual effects from time to time. If you are in the area and can make it, there are a bunch of great bands playing and it will be a good time. If you can’t make it and have a couple extra dollars you can throw at the cause, it would be especially appreciated. There is a site set up to raise money to help defray some of the upfront costs here. The thing about this is that if $5000 isn’t raised in the next week or so, all of the donors money will be refunded and the festival won’t get a dime and the operating costs will have to come out of the ticket sales, which will mean fewer dollars going to help the cause. If everyone who reads this would make as little as a $5 donation it would go a long way toward helping cover some of the costs. I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t something important to me and many friends and family members. If you come to the event, hit me up for a cigar, even though it’s a non-smoking venue, I’ll, no doubt, have a cigar or three in my pocket! Any help you can give would be appreciated. Don’t worry, I’m not going to mention it again until after the event.
Where were we? Oh, so Sunday evening when I got home I fired up a Flor de Las Antillas robusto that I had picked up back in January on a foray into Philadelphia. Cigar Aficionado had just named the toro in this line as the cigar of the year and I wanted to see what the hubbub was all about. This is a cigar from My Father Cigars, and while I can’t say I’ve sampled a ton of cigars from this factory, I can say that the ones I have smoked I pretty much liked, and I’ve had the privilege of walking in Don Pepin’s fields with Don Pepin and Jaime. For whatever reason, not a lot of My Father products seem to make it into my humidors. Anyway, this was a nice cigar. It was solidly medium bodied. It started out kind of funny. I rarely experience a cigar that causes me to salivate in what I can only characterize as a heaviness. Without getting gross, it wasn’t like I was drooling or anything, just a thickness, I guess. It didn’t last so it’s OK. I know this wasn’t the Toro that received all the accolades, but while this was a nice smoke, it wasn’t exceptional to me. I’ve had a whole bunch of cigars I liked better. Still a nice smoke and I’ll try the toro one of these days and see how it stacks up.
Monday evening had me looking for a sure thing, so I picked an Ezra Zion Inception robusto that I picked up a few weeks ago at the Wooden Indian when we stopped in for their event and hung with the guys for a while. What more can be said about this cigar? Well aged, top quality materials expertly assembled. THIS is an exceptional cigar. I’ve found myself springing for far more expensive cigars than I used to lately, and I really need to dial it back a little, but this was a worthwhile purchase. They are re-naming this from Inception to Jamais Vu, for reasons that they aren’t elaborating upon except that there were some possible trademark issues that were better avoided than pursued. I liked the name Inception, and the cigars I purchased were still banded with the Inception foot band, so I still call them by that name. Jamais Vu is a term I feel like I’ve never heard before, but I’m sure I have…as long as they don’t change the blend, they can call it whatever they want. Highly recommended.
Tuesday I went for something new to me, the CAO Brazilia Carnivale, which I picked up in a local shop a few weeks ago. This is a manageable 6 x 60 box pressed cigar with what was the Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper on the regular Brazilia line used as the binder and a dark and oily Habano Grueso as the wrapper. They also goosed up the ligero in this iteration, making it a bit stronger than the core Brazilia line. I’ve managed to miss out on the CAO Left and Right Coast releases, and I missed catching up with Ricky Rodriguez on his La Traviata tour, so when I saw these in the shop I grabbed a couple (again, priced higher than I would be normally comfortable with…am I becoming reckless in my advanced years?) I have to say, I really enjoyed the cigar. It was rich and satisfying without being too strong, perhaps the 60 ring gauge (box pressed) smoothes it out a bit. Very nice job on this one!
I’ve taken the bowl of water out and am monitoring the humidity, I think it’s almost time to move some cigars in to the Adorini Cedro Deluxe Humidor. I wonder if I have enough to fill it up…my other two desktop humidors are themed, the one my wife had made for me for our 10th anniversary (16 years ago!) houses my political refugee population, and the Griffins humidor is loaded with my Cigar Safari blends and various Liga Privadas and interesting Drew Estate cigars. Perhaps I’ll round up all the various La Gloria Cubanas I have and fill it with those. I really hate wrestling with these hard decisions. So far I continue to be impressed with the humidor.
That about covers things for the first part of the week, until the next time,