Posted on 31-01-2010
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Go to Cuba, meet as many people as you can and ask them about their opinion of Castro!  Well, there’s a way to start a blog entry.  I’ll try not to get to political here because, after all, this is about Cohiba cigars but you can not smoke these beautiful examples of Cuban artistic perfection without occasionally thinking about the man who helped bring them into the picture.  Castro smoked the Cohiba Corona Especial, a thinner ring gauge (38) then the Esplendido and a bit mellower but every bit as wonderful with the typical grassy Cohiba approach.

As we travelled around Cuba I was struck by the kindness of the Cuban people.  They were very educated and everyone we met from taxi drivers to bus boys to hotel managers seemed to have a lot to say about their lives today in Cuba.  As you probably know this is a country of poverty and hardship, people don’t have a lot of money, grand possessions and the ability to travel but thats not to say that they don’t have knowledge of the world. People had no problem opening up and telling us about their families and how day to day life treats them.  We spoke to school teachers that drove taxis and worked in restaurants.  We met people from all walks of life that were now deeply entrenched in the service industry who, although loved the money they were now earning, missed their original jobs.

The interesting thing that I noticed was everyone’s opinion of Castro.  Each person seemed to dislike his politics but had a strong feeling of love for the man.  I found it quite fascinating that they all looked at him as being a strong father figure in their country, and in some way, he is.

I know that one day their country will change for the better.  I sincerely hope that the people will have more chance to leave their island and see first hand what it is like to jump on a plane and go to Europe, Canada, the U.S. and return home again with wonderful memories like the ones we have visiting their country.

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Posted on 29-01-2010
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A few days ago I bought a second hand humidor and a few cigars were in it.  One was an Especiales, made by the good people from “You Know Who” and the curiosity got the better of me today and I had to fire it up.  Many words come to mind but the first one should be Wow!

I’m usually a thick gauge kind of guy but if it has the Cohiba band on it, oh yeah, I’m going to try it!! This one started out being very very creamy with a lot of dark chocolate.  Kind of sounds like dessert, doesn’t it. Another thing I’m tasting is quite a mildness but still what I’d consider to be very full bodied.

The construction is even throughout as is the burn.  I’m amazed at how talented the people from Cohiba are to blend such a little beauty like this.  I’m starting into the final third and also detecting a wonderful sweetness…..

Well, I gotta give this one  2 thumbs up and the best part……. It was free!!!!!!

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Posted on 27-01-2010
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I love Cuban cigars but I’ve definitely been running into a problem lately with all of the choices I have coming out of Cuba but what I’ve been going back to time and again are the Cohibas.  As I smoke them I hold and caress them and I know that what I’m enjoying is the best that Cuba has to offer.  Now here is the problem, and I’m sure you ask yourselves this from time to time.  Is it the band that has us so enthralled or is it the tobacco that tastes so superior.

I know for myself that as years go by if you were to remove the band and give me 4 different Robustos I’d probably pick the Cohiba 9 times out of 10 in a blind taste test.  It gets easier and easier as I smoke these gems, I’m totally convinced, that they have such a distinct flavor profile they are quite identifiable.  I don’t know of any other cigar that starts out with that grassy pepper flavor that always tends to evolve into a more complex being.  I was looking at a Cohiba Robusto that I got at my favorite cigar store before I sat down to write this and even the look of the cigar is un-mistakable.

I really don’t have much more to say on the topic this evening other than I have a problem with Cohiba worship…….. Well……. Maybe it’s not that big a problem.

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Posted on 26-01-2010
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For anyone who who have taken a trip to Cuba, the sights and smells of Havana leave you with memories that last a lifetime.  Spending time on the beach and staying at the usual “All Inclusive Resorts” can be a great experience for someone going there for the first time.  I think you have to do it at least once and be spoiled by the service you get from some of the friendliest people on the planet.  I’ve read different reviews on a few different travel sites by people that have nothing else to do but complain about the service, the food, the noise at night and the quality of their hotel rooms.  Give me a break!!  Cuba is still a third world country and these resorts do their very best to show you a great time with their entertainment and service.

Want to have fun?  Try golfing at the Veradero Golf Club.  I had a great round there one day and although I think they could have watered the course a bit more, I saw things there I haven’t seen on any other golf course.  Here at home we have to be quite vigilant with food left on our golf carts because we have “Smart Crows” that will strip your cart clean when you aren’t looking.  In Veradero they have chickens.  Chickens?? Yup, chickens!  In fact, if left alone you could have as many as 6 chickens walking all over your power cart if you don’t watch out.  We had beer, which they weren’t interested in so I wasn’t so concerned but it made for some really funny pictures.  I was able to rent Taylormade R7′s so I wasn’t complaining about the quality of rentals.  I gave one of the golf pros 6 Pro V 1′s as I dropped off my gear at the end of my round which he was very excited about.

Seeing Havana from the back of a Coco taxi is a very entertaining way to go around town.  These little 3 wheeled motorcycles with a bit of a bubble domed cover for the passengers zip all around Havana at a fairly reasonable price and if you have a driver who is in a talking mood you can get a good tour guide out of the deal as well.  One day we went to the Cementerio de Colon, Havana’s huge Cemetery and if you want to see acres of the most beautiful grave sites, you’ll find it there.  Amazing statues of angels and monuments gleaming in the sunlight for acres.

The highlight of the day was stopping at the Partagas factory and buying a box of Siglo VI’s..  Each time I go there I will make sure to return to that shop.  Smoking a great cigar and drinking rum at the cathedral square in the early afternoon is a great way to start off the next phase of your day in Havana.  Be careful though, time goes quickly at the square and rum seems to go down so easily in the hot sun…..  It seems that cigars in cuba taste better somehow.  I’ll have to return as soon as I can to see if my theory holds any water… I’ll let you know!

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Posted on 25-01-2010
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Well, how much of an adventure can a humidor give you?  Not much unless………

I’ve recently gotten 2 more boxes of cigars and one of them being a beautiful box of Siglo IV’s I thought that aging them for a while in my humidor would be my new favorite pastime.  Problem here is that my humidor at home is already full and with 2 more boxes to take care of, I needed a new one….. Or….. maybe a second hand one!  I like saving money as much as the next guy so on to Craigslist I go.

late last night I saw a post and was that this guy wanted only $40 for a humidor with a few cigars thrown is as well ( one Cohiba Especiales and a non-Cuban, oh well).  Sign me up!  I e-mailed him this morning and didn’t hear back so I went golfing for the day.  It was a coolish sort of outing with overcast clouds and a temperature of around 8 degrees C, but I was hitting the ball OK and all in all, a pretty good time.  After I got back home this afternoon I saw that the humidor guy had written me back saying that there was a lot of interest in his ad and some people were on their way over.  I wrote back saying that I still wanted the humidor and he told me that I still may get lucky if I hurried and beat the others.   When I got to his place I was pleased to find that I was the first one to see the humidor since everyone else was stalled or cancelled and well, after all, it was Sunday.  I guess the others had more important things to do or… I drove faster than they did.

The humidor was quite beautiful and looked like the top of a roll-top desk with plexi-glass being on the front of the box.  It had a divided tray that sat at an angle and four spacers on the bottom.  The wood inside looked a bit reddish but I really didn’t pay attention to my gut instinct that said, “Hey, that wood looks a bit reddish!”  I gave him the $40 and home I went.

The first thing I did when I got it home was clean it up, wipe down the plexi-glass and soaked down the interior with distilled water.  I was very pleased but that wood inside still looked maybe a bit too reddish. I closed the door and had dinner.  After going back to my new toy I opened it up and, well, out came the odor.  Yup, you knew it all along, didn’t you.  American cedar!  Hmmmmmmm, this isn’t going to work at all, especially with a nice box of Cohibas sitting in it for any length of time.  I’ve never owned a humidor with a Red American cedar interior but I’m thinking that there’s no way I’m putting my Cubans in there.   Sometimes the thought of saving money clouds one’s judgement and you make rash decisions, or at least I did today.

Now rather than scrapping the whole idea and turning this into a display case for my wife’s jewelry I think the best thing to do is be a bit more stubborn and start contacting a few friends of mine that are good with wood.  My feelings are that this isn’t really all that bad and that the interior can be replaced with Spanish cedar without too much trouble, well maybe a little trouble… But… I love the design of this humidor and with a little effort and probably more $$$$$$ I can make it work.

I’ll let you know in the next few days how this adventure comes to an end……

Stay tuned!!!!!

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Posted on 23-01-2010
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Last night I sat around with a very dear friend, my Piramides from 2006 and I can’t begin to tell you how this cigar has improved with age.  I smoked one earlier last summer and was so impressed with its smoothness and complexity.  None of the flavors I remember were a lot different but what struck me was how it evolved in the humidor and became gentler in it’s approach.

One thing that caught my attention right after I removed it from my humidor was the construction of this stick.  A beautiful maduro wrapper, perfect throughout and the cap appeared to be that perfect spiral that, when cut, stayed intact and behaved like a champ

This is not your typical “grassy” Cohiba, you’ll find more chocolate and caramel appearing making this a bit of a different experience from regular Cohibas.  This re-edition of the very successful LE 2001 comes in dark brown boxes of 10 and I felt very lucky to get my hands on a few of these cigars.  I’ll continue saving a few to see how they develop in the up-coming months but I have to tell you, this one is very hard to hang on to for any length of time.

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Posted on 22-01-2010
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The good people from Cohiba  launched the Siglo Series in 1992 to pay homage to the 500th anniversary of Mr. Christopher Columbus showing up in the “New World”.  Much has been written about the Siglo VI and for good reason but for now I’d like to turn my attention to the Siglo IV.

This beautifully rolled cigar comes in a 46 ring gauge and at a length of 5 and 5/8 inches.  This series is a bit milder than cigars from the original Cohibas and this one starts off tasting very mild.  After the first puff the taste of honey comes into the picture and to some degree stays throughout.  Coffee flavors appear soon after lighting this stogie and one is reminded of Cuban coffee and how it became a preferred flavor with so many coffee drinkers around the world.  As this cigar develops into the second third, chocolate appears and mixed with the taste of honey you are now getting what Cohiba had intended and developed as one of the sweetest cigars to come out of Cuba.

The final third delivers the taste of vanilla, mixed with chocolate, mixed with honey which causes one to wonder how all of this is possible by simply blending leaves together. All in all this cigar has become one of my favorites and as years go by the contents of the box I picked up in ’04 age beautifully in my humidor.

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Posted on 21-01-2010
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A few days back I got a call in the morning to go hit a few balls at the driving range.  The weather wasn’t bad but it was too rainy to golf and a buddy was going to invite a friend of his, a golf pro at one of the local courses, to join up with us.  Great!!!  I had heard so much about this guy and finally was going to meet him and maybe get a few pointers on my swing.  I had recently gotten a new Ping G10 Driver and couldn’t wait to hit a few more balls with it plus you can smoke cigars at this particular range which is one of the main reasons why I’ll drive a bit farther to get there. This was shaping up to be a fine morning.

I had lots of gas in the car, clubs in the back and Miles Davis in the CD player.  The traffic wasn’t too bad at that time of day, the morning rush had slowed down and so I decided to stop in to pick up a cappuccino, I had more than enough time to get there.  I got back out on to the highway, cranked up the tunes and then felt a bit of a shudder.  What???? Wadda ya mean shudder??  Cars aren’t supposed to shudder !!  $$$$$$$  The car rolled to a stop.   Noooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $$$$$$$$$$

I managed to get to the side of the road, turn on the emergency flashers and poke around under the hood to see if anything wrong was kind of obvious.  No, nothing jumped out at me so I then looked under the car and saw nothing there either.  good grief!!!!  About 3 minutes a cop pulls up behind me, turns on the lights and walks up to my window.  Well, he was a friendly enough guy but said that I couldn’t stay there and called a tow truck.  $$$$$$$$$……  The tow truck guy towed my car a few miles down the road to my son in law’s garage and then a whole other story begins. $$$$$$$$

I wasn’t going to get any golf tips today.  I wasn’t going to sit peacefully at the driving range smoking a cigar and drinking the rest of my cappuccino.  Good grief!!!  I had to think of something !!  Well at least there was a CD player in the garage and a comfortable chair.  I pulled out Cohiba Genios Maduro 5.  I love the beautiful maduro wrapper this cigar has, the color, the slightly oily texture and after clipping the cap I found an easy draw.  The cigar started off with that peppery Cohiba taste and settled down and became more spicy.

I found myself becoming more relaxed and getting used to the idea that I’d be getting to know my new driver at a later date at the range.  Oh well……. Hey, do any of you know what a timing belt is??   $$$$$$$$$$$$$

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Posted on 20-01-2010
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Every now and then you have to treat yourself and do whatever it takes to get yourself back on even keel.  I had a good day today, nothing was really difficult and all of the tasks I had on my plate were handled without incident…. But….. things started going down hill as soon as I got home.  I went to the humidor and got out a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 2 and then sat down for just over an hour of what should have been Cuban cigar relaxation.  These are some of my favorite Robustos and, in my humble opinion, I put them into the list called, “my top ten favorite cigars!”.  They never fail to heal me and thrill me with all of their sweet flavors.

I didn’t happen today!!!

Not even close!!!!

Instead of having a soothing effect I felt betrayed and deceived.  Now that cigar came from a box I picked up a year ago and the consistency has been very steady throughout but I guess it was just not written in the stars that today would be my day for fun and excitement!!!! The whole experience put me into a dark mood and I started walking around the house looking for something to throw out on to the street.  Now I really like all of my possessions and a large part of me felt that if I gave in to this feeling I’d only regret it later on.  What to do????  Then an idea presented itself to me with crystal clarity!

I walked back downstairs to where I keep my humidor, opened it, made a selection, reached for my cigar cutter and clipped the cap off an Esplendido that I purchased from my favorite spot, the Vancouver Cigar Company.  Ha!!!!! Vengeance will be mine!!  I’m far from wealthy and try to keep my habit down to one a day but I couldn’t be defeated.  Not today… Not this time!

As I type this I feel such a beautiful calm washing over me.  I’m tasting vanilla, caramel and a bit of that beautiful grassy taste that we know we can count on with such a classic cigar.  I’m asking myself how much it would have cost to sit down and spend an hour with a reputable therapist or maybe the price I’d have to pay to see my DVD player fly into the street and get run over by a semi.  No, this is better, this is good and I know that this is the right thing to do!

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Posted on 19-01-2010
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No, I’m not talking about a special Cohiba that was released in ’72.  It is my father’s birthday next week and I went to HMV today and picked up a box set of the 1972 Canada-Russia hockey series.  If any of you watched those games then you’ll remember a whole different kind of hockey that the Russians brought to the table.  We were out skated, out shot and out-maneuvered for most of the series and my father and I watched every game together.

He is getting on in years but still loves a good cigar from time to time so what could be better than a box of Cohiba Robustos to go along with the  DVD box set.  I only have one father, I love him a lot and I’ll spend some time with him in these next few weeks watching those games again.

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