Much has been written about the Cohiba Behike since last year’s release of the beautiful trio of larger ring gauge cigars containing the medio tiempo leaf.  Initially the Behike was introduced in 2006 and rolled, exclusively by one roller, or in this case the “torcedora”, Norma Fernandez.  The original Behike at a 52 ring gauge and 7 1/2 inches long was in a humidor of 40 cigars and only 100 numbered humidors.  Thats a lot of rolling …. and rolling….. The more I hear and read about this woman, the more impressed I am by her stature in the Cuban cigar industry.  She was given the task of blending and designing the cigar that became the most expensive in the world.  Originally these cigars were around $440 each but I’m guessing that when auctions come up in our future, we’ll be seeing these initial prices skyrocket.

I smoked a few of the Behike 52′s last summer and creamy and sweet were the first two descriptions of the flavors, this cigar had in it’s profile, popped into my mind.  I had a wonderful time smoking this smallest of the three and although my mind was always on the price, I felt that I truly had something special burning in my hand.  I remember looking at the 52′s wrapper and remarking to myself that I had never seen a cigar so perfectly rolled, so smooth and free of any large veins and with a color and sheen that easily showed that Cohiba had raised the bar in cigar production.

The Behike 54, which I smoked a few months later had all of the wonderful visible characteristics of the smaller 52 but with flavors that had more power, more complexity and more evolution as the cigar progressed.  The 52 and the 54 had slight similar flavors but the richness of the 54′s chocolate and creamy coffee notes had me guessing which other Cohiba cigar, or cigars, this middle child could be compared to.  The Maduro series always captivates me whenever I smoke one, the Genios being my favorite and for a while I found myself comparing, very slightly, some of what I was tasting in the Behike 54 to that other series… But only for a moment, these are very different lines in Cuba’s prestigious brand and the similarities are few.

The Behike 56 was again a beautifully constructed cigar and, as before, I felt a bit of sadness as I clipped off the pigtail cap and lit the foot.  I feel great pride and adoration for cigars like the Behike whenever I lift the lid of my humidor and gaze upon them as they rest and age, surrounded by the beautiful aroma of Cuban tobacco and Spanish cedar.  But really, why do we go through all the trouble of obtaining fine cigars, quality humidors, hygrometers that give you accurate moisture readings without actually smoking these handmade Cuban products?

The first few puffs of the Behike 56 were mild but complex, again revealing what I had tasted in the 52 and 54 but it didn’t seem to have the strength as the middle size cigar. Here is where I will probably get in trouble with a lot of you who have smoked the 56.  I will be the first to admit that in order to be an authority on the subject of judging this cigar, perhaps smoking 15 or 20 ….. Or 1,500 to 2,000 of these large ring gauge cigars would be a proper place to start but I’m simply offering what I noticed.  The 56′s flavors evolved very nicely as the cigar burned into the second third but I kept remembering what the 54 had to offer and I wondered if I am alone with my observations in comparing the two.  The one thing I DID notice was that the 56 might have needed more time in the humidor, more so than the smaller two.  Of course, any Cuban cigar only improves with age but I remembered being quite blissful during the smoking period of the 52 and 54.  The 56 had me asking myself more questions about it’s youthfulness and wondering what it’s future would reveal after a year or two of rest.

Volumes could be filled with everyone’s opinions of these three cigars, and I’m only one person, but the more I read about last year’s Cohiba release, the more I see that I may not be alone with what I’ve discovered.  The one thing I DO know is that I feel very fortunate in knowing that I’m able to buy, smoke and lose myself in the flavors of the Behike whenever I feel wealthy enough to go to the Vancouver Cigar Company and pick up a few.  I feel sad whenever I read about people getting counterfeits of this cigar but feel fortunate that I have a reputable source for a cigar of this calibre.

If you have any opinions you’d like to share, please leave a comment..

Thank you,

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Ever wonder if a Cohiba tastes better in Cuba??? Would the moist tropical air affect the taste and give you more than if you were smoking the same cigar, let’s say, in Montana?? Probably !!! But if thats the case then it would probably taste the same in Miami since its only a handful of miles away.  I love Miami with it’s beaches, sun and stone crab.. I could go on for a while about stone crab but this is a cigar blog!

While smoking cigars with a few buddies a few days back, the topic of how cigars taste in Cuba came up and all who had been there seem to agree that cigars have an incredible taste in the country of their origin.  I guess to some degree I have to go along with that because I remember smoking cigars from the Siglo series, the Maduro series and Non-Cohiba Cuban cigars.  To be honest, they were all great but I was drinking a lot of rum from breakfast onward so everything was great.

I DO remember that cigars tended to burn a bit slower in Cuba, not much, but definitely noticeable.  The air is heavy and moist, warm and to die for.  Holidays tend to do that to you, your senses are heightened and everything is beautiful.  Maybe not having a care in the world and no cel phone has a lot to do with it! My cel stayed in the hotel room safe and got turned back on when we landed in Canada.

Lately I’ve been hearing a bit about Monsdales… Can anyone shed a bit of light on those cigars??

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A few post ago I revealed that I had a neighbor who had lost her husband and was getting rid of his cigar collection.  I did very well and obtained, not only some beautiful aged cigars, but a quality humidor as part of the package.  She revealed that she had more cigars so I thought I’d pay her a visit this morning and see if she needed any yard work done.  Thats an understatement since her lawn is quite overgrown and full of weeds.  We are approaching the winter season in Vancouver so the grass will slow down, as far as it’s growth is concerned, so I’m feeling that a single cut will be all that will be needed.

After finishing my own lawn this morning after a slight drizzle, I pushed my lawn mower over a few doors down and started in on her front lawn.  She waved to me from her living room window and all I needed was about 20 minutes to blast away at her grass and weeds.  After a small amount of raking and adding a few leaves to her compost bin, I knocked on her door to say a quick hello.  Although I’m getting on in years, she is considerably older than I am and was glad to have some company as I sat down in front of a steaming cup of coffee.  I remembered her saying that she loved the smell of cigar smoke so I felt comfortable in pulling out a Romeo y Julieta No 3 I had in my shirt pocket.  Before I had the chance to light the little coronitas she asked if I would like to smoke one of her late husband’s cigars instead…. Was I about to be rude and refuse her offer??

After disappearing into another room, she returned with a dark and rich Piramides with, once again, that oh so recognizable gold and yellow band.. My God, this was the Cohiba Piramides from 2001.. I have some of the 2006 releases but have only smoked one or two of the first edition from ’01.. What I remember about the experience was that it was a cigar that was nicely balanced and brimming with rich flavors but for some reason I never smoked that many.

Now this is a 10 year old cigar that I’m having with a coffee after a bit of yard work.. Seems a bit over the top for such a casual moment, this is more of a grand occasion cigar, so I pulled out my torch and lit the foot.  There are times when it is easy to describe flavors that a cigar will give you but this torpedo left me speechless.  I told her that I felt that she grossly overpaid me for something that a friendly neighbor would gladly do free of charge, and with that she disappeared again and came back with 4 more from the same amazing vintage……….

She told me that she was planning on having a yard sale the next sunny day and needed some help cleaning out a shed that is full of tools…. I think I’ll offer my services……

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Taking the fly rod, food for the day, warm clothing and your best Cohiba, whether it be a Robusto, Esplendidos or one from the Cohiba Maduro series, down to the river may or may not be the best idea.. OK, not like its a bad idea to have a beautiful cigar when fishing, but there are conditions that are better suited for smoking one of Cuba’s finest creations..  My feelings are that the ride in the car on the way to the river would be better for having the ability to taste every nuance that the cigar’s profile has to offer.

Wind, rain, sleet and hail are just a few of the conditions I’ve run into when fishing in British Columbia on any given day and I think that cigarettes would probably be the lesser waste of money during that kind of day.  I’ve had the good fortune to smoke a few Cohiba Behikes these last few months and, believe me, they ARE as good as people have been saying in their reviews and blogs.  Any cigar that starts out with a 52 ring gauge and has brothers that are 54 and 56 will only let you know that there is a lot of tobacco blended in this size of cigar, so why would you fight to keep a cigar dry in a torrential downpour when fighting a 16 pound salmon on a fly rod?  Save it for a quiet moment by the fire at the end of the day.

A round of golf with a cigar in the cart is probably the most popular place to enjoy a stogie these days but there ARE some courses that do NOT allow smoking…. Just avoid these courses !  Golf elsewhere and enjoy the freedom that you have …. For now……

A garage, den, rumpus room or a computer room can be a place where you have the freedom to do what you want, as long as you aren’t endangering the health of anyone else.. Scared of smelling up one of the rooms in your house??  Know what a paintbrush is?  Real men know how to paint and clean up any kind of issue a cigar has caused before you sell the house !

I simply believe that a controlled environment free of wind and cold should be your main quest before applying a flame to the head of some of the finest cigars in the world,

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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……

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Gaye Delorme was a guitar player who died early Thursday morning in Calgary, Alberta, June 23, 2011.  Many of you do not know him or ever heard of him before but his music touched people around the world.  In his mid teens Gaye learned the guitar and in a relatively short time developed a skill set that allowed him to play in New York recording studios with some of jazz’s great players like Miles Davis, Stanley Clarke, Airto Moriera, Flora Purim, Billy Cobham and George Duke to mention a few.  Anyone who knows anything at all about jazz will agree that these are all giants in their field so to include Gaye in such company speaks volumes about his talent, not to mention an almost impossible feat like accomplishing all this in only a few years..

Gaye also lived in Vancouver and played music with Tommy Chong which started a life long relationship that saw Gaye work on a movie soundtrack for a Cheech and Chong movie.  Remember “Dave’s not here Man!” ?  This was probably one of Gaye’s many schticks that was introduced by Cheech and Chong on their “Big Bamboo” comedy album that most of us “older people” remember from our youth.  Gaye’s comedy was often copied, borrowed, stolen and repeated by people that met him but more often than not it just didn’t work.. It had to come from him in order to be effective !! He was gifted, very charismatic and it was the type of impish humor that you wouldn’t expect from someone that looked like him.  It was one of those, ” I guess ya had to be there” sort of things.

For all of the talent Gaye had as a master guitar player he will probably be most remembered as the guy who wrote the “Rodeo Song” and co-wrote “Earache my Eye”.  Both songs are known world wide by those who love comedy but Gaye was much more than that, his guitar skills are wide and diverse on the instrument and just a small amount of poking around on youtube will reveal great musical moments like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9_94cdhRbM&feature=related

After watching Gaye play with a symphony orchestra behind him, it almost seems perplexing that someone with such sensitivity and love for a broad scope of music could pen, “Well its 40 below and I don’t give a f**k, got a heater in my truck and I’m off to the Rodeo…”  But that was Gaye in all of his magnificence.  He had immense depth when it came to music, comedy, seeing life behind bars and also holding court in the world’s finest restaurants.  Who of us can possibly relate to so many facets of life and be able to tell you stories from this sort of experience first hand?  I don’t know a lot of people who could.

There was something about the guy that you could never really accurately describe that made him so magnetic, he had known some of the most beautiful women you could imagine and they couldn’t get enough of him…  Well, maybe a few had enough but there is always a more intense side to any genius’ personality that can be a bit disruptive and hard to be around at times, but those of us who truly loved him would always forgive him for moments that occasionally happened to be a bit dark whenever a great bottle or two of fine wine would show up. When I remember these moments I always think, “Let he who is free from sin, cast the first stone”.

Gaye moved to Los Angeles during the ’70s after driving from New York in, I believe Airto’s Rolls Royce and began doing a lot of recording with many artists and many producers.  His skill in the studio really started to blossom in California, so along with his incredible musical ear, guitar playing ability and bedside manner in such a milieu, be became invaluable to a number of producers that kept him very busy at that time.  All was fine until cocaine reared it’s ugly head in the music industry and the California music scene welcomed the destructive powder with open arms.  Gaye told me that after a while, musicians doing a lot of recording were even being paid in cocaine and thats when he decided that it was time to move home to Edmonton.

Not long after, Gaye moved to Calgary where the oil boom was in full speed, so bars, lounges, restaurants, pubs or anywhere alcohol was served, had live music and Gaye owned the town.  He would assemble fine bands and it would always be easy to find him by doing a small amount of driving around the downtown area and spotting the longest line-up of people waiting to get into whatever room his group was performing.  His guitar playing was on fire by this time as was his song writing that featured long guitar solos that amazed most everyone that had the good fortune to be in the rooms where he played.  He used to use a black BC Rich 6 string into a Boss Chorus Pedal plugged into 2 Fender amplifiers in stereo which gave him his own signature sound which was beautiful and unique.  Sadly, another guitar player from England had the same sounding voice, guitar sound and playing style that was so similar to Gaye’s sound that people in the audience started shouting out, “Play Sultans of Swing” … You’d see Gaye’s face wince and he’d gruffly say into the microphone, ” Go buy the record !! ”  Who could blame him, it was an artistic coincidence and that was all that it was, but a part of me knew that a bit of wind was taken out of his sails…  Sometimes an artist’s life can be a bit unfair.

The following years saw Gaye move to Vancouver where he would record, play live and produce albums for various artists who wanted his input and experience and the city’s mild weather was great for Gaye’s soul as he’d bike around or go for long walks to different gyms around town.  Gaye was very active and in great health but as the years went on it was discovered that he had diabetes and it started taking a toll on his eyesight.  He eventually went blind in one eye and was left with about 30% efficiency in the other which meant that the first thing to go would be his drivers license. For the most part Gaye took it in stride and started using public transport but it had to be a bit difficult when it came to doing gigs.  Playing in his band meant also being his chauffeur but what resulted was that you got to spend more time with the guy hearing his stories and he was always very appreciative.  Those were special moments, it was never a problem.

Gaye moved back to Edmonton, maybe a year ago and found a city that was still hungry for his music and supported his art with many live venues.  Gaye was in fine spirits and would call me regularly with news of his recording, live work and more beautiful women that he kept meeting.  Edmonton was good to him this last year and I was happy that he was working as much as he was…..

But…..

I want to backtrack and tell you one more story about his days in Vancouver shortly before he moved to Edmonton.

Gaye was living in a suite with some great folks that became sort of family to him but his desire to have more independence had him looking for and finding a place a few blocks away where he had his own space where he could record, play guitar and entertain friends.  It was a difficult time financially and there wasn’t a lot of live work for Gaye, he was running short on funds..  So it was a cold rainy morning when Gaye thought of the not so pleasant possibility and looming reality that a visit to welfare may be the only option but on his way to the government office he decided to drop in on his old address to pick up any last pieces of mail that may have been delivered.  In the miserable non-stop Vancouver downpour, Gaye walked up the steps and noticed a letter that was waterlogged and half folded over the mailbox.  Upon opening it he discovered that Korn had recorded, “Earache my Eye” and here was a soggy cheque for $20,000..( God bless Korn ), this was the first of 3 such cheques that Gaye received for his part in the co-write.  Young songwriters should know that a great song will pay off for years.. Never give up hope !

There is so much to tell of Gaye’s life, I’m sure much will be revealed in blogs, newspapers and websites in the near future and I can’t wait to hear every detail..

This morning after breakfast I decided that a Cohiba Piramides EL 2006 would be the most fitting cigar to smoke as I write this and I’m glad I lit something with such class and flavor when remembering such an immense talent, legendary personality and great friend.

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I sat on the edge of my seat all throughout last night’s game as I watched our Vancouver Canucks beat out San Jose to go for a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup in the air.  I think they can do it… The only question is; will it be Tampa Bay or Boston they have to beat to accomplish this feat…. I don’t know ….

Last night was a great opportunity to light up a good cigar while the game was on.. I ended up lighting an H. Upmann No 2 and what a fine idea that was..  This was a cigar from 2008 and with the time it had in the humidor to ferment and age nicely, it was a cigar to remember..  Smooth notes of woods, wonderful toasted tobacco and strong coffee made up the profile that amazed me as the game went from period to period..  A lot of ash ended up on my clothes as I couldn’t tear my attention from the game.. Thats easy to deal with…. No problem…

This being a Cohiba slanted blog doesn’t really mean that I have to devote all of my attention to Cuba’s finest brand all of the time… Cuba’s most elegant export includes the finest cigars in the world and it includes a vast array of cigar brands that differ in strength, blend and aroma but the one thing they all have in common is the stellar level of fine taste.

The H. Upmann brand includes various sizes of vitolas that will leave you amazed and wanting boxes and boxes of more.. I usually visit “The Vancouver Cigar Company’ when I pick up more cigars for my humidors.  This group of people are probably the most informed cigar people in our city.  The fact that they get their cigars directly from “Havana House” means that you’ll be getting the best that Cuba has to offer.

Getting back to hockey…. I believe that this is our year to be the champions.. I feel very confident that we’ll do it and I’m very happy that the San Jose Sharks can now finally relax and work on their golf swings..

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Traditionally, New Year’s Eve is one night when we pull out all the stops, dress up in our finest garb and ring in the new year with Champagne, music, dancing and for some of us, handing out and smoking some of the best cigars in our humidors.  Cubans and Non-Cubans are usually set on fire and sacrificed to the tobacco gods so that the new year will surely bring prosperity, comfort and good health.  All should unfold nicely as long as you light something that pleases them.

Christmas, of late, has resulted in more than a few new cigars sitting in my humidor so as time goes by I find myself with something that can’t wait to be lit and a night like that is a good enough reason for me so I’m thinking of taking a few options in my travel humidor.  I DO have friends that love cigars but quite often are not carrying any so I’ve become the guy that passes a few out to close friends.  I love sharing the experience with my friends and look forward to contributing to their evening.

I plan on taking Cohiba Lancero, Robusto and maybe a Genios for the maduro guy in the room… Maybe I’ll be the maduro guy… Don’t really feel like making any plans yet and will let everything unfold.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you plan on smoking.

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Many posts ago I mentioned that I had an uncle that lived in Victoria on Vancouver Island and that he is an old cigar smoker that has a very nicely stocked humidor.  We spent some time visiting him over the holidays and, as usual, we spent time smoking a few together with very nice Scotch and some very old port.  Talk about perfect pairings in both cases.

I thought I’d steer away from the very old Cohiba Lanceros since the last time I was there I was allowed to take one.  You can only go so far, if you know what I mean.  One Cohiba box that caught my eye on this visit was a box of Robustos with a date stamped on the bottom that read early 2000.  My heart really starts to beat whenever I know that I can smoke a Cohiba with at least 10 years on it.  Wow!!

I’ve tasted Cohiba Robustos that have been young, fresh and full of nicotine and I have to say that I don’t mind them at all.  They can be sweet, grassy and pack a pretty good punch but this 2000 stick had a few extras that I don’t get to taste very often.  This cigar was quite woody and had no shortage of that beautiful Cohiba herbal profile but the dark chocolates in the flavor profile were what really thrilled me.  Port and a cigar like that really DO go together well and one enhanced the beauty of the other in such a big way.

I don’t see my uncle often enough !!!!

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Posted on 16-09-2008
Filed Under (Cohiba Vintage) by Admin

If there is one Cohiba that I have to try out before my time is up on this planet, it has to be the Cohiba Piramides Millenium Edition. Cohiba as we all know is the best Cuban cigar brand in the world. It also happens to be one of the strongest, complex and most flavorful around. So when the folks at Cohiba decided to showcase their skills in Cuban cigar rolling, they came up with the Cohiba Piramides Millenium edition (Released in the year 2000). Now this Cohiba model was different from the start. Cohiba Piramides Millenium Edition cigars arrive inside a nice ceramic jar (No wooden boxes for this one eh!). The ceramic jar package comes to about $2500 which works out to $100 bucks a cigar. This is a very rare cigar to find and if you have one sitting in your humidor, please let me know how much you want for it.

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