Category Archives: Ramblings

In praise of the Canadian Women Hockey team

The International Olympic Committee has never been an example of joyousness or spontaneous celebration. So it is no surprise that when Canada’s women hockey team celebrated their Gold medal with beer, sparkling wine and cigars the IOC wasn’t too impressed.

Well, stuff them! I for one would like to raise my wine glass and cigar to them and congratulate them not only on winning the gold, but on a fitting celebration. Well done!

(P.S.wouldn’t you love to know what they were smoking?)

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Por Larrañaga Petit Corona, the inconsitency of Cuban cigars… and music as cigar analogy

Last year I  heard a lot of good stuff about the Por Larrañaga Petit Coronas; a great mild smoke, one of Cuba’s best cheap smokes…etc. I had never really heard much about this brand apart the name, but it sounded tempting. I almost went for a box, but since these only come in cabs of 50 I really wanted to try a few, so I grabbed a couple on-line and smoked them about a month apart from each other. I will spoil the review for you probably, but at this moment it is enough to say that while one definitely made me want to go for a whole cab, the other had serious issues with staying alight… and it made me think of the consistency of Cuban cigars.

You probably are thinking… just get on with it, we have heard it all before.. yadda, yadda, yad. Maybe… but while a lot of people see things only in black and white I tend to steer away from extreme statements. Cigar Inspector ran two interesting polls a few months back on cigar construction and taste. In both, about 50% of the people answered that a) non Cubans are constructed better but b) Cubans taste better. In principle I agree with that, but it is a simplistic view ( that is the limit of polls – still no quarrel with Cigar Inspector for running them). I see things in a slightly more complex way. Continue reading

Burns Supper & Haggis… a real Cigar lover’s food

Every year Scots celebrate the birthday of their national bard, Robert Burns, with a traditional Burn’s Supper. The traditional centerpiece of the meal is the much maligned Haggis, entering the room at the sound of  Burns’ poem “Address to a Haggis” (in fancy and tourist places at the sound of bagpipes) and accompanied by a good dram of whisky.

Although I am not Scottish myself, I wanted to pick up the Saltire and explain 5 reason why the Haggis is a perfect food for Cigar lovers:

1. Forget what you might have heard about the Haggis’ taste. The main taste of Haggis is a long spicy pepper flavour… just like your favourite full bodied smoke!

2. As cigars, the cutting of the Haggis has its own ceremony with special tools and ritual concentrated silence

3. Cigars and Haggis like some of the same drinks: whisky and rich powerful ales.

4. A Haggis has a filler (sheep pluck and spices), a binder (oats) and a wrapper (the pig’s stomach)… plus it needs to be cured for the right amount of time… sounds familiar?

5. While you can enjoy Haggis on your own, it is really a meal to be eaten with close friends… just like your cigar Herf!

… oh and by the way, for our readers in the US, the Haggis really is an animal 😉

Partagas Serie D No.4, ECCJ and a knee-jerk review

Saturday I was in Glasgow’s city center for some shopping and walking past my local tobacconist I decided to go in and see if they had anything new or tempting. I didn’t find any cigar that really caught my imagination (it is a really small store) but I saw they had a copy of the European Cigar Cult Journal which I grabbed straightaway. Later I noticed it was not the latest issue (I got no.3 of 2009) but  I had been looking for this for a while to see if it is any better than a certain lifestyle magazine dressed as cigar lovers read of choice, so I didn’t mind. Although it does have a slight Teutonic feel to it (it is after all a German-English bilingual magazine) it certainly concentrates a lot more on cigars and I am seriously thinking of subscribing.

I was ever so slightly shocked by some of the reviews though. The main cigar feature of the issue is a nice look at everyday smokes, with  9 pages of reviews, both Cuban and non (of which there seems to be a much better choice in Germany and Austria then we do in the UK). Some of the cigars in there are frankly too expensive to be in my list of everyday smokes, but I guess that prise is subjective depending on the size of your wallet. What left me with my jaw dropping and head shaking was the review of the infamous Montecristo Open Junior.Not only ECCJ rated it higher than things like the Monte no.4, Partagas Mille Fleurs, Camacho Corojo and more, but thet rated it as high as the Partagas Serie D No.4. Seriously, one of the most vilified cuban to come out of the Habanos range is as good as one of the most loved Cuban Robustos? If you, as one of my mates, don’t believe me, look below (click to enlarge).

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Bloggers top 10 Cigars of 2009?

So Cigar Aficionado’s list of 2009 top 25 cigars is out, and so is the on-line community jury. Out of curiosity I decided to take a few “top of 2009” lists published by bloggers, put them together and see how much the opinion of the blogging community differs from that of the established official press.

The lists I picked come from the cigar blogs I regularly visit and does not pretend to be exhaustive of the entire cigar blogsphere, but hopefully it is enough to be significant. Still, if you published a similar list on your blog and would like me to add it to the mix, let me know; I’ll be more than happy to do so.

The “top of 2009” lists I picked are the following: three from the Stogie Review (Don Cruz’ado’s, Walt’s and Brian’s), Cigar Inspector’s best non-Cubans, Smoking Stogie’s best Non-Cubans and Keeper of the Flame’s, StogieOne’s and A Cigar Smoker’s best of 2009. On each of these lists the top cigar got 10 points, the second 9 and so on till 1 for number 10 (A cigar smoker’s list has 15 places and I only took the first 10). I didn’t use the 2 Cuban Cigar’s lists available (from Cigar Inspector and Smoking Stogie) as none of the other blogs looked at Cubans. What came out of it? Is it a lot different from CA’s list? Let’s see the joint top 10:

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Cigar Aficionado’s 2009 top 25 – my 2¢

Cigar Aficionado has slowly been trickling its top 25 cigars of 2009 on their website for the past five days, crowning the Padron Family Reserve No.45 Maduro as the best of the year. Now it is finally online in its entirety.

I’ll come clear straightaway: I am not a Cigar Aficionado fan, far from it. I find the magazine itself more an excuse for advertisement aimed at rich snobby guys than a real cigar publication, but it is undeniable that through the magazine and the online counterpart Cigar Insider these guys have a lot of influence on consumers (in the US mainly, but not only).It’s amusing (though I appreciate the idea) that a high-life magazine like CA has decided to also put a list of the best budget cigars on its website, though some might argue that 5-6$ is not exactly a bargain price, rather mid of the road instead… still if you live off expensive spirits playing golf all day long 5$ is nothing I guess. Continue reading

Happy 2010

A bit late (still recovering from last night) but Happy 2010!

Hope this year will be filled with great smokes for all you BOTLs out there.