OK, a regular, non-contest post. How do I do this again? It’s been a crazy couple weeks, hasn’t it? Besides the 234 cigars, three ashtrays, two cutters, a lighter, and various other items, including one of a kind art and jewelry, there were some major holidays in there too. Time spent with family is the best part of the holiday for me, but doing this 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways is a load of fun too. My unending thanks to the following companies and individuals who made all this possible, in no particular order: Eric Whitfield, Broc Jackson, Jack at Duran Premium Cigars, David and his crew at 2 Guys Smokeshop, Victoria at General Cigar Co., Fred at Nomad Cigar Co., Victor at Tortuga Cigars, Jason at Best Cigar Prices, Abe and his gang at Smoke Inn, Mel and Ron at MBombay Cigars, Bianca at Gurkha and the folks at Joya de Nicaragua and Drew Estate! As I say every year, I could do this on my own, but it would cost me a fortune! Thanks to all of them and all of you for coming back every day and entering! Next year I have some different plans, but it should still be fun, that is, unless the FDA ruins everything! We’ll remain positive, keep calling your elected officials and letting them know that premium cigars should be exempt from regulation, and keep up your CRA memberships!
One of the things I did last week in, an effort to save on shipping and meet some new friends, was to hand deliver winnings from Days five and six. It turned out that Mike and Andrew were reasonably close by so we met up at JM Cigar in Exton, PA for a smoke. Of course, I spent easily twice what I would have spent on shipping on cigars, but that’s way more productive. While shopping I came across a lone El Rico Habano Maduro Gran Habanaro (double corona) in a box and it look so lonely I had to add it to my cart, so to speak. I haven’t smoked an El Rico in ages, I can remember back in the ’90s when this was one of the strongest cigars on the market, a real powerhouse. It was Ernesto Perez Carillo’s brand that took a back seat to La Gloria Cubana, and I smoked a bunch of them. It’s a minor brand now with General Cigar Co., only available in three sizes and maduro, where the original version was a natural wrapper. I thought the 7½ x 54 size would be a good size for sitting in the lounge, getting to know new friends, kinda cigar. It was good, but not as good as I remember my last one being, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I didn’t want a cigar that would distract me from conversation. As it always seems to be, meeting up to deliver a prize beats USPS every time, I felt like I have a few more friends now, and look forward to meeting up with Mike and Andrew again soon. Thank you to them for adding to the spirit of the season!
Thursday I ran down to Cigar Mojo in King of Prussia, PA as they were having a Perdomo event and raffling off a tremendous Perdomo 20th Anniversary humidor. I like the Perdomo 20th a lot, especially in maduro, so I bought a hand full (as if I needed more cigars!) and got one chance in the drawing. The winner was a guy who bought a bunch of boxes of the 20th Anniversarys, so it’s hard to begrudge him the win. It was a beautiful box, but I don’t know where I would have put it, so it worked out in the end. I thoroughly enjoyed a 20th Maduro Churchill while hanging out and talking to our local Perdomo rep, Joe Winder (who is probably the very first cigar company rep I ever met many years ago at a cigar event in Pittsburgh), CRA Ambassador and all-around good guy, Alan Price, who was working at the shop, owners Wade and Trae and various other customers. I didn’t win the humidor, but I did put some great cigars in my humidor and had a relaxing afternoon.
As it was a special occasion, I selected some other great cigars that are worth mentioning. For the second year in a row, I took my Christmas Eve walk with a Padron 1964 Anniversary Maduro Exclusivo, obviously a classic Nicaraguan maduro that’s like desert in cigar form. Absolutely delicious. Christmas day, after the kids and grandkids left, I sparked up a Fuente Hemingway Signature Maduro, again, a spectacular cigar that’s not unreasonably priced. It was rich, burned perfectly and hit the spot. Yesterday Macha and I took a four mile walk with a favorite Nica Rustica Belly, maybe I’m on a bit of a Maduro kick? I must be, because last night I lit up a cigar that caught my eye and I bought while at Mojo, a RoMa Craft Neanderthal HN, with a San Andrés wrapper. Of all the great cigars I’ve smoked over the last couple weeks, this might have been my favorite. This cigar has a couple of distinctions, first, it has a flat head, and a slight taper at the foot, which I didn’t really notice until I looked at the photo, and it still looks like a robusto, as the size is listed at 5″ x 52/58. Now that I look at it, it may taper from head to foot. It could have been shaped like a pretzel for all I care, it tasted fantastic. Not only does it have a beautiful dark and oily San Andrés wrapper, but it has a Connecticut broadleaf binder, and fillers from Pennsylvania, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. About half way in to the cigar I got a really interesting and delicious spice, which really intrigued me. This was a $12 cigar and honestly, I don’t think I realized the price point when I bought them, I might not have taken the plunge. I’m glad I did. I’ve heard from people That this was a super strong cigar, and it didn’t hit me that way at all, it was full-bodied and loaded with flavor, but I didn’t feel the nicotine at all. Stellar cigar from Skip and Mike at RoMa! I used a punch in the flat head of the cigar if anyone was curious.
You probably want to know who won the final bonus day contest, the great painting “Wind” by Eric “The Cigartist” Whitfield. It looked like only those who really wanted and appreciated this item entered (or everyone is sick to death of my contests), so I consulted Random.org and got the number 37, which corresponds to KRUK, who I know will give this a good home, despite the relative creepiness of his comment :-). Bryan, please send me your address so I can forward it on to Eric. Thank you all, and don’t despair, there could well be a Happy New Year contest!
That’s plenty from me, until the next time,
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