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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Hamilton Ontario, last week-end, was the Canadian host city for our annual country music award show and it was a success in that all who attended were able to meet with others in the industry that were either their peers or were someone that they had to hand their product to and get some future support in the country scene.  I didn’t smoke as many cigars as I took because of the winds that were blowing.  I don’t like smoking in a windy environment and believe that wind is one of cigars greatest enemies, let alone a great Cuban cigar that you’ve been saving for a special occasion.

I had some great conversations about cigars with a canadian singer who’s doing very well, George Canyon.  From time to time George will enjoy a cigar when time permits and he gets great joy from it.  Casey Clark, who is a Canadian Celebrity, is a guy who loves Cohiba Esplendidos and smokes many annually. Both great guys and great talents.

Anyone spending time in Ontario should play at a few golf courses close to Toronto.  The first I got to see was Angus Glen in Markham, which has hosted the Canadian Open and deservedly so with spectacular holes designed  to challenge your skills at the game.  Although there was wind on the course that day, we decided to smoke a few of the cigars that I brought along which were a 3 year old Romeo and a 4 year old Cuaba.  The cigars took a terrible beating in the gusting winds but our moods were elevated with the aroma in the air.

The day after we ended up at “The Summit” in Richmond Hill, which is a suburb of Toronto.  This 100 year old course yielded one amazing scene after the next because of the age of the course and because the course was designed by Stanley Thompson, who also designed the Banff Springs course and the great track at the Jasper Park Lodge.  We decided to smoke slightly longer cigars in such an elegant environment and lit up a Ramon Allones Gigantes and a Partagas Lusitanias..

Coming home was difficult and I certainly felt total golf withdrawals on my first day back, so I simply went to the humidor, picked out a Cohiba Robusto and sat out back…..

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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!

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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…..

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Ever notice what people leave around tee boxes, fairways and greens more than anything else?? Well from my experience, I’ve seen Cohiba cigar butts more than any other brand.. Funny isn’t it! But its true!!  Now and then I run into a cigar butt of a golf course that has a different band on it but I think that its not as frequent as that very recognizable gold, black and white band!!  I also believe that maybe we’re looking at a Canadian syndrome as well since you may not see as many littering a US course but I could be wrong.. I think its also something that changes from course to course.

Food is something that never seems to last long on the fairways on a golf course, in Vancouver we have crows.. very .. very..very smart crows that know the inner workings of a golf cart and can recognize what is edible and what isn’t although I have seen a crow fly away with my buddy derek’s cigarettes and lighter… They’ll take anything !!!  Next spring I’m going to talk to my accountant and ask him if I can claim a few of these crows as dependents.. Really !!!

I still haven’t been able to get my hands on this year’s Cuban contribution to the cigar smoking world, the Cohiba 1966… I can only go by what I’ve read so far and from what I’ve seen I think that we’ll have a winner here… The Siglo line from Cohiba attracted a whole army of new cigar enthusiasts and I’m wondering if the 1966 will do the same… I’ll give you more of a detailed report after I get to light one up!

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Posted on 12-07-2011

The Cohiba Behike line that came out last year with it’s Medio Tiempo leaf caused more fuss and excitement with cigar smokers world wide than any other release of any other cigar…  There have been Limited Edition cigars that have done very well as far as sales go and some of them have become incredible collector’s items but the Bekike, especially since Cigar Aficionado gave the Behike 52 the top score last year, has been the most desired cigar yet.

The taste of the Behikes blew me away, and I have to agree, that the 52 had a special charm about it but what came as a bit of a surprise was the incredible packaging that accompanied these cigars from Havana… First of all, the bands around the Behikes have a very complex and hard to duplicate set of holograms that give these cigars a feeling that there is something a bit more high tech going on in the design compared to the gold, white and black that we’ve seen from Cohiba bands in the past…. Sadly there are already those in Cuba that are trying to copy this band and pass off terrible cigars to tourists who believe they are getting an incredible deal on hard to find and slightly pricy cigars but only a small amount of inspection would reveal that these counterfeit bands are falling short with poor hologram attempts.  I could rant on for hours about the counterfeit industry in Cuba but I’ll save that for another day.

The price of these great Cohiba cigars is more than we’ve seen for a regular production cigar so the boxes, instead of 25, are down to 10.  Something tells me that packaging boxes of 25 Behikes may deter some cigar smokers from picking one up because of more than double an already dear cost… The Behike cigar boxes are remarkable in appearance with a shiny, smooth black lacquer that has a mirror like finish, white squares like the more traditional Cohiba band and instead of a flip clasp we now have a magnet set into the wood that gives the lid of these boxes a tight and secure seal.

The bottom of the Behike boxes are covered in a black velvet which has a smooth soft feel.  Stamped on the bottom are still the Habanos s.a., Hecho En Cuba and Totalmente a mano marks bit NOT a factory and Date stamp.  Counterfeit boxes of fake Behikes are now being seen in Cuba without the velvet bottom, plain cedar instead, so that one is a no brainer !! Beware ……The box comes in a beautiful black velvet form fitted bag to keep the lacquer smooth and unscratched, this one is a nice touch.

The introduction of the Cohiba Behike is probably the most exciting offer from Cohiba and the only thing unknown at this point is how they’ll taste after 5 years in a humidor…. We’ll have to wait for that !!

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Father’s day is an occasion where many sons and fathers get together and either knock a golf ball around, catch a fish or two, share advice and light up a great cigar after dinner.  This time of year is usually busy at cigar shops where sons purchase their father’s favorites and Cohiba is a brand that sells very well.  This time of year is perfect for sitting out on the deck with a cigar in one hand and a glass of something potent in the other because of the warmer weather that has finally arrived.  The winter months are a royal pain for many cigar enthusiasts, with the winter and icy winds that blow a chill deep into your bones and insure that your cigars burn unevenly.  Many space heaters take the terrible chill out of countless garages and work shops during the winter months, a guy has to do all that he can to get the most enjoyment out of a premium cigar.

My father is NOT a cigar smoker, NOT a cigarette smoker and the glare I get from him whenever I light one up in his presence is something that I’ll always remember but I do it anyway.  Funny how we tend to sacrifice almost anything, including a parent’s approval, to enjoy a wonderful cigar with family.  I have a sister who is a cigarette smoker and we’ve shared a lifetime of laughs and memories around a community ashtray.  I’ll never trade those moments for the world.  When I was younger I used to compare smokers and non-smokers and wonder what made people tick and why some smoked and some didn’t .. For a great number of years I told myself that I preferred the company of smokers to almost anyone else but as I get older I’ve relaxed my harsh judgements and see people for what they harbor within.

I can’t see any cigar on a day like this to be better than a Cohiba for it’s classic taste and full body.  The original Cohibas before the Siglo series with their grassy profile are a favorite of mine but in recent years I’ve learned to enjoy the Siglos and can see that for every occasion there is a need for different flavors and strengths.  The world is made up of millions of different personalities and needs and adapting to the moment is what I’ve been striving for lately.  I guess we’re all looking for a balance.

Happy Father’s Day !

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Cigar Aficionado’s latest piece on counterfeit Behikes was informative and heartbreaking at the same time.. Its great to know that we can access sites like theirs and learn so much about cigars, wine, scotch and well.. almost anything in life that is decadent and worthwhile.. I read their on-line magazine daily and believe that anyone who has ever put a match to the end of a cigar, whether it is Cuban or Non-Cuban, should take the time to learn from a site like theirs..

I’ve had the pleasure of smoking the amazing Cohiba Behikes and can agree with many of you out there that Cohiba has raised the bar and given us a new line of 3 sizes of cigars that will tantalize many a palate for years to come… The introduction of the Medio Tiempo leaf has added a subtle new dimension to these pricy little babies.. But….. Its always heartbreaking to know that the dark side of the underground cigar industry in Cuba is now counterfeiting Behikes as well and…. are we surprised??

I’m sad that many gullible cigar smokers going to Cuba for the first time will run into serpents of every description telling tales and taking hard earned money for the same old banana leaf and floor sweepings that we know all too well.. If you’ve been smoking cigars for as many years as I have, I’m sure you’ve tasted these mild nondescript counterfeits with the black, gold and yellow band… The individuals selling them on the streets of Havana need to feed their families and I don’t hold this against them but the next time I get the great fortune to walk those beautiful streets, I’ll visit the government stores and shell out my cash for the real thing…. Compared to the prices in Canada you can’t go wrong!!

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As I’ve written not too many posts ago, the Falls in Chiliwack is one of our favorite golf courses in the Lower Mainland and the last few days saw 12 of us golfing buddies having the time of our lives with golf, LOTS of alcohol and great Cuban cigars.  This course has some beautiful houses you can stay at on the first tee box and we tied up 3 of these homes for our annual golf tournament.. Let the fun and games begin..

Our great buddy Derek Wong came with coolers of food for one of the best meals we’ve ever had after a twilight round on the first day.  Some guys go beyond anyone’s expectations when it comes to a good time and Derek helped to organize the meals and the tournament’s trophy, KP and Long Drive competition markers..

The first night was a booze-fest with many jokes, much yelling and loud cavorting into the night but one of my favorite moments in the day’s activities was the cigars that followed our great meal….  Cubans were brought out on to the deck and with drinks in hand we started tasting and comparing some wonderful cigars.. Those who took part in this activity all had to come to the same conclusion that when comparing cigars which were some Partagas, El Rey Del Mundo and Cohiba, it was a Cohiba Siglo V tubos that won the hearts of every smoker there… Now this is a tough competition especially when you consider that my Partagas Lusitanias which had been aging for a few years was in the mix.

I was totally impressed with the Siglo V with it’s medium strength that revealed a beautiful Cohiba grassiness and smooth delivery that won hands down.. Derek, who was gifted this cigar earlier in the year, hadn’t tasted one before and was saving it for this golf excursion.. Needless to say, this cigar will be on his wish list whenever anyone of our friends goes to Cuba again..

I think that I’ll have a hard time thinking about any other cigar for the next few days… I was really blown away!

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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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