I’ve been giving a lot of thought about life, happiness and what a good cigar can do to contribute to both. I just finished reading the latest article in “Cigar Aficionado” on Samuel Clemens or Mark Twain, as most of us would know him and his work. Anyone reading this would see that Samuel was a man of great depth, a remarkable individual with an open mind and someone who had the kind of confidence it took to write volumes of work on many topics. He became a man that many statesmen wanted to spend time with but more than anything else what struck me as being very interesting, was the fact that he was a guy that smoked cigars. A whole bunch of cigars!!
What he had in common with George Burns is that Samuel smoked cheap cigars. Very cheap cigars.
I don’t know, if it matters what kind of cigars a man smokes to make him happy. I’m not sure that the majority of cigar smokers in the world today know the difference or care. We have to think that when you speak of cigar smokers, you have to include all of the people who light up a cigar from time to time whenever one is handed to him or her and if that’s the case, then the numbers go way up.
Lately when I’m out in public, whether its outside a pub or a restaurant, people will come up to me and say, “Boy that smells good, want to give me a cigar?”…. Well, here’s my answer! Based on Canadian prices I usually smoke cigars that start at around $25 and up. I have a hard time parting with cigars that cost this much, even to my good friends, and here comes some guy that I’ve known for about 3.6 seconds and he asks for one. What do you think his chances are?? Yup, you’re probably right !
Another thing that I’ve been running into is this… When some stranger says that he likes smoking cigars I always ask what kind of cigar. This is when I get the look of question marks. 9 out of 10 people these days will tell me that they have no idea, they just like them. I could talk about Cuban cigars for an hour to any stranger I meet but as time goes by, I’m seeing that the majority of the people I meet on the street really don’t have a clue. I guess maybe knowledgeable cigar smokers are the minority here but I want to make one point very clear, I am NOT an authority on the topic. In the last decade or so I’ve smoked more Cuban cigars than I probably should have and as I sit here I can picture in my mind what a Trinidad tastes like, what a Partagas profile is like compared to a cigar from Romeo y Julieta and I can definitely re-live the joy of an Esplendido or Robusto from Cohiba.
All I can tell you is that I feel a kinship with fellow cigar smokers out there and I can especially have more than my share of respect for a true Aficionado who knows WHY a Cohiba is the finest cigar made today ( a bit of a bold statement, but I’m going to dig my heels in and not budge on that one ). These cylinders of rolled Cuban tobacco simply are one of the very few things in life that give me more pleasure than most objects on this planet and I, for one, am so grateful that I’ve picked up on this passion that so many great men before me have enjoyed
I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen anything like the whirlwind of activity on the net these days about the arrival of the Behike. It seems that every cigar site has something to say about it from the price, to the taste, to the whining of those that say because of the price they will probably never smoke one. To those people I say, life is short, spend the money on a stick and pretend that you’re alive for a moment or two!!!
I’m not a wealthy individual but I want to experience as much as possible on this planet and I want to taste the finest cigars, sample the finest wine and see if I can get my sorry butt on the most exclusive golf courses on the planet before my heart finally blows up as I’m walking to the store one day!
The prices for the Behike in Canada will be through the roof but we have to get used to that fact and live with it. The one good thing is that we live in a country where the cigars are actually AVAILABLE to us.. That in itself is something to celebrate!! So for the time being, I’m going to continue to wait for that glorious day ( you know what I’m talking about), keep reading what others have to say and work on my short game!!
Years ago I used to live in in Alberta and worked in an office selling computer equipment with a team of young yahoos who only wanted to work hard enough to party and go crazy on a daily basis. At the time we were young and really didn’t have a clue as to what was important in life. We had fast cars, real bad habits and concern for the betterment for society was the last thing we thought about. I loved it !! At the time.. When I think back at how much money we made and how much money we all wasted I feel sick to my stomach but I guess we all have to learn. Some of us never did. Some of the guys I worked with have passed on, I guess their bodies couldn’t keep up with the strain.
Cigars played a part as well. Cohiba cigars, to be exact! I wasn’t smoking cigars back then and I remember hearing that from time to time a few of these guys would be smoking Cohibas whenever the thought occurred to them.. Why?? Well, for no other reason then that they had heard that Cohiba were the best cigars to smoke… Idiots!!! Those are the cigar smokers that drive me crazy. They know nothing about the different brands coming out of Cuba, all they knew was that they wanted to smoke the best, but had no idea as to why Cohiba cigars were the best. Enough of that rant !
Years passed and then one day I’m seeing in the newspaper that one of those guys wins big in the lottery.. How big?? Well, about $5,000,000 to be exact.. I couldn’t believe it!! A large part of me wanted to call him up and congratulate him since we were sort of close when we worked together but I had no contact information about him and never got around to it. A few years ago I learned that he too passed away from excessive abuse on his system. You sometimes wonder how different rock-stars are able to live long and full lives, I guess it must be in their genes.
I was smoking a Siglo I last night when I thought about this guy and the fact that I never spoke to him after his good fortune. It was a particularly great cigar and I wished I could have shared that moment with him. The next time I want to get a hold of someone from my past, I think I’ll try a little harder.
Sometimes being patient and sending the right thoughts into the universe will pay off in spades. Yesterday morning I received a call from a guy saying that he had gotten my number from a mutual friend after he had heard that I was in the market for a Cohiba Piramides LE 2001. This was what I have been waiting for and I didn’t hesitate to pick up 5, even though with our “through the roof” sin tax in Canada meant that I’d be spending more than I wanted. Oh well !
Last night after dinner I went out to the deck and armed with only a glass of cold water I wanted to see if all of my expectations of this 9 year old cigar would be met. The 2006 and the 2001, although having a lot of similarities, showed that they are different in a few different ways. The one thing that I think I know about Cohiba is that their tenacity for consistency would probably dictate that the same kind of blend would be used for the 2 different vintages, at least I’m hoping thats the case and I would think that they would do their best to put out the same cigar for both years.
One thing that I noticed right away was that the defining characteristics really had smoother edges and I’m guessing that spending 4 more years in the humidor contributed to how the cigar behaved. Any of the bean flavors I tasted were certainly creamier and so much more smooth than the ’06. Did I like it better than the ’06?? I don’t think so, since they are 2 different cigars and the comparison would be totally unfair. They are both magnificent and I’m very grateful to be able to look forward to smoking them again down the road!
I have a question for anyone reading this post.. I have a friend who is going to Cuba in the next few weeks and I was wondering if any of you have been in Havana lately, in particular, I am wondering if anyone has been to the cigar shop in the Hostal Conde di villanueva in the last little while. This is a beautiful hotel at Calle Mercaderes 202 in old Havana. If you’ve been there you’ll probably always remember it as being the hotel that has the peacock wandering around the inner courtyard.
Upstairs on the second floor you can see their cigar shop that has a walk in humidor with some wonderful aged Cuban cigars for sale. This may be one of the better cigar shops in Havana and my question is…. Has anyone seen Cohiba Piramides LE 2001 still for sale.. They are now 9 years old and the possibility of this particular vintage still for sale in that shop could be questionable..
In Canada these cigars go for over $50 a stick but Cuban prices will be a LOT better than that.. Will they be cheap?? I’d say no.. Will they be an outstanding cigar?? By all means!!!
Please let me know if you’ve seen these for sale there in the last few months..
Thanks a lot!!!!
Well since we’re on the topic of people that bug me here is another example. A cousin of mine came over last night with a few cigars to smoke and after dinner we went out on the the deck for Scotch and Cuban cigars. He brought a few Siglo No 4′s with him and that suited me just fine. With a cigar of that strength I felt that my old standby, Oban Scotch would work out and it was a fine pairing.
This is a cousin I rarely see and although we are quite close he is a guy I occasionally get into pretty good arguments with. His family was always very comfortable, financially speaking, and he was an only child….. Strike one……. This guy would come over to visit and bring always the biggest and best toys with him and then the bragging would begin….. Bragging?? … Strike two……
He has been smoking cigars for the past 2 years now and although he is a bit younger than I am, by 2 years, he feels and has always felt somewhat superior……. Strike three…….
Last night he started out by telling me all of the facts he knows about Cohiba cigars and I sat silently and listened to him go on and on…. and on….. and on……. and on…… about his feelings towards this wonderful cigar… He told me about the cigar’s obvious flaws and weaknesses compared to the original Cohibas…… I had to hear about his feelings towards the cigar’s development going into the second third and how he felt that this cigar was letting him down…… Good grief!!!!!!!! I was having a fine time smoking the beautiful Corona Gorda but he wasn’t letting go of it…..
Just when I had had about enough, he started telling me that I should come over to his place more often so he could give me cigar tutorials and if I paid attention I could really learn a few things from him… That was it!!! I couldn’t take it any longer and started to plan a little accident for him!! He had chosen a chair that I was going to spend a bit of time repairing since it had a weak back leg that would sometimes give out and cause the person sitting on it to fall back… Off to the washroom he went and I knew what I was going to do.
When he was in the house I reached over and loosened the bolt holding the left back leg and quickly sat back down in my chair without him noticing as he strolled back on to the deck.. He reached for his drink, stood over me and continued braying on and on about all of his vast cigar knowledge and then sat down again….. Nothing happened…..
Talk about lucky, this guy must have been holding on to a lucky rabbit’s foot in his back pocket as he smoked, drank, had another drink and then started leaning back onthe back two legs of his chair when it finally gave way….. I sat quietly watching his drink spilled over him as he hit the deck and saw the sparks of his cigar as it smashed onto the floor…….. The argument began…….
I pretended to be sorry and offered to give him a dry shirt but he wasn’t having any part of it.. All of the things that he didn’t like about me started spewing out and before I knew it, he was blaming all of our family’s problems on me….. I was into the final third of the cigar and it tasted great.. I took another sip of the Oban and told him that maybe it was getting a bit late…….
The last 3 days on Vancouver Island proved to be all that I expected it to be.. Drinking, cigars and golf with some of the worst behaved individuals that ever slapped their credit cards down and rented clubs and power carts. And just as I expected, after a couple of drinks, everyone wanted me to fork over Cohiba cigars. Out came the counterfeits and these guys were puffing away gleefully like I knew they would.
I like all of these guys but they know nothing about Cuban cigars, the price of Cuban cigars or how they should taste so I didn’t feel too bad when they set them down after the first third and reached for their cigarette packages. I don’t want to appear to be a mean spirited individual but they were just as happy with a fake Esplendido as they would have been with a genuine Siglo VI. Thats just how it is!!
I had 3 days of people walking on my lie on the greens, people talking and laughing as people were in the middle of a swing and playing out of turn but I knew all of this as I walked into this situation. Golf can be a very relaxing game or, if you start to take it seriously, it can be an assault on the senses. It is a game that tends to be more enjoyable the better you get at it but you also have to be with people that take the game seriously or forget about your score. We kept saying that “it’s all about the hang” and I have to agree.
Back home on the deck with a 5 year old Cohiba Robusto is where I’m heading in a few minutes. It’ll be me, a good cigar and the peace and quiet that I’ve been waiting for!
Today I’m going to be going to Victoria on Vancouver Island to do some golfing with buddies for a couple of days. This should prove to be an interesting experience because I haven’t golfed with these guys for a few years and, to be honest, I have no idea what to expect. Out of the 8 individuals that will be getting together, 5 are loggers who have been stuck in the bush for the last 3 months and my main concern isn’t how much steam will these guys be letting off on the course but what will get damaged and how much will it cost us after it is all said and done..
Since I am the guy with the healthiest humidor, I’ll be taking a few Cohibas to hand out, but not many of these clowns even smoke cigars and they’ll all want them after a drink or two. These are the kind of smokers that take a few puffs, set the cigar in the golf ball holder on the dash of the golf cart and then spill beer all over them.
This is the best time to have dried out counterfeits in a zip lock bag on a shelf in the garage. Last year I had a few friends that went to Veradero and came back with Cohibas that they bought from some guy on the beach. These cigars ended up in my hands and after a few handshakes and many thank you’s I hid them away in the coldest, driest spot on the property.
The bands on the Cohibas look the same ( to this bunch of golfing yahoos ) so I see no problem. I’ll let you know how this up-coming bit of madness ends.
The last Cohiba Siglo VI I smoked was some time ago during a trip to Alberta…. I felt terrible about it because I think it was a total waste of money… Not buying the cigar, but where and when I chose to smoke it… Smoking a cigar, especially one of that calibre, in less than perfect conditions is a real waste of time.. Anyone thinking about going outdoors and lighting up one of Cuba’s finest works of art during a snowstorm in sub-zero weather should have their heads examined… That is exactly what I did, except for getting my head examined…
Last night we had a fine evening in Vancouver, and out on my deck with a glass of Oban, I felt it was time to light up a Siglo VI.. It was a very different story from my last experience with that cigar.
This is a rock star cigar in every sense of the term starting with the construction. A bit of a tightly rolled Canonazo ( I love that word ) but after clipped, still had an easy draw.. How do they do that???? Pre-light draw revealed a bit of wood and grass but subtle at best…. Hmmmmmm, subtle may be a great word to have on hand when describing this cigar. The choice of Oban may or may not have been the best pick for a beverage since it really had more power than the cigar because of the very slight flavor changes that happened as this cigar progressed… Not a lot of change and progression, sort of reminded me of a Trinidad Robusto Extra in it’s delivery…..
It burned perfectly and required only a small amount of correction as it got into the final third but I love how cigars taste as they approach the nub…. All in all, a very different experience from my Alberta snow storm afternoon with this same cigar!!!!!
Oh yeah, where was I ???? So the last thing that happened was my power went out but I guess I neglected to tell you about what happened after…..
Vancouver is a bit of a world center for devil weed grow-op production, in fact so much so that there could be as many as 20,000 grow-ops in the lower mainland at any given point in time… This is what I read in the paper but I’m a cigar guy… I tried that stuff when I was a kid and like Clinton, I didn’t inhale!!! ( much )……
So the power goes out and then I hear sirens…. Well, I wasn’t sure why but then again this IS Vancouver and anything is possible… Turns out I have a neighbor 3 doors down in the “Biz”, as it were, and he was also stealing electricity to keep the operation costs down. This is something that happens a lot and quite often you get caught because the electric company matches the amount of use on a grid with the amount of revenue coming in…. Things don’t match up and then the giant microscope comes out….
The Cohiba Robusto was into the final third and tasting rich and fruity when our neighborhood went black but I’ve learned to stay quiet and stay in the shadows when things like this happen and most of the time it all blows over….. Most of the time…… Then I heard a rustling in my bushes…
We have a lot of animals ( cats, dogs, raccoons, the odd black bear and deer ) who drop into our yard at night, so I shouldn’t have been concerned but I thought I heard this one humming or something weird…. I set the Robusto down and went for my flashlight and when I came back there was a kid, maybe 17 or 18 standing on my back deck in handcuffs….. The lights then went back on and I could see that he looked terrified and it brought back memories of the few times when I was younger and felt the cold steel on my wrists.. These days I like staying within the parameters of society’s rules and I made a promise to myself that I’m permanently going to be keeping it that way…… Then a German shepherd ran on the to back deck and pulled the kid down…… All Hell broke loose after that….
The next thing I know is that there are 5 cops on my back deck shouting orders to the kid, the dog and yelling at me to put my cigar out….. This was when I had had enough….. I don’t care if you have to conduct your business on my back deck but there was still about 2 inches of Cohiba’s best burning in my hand and I wasn’t about to be pushed around on my own property so with my elbow I reached behind me and turned out the lights on the deck……. Things got a little noisy after that !! The dog went crazy, the cops started yelling and the kid ran off ….. In a second they were gone, all was quiet and I was alone again…
I don’t think the kid made it very far with handcuffs on and a German Shepherd on his tail but I didn’t care much…. I went into the kitchen, poured another shot of port and went back to the deck to finish one of the best Cohiba Robustos I had yet this year!