Its that time again in Canada when the Canadian Country Music Association or CCMA has it’s annual Awards weekend where it showcases country music and it’s performers with a series of musical workshops, a gala dinner where awards are given out to industry people and a televised awards show the following evening which spotlights the winners in various categories. This is one of the most exciting weekends for country fans and industry alike because of the many late night jams played by the best pickers in Canada and of late, bands like “Jetty Road” from Australia, who’ve been performing and lighting up Canadian stages in the last few years.
These evenings are, most often, in local bars and rooms which are focused on live music with stages, lights and great sound in place and ready for an onslaught of maniacal country music folks hellbent on having the most fun they’ve had all year. This year will be again a meeting of musicians, TV personalities and producers now realizing that cigars are yet another thing that they have in common, will take place for 4 days in Hamilton Ontario. This event moves from host cities in the west to the maritimes and this year’s event will will be very close to it’s association’s home town of Toronto.
Many great cigars will be passed back and forth and a whole bunch of drinking will take place. One can only imagine the stories that will be told over breakfast tables this year. I know that I’ll be seeing friends who play music and friends that are more involved in the technical end of things as well as producers that I sometimes only run into once a year.
As well as sharing Cuban cigars with old smoking buddies I always try to convert new smokers over to the cigar way of thinking… Yeeeeehaaaaaw!
I’m a guy that will always be on the hunt for a good cigar at a great price and quite often I check on Craigslist, here in Vancouver, to see if anyone is selling off any of theirs at a good price. Now and then I find some real hidden treasure but I don’t believe I thought I’d find aged cigars so close to home like I did yesterday.
I woke up and was very excited that Kim Mitchell was playing at the PNE… I wrote an entry about that yesterday morning on this blog and after I hit the publish button I went to Craigslist to see if anyone had cigars to sell.. Bingo!!!! A very short ad describing cigars for sale came up and I emailed the address given, I got an answer right away only to find out that a few doors down from where I live, an older woman was getting rid of about 30 cigars for $100…. What????
After getting her phone number, I gave her a call and we were both quite pleased and surprised to find out that we were neighbors.. I walked over… In a city of this size you have no idea who some of your neighbors are and quite often we just don’t make the effort to get to know those who live close to us. Life is changing, things get more complicated and I believe that we humans tend to cocoon more and more so maybe we live more guarded lives.. I guess I do that as well now…..As I walked into the entry of her home I was met with the smell that reminded me of Havana, you know the one, it is the aroma of a home that has seen many a burning cigar.. I was becoming very excited, I had no idea there was a cigar smoker who lived so close to me.. How could I have missed this?
This very pleasant woman, who could have been in her 80′s, explained that her husband, who smoked cigars all his life, had died and she was getting rid of his possessions before putting up their house for sale. Her realtor told her that she would have to do a big house cleaning and paint the interior of the home before the sign would be stuck into the front lawn. She also explained that the “wooden box” where he kept his cigars would be also thrown in as part of the deal… blink…… Ummmm, Ok…. Now my heart rate starts to go up 20 beats or so as she tells me to have a seat and drink some tea as she shuffles into another room to retrieve the “wooden box”..
I wasn’t sure what to expect but was very excited to see her return with a beautiful humidor that had the capacity to hold, I guessed, about 75 cigars.. This “wooden box” had the most beautiful barnyard smell come out of it after I opened the lid and inside were an impressive collection of cigars covered in plume… Good Lord.. What laid in front of me were Montecristo No 2′s, Partagas Lusitanias, 2 Cuaba Salomons, 4 H. Upmann Magnum 50′s, 3 Montecristo A’s, a few Romeo Churchills and the rest of the nicely aged cigars had that familiar black, white and gold band that we all love so much… I had to sit down and try to contain myself. I didn’t say anything for a while as she went to the kitchen to get more tea.
You know that dizzy feeling you get when you realize something has just happened but you’re not sure that it just happened and that maybe you shouldn’t have had those mushrooms sprinkled on top of that salad that those hippies just made for you….. Yeah, yeah, thats the feeling…
When she returned, I asked her if the smell of cigars bothered her and she told me that she loved the aroma so I reached into my pocket for my clipper and lit a Robusto adorned with that lovely yellow band.. The clouds parted, I was bathed in a warm comfortable glow as the first puff hit my olfactory nerves which told me that I now knew how the first guy felt as he picked up that rock which told him that the California gold rush was about to begin. Just a few doors down???? I have a nose like a Steelhead when it comes to cigar smoke.. Why didn’t I ever smell cigar smoke so close to my home before???
I didn’t say much as I listened to this woman talk to her cat but decided that I would be a good neighbor and offer to cut her lawn as she was selling her house and moving out of our part of town.. This made her very happy and as I paid her the five 20 dollar bills she told me that the next time I came over, she’d let me pick a few cigars out of another “wooden box” that she was planning on giving to her brother…….. Heart rate goes up again……
Tonight is the night to go see Kim Mitchell at the PNE in Vancouver, a great stage, wonderful outdoor sound and they say we’ll be seeing 27 degrees this afternoon… Take your rock and roll t-shirts and shorts because you won’t need a lot of clothes today… We’ve had a great stretch of weather in Vancouver in the last 3 weeks and with all of the complaining about the Pacific North West’s summer this year, I’ve seen nothing but hot days, sunshine and warm nights… A perfect setting for a Rock and Roll concert..
Trouble is, the Pacific National Exhibition is in a Vancouver park, or at least classified as a park, so there is NO smoking on the grounds whatsoever… That’s right folks, non smoking hysteria is in full swing here in Lotus Town and any mention of a cigar in this post would be futile.. No matter, I want to hear, ” I am A Wild Party” and see my friend “Suds” on drums, as he drives the band in a steady and solid direction.. Chris is a Winnipeg drummer that has recently moved to Toronto and will storm the town, hopefully cleaning up with sessions and live work.
This has been a great week of getting new cigars, loading up the humidors and I’ll have more to report in that department in the next few posts.. Holy, Behike Batman!!!!
18 Pastures can be a tough golf course just outside of Vancouver. A lot of seniors who live in the area love to golf there because of the very very affordable rates.. Just under $23 for a round of 18 holes and a shared power cart… You can’t lose, well, the one thing you WILL lose is a lot of golf balls and maybe a whole bunch of blood if you run into a bear in the trees as you look for your ball…
There is a possibility that my Cohiba may have saved my life today.. There’s a statement for all of the hysterical non-smokers who are reading this right now. I had my cigar lit on the front nine and somewhere around hole 6 or 7 I shanked one into the woods ( which line every fairway ) and as I was entering the trees I heard a bit of rustling and saw a black mass running into the opposite direction… There’s a good chance it caught a whiff of the Cuban tobacco as I neared and probably didn’t like it one bit. Whew.. Black bears will take a route of escape 99% of the time when you meet them in the wild…. It’s that 1 % that always has me wondering.
The back nine was full of the bravest deer we’ve ever seen in these parts… You’d hit a ball close to them and could almost touch them as you walked up to your ball in the fairway… They see a lot of people I guess and we don’t seem to concern them at all…
Last group of animals we saw was a family of skunks… Not a lot of glamor there…..
For some reason we are actually having a late summer in Vancouver and every morning I wake up and see sunshine.. Very strange year we’re having and for the longest time we thought that summer wouldn’t come at all because of constant cold winds blowing over us day after day from January to June.. It was awful as we golfed a lot this spring but the amount of clothing required meant that your swing was hampered with feelings of being bound up.
Today will be different.. Low wind speed, warm temperatures and I’m thinking that a trip to one of our local tracks called 18 pastures just may be the ticket.. I was gifted a few Cohiba Lanceros this spring and after 4 or 5 months in the humidor, these beauties will be ready to smoke. I have to say that the cigar I’m going to take along today will probably make up for the trouble I’m heading towards with a golf course that is as difficult as it is..
When trying to give this course a slope rating, a whole new way of rating slope had to be adjusted because this one is right off the charts. You need to pay close attention to every club in your bag and a course like this with target golf requirements puts a lot of pressure on your irons like no other. Leave the driver in the bag for many shots off the tee, go for the 5 or 6 iron and you’ll be a lot better off..
I’ll be meeting up with some good friends for today’s round. These are golfers that don’t really take the scorecard very seriously when playing such a tough course.. Its all about the hang and all about a great cigar to help the time go by as you’re digging around in the forest for your lost balls..
From all that I’ve read concerning the Cuban Cohiba 1966, I’ve gathered that it was THE cigar that impressed many people at this year’s Habanos festival in Havana this past February. I was very excited to hear that Cohiba, my all time favorite Cuban, had a new cigar for cigar smokers world wide but Canadians are STILL waiting to get their hands on one.
I was told that it sometimes takes time for the new releases out of Cuba to make it to far flung shores but patience isn’t one of my finer virtues. We haven’t seen any new cigars from this year’s festival and with all of the reading and research I do on a daily basis, I believe that I make myself crazy as I anticipate all of the new flavor profiles available. Why wouldn’t we smokers feel these feelings when almost all of the brands from Cuba have such great taste and the experience of holding those great gems in our hands gives us such pleasure.
The Siglo series from Cohiba has given Cohiba smokers new choices when buying and smoking cigars for some years now. The Siglo I, IV, V and VI are favorites of mine and never let me down whenever I want a great smoke… but…. Give me a Cohiba Robusto, Esplendidos and the fun REALLY begins.. Hard core cigar smokers have been smoking the original line ever since they were introduced but Pleeeeease, bring on the 1966 !!!