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 70ยบ, 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...