Saturday, December 18, 2010

SODO Blend

Finally had a chance to try the El Triunfador Lancero SODO blend last night.

To quote my friend Sir Godfather:

The burn on this cigar is even with a smooth draw, and very creamy. The ash is even with light gray and white finish. The initial flavors in your palate are mild with an increasing change from a very light sweetness, cocoa, and coffee. Half way through the cigar, a pleasant peppery spice kicked in, followed by an earthy tobacco flavor. From the beginning to the end this cigar smoked like no other El Triunfador Lancero I had tried before. This is a medium-strong cigar to my palate. It was a pleasant, and a rewarding smoke. Second to none in its class.
(you can read the full review here: 10-7 Habanero Club)

I couldn't have described it any better - nice job Herman!

This was a very good cigar, maybe a tad on the peppery side for my taste, but I did enjoyed it. What caught my attention was the very delicate sweetness to it, just a hint layered on top of the peppery spice - a very nice touch indeed! You'll find that even though this is a pretty firmly wrapped Lancero size cigar, it has a great draw. The only thing you won't like is that it's over in about 30-35 minutes. Oh well... have two!
My Rating: 8.2

Side note: When we're down at the Tobacco Patch on winter nights, we usually freeze our asses off, but no more. My lovely wife picked up a couple of boxes of hand and foot warmers at Costco yesterday afternoon. These are the warmers that you shake to activate. We tried them out last night - EUREKA - THEY WORK! No more cold toes and fingers. Oh man, what a difference it makes...

Life is good...

Monday, December 13, 2010

El Triunfador Lancero (SODO Blend)

Friday night at the Patch, not a bad turn out, mainly because it wasn't raining or freezing cold. This would turn out to be the calm before the storm though, the "Pineapple Express" moved in on Saturday and Sunday - temperatures in the upper 50's, but a relentless rain that made life outdoors absolutely miserable.

Anyway, so Friday night I brought an Oliva Serie G with me from home down to the Patch, as you probably already know these are my "go-to" cigars - I like to keep a bunch of these on hand. I'm not going to say that they're "weenie cigars", but they're mild enough to smoke anytime of day. The Cameroon wrapper gives it a sweet, smooth taste, just delicious in my opinion.

So while I was at the Patch on Friday, I had a nice chat with the author of "", he swings by every now and then. I love talking to this guy because he's so damn smart, plus I use his photo editing program religiously. If you're ever looking for a quick and simple alternative to GIMP or Photoshop, give a try - it's a pretty cool program.

Saturday night, warm, but pouring down rain, we headed up to the Casino. After playing the slots for a while and doubling our money (nice!), we headed over to the Lit Lounge for a cigar. I was going to buy something that I hadn't tried before, but those damn Cuban Stock box press cigar were calling me, I had to have it. GREAT cigars, much more complex than the Oliva's, plus these are smoke bombs - volumes and volumes of rich smooth clouds of smoke. I loved it!

Quite a few Kirkland boys up there - Always a good time at the Lit!

OK, now onto Sunday, the day that I was looking forward to trying out this El Triunfador Lancero SODO blend, I'd held off from smoking it all week long just because I told myself that I would smoke it on Sunday while watching the Seahawk game. Guess what happen? I never smoked it. UGH! I caught the cold-from-hell on Sunday and there was no way that I was going to smoke anything. Felt like crap, maybe not as crappy as the Seahawks are feeling, but definitely too sick to even think about it.

So you'll have to wait another week for my comments on the SODO blend. So sad...

In the meantime check out Sir Godfather's review: SODO Blend
Or Señor Cristóbal's review here: El Truinfador
Both these guys know their cigars and I value highly their judgement. Check it out if you have a chance!

Side note:
Congrats to our guest writer Chris - he was just married on Saturday!
We're wishing you and your bride all the best my friend!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Illusione Epernay (box press)

I stopped by the Tobacco Patch on Saturday night to have a cigar with the gang. Temperature couldn't have been more than 32º with an occasional Arctic blast out of the north - it was frickin freezin! The only saving grace for me was that occasionally I would jet into the store and warm up my feet and hands. (Yes, we're nuts!)

Anyway, I bought this Illusione Epernay last week over at JnJ Cigars in Seattle. I was actually looking for something else, but this caught my eye. The beautiful dark brown wrapper, its Churchill size, its box pressed shape and its simple label all contributed to me picking this stick off the shelf. I couldn't resist, it called my name. Well, sort of...

So Saturday night while I was down at the Patch I had my opportunity to try it out. BTW, my lovely and very intelligent wife didn't join me - she said it was "too cold". An understatement, I might add. Interesting little fact, years ago we used to have an outdoor patio heater that we used to keep us warm specifically on nights like this. Wonder whatever happened to it?

So what did I think? I liked it. Medium to full-bodied flavor, smooth, not necessarily a rich smooth taste, but overall it was very enjoyable. I might add that it had a terrific finish - my favorite part was the last 20 minutes. Delicious!

What didn't I like about it? It may have been the cold, but I had to re-lite this sucker about 10 times. Might have been due to the amount of moisture in the air along with that killer cold breeze.

My Rating: 8.2

Sunday was a total change, partly sunny and temp up near 50 or so. That night we lit up the fireplace out on our back deck and fired up the patio heater.. It was so nice compared to the night before. I brought out a couple of Oliva cigars and my favorite rum (Zacapa) and we kicked back and took it easy. I actually had a pretty busy weekend, so this was a well deserved break for my sweetie and I.

A note for next week's review - I plan on reviewing the El Triunfador Lancero (SODO Blend). This was the other cigar that I picked up at JnJ's . Can't wait to try it out!

Side note:
Have you seen the new restaurant that's going in next to Hector's in downtown Kirkland? Name on the sign says "Milagro Cantina". I took a peak in the window yesterday - WOW! Pretty impressive. Looks like it might open this week. I'll keep you posted. I'm sure we'll go there for drinks or dinner pretty quick.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tatuaje El Triunfadors

I recently got a box of the Tatuaje El Triunfadors about a week or two ago. I had to drive out to Snoqualmie to rescue the girlfriends car at her work on Friday and I swung into the casino after she got her car. I lit up one of the new cigars and man was it awesome. I bought these for a nice somewhat quick, yet still not too long of a smoke. It lasted about 35-45 minutes, I wasn't really keeping track of time. I almost wish I bought a bigger size so I could smoke even more of it. It was great all the way to the end. I'll have to smoke one without eating the trail mix they give you because the spiciness of the mix probably took away from the flavor from the cigar. But nonetheless it was still great. Nice medium smoke all the way through never getting really spicy, even to the end.
It seems like the Macanudos have been a hit or miss lately. Like that 1968 I had. I had a tight draw on it and the flavor wasn't anything special. I have another one in the humidor. Hopefully it loosens up some and isn't so tight next time. I do enjoy their Cafe or Gold Label sometimes. I would have them as my go to smoke, but I know there's better out there so I should still look around before I find something I will buy repeatedly. 

Well until next time...

(Señor Cristóbal)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Snow before Thanksgiving?

I can't remember the last time I saw it snow here before Thanksgiving? Maybe when I was a teenager? Only a couple inches on the Eastside this week, but boy it sure crippled the Puget Sound area for a few days. Jeez, I even took the bus to work one day!

Before I forget, I wanted to tell you about a couple of pretty good cigars that I smoked over the weekend. The first one I picked up in Georgetown at Rain City Cigars, they were having a promotional event last week for Macanudo Cru Royale label, so I bought 2 and got one free. I'm a sucker for this stuff. Anyway, I smoked this one down at the Patch on Friday night.

My thoughts? Meh, it was alright. Medium bodied cigar with an OK taste, but I didn't think it was anything special. I've got a couple more of these to try, different sizes, but I'm guessing that they'll be pretty much the same,
My Rating: 7.5

One cigar brand that I've been meaning to try for a long time now are Gurkha cigars. My son told me about a new wine and cigar shop that opened up in the Totem Lake area, I thought I'd check it out and that's where I found this Gurkha's. What the heck, I bought one. I think it cost me $12..50 or so.

The Gurkha G3

For me this cigar started out a little rough - draw wasn't all that great and it was a tad harsh, however, around the midway point the cigar opened up and the flavor really started to flow. I smoked this right down to the nub - very nice finish. I seriously had a hard time putting it down. Would I buy one of these again? Not this particular blend, but I'd love to try one of the others. Technically I enjoyed it, I just didn't like the start.
My Rating: 7.9

Anyway, I hope you have a GREAT Thanksgiving this year - lords knows I've got a lot to be thankful for!

Let's do this again soon....

UPDATE: Ok, so I smoked the other two Macanudo (Cru Royale) cigars that I had and I can honestly say that they were indeed an average cigar. The last one I smoked yesterday turned out to be a little more full bodied than the others, but still it wasn't quite my type of cigar. I doubt I'll buy these again. Sorry...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ashton VSG

Up at the casino on Saturday night - too crappy to smoke outside in the rain in downtown Kirkland, plus I wanted to meet KCC's guest cigar reviewer - Señor Cristóbal, he told me that he'd be here..

Skipping ahead...

After a little gambling, doubled my money I might add, we walked over to the Lit Lounge to have a cigar. The place was packed, standing room only. Turns out that the Paquiao vs. Margarito boxing match was about to start on the big screen TVs. We needed some cigars first. I walked into the big humidor and picked out an Ashton VSG off the top shelf for myself and found a Hemingway Short Story for my bride. The crew up at the Lit lounge are really good about making you feel at home - cutting and toasting your cigar is standard - very nice touch.
Anyway, it was so busy that we had to stand in the corner up by the bar, which turned out to be a good spot, unobstructed view of the big screen, right next to the bar, and for some strange reason the smoke filtration system works exceptionally good in this corner - I could actually breath and my eyes weren't burning from the clouds of smoke in the room. I ordered a shot of Pyrat Pistol rum, one of my favorite drinks to have with a cigar, and my better-half ordered a Kahlua and coffee, which is delicious here - French press coffee, Kahlua, topped off with whip cream. She LOVES it!

OK, so let me tell you about this beauty of a cigar that I smoked - The Ashton VSG - Virgin Sun Grown. (What exactly is a virgin sun grown anyway?)
 Excellent smoke it was though, just about perfect in every way - Churchill size, nice wrapper, rich color, perfect firmness, full flavored taste and just the right draw, my kind of smoke indeed. I actually thought I might be mistaken about how good this cigar was, so I asked my wifey-poo if I could have a puff off her cigar just to see if my taste buds weren't fooling me. I was right - her Hemingway Short Story tasted like crap compared to this rich and smooth hunk-of-love. That's what I'd call it, not an ordinary cigar, but a "hunk-of-love".

This VSG cigar has made it near the top of my "best cigars" list - I would definitely buy a box, my only issue is the price - very $$$.
My Rating 9.8

Anyway, I finally met up with Chris - super nice, young, good-looking, articulate, and he enjoys a fine cigar probably more than I do. I think he was on his third stick when I met up with him. I encouraged him to continue with his reviews, so hopefully you'll see his name on this page again soon. Right Chris?

What a grand evening though - doubled my money at the slots, smoked a fantastic cigar, watched 12 rounds of probably the best boxing I've ever seen, but what made it even more grand was the camaraderie between all the cigar aficionados here - what a great bunch to watch the fights with!

Friday, November 12, 2010

La Gloria Cubana/Macanudo Vintage

I know, I know, where's my post for this week? Well, I've been kind of lazy and I've only been smoking Oliva's, but that should change this weekend, I'm planning on picking up a few new sticks to review.

In the meantime, a friend of mind has inadvertently reviewed a couple of cigars and I thought his comments warranted posting on the Front Page.
Señor Cristóbal wrote:

Last weekend I went to the Snoqualmie Casino and smoked a couple of cigars. First one was the La Gloria Cubana with the 2 tone wrapper. I didn't like the first half of the cigar with the lighter wrapper, once it burned down to the other, it was a lot better smoke. Had a good draw, but I had to relight it a couple of times.

The second one I had was the Macanudo Vintage 1968. It was another one of the free ones I got from the Smoke Easy. I like Macanudo but the draw on this was very tight. Had good flavor but the draw kind of ruined it. I have another one of these in my box that my dad gave me from his stash from the Smoke Easy. I was feeling it and seems like it'll be a tight smoke as well. I should find a way to loosen it up a bit.

My brother was with me when we were there at the casino. He got a El Triunfador from Tatuaje. I tried it, maybe took 3 puffs off it, and loved it. I ended up ordering a box from CI. So they should be here sometime next week.

That's all I got for now.

Nice job Chris!

BTW, I'm planning on heading up to the Lit Lounge on Saturday night - maybe we'll catch you up there? I'll be with my lovely wife, so I'll be easy to spot. :)

Side note:
I was pretty surprised to see that both I-1100 and I -1105 were defeated. I think that it was bad timing for Costco to have their initiative on the ballot the same time as I-1105. Oh well, wait a couple of years and try again... Please!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fall Cigars

I ordered a box of Oliva Serie G cigars on Friday. Why? Well one, because my humidor was empty, and two, because these are my "go-to" cigars, the cigars that I can always count on, can smoke any time of day, I've got to have at least a dozen of these on hand at all times, plus they're a great cigar to give-out to people who have never tried a cigar before. Well, that's my opinion. Oh yeah, and I got an incredible deal on them!
Friday the weather was actually pretty pleasant outside, but Friday night it got downright cold, standing out in front of the Tobacco Patch feeling the dampness in the air was brutal on my fingers and toes. BBRrrrrrrr.....

So let me tell you about a couple of cigars that I smoked on Friday night.

First, La Riqueza Belicoso

This is a great looking cigar - good size, rich color wrapper, perfectly shaped pyramid top. I've meant to try this for some time now, but I always seem to get distracted. Anyway, Friday night I gave it a try and found that I loved it! Great medium bodied smoke, delicious! My only complaint, and mind you this is a very, very small complaint, was that it didn't produce the amount of smoke that I like. The draw wasn't bad, it just wasn't a smoke-factory so to speak.
My Rating: 8

Well, after the La Riqueza I was going to call it a night, but a good friend of mine showed up and wanted me to hang around and chat for a bit. I hadn't seen him in a few weeks, so I said sure! He was kind enough to buy me my second cigar of the evening. You know, cigar people are some of the most generous people I know...

Anyway, this cigar was recommended to us by the owner:

La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor

Oh brother, talk about a BIG ring gauge! You've got to wonder what they were thinking when they decided to roll them this thick - it's a beast. Sheesh! Anyway, other than the unnatural ring size, this was a good cigar. I enjoyed its full-bodied rich taste, maybe a little peppery at times, but it had a great draw that billowed out the smoke. Very nice indeed. Unfortunately I only had time to smoke about half of it - my lovely wife started complaining that it was much too cold and that it was time to leave - I couldn't argue with that, so we decided to call it an evening. I'm definitely going to try this one again - I'm pretty sure that it comes in a more reasonable ring size, we'll see...
My Rating: 8

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Exclusive Cigars - Kristoff Ligero Criollo/Maduro

Kristoff Ligero Criollo -

Actually, this wasn't a bad cigar, but the flavor didn't really kick-in for me until around the midway point. After that, I thought it was very good. Come to think of it, when I first lit this up I thought there might be a hole in the wrapper, the draw seemed a little airy for a Ligero. Anyway, everything improved considerably right around the halfway point. Thank goodness too, because this was my Friday night cigar, this is the one that I count on, the one that I wait all week for, and if I only have one cigar all week to smoke, this better be a gift from God, so to speak. Nah, I'm not that tough, but I'm like you and the last thing I want to do is throw money away on crappy cigars.
My Rating: 7.5

Kristoff Ligero Maduro

Sunday afternoon, I wasn't doing anything special, just upgrading an old computer that's sitting out in my garage. My lovely wife had left to go shopping at the Mall, so I had a few hours to myself. Cigar time? Yah baby! I flipped on the Seahawk game (I've got a TV in garage) grabbed something to drink and pulled this Kristoff Maduro out of my humidor. God, what a perfect afternoon for a cigar too - rainy, windy and cold.
OK, so I'll tell you right up front that this Ligero Maduro was not my type of cigar, I smoked it, but it really didn't suit me. (Sorry Glen)
The flavor was a bit harsh and the draw didn't give me the billows of smoke that I long for. I knew this wasn't my type of cigar when I started getting a buzz. Yeah, I think this cigar was made for the more "seasoned" cigar smoker. Me, I'm too much of a weenie! I did smoke the whole thing, but I really had to pace myself.
My Rating: 7

Thanks again Ed and Glenn for the cigars! 

Side note:
During my lunch hour I like to get out and take a walk from my office down to Boeing Field and back, occasionally I'll take my camera with the 200mm lens along; couple of places that I like to shoot from. Anyway, the other day when I was on my way back from Boeing Field and had my camera strapped across my shoulder, I caught this car out of the side of my eye driving the wrong way down the one way street that I was walking on. I thought to myself "boy, that's weird". The car pulls over right next to me and this young guy gets out and motions me to come over. Huhn? I noticed that he's wearing a coat that says "Seattle Police" and his name tag indicates that he's a detective. WTF? So this guy says to me that someone had reported a suspicious character taking pictures at one of the overpasses and by the airport. "You have got to be kidding me??!!" He continued with his 20 questions or so until he was satisfied that I wasn't a threat to National Security. What a frickin joke! The weird part is that this is Georgetown, definitely not the kind of people to even associate with law enforcement let alone call them. Anyway, it kind of ruined my day, but it definitely won't change my routine - you can still find me taking shots in Georgetown. Screw-em!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Big Cigar Weekend

So how was the Smoke Easy this year and where the heck was I ?? Don't ask....

Anyway, beautiful weekend here, miraculously that big ball of warmth and brightness known to most of you outside of western Washington as the sun has been hanging around here for the last few days teasing us. Fall colors are almost at their peak, so it's been gorgeous outside.

Let's see, what did I do this weekend?
First off, I met some pretty big dogs in the cigar industry up at the Lit Lounge on Friday night. Ed Ryan, one of the regional cigar reps invited us up to meet Glen Case from Exclusive Cigars. Glen is the mastermind behind the Kristoff / Vengeance / Brittania cigars. These are big on the east coast, but brand new to us out here, so it was kind of a privilege to be one of the first in the area to try some of these sticks. Glen's a pretty cool guy too - good-looking, very articulate, charismatic, and definitely passionate about his cigars. Unbelievable how much he travels every month. My lovely wife would definitely disown me!

Couple other celebrities at our table - Don Hanes, very well-known cigar rep out here introduced me to Abe Flores from PDR (Pinar del Rio) Cigars. Abe is a little more soft-spoken than Glen, but definitely just as passionate about his product - super nice guy.
BTW, Don if you're reading this, the waitress said that you paid my tab on Friday night. WOW! I owe you one, OK!

So anyway, let me go down the list of what cigar I smoked over the  weekend...

Friday at the Lit Lounge

Cuban Stock Royal Selection Toro (box press)
I saw a box of these in the humidor up at the casino and I just had to have one. I'm a sucker for a box pressed cigar, I love the feel of them and this one is a truly great cigar. Not too strong, incredibly smooth and volumes of rich creamy smoke. I loved it.
My Rating 9.6

PDR 1878 Pinar del Rio Cubano Especial
This is the cigar that Abe Flores gave me and I smoked this one right after the Cuban Stock. Now I've got to tell you that I was drinking rum with the Cuban Stock and French press coffee the rest of the evening, both beverages went superbly with each of these cigars.
OK, so the PDR 1878 has a beautiful dark oily wrapper, nice feel to it, not too spongy. Judging by the wrapper I thought this might be a nicotine bomb, but it turned out to be a very enjoyable medium bodied smoke. I liked it! Plus it was basically a smoke factory - no kidding. This was the smokiest cigar I've ever seen - the smoke billows out of it. Paired with the dark coffee it was phenomenal. My only complaint was that I had to re-lite it 3 times. Who knows, they were probably fresh from the factory and needed a little time in my humidor. Anyway, it was an exceptionally good smoke.
My Rating; 8.9


So on Saturday a few cigar buddies came over to mi casa to help me detail my wife's FX35. I should re-phase that, on Saturday I helped a couple of cigar buddies detail my wife's car. It took a whopping 5 hours. My friend has every known Griot detailing product there is, and believe me we used them all. Holy Cow, that car looked brand-spanking-new when we were done. Rumor has it that we'll be doing my car next month. (oh boy!)
After all that hard work, I grabbed some cigars and booze and we headed out to the back deck. I made a fire in the fire pit, distributed the cigars, poured a few glasses of rum and scotch and we kicked back and just took it easy. I still had a few Oliva Serie G figurados left, but that's the last of them. Yes, that's one of my favorites.

Late Saturday night we went to dinner at the "Olive You Restaurant" in downtown Kirkland. I love that place, the food, service and ambiance are fantastic. BTW, I saw Edgar Martinez having a beer up at the bar.
Anyway, after dinner we strolled over to the Tobacco Patch for a late night cigar with the gang. I forgot to bring a cigar with me, so I went inside and picked out a Casa Magna Colorado from the humidor. Very nice cigar indeed, but I would more than likely rate it a tad lower on my list than the Oliva, PDR or the Cuban Stock. Really, nothing wrong with it, just not the top of the list.
My Rating: 8

Lastly, Sunday night after a BIG Brazilian feijoada dinner, I kicked back with my daughter out on the back deck. I'd been looking forward to trying out the cigar that Glen gave me on Friday night. I lit up the fireplace and grabbed a cup of fresh coffee.

Kristoff Brittania Reserva, Torpedo (Exclusive Cigars)

Glen told me that this cigar was named after his daughter Britney, and not surprisingly the Kristoff cigars are named after his son Christopher. It's really a good-looking cigar - beautiful wrapper, long torpedo size, but what's most unusual about it is the pigtail top and the unwrapped foot - very unique. Of course they're the first things to go bye-bye once you lite it up.

So I've heard that this is a good morning cigar, maybe because of its Honduran Connecticut wrapper, but personally I found it a bit spicy for the first cigar of the day. For me, this was the perfect cigar to end a great weekend, kind of a celebration cigar. I'm not going to tell you that this was the best cigar that I smoked all weekend, but it was pretty close. Very smooth, good draw, and a big flavor made this a delicious smoke.
My Rating: 8

Thanks you guys for the wonderful cigars - I hope we can do it again soon!

Side note:
So I asked Don Hanes this question: "If you could only smoke one cigar brand for the rest of your life, what would it be?"
He answered back: "A free one".
My kind of guy!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Glen Case at the Lit Lounge Friday Night 8 PM

A little note that I received from my friend Ed Ryan, he's an independent cigar rep and Certified Tobacconist that works with a variety of boutique cigar brands including Berger & Argenti, Kristoff, Savinelli, El Primer Mundo, La Palina, Flatbed, etc...

Anyway, he said:

"I wanted to extend an invitation to you guys to come over to Lit Friday night to meet Glen Case from Exclusive Cigars. Glen is the mastermind behind the Kristoff / Vengeance / Brittania cigars. This will be his first time out here in the Northwest. This isn't an official Lit event, but we'll be there and I thought maybe you could help me spread the word and make him feel welcome."

Sounds like a good time and a great opportunity to schmooze with Glen - I'm not going to miss it!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Macanudo Maduro Vintage 1997 Reserva Dorada 2010

So I'll be frank with you, this is not a pretty cigar, even with its gimmicky "metal" cigar band, it's still an ugly duckling. In fact, I would have never bought it based purely on its looks. No, I bought this cigar solely because of its shiny metal ring. Yes, the gimmick paid off. Here I am in this big cigar store looking at a million different cigars, and this ugly little turd with the pretty bronze ring catches my eye. I've never seen a metal cigar band before, so I just had to have it, regardless of the price.

Anyway, my lovely wife and I were in downtown Kirkland on Friday night before the rains came, it was actually a pretty nice evening, no wind and the temperature was still in the upper 60's - very pleasant. So we sat down with the gang out in front of the Patch and I pulled out my smoke for the evening.

This cigar reminds me of the DaVinci Leonardo that I've smoked, both have that rugged dark firm wrapper, both are medium bodied maduros with an excellent draw and a very smooth full flavored taste. I've got to tell you, even though I knew this was a gimmick cigar, I liked it. Would I buy one again? If it cost me the same as the DaVinci Leonardo, heck yes! Unfortunately, these are considerably more expensive, so more than likely, no, I wouldn't buy it again... So sad...
My Rating: 8

Monday, October 4, 2010

Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story

So on Friday night after I'd already smoked an Alec Bradley cigar down at the Patch, a good friend of mine showed up and wanted me to stick around and shoot the breeze for a while. Friday night, sure why not, I'm in no hurry to get home, although I would need to buy another cigar. So I went inside with a fellow aficionado in search of the perfect cigar. We came up with the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story Perfecto 4 X 48.
I'll tell you right up front that I liked it. I later found out that it has a Cameroon wrapper, which just happens to be my preferred wrapper of choice. Anyway, it lasted less than an hour, which was perfect for me, and it didn't kick my ass, which also worked out nicely. A very good medium bodied smoke, maybe a little tight on the draw, but nothing to worry about. I found this little guy to be very enjoyable.
Would I buy it again? Maybe... I liked it, but I didn't love it, and for me to want to purchase a cigar it's either got to be a cigar that wowed me, or one where the price is just too darn good to turn down.
My Rating: 7.5
Just a reminder that the SmokeEasy Cigar Event is coming up  - Friday, October 16th, at the Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton. I know, that's a LONG-ass drive for us Seattleites, but what the hell, it only happens once a year, so make the drive, it'll definitely be worth it!

Side note:
I made another visit to John Howie Steakhouse at the Bravern. It was better this time, but not great. Again, the breads and the soups are excellent, but the steak was just OK. Here's the thing  - I ordered a Rib eye steak medium, not medium rare or even rare, but medium. So when they brought the steak out, she asked me to cut into it to see if it was prepared to my liking. Hmm? Anyway, I sliced into the center of the steak and noticed that it was rare, not medium rare, but rare-rare. "Oh-oh" slipped out of my mouth. The waitress picked up on it and asked if I'd like to send it back to have the chef cook it a bit longer? Now in my book you only get one chance with meat - once it's cooked, it's done. You can re-fire it, but it's never the same once the meat has rested for a while. I decided to eat it their way. Oh well, no big deal, it was still a lot better than the last time we were here.
One other little complaint that I have is in their presentation - they bring your steak out on a big white plate, just the steak sitting there all by itself, no garnish, no decoration, no color, just a hunk of beef sitting on this big white dish. It just looks weird to me. Heck, put a sprig of rosemary, or a touch of parsley, anything to give it some life! Look at me, the food critic - ;)
BTW, I already had a $100 gift certificate for this place, but they comped my dessert as well since the steak wasn't perfect - $18 Bananas Foster. That was very good indeed!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Montecristo 75th Aniversario

Crazy weather we've been having up here. One day it feels like winter, the next we're back to summer. Saturday we were back to summer, in fact Saturday was spectacularly beautiful with temperatures in the upper 70's and clear blue sky. (blue sky is pretty rare in Seattle)
The only thing I don't like about Fall are the "hornets". Those damn bees drive me nuts! We were at a restaurant in Georgetown on Saturday afternoon eating outside and they wouldn't leave us alone. Hate those little bastards!
Anyway, so last week I mentioned that I bought a Montecristo 75th Aniversario cigar up at the Snoqualmie Casino Lit Lounge - well I decided to smoke it on Friday night down at the Tobacco Patch. I'm not going to say that I loved it, but it wasn't all that bad. Medium bodied, nice draw, full flavored, not a real big fan of Habano wrappers, I'll smoke them, but I generally don't search them out. Overall it was enjoyable. I think I might have enjoyed this more with a glass of rum though.
Next time..

My Rating: 7

Monday, September 20, 2010

Will it ever stop raining?

Pouring down rain Friday night, so instead of going down to the Patch, we decided to head up to the Snoqualmie Casino and have a cigar up there at the Lit Lounge. First, a quick stop at the Metropolitan Market in Houghton for a mocha and pastry, then we set off on our journey to Snoqualmie. From Kirkland to the casino it's about 20 to 25 minute drive, not exactly close, but it's a lot closer than the other casinos.

When we arrived we started out on the poker slots up at the bar, they've been good to us before - however, not tonight though. We blasted through our allotted amount of cash in no time at all. So that brings us to the main reason we're here: Cigar time!
We walked into the lounge and saw some familiar faces - Kirklanders. That's one thing that's kind of neat about Kirkland - there are a lot of cigar smokers. Anyway, it wasn't too crowded, so we arranged a few tables together to make one big one, just like in town. I brought along an Oliva Serie V. Pretty reliable smoke. I ordered a glass of Pyrat Pistol rum neat and lit up my cigar.

The staff at the Lit Lounge are pretty cool, they really try to make you feel welcome, kind of like you're at a good friend's house. Anyway, back to the cigar. So I was kind of surprised when I lit up this Oliva and discovered that the draw wasn't all that great. The flavor was fine, but I wasn't getting any smoke. I gave it a little time, but still not what I'm used to. I cut a smidgen more off the top - that helped. Overall I wasn't all that pleased with it because it was too much work. Usually this is a great cigar. Too bad...
My Rating: 7.5

Before we left the Lit Lounge Friday night, I checked out the selection of cigars in the humidor - really nice inventory. So one of the guys that works there shows me a little collection of Montecristos sitting on top of this multi-million dollar humidor, well, I think it's closer to $2,500, but anyway, he told me that if you buy one of these cigars that your name will be entered in a drawing to win it. Now I'm not the biggest fan of Montecristos, but heck, I want to win that humidor!!! So of course I bought one. I'll keep you posted on when they call me to come and pick it up. :)
You may have noticed in some of the photos that I've taken that I like to use a Cuban Crafters cigar cutter. Well, a few weeks ago I accidentally pulled it apart. I don't think you're supposed to be able to do that, but somehow I did. Anyway, this inexpensive cutter is supposedly guaranteed for life, so last Saturday I mailed it off to Cuban Crafters in Miami. I thought it would take a couple weeks to get it back, but low and behold on Thursday a brand-spanking-new cutter arrived at my house. Amazing! I'm not plugging Cuban Crafters, but heck, that's good service. I must admit that the Post Office does a pretty good job too. It cost me $1.56 to send it from Seattle to Miami. (You may not know this little fact about the post office, but FedEx is the company that moves their packages)

One more Oliva to report - this was a maduro box press pyramid Serie G, just a little short guy. I smoked this on Saturday night, yes it was raining, but my new little setup on the lower deck at my house is working out really good. Nice comfortable chairs, music, TV, fireplace if I want, and I'm staying dry. Sweet!
Anyway, this was the BEST damn cigar I've smoked in ages - medium to full bodied, tons of creamy smoke, very, very smooth. I could have smoked this all day, but unfortunately it was one of the shorter varieties. I would have lit up another cigar, but the rain was starting to piss me off. Heck, when does it not!
My Rating: 9.5

Side Note:
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that we went to dinner over at John Howie Steakhouse at the Bravern, and I also said that it wasn't worth the money. Well, it looks like they're going to get a second try. You see when they brought me the bill that night, there was also one of those card that you fill out with your birthday, anniversary, etc., but on the back of that information card was room for comments. So I put my email address on the front and on the back I put the comment "TOO SALTY", that's it, just that. Well, from that little comment I received an email from the manager of the restaurant, which I replied to, and then a written apology mailed to my house, plus a $100 gift certificate asking me to give them another try. Damage control, big time! So I guess we're going back for a second try. My problem is that I hate to complain while I'm at a restaurant - sending food back to the chef is one of the biggest insults you can give. Heck, I have a hard time telling the Barista that my mocha isn't hot enough. Oh well, I'll keep you posted on the outcome... Stay tuned.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Alec Bradley Family Blend VR1

I heard on the TV the other day that it rained here on Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day. This caught my attention because I had all 3 Holidays off, and I also heard that this year we've only had 55 days where the temperature has gone above 70º, that's compared to the normal 84 days. Yes, suicide weather indeed. I'm really looking forward to our 228 days of cloudy skies. :)

On a more positive note, I was on vacation last week, kind of a working vacation - we're in the process of remodeling our master bathroom. JEEZ, that's a ton of work. Anyway, since I was off all week, I had plenty of time to kick back and lite up a few fine cigars. Yes of course I'm still smoking the Oliva's, but I did smoke my Padron Family Reserve 1964, 45 year Anniversary cigar that my wife picked out for me.
OH LORD, that was a good cigar. One of these days I'm going to have to swing by the Bellevue Tobacco Patch and thank those guy for pointing this cigar out to her. "Thank-you!" That has to be one of Padron's best smokes. The only problem is the price $$$. Heck, you only live once, right?

I wanted to tell you about another cigar that I tried the other day: Alec Bradley Family Blend VR1,  5 1/2 x 50
I bought 5 of these for practically nothing on a cigar auction site. I don't know how they can price them so cheap and still offer free shipping. Anyway, I couldn't pass this deal up, plus I've never tried any of the Alec Bradley cigars.

So what did I think? I liked it! Heck, for the money I loved it! I've smoked a couple of these already and both were very good medium bodied cigars, no problem with the draw, and a rich creamy smoke, maybe a little peppery in places, but overall a cigar that I was very happy with.

Would I buy them again? If I see them for the same price that I bought them for, without a doubt.

Would I recommend these over an Oliva? No. Sorry... ;)

My Rating: 8

Side note:
I went to lunch the other day at the Ipanema Brazilian Grill in Seattle. I think it's still the only churrascaria in the Puget Sound area. Anyway, if you haven't tried a Brazilian barbecue before, you ought to give this a try. It's not quite the same as in Brazil, but for the Pacific Northwest it was terrific! It's located across the street from the Seattle Art Museum (SAM).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

H Upmann 1844 Sun Grown

Last night after a BIG dinner and after working all day tiling our master bathroom, my lovely wife and I decided to take a cigar break out on the back deck. I grabbed a bottle of brandy, some glasses, a small amount of chocolates, plus a cigar that I've been meaning to try. We headed outside, got situated, and I fired up the fireplace. It had actually rained all day, but now it looked safe enough to sit out here, I could see a few stars between the clouds overhead.
So the cigar that I picked for tonight was given to me by my local tobacconist. It was a H Upmann 1844 Sun Grown. Short little cigar, but a BIG ring size. I gave it a guillotine cut and lit it up. At first the draw was real airy, I thought it might have a hole or rip in the wrapper someplace, but after a minute or so everything was absolutely perfect. I loved it! I don't know if I was just tired and needed to sit back and relax, but I thought this was one of the best cigars I've smoked in ages. Perfect draw (after the first couple of minutes), superior taste, exceptionally smooth, medium bodied, and billows of smoke. Jeez, this cigar was made for me. I know it was good, because when I finished it, I lit up an Oliva. No comparison - the Sun Grown was far better in my opinion. Oh no! Did I say that out-loud? Something better than Oliva? What's this world coming to!
I'm going to buy a couple more of these Upmanns just to see if it wasn't a fluke or something. It was that good.
My Rating: 9.4

Oh and yes, it started raining while we were outside. I think I was just about done with the Upmann, but the fire still had a long way to go. We basically moved our chairs under the house awning and I scooted the fireplace as close to the house as possible. We stayed dry and only a small portion of the table top on the side of the fire pit had any water on it. Cool! A new place to smoke cigars on crappy weather days.

Side Note:
So you remember last week when I mentioned that there's a new coffee shop in town? Rococo? Well anyway, my beautiful wife and I decided to try it out. UGH! I know they just opened and I should be more patient, but JEEZ, doesn't anyone care about customer service anymore!!!?? I'm not going to tell you all the boring details, but needless to say we won't be going back for a while, especially with the French Bakery only a block away. Heck, St. James is near by as well, so is Starbuck, Zoka and Caffe Ladro, etc., etc...

Coffee anyone?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

VSOP Vintage Reserve

Busy week, but another good week for cigars. :)

Started on Thursday night after dinner at John Howie Steakhouse. By the way, if you're ever at the Bravern in Bellevue, I would NOT recommend dinner at this steakhouse - the soups were good, but everything else was lacking.

Anyway, we stopped by the Tobacco Patch afterwards and had a cigar with the gang. I would have smoked one of my Oliva figurados, but I forgot to bring one with me from home, and now I'm too lazy to drive back to the house, so I just picked something out at the shop. I chose a Cabaiguan. Nice cigar - I've smoked them a few times and I've never been disappointed - unlike my dinner. If you like a good smooth medium bodied cigar, this is right up your alley.

Friday night, weather starting to get a little cooler here. I'm hoping that it's not a sign of things to come - this is supposed to be the hottest part of the year. Oh well. So Friday night we lite up again down at the Patch. Good crowd on Friday nights - fun to people watch. You see there are a bunch of bars nearby and it seems like everyone in town has to pass in front of the Patch. I brought along an Oliva Serie G Figurado. I'm making a pretty good dent in the box that I bought a few weeks back. Nothing like a Cameroon wrapper...

Saturday afternoon we went up to my cousin's house for a BIG BBQ. It looked like it was going to rain first thing in the morning, but in the afternoon it turned out to be a gorgeous clear blue sky day, and kind of warm as well, couldn't have picked a better day for a barbecue. Anyway, this was one of those rare parties where the majority of people smoked, or even better, smoked cigars. I just happened to bring along a couple of Oliva's. Man, what a great party! Enough food and drink to supply an army. It was a great time for all!

So while I was at my cousin's house, her husband has an oversize 200 count cigar humidor sitting in his living room and it's packed full with just about every brand there is. Since I gave one of my Oliva's away to a guest, I needed something else to smoke. No problem, our host pointed me to the humidor. I chose a VSOP Vintage Reserve. I was going to take one of his Montecristo No.2 (Cuba), but I know this brand pretty well.

From what I remember of this torpedo, it was a nice smoke - medium bodied, smooth taste, good draw, maybe just a little hot at the very end, but surprisingly good. I don't know how much these cost, but I'd definitely buy one. The only problem is that I've never actually seen one in any of the cigar stores that I frequent. I'll look around a bit and get back to you.
My Rating: 8

My lovely wife bought me a Padron 1964 Anniversary cigar last week - it's on my menu for this weekend!

Side note: Did anyone notice that they're opening yet another coffee shop in downtown Kirkland? Rococo Coffee & Tea Company. It's just down from Cactus Restaurant. This will be very interesting to see if yet another coffee establishment can make it downtown. The problem is that within literally feet of each other, you have Starbucks, Zoka and Caffe Ladro, that's not counting all the restaurants and bars that also serve the same coffee drinks.
Amazing, simple amazing...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

RoxoЯ Deluxe Maduro

The label (Kryptonite green) may look a little kooky, but this was a surprisingly good cigar! A friend of mine gave it to me, so I'm not sure on the details, but it was Churchill size and a maduro wrapper. Good feel, maybe a little rugged, but definitely a BIG cigar with a large ring size. It had an excellent draw, nice flavor and lasted for frickin ever! After an hour and 10 minutes I had to put it out, but there was easily another 30-40 minutes left. Anyway, it reminds me of the Da Vinci Leonardo cigars that I've smoked on many occasions, same characteristics.Yes, not a bad smoke indeed, and I just betcha that these are pretty reasonably priced?
My Rating: 7.5

Side notes:
Busy weekend for us, but a couple of items to share -

Every now and then we leave our sunny Kirkland to try out new eating establishments in nearby lands. (Restaurants are like cigars, you'll never try them all, but it never hurts to try)
So Saturday night we went to the Buenos Aires Grill (Argentine Restaurant and Tango Bar) in Seattle. I knew it was going to be a good evening, I found street parking on 3rd Avenue. Lucky me! Parking in a parking lot in Seattle is a ripoff, and me being as cheap as I am generally try to find something on the street "IF" I have the time to look for one - If not, screw it, it's going in the lot.
Anyway, this was one of the cooler restaurants that we've been to in a while - has the look and feel of a few places we've been to in Argentina and Uruguay. Kind of a 1920's look. Heck, it could be Paris if you didn't know any better. The food, especially the steaks, are outstanding, but what really put the restaurant over the top for us was the service. Our waitress was the best! She took care of us like we were her folks and she was trying to make a good impression. She succeeded! Everything was perfect. Now, while you're eating and listening to beautiful tango music, you are also entertained by a couple (dressed in white tux/white dress) dancing tango. They glide between the tables like they're floating on air - amazing to watch! If I didn't have two left feet, I'd love to learn how to dance it. Why are you laughing? I'm serious!

OK on to the next one -Our friends from Oregon were passing through Seattle on Sunday and they wanted to get together for brunch with them at Lola's Restaurant, this is one of Tom Douglas's restaurants on 4th Avenue, just a couple blocks from the restaurant we were at the night before. Let me tell you that they have the BEST Eggs Benedict in town - no question about it. And the service was First Class all the way. Kind of nice when you have people from out of town checking out the Seattle scene and everything is perfect. This is my new favorite place for breakfast in town. My only complaint might be the price - it's pretty expensive!

Guess I'm going to have to come to Seattle more often...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oliva Man

Just happen to have a variety of Oliva cigars in my humidor. Don't worry, they'll be gone soon. ;)

I really should be the spokesperson for the Oliva brand - for the price, in my opinion, this is the best cigar line on the market.

Starting to cool down a bit now, but boy it's been pretty toasty for us Seattleites - temp in the 90's. I'm not complaining, I love the heat, in fact I'll take the heat over our typical 228 gray-sky days anytime.

So as you may have guessed, I've been smoking nothing but Oliva's all weekend. Actually started smoking them on Thursday night - I usually don't smoke cigars Monday through Thursday, but this week was an exception. I can't remember the exact reason, but somehow we made it out on our back deck, I lit up the fireplace and we kicked back with a drink and a cigar. Nice, very nice evening.

Friday and Saturday nights we ventured over to the Tobacco Patch - perfect weather, good size group and lots of cigars. Talked to the owners of the Patch about the IPCPR in New Orleans. Sounds like they really enjoyed it, even though it's basically work for them. I'm looking forward to going to the Speak Easy this year in October - should be a blast!

Anyway, on Sunday night after a big dinner at the house, we took the kids (now grown adults) up to the Snoqualmie Casino for a little gambling. I'm not much of a gambler, but my son is one of the luckiest suckers I know - he wins all the time! He won $120 in just a few minutes at the Black Jack table while we were there. Me, I even look at the table and somehow I lose money!

So after I had lost my prescribed limit of dinero, we wandered over to the Lit Lounge. Sunday night is good time to visit the casino, not too busy, unless there's a concert, which of course there was. I don't think I've ever seen people park their cars up on the main road before - that's how busy it was. Luckily for me the Valet parking was still available. I don't mess with parking up there - just leave it with the Valet - no worries.

Anyway, plenty of seating in the lounge. As we walked in, over in the corner of the room I notice some familiar faces - Kirklanders. Hah! No escape from the Kirkland Crowd. I said "hi" to the gang and they asked us to join them. Cigar people are some of the nicest people you'll ever meet, that's a fact. So we sat back, enjoyed our cigars and got caught up on what's been going on with the locals. A perfect evening and a great way to end the week...

I've mentioned this before, but you've got to try the French press coffee up at the Lit Lounge. It's the best in town and goes spectacularly well with a cigar. I look forward to it every time I go there. ;)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Taino Classics

The Blue Angels were in town for Seafair last week. I saw them flying around on Wednesday and Thursday, but missed the shows over the weekend. I heard them buzzin around though, but I was too busy to look up. Unbelievable the noise they make when they kick on their afterburners! Holy Crap!

Anyone go to the races this year? I know it rained on Saturday, but Sunday wasn't all that bad, was it?

OK, so a friend of mine gave me this cigar a few weeks ago and I thought I'd smoke it on Sunday night. My lovely wife and I had gone to a big party earlier in the day down in Tacoma. Jeez, there was enough food there for 200 people, and believe me it was everything that you try to avoid eating because you know it'll either kill you or go straight to your waistline. Yes, I ate everything I possibly could and I'm still alive, so I guess I'll have to work it off this week.

I've never heard of Taino Classics and if I were to judge the cigar by its label or by the appearance of its wrapper, I'd say that they were relatively inexpensive smokes. This particular cigar had a big vein running down the backside of it. Yikes! Anyway, after I lit it up and smoked it for a while, I came to the conclusion that it wasn't bad, but it's not something that I would buy, or smoke again. It's a mild, lackluster cigar that lacks in just about all departments, except perhaps the price.

You know when I smoke an expensive cigar, I want to be around other people and enjoy the experience. This cigar I could easily smoke alone. :)

My Rating: 7

Monday, August 2, 2010

Nub Connecticut Torpedo

I think I'm probably the last person to try one of these. Sure, I've seen them before, but I've never really had the urge to buy one. Well, the problem was solved last week - a friend GAVE me one! No kidding! Nice guy...

Anyway, it's kind of an interesting looking cigar, it's only about 4 inches long and it has a massive ring size. Once you cut its Torpedo top, you're down to a little more than 3 inches of smokable cigar. I think that's probably the main reason I haven't bought one yet.

So what did I think? Meh... it was OK - nothing to write home about. The draw was good, however it got a little hot towards the end. Flavor was nothing special, pretty mild cigar overall. Honestly, I don't see what all the hype is. What really made me not care for this cigar was that I smoked a Padron right after it. In my book there's no comparison. Sorry Nub...
Anyway, my Rating: 6

Side note - my lovely wife on Saturday gave two thumbs up to a flavored cigarillo that she tried. It was given to her while we were smoking with the gang down in Kirkland. I don't usually smoke cigarillos, but my sweetie really like it. ;)
Tatiana Mini Vanilla

Seafair is this weekend - the Blue Angels will be in town - fun, fun, fun!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Oliva Serie G Figurado (Cameroon)

Another beautiful warm sunny weekend in the Pacific Northwest - temperatures in the mid to upper 80's, light breeze out of the north, could not be more picture-postcard perfect. Superb weather for enjoying a fine cigar outdoors!

Anyway, Friday night at the Tobacco Patch there was an Oliva Cigar Event. Since Oliva's are one of my top brands, I made it a point stop by.

We started off at the Thai restaurant just a couple of doors down (best Thai food in town), then headed over to the Patch.

The event was pretty standard as far as discounts go - buy 3 Oliva cigars and get 1 free, and 20% off box purchases of Oliva's. Also, if you bought a box, they throw in an Oliva 6 cigar sampler. So of course I bought a box. I could have bought the same thing online for less, but I like this little shop and the guys that work there treat me very well - that's what it's all about.

So the box that I bought was the Oliva Serie G Figurados (Cameroon), they come 25 to a box. They threw in an Oliva Polo shirt and the 6 cigar sampler box as well.

Anyway, since the boxes were sealed and I didn't feel like opening them up at the store, I decided to buy one more single cigar for the evening. I bought an Oliva Serie V, which I've smoked a few times before, in fact I reviewed this variety back in May of 2009. My opinion has not changed at all. Still one of the best cigars on the market for the price.

Saturday night I opened the box of Figurados - this is another cigar that I've smoked many, many times before and to this day it is still one of my favorites - Medium bodied, exceptionally smooth, perfect draw and billows of smoke - something about the Cameroon wrapper that I really like! If you like a mild cigar that's smooth as hell, this cigar was built for you. You won't be disappointed, that's for sure!
My Rating: 9.5

This was really a nice long weekend for me. Sunday night we went to a good friend's house for what turned out to be a phenomenal dinner, and afterwards we sat out on his deck smoking cigars, drinking Courvoisier and watching the sun set over the Olympic Mountains - spectacular view of Lake Washington and the Olympics from his place.
BTW, I had a Fuentes and a Padron, I'll take the Padron any time over the Fuentes, but both were excellent smokes, especially with the Courvoisier VSOP. ;)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Hammer

Went out to dinner on Friday night over in Houghton - we ate at Shamiana Restaurant. We haven't been there in a while so we thought we'd try it again. Ugh! What a mistake. Both the food and the service were substandard. Sad, because this place used to be so good!

Anyway, Friday night we stopped by the Tobacco Patch for a cigar, I bought a J Fuego Natural Belicoso for myself and an Oliva Special for my lovely wife. Lots of people walking around downtown, mainly because of the Kirkland UnCorked Wine Festival that was going on all weekend, but also because the weather was perfect.

I've got to tell you that I'm starting to like these J Fuego cigars more and more. The Natural Belicoso that I smoked on Friday was outstanding. Medium body, perfect draw, smooth taste, basically a cigar for anytime of day. I'm thinking about buying a box or them, or maybe a box of Origens. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday I had to work until early afternoon, and Saturday night we had friends over for dinner. Everything turned out really good, thank God, after dinner we moved outside to sit around the fireplace - dessert, coffee and a handful of cigars that my good friend had brought. Unfortunately I can't remember any of the brands - probably too much booze. Didn't get to bed until 3 AM too. ;)

Sunday was the Kirkland Classic Car Show in downtown Kirkland, also it was the last day of the wine festival. We're kind of lucky that we can just walk downtown, parking really sucks when they have big events like this.  Anyway, at the car show there were probably a couple hundred cars on display, all in MINT condition. I wish I would have brought my camera, a couple of cars were totally ($$$) amazing!  (Jaw droppers!)

So after drooling over the cars, we strolled over to the Wine Festival at the marina. The festival is also a Street Fair, so there's lots to look at and plenty to eat, and of course you can sample a boatload of wine. One of the cool things that I saw this year was at the dog trainer booth. You can't believe how well-trained those dogs were, and they were all just your ordinary run-of-the-mill mutts. Definitely want these guys when I get my next dog.

On to the main event on Sunday evening

So I bought this $20+ cigar last week at the Patch and I've been itching to try it ever since.

Padron Family Reserve 1964 No.45
If you look closely at the label you'll see a little hammer between the 19 and the 64 - kind of cute.

Anyway,  when I first lit this cigar I thought that it would be no better or worse than the cigars I've been smoking all weekend, but surprisingly this little jewel proved me wrong. The cigar is near perfect. No kidding. Box pressed, oily, but firm wrapper, medium to full-bodied, maybe a little jagged on the burn, but everything else was delicious. Smooth and full flavored taste never quit. I didn't want it to stop - believe me, this cigar lasted forever too! What a great smoke though. I think you'll enjoy it once you get over the sticker price. ;)

My Rating: 9.8

Monday, July 12, 2010

4th of July

You know how they say that bad things happen in 3's...

First, my MacBook Pro laptop crapped out; turns on fine, just no display. GRReat...Next, Brazil lost in World Cup play to the Netherlands. Still can't believe that...And lastly, my checking/debit account was compromised. I've had this happen a couple of times before, so I'm somewhat of an expert on the subject, that's why I make it a point to check all my accounts daily. All this happen before I left for work. Great way to start my day...

Anyway, that all happened a week ago Friday, last week I was on vacation. Couldn't have picked a better week - beautiful warm sunny days, temp in the upper 80's, low 90's, plus I smoked some really good cigars.

LFD Cameroon Cabinets - Sno-Casino Friday
Fonseca Cubano Limitado - Tobacco Patch Saturday
4th of July - Party out in Sammamish - no cigars
Nosotros Illusione - friends over for dinner on Monday
Montecristo No.2 - BBQ at friend's house up in Somerset on Tuesday
Casa Fernandez - Wednesday at Marina
Cabaigaun Maduro - Thursday on the deck
Camacho Room 101 - Tobacco Patch Friday
My Father Cedros Deluxe - Tobacco Patch Saturday

Surprisingly I liked them all! The Camacho Room 101, Nosotros Illusione and the Cabaiguan Maduro stood out the most, really great flavor, but overall there wasn't a bad cigar in the bunch. I love when that happens! Would I buy any of these again? Absolutely! ALL of them!

Side note -
One day last week I took my wife to work, I wanted to take her car up to the Infiniti dealer and have the oil in her FX changed. Since I was on vacation, I had plenty of time to mess around with it. So off to the dealer I go. The Infiniti service department takes good care of their customers. I don't mind waiting while they change the oil - the waiting area has all sorts of little goodies to munch on, plus you can have a cappuccino, mocha, espresso, etc. while watching whatever you like on the big screen TV. BTW, the fresh-baked cookies up there are terribly addicting.

Anyway, when I was done at Infiniti, I had to blast over to the Apple store at Bell-Square and pickup my laptop that had been repaired. Turns out that it wasn't a display problem, it was the logic board. Total repair cost $1,227. I looked at the invoice and I asked the gal "is that what I have to pay?" She said that since I purchased the Apple Care Protection plan when I bought the laptop, it was free. FREE! Music to my ears. This is the second issue that I've had with my Mac, so I guess the Apple Care Plan was worth it. I walked out of the Apple store with a smile on my face. Jeez, if I would have had to pay that much money to have my computer fixed I would have blown a gasket. (Mac's are way over rated!)

So after Bell-Square, I needed to drop my wife's car off at her building. My plan was to leave her car in the building garage and then walk home (only 5 miles), this would be my exercise for the day. Anyway, after I parked the car in the garage, I called my lovely wife and we met up for coffee across the street at one of the local coffee shops. We sat outside in a little courtyard area - I think it was near 90º and we're drinking hot coffee. We're nuts, that's a fact. So after coffee I give my wife a kiss and I'm off on my walk, however I just need to make one stop - the Bellevue Tobacco Patch is only about a block away.
As I'm walking up to the Patch, I see an old acquaintance sitting out in front of the store smoking a cigar. I said "hi" and told him that this was my first visit to the new store. He said I'd like it! The Bellevue store is a little bigger than Kirkland, maybe not as big of a selection of cigars, but definitely enough room to match whatever Kirkland has. Everything is well-organized, clean and precisely where it should be. The walk-in humidor takes up most of the store, which in my opinion is its most attractive feature.
So while I was there I found a cigar that I liked, I place the cigar on the counter and paid for it. The gentleman that works there is super nice, so of course I had to talk cigars with him for a bit. Anyway, I say "good-bye" to my friend and start my afternoon walk in this 90º heat back home. I think I made it about 4 blocks past the Bellevue Post Office on Bellevue Way, which is probably a mile away from the Tobacco Patch, when I discovered that I forgot the cigar on the counter. I double-check my pockets and also the laptop case that I'm carrying - nothing. OH NO! So do I walk all the way back or come back later with my car? Oh what-the-heck, let's walk all the way back - nothing like a 6 mile walk in 90º heat. I'm not complaining though, I'll take the heat over our typical cloudy skies anytime!

Looking forward to smoking the cigar that I bought at the Patch - Padron Family Reserve No.45

One other little note - We tried out the new restaurant "Olive You" in downtown Kirkland on Saturday night - EXCELLENT!

Monday, June 28, 2010

CAO La Traviata

Stopped by J&J Cigars in Seattle on Friday for their Grand Opening - bought a few cigars, including the one that I'm reviewing today. You can read more about the grand opening and see a few pictures from the event on the 10-7 Habaneros blog:

So overall I was pretty busy this weekend, but I did have an opportunity to enjoy all three of the cigars that I bought at J&J Cigars.

Here's my selection:

CAO La Traviata
Oliva Serie G Churchill
J Fuego Origen

I started Friday night with the CAO - While I was searching for the perfect cigar inside the humidor at J&J's, a fellow aficionado told me that La Traviata just happened to be his favorite cigar. So on his recommendation I purchased it, and in return I recommended that he try the J Fuego Origens. (Tit-for-tat)
Anyway, Friday night we went downtown Kirkland for coffee and a cigar with the gang. We stopped at Caffe Ladro first, then over to the Tobacco Patch.The Patch is a surprisingly good place to people-watch from - seems like everyone in Kirkland has to pass in front of this store.

So what did I think of the CAO La Traviata?
Meh... It was OK... Maybe a little strong at first, but it smoothed out. Burn and draw were flawless, however the taste didn't work for me. Judging by its oily wrapper I thought I would have loved it too. It's really a good-looking cigar. Who knows, maybe I'll give this one more try, but next time I'll be at home with a glass of my favorite rum. Sometimes a sweet rum makes all the difference with this variety of cigars. We shall see...
My Rating: 7

Now here's an interesting note - On Saturday night I smoked an Oliva Serie G Cameroon Churchill, one of my all time favorite cigars, and on Sunday afternoon down at the marina I smoke a J Fuego Origen cigar. Would you believe that I liked the Origen cigar better? What's wrong with this picture??? I always thought that I was the perfect poster-child for the Oliva cigars too! Boy, how things change, eh?