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The CAO Concert Event at G & G Cigars

It snowed! It’s not even December yet and we have a blanket of snow on the ground. Last year the only major snow we had was at the end of October 2011, so maybe we get it out of the way again and have a nice, mild, uneventful winter? I can hope. I like cigars too much to limit myself to coronas and petite coronas all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I think a smaller ring cigar is fine, love a lancero and coronas, but variety is the spice of life! Go away snow!

 

Right before it snowed I had an opportunity to attend an event at G & G Cigars in West Chester PA. This is a nice little shop in the downtown area in what was once the Warner theater and is now the Warner Hotel. The hotel is a new addition and just looking into the lobby from the street (what was once the movie theater lobby, I think I saw the Muppet Movie there! back when you could smoke during the movie and you d didn’t think twice about rats running over your feet…you know, the good old days!) it looks like a very nice place. G & G Cigar Co. has been here for 13 years and is capably run by Doug and Jan, who I run into at the trade shows more than I see in the shop. Admittedly, I don’t get to this shop as much as I’d like, but that’s because I really don’t frequent any one shop over another in my area. I end up going to cigar events wherever they may happen to be and am not one to just go hang out at any one shop. If I were and lived a little closer, this shop would be the place. They work things a little differently here, the lounge and their events are for their members and not open to the public. I was lucky enough to weasel and invite out of Doug because my buddy Rick Rodriquez was bringing his CAO Concert tour to my home town. Rick is the man when it comes to the new blends coming out of CAO and I was fortunate to get to know him a bit when I visited General Cigar Co. in the Dominican Republic last year. He has studied the blending arts with Benji Menendez among others and knows his stuff and is a heck of a cool dude too.  A big thank you to Doug and Jan for extending me their hospitality and Ricky and his crew as well.  As you can see in one of the pictures, they even had a cake for Ricky’s birthday that’s this week, Happy Birthday Bro!

 

I enjoyed a CAO Concert Roadie while enjoying the company of several of the members. I have to say that many shops, membership or not, can be a little intimidating at first. I have been a guest of Doug’s in his lounge on two occasions and was welcomed and treated as a friend both times. This says something for the clientele at this shop and after talking to several members, they all seem to drive past one shop or another to come to this one. I wasn’t a fan of the members only lounge and events model but it’s working quite well here and if I were closer and would spend more time hanging around I would gladly pay the membership. Good group of folks for sure. As far as the CAO Concert goes, it’s a nice smoke. Medium bodied with a nice sweetness here and there that probably comes from the broad-leaf binder.  I enjoyed the heck out of the cigar as well as the time I spent talking to all the folks at the event.  It was a fun time.  If you get a chance to meet Rick on one of his tour stops do it, he’s a great guy and really knows his art.

 

Since it’s cold and there’s still stinkin snow on the ground I grabbed a short smoke for my walk, a CAO OSA Sol Lot T.  This 4 ½” x 50 box pressed torpedo is quite a neat little smoke.  It was loaded with  flavor and burned perfectly.  It’s a different experience from the Concert, it’s got refreshing, bright flavors that will be even better on a 80 degree summer afternoon by the pool than a cold evening with the moon and Venus lighting up the snow.  It was perfect for my walk.  I picked up a few of these at  Cigars International when I was at the new super store and they were in the $5 range, quite reasonable.

 

That’s it for this installment, enjoy the rest of your week and take some time to relax with a fine cigar, whether it’s at home in your favorite smoking spot, or in a nice lounge like G & G Cigars has.

 

Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Our Sunday Visit To A Hookah and Cigar Lounge

On Sunday my wife and I decided to visit the Cozy Hookah and Cigar Lounge in nearby West Chester, PA. We had only recently heard about this place, through Dealyo, one of the social shopping sites that are gaining popularity (Groupon, LivingSocial, etc.). Jenn had purchased a $30 coupon for $15  and we decided to check it out for lunch. The lounge is along one of the main, historic streets of West Chester, where a lot of the bars and restaurants are located, and they are open every day from 10 am to 4 am, so they get really busy after the bars close. There are couches with pillows, a VIP room in the back, and they have theme nights. A very comfortable place.

 

When we walked into the empty lounge we were greeted by Alex, who gave us a tour of the place, and set us up with a hookah and a plate of hummus and pita, which was delicious. We also had some Moroccan tea and a plate of Buffalo wings. As I had said in my last post, we were considering going on Saturday night, when they have a belly dancer and DJ, but I’m glad we went when it was quiet and we had room to relax and stretch out a little. As far as the smoking experience goes, smoking a hookah is not very different from smoking a cigar.  Both are fairly social activities, and are about the flavor of the smoke.  It was quite enjoyable and I was pleased to find that my wife thought it was as well.

 

The owner, Mahrous, joined us for a while and told us how he got started with a restaurant in Greenwich Village with his brother, and how a friend asked if he could smoke his hookah in the back yard (I’m envisioning a garden or terrace with seating) since he couldn’t smoke it at home. Patrons of the restaurant asked to try it after while and it caught on there, and the hookah lounge was born. Fast forward twenty five years and he opened the lounge in West Chester.

 

My wife and I spent about 3 hours, a couple hookahs of (don’t laugh) Cherry Coke flavored shisha, another pot of Egyptian green tea (delicious, by the way) and a La Gloria Cubana Serie N in the lounge and a few people came and went, but it was a Sunday afternoon and the local college isn’t in session. Certainly the name “Cozy” is appropriate, and it’s nice to have a place that you can take your wife and enjoy a cigar and everyone’s happy. I can see meeting friends here for a smoke (cigar or hookah), and a quiet evening of conversation, at least during the quieter times, and I probably will organize something in the not too distant future. Kudos to Mahrous for opening a “smoking” establishment in this day and age, and having the community’s support in doing so.

Mahrous was kind enough to say a few words on video, and I actually make an appearance in this one, my apologies in advance 🙂

 

 

Ironically, our friends at Drew Estate are currently running a contest featuring their Acid shisha:

http://blog.drewestate.com/index.php/cigars/acid-shisha-giveaway/

 

Also, don’t forget to enter my contest to win a General Cigars prize pack. Contest ends Sunday!

 

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

 

CigarCraig

 

Cozy Hookah & Cigar Lounge – 122 E. Gay Street – West Chester, PA 19380

610-696-5300  –  http://www.hookahandcigarlounge.com/

Open 10 am to 4 am daily (3am on Sundays)

 

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Weekend Cigar: Xikar HC Habana Colorado – Sunday December 12, 2010

As the holiday season is in full swing, the opportunities to have a cigar become few and far between. Between the weather and the season it’s been busy in a non-cigar way.   Friday evening provided an opportunity for my son and I to attend a Xikar event at Old Havana Cigar Co. outside of West Chester, PA.  I had not tried the HC cigars prior and it seemed like a good time.  I picked up one of each of the robustos, a Connecticut, a Criollo and a Habana Colorado.  For purchasing three, I got one free, so I went with the Habana Colorado and smoked it there.  We all know that I’m not exactly a free spender when it comes to cigars, so it will surprise nobody to hear me say that I think the $8.25 price tag for these is too high, even with the free cigar I had some buyers remorse.  That’s not to say that the Habano Colorado wasn’t a fine cigar, it was, I just didn’t find it $8.25 good.  There are a lot of cigars that are just as good for less. Anyway, the cigar burned very well and lasted well over an hour, and was smooth and flavorful, and on the stronger side of medium.  I am looking forward to smoking the others in the near future, as they are well made and nicely blended cigars, but I don’t think I would purchase them again.  As far as the shop goes, the lounge is spacious and comfortable and the humidor was very well stocked.  It’s a little out of my way so I don’t get to this shop often, and only really ever go there when there’s an event that interests me.  I prefer JM Cigars in Exton,  PA as far as price, selection and friendliness, I just wish Jeff would have more manufacture events.

Don’t forget to enter the current contest, win some Joya de Nicaragua cigars and stuff.   Deadline for entry is close of business Saturday, December 18 (midnight).  Also, the folks at Thompson have some deals going on that they asked me to pass on, see http://www.thompsoncigarcoupons.com/ for more information.

Until the next time,

CigarCraig

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