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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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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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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Posted on 16-05-2011
Filed Under (Cuban Cigar Links, Cuban Facts, Piramides) by Admin

So there I sit in front of the television last night waiting for the last installment of Survivor to start and I’m thinking that since this is my favorite TV show, I might as well light up one of my favorite cigars.  In my humble opinion, I look at the EL Cohiba Piramides from 2006 as one of the best cigars to come out of Cuba in the last few years and the few that I have left are reserved for big occasions.  Why not Survivor??  I love the show, I love the evil mind twisting games that the participants play against each other and I wonder how this all compares to day to day life in the real world….. Maybe it doesn’t ……. Its only a reality show.. Thats all it is..

I reach for my torch and knowing that this is about a 2 hour cigar, I know that it’ll stay with me for the duration of the drama…..  As the last few years have gone by, I’ve noticed the subtle changes that have taken place in the fermentation process with the Piramides.  In 2008, when I smoked my first, I’m guessing that the oils in the tobacco gave out rich and sweet tobacco flavors that gave this cigar a complex profile loaded with coffees and sweet chocolates but in the last year or so, whenever I’ve lit one of these great cigars, I’m getting more woods and dusty dark chocolate flavors that show me what happens to a beautiful cigar after years in a humidor.

I firmly believe that the sweetness of a cigar tends to gradually fade as it ages.  Some of you may argue with me on this point but the flavors of a cigar are so subjective and I wonder if we all taste the same things.  No matter….. The nicotine tends to fade in tobacco as years go by.. Try smoking a very young cigar and if it has a mighty ring gauge and a fair bit of length, there’ll be a good chance that you’ll occasionally feel dizzy and even break out in a sweat if you smoke it quickly.. Last night’s cigar was woody and smooth, thats all I can say.. I enjoyed it immensely and found myself to be very fortunate to be experiencing such a work of art as I watched one of the biggest jerks get handed a million dollars.

I’m sorry, but the guy is arrogant, smug, cruel and reminds me of some sort of cheap hood that I remember seeing in the movies when I was a kid.  You know the guy, the guy that belongs to some gangster organization, the guy that slaps women around and the type of guy that would probably get a lot of drinks thrown in his face in bars…. I really hope we don’t have to see him again….. Him and Omarosa.. Two peas in a pod!

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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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Posted on 24-04-2010
Filed Under (Piramides) by Admin

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!

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Posted on 20-04-2010
Filed Under (Piramides) by Admin

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!!!!

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Posted on 15-03-2010
Filed Under (Piramides) by Admin

Spent the day helping out a friend paint his new house and a very long, hard day it was.  As I sit here I’m seeing that I need to shower and scrub all of this tan-gray paint off my hands, out of my hair and off my face but before I do I had to run up to the computer to rant and rave about the cigar I just finished..

For the last hour and a half I’ve been sitting on my couch and smoking a Limited Edition Piramides 2006.  I smoked a few last year and they were great but tonight as I watched Donald Trump and the Celebrity Apprentice, ( I’m a sucker for his show ) I was dumfounded with the quality and smoothness of this cigar.  I think I had forgotten how good this cigar was.  This one had the most stubborn whitest ash I had ever run into in a Cuban cigar and the flavors were sweet, round and very very smooth.  I kept thinking that I couldn’t remember the last time I had tasted such incredible smooth edged round milk chocolate in a Cuban.  This might have been the best Cuban cigar I have ever smoked

I paired this cigar with 2 shots of Oban Scotch and I think it was the perfect marriage.  This cigar was an hour and a half of complete perfection.. I have a few more and I’m thinking that I’m going to wait another year to smoke the next and another year for that last.  Wow !!!!  If you have a few of these, smoke one now and wait a wile for the next….. I feel very very lucky that I was able to experience what I just smoked!!!!! Incredible!!!!

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