Tag Archives: Gurkha

Gurkha, La Palina, Avo and a Quick Draw Cigar

 

I took the easy way out on Wednesday with the La Sirena video, so I have a bunch of cigars to talk about this week. Not unexpectedly, the video is now in the number three spot in views on my YouTube channel, behind a La Sirena interview from the 2012 IPCPR. That shows something, I have to figure out what that is…Anyway, I started the week with a teeth cleaning followed by a Gurkha Founders Reserve in the Rothschild 6×58 size.  That’s what the box (of 10) that they gave me at the IPCPR show says, Gurkha_FoundersReserve_RothschildI initially thought it was the XO size, 6″ x 60, like there’s a huge difference between 58 and 60…and usually reliable sources list the sizes as   Robusto (5 x 50), Rothschild (6 x 55) and XO (6 x 60), yet it says 6 x 58 right there on the box, and I measured one and it was close enough to the 60 hole to make me think it was a 60 (my ring gauge checker is old, it jumps from 56 to 60 and doesn’t go any larger). Gurkha fails to list the sizes on the website too, which is frustrating. I’ve bitched about it before, but the manufacturer’s website should be the last word in specifics on a cigar, not blogs of retailers. I’m worked up now, maybe I need to smoke another of the Gurkha Founders Reserve  whatever size it is, because it was a really tasty Connecticut shade wrapped cigar. I really enjoyed the crap pout of the cigar, it was a really tasty medium bodied cigar with a great burn and draw. I suspect this is a brick and mortar exclusive, like the cellar reserve line, and is in the $10 price range, but it very enjoyable. Here’s a few pictures I took a the Gurkha booth at the show.

 

 

LaPalina_Nicaragua_OscuroMy eye was drawn to the La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro robusto next. La Palina’s website gives the sizes and nothing else. This is a 5″ x 52 Robusto, made at the AJ Fernandez factory in Nicaragua, and wrapped with a Ecuador Oscuro wrapper with Nicaraguan fillers. I’m not sure what “Ecuador Oscuro” exactly means, and the rest of the make-up is vague. Again, it hardly matters as it’s a tasty smoke. It’s up my alley with the rich, coffee/cocoa flavors I like, with a hint of spice. It burned well, had a good draw and was a very nice experience. I smoked a prototype of this a few years ago I think. On a side note, I’ve been obsessed with the Adorini Double Punch cutter, and have been using it all the time. It features two punches, 9mm and a huge 13mm. I find myself using the 13mm (which is about a half an inch, or 32 ring gauge) almost all the time, it opens up the cigar almost as much as when I use a guillotine cutter. It’s sharp and has a strong magnet that keeps the three pieces together. It’s a quality piece and I’m using it a lot. The La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro is a good smoke, I look forward to smoking the Nicaragua Connecticut.

 

Avo_SouthAmericaRitmo_SpecialToroNext up was a new offering from Davidoff’s Avo line, the Ritmo in the Syncro line. I’ve smoked a few Avo cigars, most aren’t in my wheelhouse, frankly, I don’t “get” a lot of them. Some people love them, everyone has different tastes, most of the Avos don’t do it for me. This one, on the other hand, was delicious. This cigar boasts a seven country blend, Ecuador wrapper, Mexican binder and fillers from Peru, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Brazil and Honduras. Yep, that’s seven, I counted. I really enjoyed this cigar, it was very good. Did I mention the size? It was the 6″ x 60 Special Toro, and the box press was very comfortable. It was creamy, with some wood and citrus notes, as well as some spice and bitter chocolate. This was definitely my favorite Avo ever. It’s sad that Avo isn’t with us any longer, and I hope Davidoff continues to pay homage to him by creating great cigars in his name.

 

SouthernDraw_QuckDrawPennsylvaniaFinally, I got home late last night and took a quick dog-walk with a Quick Draw Pennsylvania Petite Corona from Southern Draw. This is a 4½” x 44 cigar with a pigtail cap and a covered foot. This was perfect for my late walk. The Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper really has some oomph! It’s grown about 20 miles from where I live, so I’m drawn to cigars with Pennsylvania tobacco in the blend. Since this one had the pigtail cap, I skipped the punch and lopped off the cap with a Palio, and took torch to foot without toasting to get that blast of the PA Broadleaf that the covered foot offers. This was an hour of bliss, it had a nice kick, certainly satisfying and really quite a cigar. This is another cigar from Tabacalera AJ Fernandez. I don’t think I’ve had a Southern Draw Cigar that I didn’t like a lot. I’m sad that I missed Robert Holt on his recent swing through PA, I need to hurry up and become independently wealthy so I’m not stuck at work when all the fun stuff is happening!  This little cigar has a big flavor and had an impressive burn time, I think I spent about an hour with it!

 

That’s all for now. Thoughts continue to be with our friends in the Houston area, as well as the many friends we have in Florida,  which is being pummeled by mother nature as I write this. I hope everyone get through safely and with minimal destruction. Give what you can for the relief efforts, people need help.

 

Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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A Montecristo Pilotico and a Gurkha Cellar Reserve Cigar

Yesterday was April 1, and I was tempted to post an April Fools post announcing that I was changing focus to vapes, but I wasn’t committed to the plan enough to register vanderslicevapes.com and put the web pages together. Maybe next year…wait, I’ve given it away, haven’t I?  It would have been a lot of work and I didn’t have it in me yesterday and the idea didn’t come to me until yesterday. I did see some funny ones yesterday, though. Mark Weisenberger (I hope I spelled that right), the new VP of Marketing at Rocky Patel, and former Northeast sales manager, put out a press release about Rocky adopting Hamlet Peredes which was pretty funny. Of course, Fred Rewey of Nomad Cigars is a comedian, he announced his Nomad soap on a rope, is he planning on going to prison soon? Over on Halfwheel.com, Brooks continued his April Fools tradition of seriously reviewing absurd cigars, this time the 20″ x 80 La Aurora La Stravaganza. I think he’s still waiting for the smoke to travel the 20″ from foot to head! Happy April Fools! I failed to do any pranking at all yesterday.

 

Didn’t do a lot of smoking this week, instead I went to a Flyers game Thursday, in which they beat the Islanders mostly just in the first period, scoring 5 goals with two players recording Gordy Howe Hat Tricks! I had said there was no reason for me to go to the games any more since they closed the cigar bar and made the whole building smoke free, but we got tickets real cheap and hadn’t been to a game for a while. I loved it when they had the cigar bar there, it was preferable to go after the game and have a cigar while everyone else sat in their cars in the parking lot waiting to get out. Bernie Parent was always there to having a cigar, I wonder where he goes to smoke after the games now? So I took Thursday off, Friday it rained like hell and I decided not to go to a Romeo y Julieta launch event and camped out on the porch with a Montecristo Pepe Mendez Pilotico Toro. This was a re-do for me, Last September I wrote this:

Montecristo_PiloticoPepeMendez_toroAnother IPCPR sample was a new one from Montecristo, the Montecristo Pilotico Pepe Mendez in the Toro size. This toro is a 6¼” x 52, and has an Ecuador Sumatra wrapper, Dominican binder, and both Nicaraguan and Dominican Pilotico fillers. The Pilotico varietal is an old seed that Pepe Mendez brought from Cuba in the ’60s and revitalized in the Cibao Valley in the DR. There was some of  this tobacco in the Montecristo 80th anniversary cigar that was out last year. It was hard to find anything bad to say about this cigar, it burned right, it had nice flavors along the leathery lines, with a hint of sweetness. It’s one of those cigars that is, no doubt, a very good cigar, but not in line with my preferred flavors. There are a few Montecristos I really like, most on the mild end of the spectrum. The box is cool with an old-timey suitcase motif, paying homage to Pepe Mendez’ travels in the 60s to find the right area to plant his prized seeds.

The one thing that changed this time was that I found that I enjoyed the leathery flavors more than I did previously. Perhaps some humidor time helped, or, just as likely, I ate something different this time that effected my perceptions. Whatever the reason, I enjoyed the flavor of this cigar and will smoke it again without hesitation.

 

Yesterday I was rummaging through the humidor looking for something to smoke and I came across the tray with the Gurkha cigars. I seem to have amassed a load of cigars, not bragging or complaining, but it sometimes makes it hard to make a selection, especially when I want to smoke something and talk about it here without smoking the same rotation all the time and getting boring (which is what the FDA wants, by the way, so head to CigarRights.org and use their forms to write to your elected representatives). So I grabbed the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Platinum in their Hedonism size. Gurkha also threw out an April Fools funny yesterday:

 

GURKHA UNVIELS THE ROYAL COURTESAN

The $1,000,000 Cigar Is The Most Expensive Cigar Ever

 

Fort Lauderdale, FL – Gurkha Cigars has created the world’s most expensive cigar ever!  The handcrafted stogie retails for a cool $1,000,000 and is delivered to customers’ door by a messenger who will only handle the cigars with white (kit) gloves.  The cigar is infused with Remy Martin’s Black Pearl Louis XIII, which retails for $165,000 per bottle.

Created using Luxion Technology (luxion.com)

The cigars are rolled by a select group of hand rollers who are blindfolded throughout the process to allow their senses to guide their movements naturally and minimize distraction during this artistic process.  The cigar is made with filler from ancient lands in the Himalayas with tobacco that has been watered exclusively with Fiji water.  The wrapper is gold leaf and the band is encrusted with diamonds totaling five carats.

Created using Luxion Technology (luxion.com)

“The Gurkha clientele is use to only the best and Gurkha continuously produces only the best,” said Kaizad Hansotia, CEO of Gurkha Cigars.   “This cigar is only for those who want the most exclusive, most luxurious and most ostentatious experience a cigar can offer.”

Gurkha Cigars are known throughout the world for their premium and luxurious cigars, so it’s no surprise that they are the most sought-after cigars around the globe. Gurkha produces 12 million cigars per year that are sold in more than 70 countries worldwide. And while Gurkha is known for its exclusivity, it has an impressive array of 105 brands of flawlessly handcrafted, premium cigars created in a variety of strengths, tasting profiles, and price-points. No matter what your taste, there’s a Gurkha cigar that’s perfect for your palate. For additional information visit www.gurkhacigars.com.

 

 

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It’s a little unfortunate that it didn’t occur to me until after I read it that it was an April Fool, I mean, a one million dollar cigar from Gurkha doesn’t seem that implausible at this point, right? Anyway, back to the Cellar Reserve Platinum. I like the Hedonism size (I kind of identify with the name too), it’s a fat, pigtailed perfecto along the lines of the Feral Flying Pig from Drew Estate’s Serie Unico line, 6″ x 58. It’s got an Ecuador wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers and just a pretty straight-forward leathery/nutty profile to my palate. It was good, burned right and whatever factory makes these does a good job.  There are several cigars in the Cellar Reserve line that I like, and, for all the criticism Gurkha gets, I think their brick and mortar lines are pretty darned good.  (note: looking back it appears that I smoked this and wrote about it back in September of 2015, fortunately, I liked it then too! I smoke too many different cigars and can no longer remember them all!)

OK, both cigars were re-dos….sorry about that! I’ll work on smoking some more interesting cigars this week! That’s all I have for today, until the next time,

CigarCraig

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La Gran Llave, Gurkha and Tatuaje, and a Stage V Clinger Contest!

LaGranLlave_TorpedoI’m getting ready to go away for a few days, so this will be early and brief!  I just want to touch on a few cigars I smoked this week so far, and have another little contest!  More on the trip when I get back.  Since it was in the cigar news last week that AJ Fernandez had acquired the La Gran Llave brand that they had been making for Michael Argenti I thought I’d revisit one of the box pressed torpedos that Michael had sent me last year when he launched the brand. There is no change in factory as the cigars were made by AJ Fernandez anyway, it seems that the company has been going crazy acquiring brands, also recently buying the Sosa brand, which had been made by Fuente for as long as I can remember. I really like the La Gran Llave Reserve, it’s a nice, sweet cigar with a beautiful San Andrés wrapper. The burn and draw were perfect and it was a satisfying smoke. I have a sampler with the other sizes that I will get to eventually, but this 6½ x 56 box pressed torpedo sets the bar pretty high. Jeff at my local JM Cigars recommended it to me to when I was there a couple of weeks ago and I passed as I had some in the humidor already. I failed to take note of the price, but I think the line ranges from $6-$9ish.

 

Gurkha_Cask BlendMonday I tried the Gurkha Cask Blend in the 6″ x 58 perfecto size, which came from the IPCPR show and has been resting in the humidor since July. This was a perfectly fine cigar, normal cigar taste that was neither offensive, nor exceptional. It seemed to have a Nomex wrapper, you  know, that stuff they wrap wires in so they don’t catch fire?  I had to refill the Tommy Bahama pocket lighter after I was done smoking it, because the darned thing wouldn’t stay lit!  I mentioned the storage before so you don’t think it was my fault, as I smoke from the same humidor all the time with no issues. Might have been a better cigar if it had burned right, but that part of the experience detracted from the overall enjoyment. Since its “wrapper, binder and filler are highly guarded proprietary secrets” I can only tell you it was made in the DR. If there was some booze component to it I have no frame of reference any more. When it burned, it wasn’t a bad cigar. I know many will say it was a Gurkha, what did I expect, but there are several cigars in the Gurkha portfolio that I think are quite good. It occurs to me that I smoked one of these in 2015 and didn’t seem to have the burn problems.

 

Tatuaje_Black_PetiteLanceroTonight,  since I’m on vacation for the rest of the week, I treated myself to a Tatuaje Black Label Petit Lancero, which I think was a gift from my amigo Goose at Goose’s Cigars in Limerick, PA. This is a 6″ x 38 cigar that was sans cello, and I’m weird, I like the protection of the cello in the humidor, I noticed this one had a chip in the wrapper at the foot, so it had to go! What a delightful cigar, thick, right smoke with sweet, earthy flavor that was terrifically satisfying for a rainy night while I was comfy in my enclosed porch. I used an 9.5mm punch (with is the Vansapproximate inside diameter of the ScrewPop punch, by the way) which is my go-to for a lancero. it was a completely yummy way to end the day and start the vacation. I also celebrated receiving my kid’s Christmas present to me today, an awesome pair of custom, one of a kind Vans!

 

Contest!

Stage V Clinger

Cigar not included. Actual color and branding may vary.

I slacked off on this one over the holidays, it was there for me to give away, and I failed. So you have a chance to win a Stage V Clinger cigar holder. I use one of these from time to time and find it to be a gentle way to hold a cigar on those occasions where a proper rest or ashtray isn’t available. This is designed for the golfer, but has many other applications. It has a strong pair of magnets, a hook and loop strap in case there’s no metal to “cling” to, and the jaws are gentle enough to not squish or damage the cigar. Leave a comment to enter, and I’ll announce a winner on Sunday. Thanks to Marissa at Stage V for offering this cool item.

 

That’s all for now, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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A Padilla, a Gurkha, an Alec Bradley and Cigar Box Speakers

Padilla_VintageReserve_BoxPressedPerfectoGetting back in the swing of things here, and rooting through the IPCPR samples for some interesting cigars to smoke. I decided that one cigar that I had been looking forward to smoking was ready to go, the Padilla Vintage Reserve in a 6″ x 50ish  box pressed perfecto shape. I can’t really find any information on this shape, it was an IPCPR sample handed to me by Ernesto Padilla and all I can say is that it has a Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers. As far as I  know, these are made in the same factory in Honduras where some of my favorite cigars are made, notably the Tortuga line, and the quality is excellent. The cigar had a distinctive flavor that I can only categorize as “meaty”, and I don’t think that’s because I had just eaten meat for dinner. It was savory, delicious and an all around wonderful cigar that I look forward to smoking again. This was a terrific cigar.

 

Gurkha_HeritageMaduro_ToroFriday I went with a Gurkha Heritage Maduro from Gurkha’s IPCPR sampler. Of course, this was the first cigar I smoked from the sampler, which should surprise nobody. Sure, I could have chosen the Ghost in the chubby perfecto size but I smoked a Ghost not too long ago.  The Heritage Maduro has a  Mexican San Andreas wrapper, a Brazilian Arapiraca binder and Nicaraguan and Brazilian fillers. The one I smoked was a 6 ½” x 54 toro with a cedar sleeve.  It was a beautiful wrapper, dark and oily with some tooth, and had great dark chocolate and espresso flavors. It hit a rough spot about half way in, perhaps a void in the filler, or maybe a spot with a little too much moisture in the leaves there, but I soldiered on and it worked out to be just a temporary annoyance. I was not disappointed in the evening’s selection.

 

Saturday evening with an Alec Bradley Nica Puro Diamond Eough Cut - @alecbradleycigar @alecbradleycigarsSaturday’s cigar was not a new cigar, but one that I hadn’t smoked before in this shape. A couple of years back Alec Bradley released the Nica Puro blend in a unique diamond-shaped box press, calling it the Nica Puro Diamond Rough Cut. Since the Nica Puro is my favorite blend in the Alec Bradley line-up, I was happy to come across some of these in a local shop a few months ago. Not sure why it took me so long to fire this one up. The shape kind of brought back memories of the triangle pressed Trilogy line, which put Alec Bradley on the map for most people. I smoked a bunch of the Trilogy cigars back around 2004 or thereabouts, I really enjoyed everything about them. I wonder if we’ll see them again as they are pre-2007 and I believe they have been available in round versions at a catalog retailer or two over the years. Anyway, the Diamond was a great cigar, it had the familiar delicious flavor of the Nica Puro in a fun shape. The cigar measures 6 ¼” x 54 and has a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers (duh, with a name like Nica Puro, it better be all Nicaraguan!). It has a lot of earthy, nutty flavors with some spice. I may be wrong, but I think it’s made in the same factory as the above-mentioned Padilla, and, looking through some older posts on my site, there have been several occasions where I’ve smoked Padillas, Alec Bradleys and Gurkhas in the same week.  Weird coincidence.

 

In the “what will they think of next to do with cigar boxes” department, James Watt of California is making guitar amps and Bluetooth speakers out of cigar boxes. Looking through the Leucadia Sound Etsy store I can see that there are a few of these that would work well for my son’s guitar box guitar that he built a while back. I like the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli speaker, not only because I love the cigars, but the shape of the box is unique and might have some nice resonance and warmth due to the thickness of the wood. Here are some pictures, and there’s a lot more at his Etsy store. Nice work James!

LeucadiaSound3LeucadiaSound2LeucadiaSound1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all for today, Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Contest Wrap-up, a Meet-up at JM Cigars, an Event at Mojo and a RoMaCraft Neanderthal

CC_Logo_xmas_sOK, 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 ERHacross 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!

 

Perdomo20thThursday 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 Perdomo20thHumidorout 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.

 

Padron64AFHemingwayAs 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 RoMa_Neanderthal_HNsmoked 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.

 

Cigartist1You 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,

 

Cigar Craig

 

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