Who Cares Who Watches The Watchmen

Happy Shootin’ DudeI love superhero movies. And I like them dark. I’ve really enjoyed the recent Batman movies starring Christian Bale. So when I saw the trailers for The Watchmen, I was excited. I’ve never read the comic book the movie is based on, and loved the idea of being introduced to a brand new world of brooding, slightly flawed superheroes.

In the recent surge of superhero movies hitting the big screen, it hasn’t been necessary to have any background whatsoever to enjoy these movies. And in fact, the biggest flaws these movies often have is spending too much time on character backgrounds, and not enough time  on the action we crave. It’s a forgivable offense, they’re trying to make sure we’re all on the same page. Even the folks that are a little slow on the uptake.

Spoiler alert. What is written below may ruin the movie for you, or even convince you not to waste your time seeing this deep-dish slice of Suck smothered in a rich sauce of FAIL they call “The Watchmen.” You have been warned.

The character background was my first clue that The Watchmen was going to be a dreadful movie. Early in the movie there’s a montage that serves to give viewers the scoop on where we are in the movie. A moment or two into this scrapbook-y tour of the past I’m thinking, “Cool, it’s gonna be based in the 40′s or 50′s.” But pages keep turning and character quirks start appearing. OK, one of the heroes is a lesbian. That’s unique. Another is has Bruce Wayne riches, OK, that explains how they buy their nifty super-gadgets. The pages keep turning, and characters we’ve only just been introduced start being killed off or institutionalized. What the hell? By the end of the lengthy slide show, I’m more confused than I started. Who the hell is still alive in this show?

When it’s done, the introduction to the current characters is at best incomplete. You’re in for another long introduction to the “heroes” who are still around. They spend their time bitter and moping or wistful about a times past. And to make things even better (and by better, I mean much worse), almost none of them are active in any sort of heroism. Not only that, as characters, they are completely devoid of any of the altrusim and idealism you expect from even the most flawed heroic characters. Well before any real action takes place in the movie (aside from a fight with “The Comedian” early on), I came to the realization that I just don’t care about any of these characters, and hope that they meet the same fate as the Comedian. Sadly, even this wish is not granted.

The only character I came moderately close to liking was Rorschach. He was the only character who actually did anything for the first half of the movie. But soon, even he started to irritate me. His lengthy meandering bitter monologues, made me want to shout at the screen, “Shut the F*ck up already! We get it, you’re disturbed, dark and angry!” Thank god even this was inconsistent, Rorschach’s narratives were like much of the movie, just randomly placed and useless.

Dr. Manhattan, the only character with actual superpowers was completely unable to rescue this flop of a movie. And it’s clear from his long-awaited appearances in the movie that he didn’t much care either. He’d far rather look down his nose at humanity while doing some incredibly cliche hovering meditating on Mars. It’s just a shame he didn’t stay there, it really would not have made a bit of difference if he had.

The final insult was the end of the movie. My wife, who is still bitter that I brought her along, was nearly vomiting at the forced melodrama and complete ridiculousness of the premise. (Her tastes in movies are much more refined than mine, and this blow may send us to marital counseling.) I really didn’t care that many major cities around the world were obliterated. This Watchmen reality sucks, it’s just a shame the whole planet wasn’t blown to bits, ala Star Wars. What annoys me is that Rorschach was obliterated for sticking to his principles and the villain is embraced by the remaining super-zeros in an intelligence-insulting ends-justify-the-means rationalization. My guess is their next super-deed will be to enforce Eugenics and Euthanasia on people older than 50.

My guess is that the people who dropped this steaming, fly-covered pile of film on the public think they’ve authored a dark, complex masterpiece that imparts knowledge and inspires thought. I hate to break it to them, what this is is an adolescent, self-absorbed, meandering monstrosity. The only lesson to take from this nearly three hours of pain is that never hurts to read movie reviews before you part with ten bucks.

So to answer the question posed so many times in the movie by graphiti, who watches the Watchmen? People who have just been ripped off, that’s who. If this review gets to you in time, I’ve done my own bit of heroism in saving you ten bucks.

What do you think? Have you seen this movie? I’m curious if people who were already fans of The Watchmen comic book found it a more enjoyable experience than I did.

The Terracotta Warrior Teaser

Brian's Terracotta Warrior ArmyI’ve been looking forward to it for at least a month. And that might be part of the problem. Because when I look back at Sunday with ancient clay warriors, I kind of feel like I saw the movie trailer and not the main feature film. Oh, but wait, let’s not spoil this before I even discuss the event a little bit.

As people in Atlanta probably already know, the Qin Dynasty Terracotta Warrior exhibit has recently opened at the High Museum of Art. (I’m imagining the numerous disappointed sighs out there when they discover that “high.org” is a website for an art museum. Delicious.) I don’t remember the price of admission off the top of my head, but it is a heck of a lot cheaper than tickets concerts headlining ancient musicians.

What are these Terracotta Warriors, some imaginary person asks? They are the larger than life clay sculptures of Chinese soldiers and generals that were created to assist China’s first emperor in the afterlife. (After kicking a lot ass in life, he looked forward to kicking even more in death.)

In spite of sending out folks to track down his subjects to find all manner of immortality herbs and potions, the first emperor decided to hedge his bets. There was at least a 50-50 chance he’d die one day. He needed to prepare for life on the other side. It just wouldn’t do for his army and deathly possessions to fewer than the other kings he met on the other side. I mean, hey, nobody likes to be the butt of jokes. He had options. He could just have his army killed so he could bring them along. But that had been done before. And his warriors, as good as they were in conquering the warrior states, weren’t perfect. They could be a little taller. And maybe a little stronger. But he really could do too much about that. So he decided to make new ones. Taller, stronger, faster and decked out with really nice weapons. He was a clever guy, actually. Not only would his afterlife army be larger than everyone else’s, they’d be taller by several feet. Guess who will be calling the shots in death-land?

One thing that the first emperor didn’t count on was how unpopular he’d be with those who were still alive. His living enemies set fire to his massive burial grounds and stole his warriors weapons. It might have been too big a deal for the recently deceased emperor if all the supports to his subterranean weren’t wood. But they were and the roof collapsed, smashing and scattering his now defenseless warriors. Talk about damage during shipping. After all that work over all those years, and look who still is the laughing stock of the afterlife. (“You made your soldiers out of what?”)

Fortunately for us, a bunch of smart people with penchants for jigsaw puzzles have reassembled an incredible number of these damaged warriors for our viewing enjoyment.  And with the OK of the Chinese government, they’ve decided to take the Terracotta show on the road, visiting museums all over the world. The show stars crossbow mean, generals, musicians, a chariot driver and even a headless guy with a weight problem. (Known as the “strong man”, but I think really just has a thyroid problem.) And to make sure the show is a success, it returns to China after each exhibit to be “blessed”. (I don’t know what that means exactly, but I’m sure it helps.)

It’s a show that’s really worth seeing, even if it is a little anticlimactic. I had hoped to see a room full of clay soldiers, but what I saw was merely a sampling of what has been unearthed and reconstructed. Probably 10 actual soldiers in total. It’s enough to intrigue and impress, but not to give you a sense of the magnitude of this ancient wonder of the world. To be fair, it would be prohibitively expensive and logistically impractical to ship a small room full of warriors all around the world. And they do try to give you this sense with a massive picture on one wall depicting the warriors in their sunken hallways. I guess it’s time for me to start saving up for a plane ticket.

So you’re probably wondering if it’s worth it to go and see the exhibit. Let me help you in your decision making process with a quick list of pro and con bullet points. (Man, am I helpful or what? Make your checks payable to Brian Hewitt.)

Why you should see the Terracotta Warrior Exhibit:

  • You don’t have the money for a plane ticket to China or the vacation time to enjoy it.
  • How often do you get to see 2000 year old Chinese sculpture? Or 2000 year old anything for that matter? Julius Cesar is younger than these things, and he didn’t hold up nearly as well.
  • It’s always beneficial to admire fine craftsmanship. Whether it be a fine premium cigar, and incredible painting or a clay replica of a ancient Chinese soldier.
  • In spite of being made from only 8 different molds, each soldier his striking unique. Different hair styles, clothing and facial features are suspected to represent a variety of the Chinese ethnic groups of the day.
  • There’s more to see than just the warrior. Coins, replica bronze chariots with horses, birds, art, and even a cool model of the ancient assembly line that assembled the warriors.

Why you might be disappointed:

  • If the exhibit in your museum is roughly equivalent to ours, you’ll probably be done in an hour. And that’s with the audio tour (which is an absolute must). But if you don’t have a lot of time, this could be a plus.
  • You’ll only see 9 or 10 actual warriors.

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Fear And Stupidity In Atlanta

Happy Shootin’ DudeI’m happy to report that Atlanta and I have returned from surprise visit to the 1970′s. On a Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago I stopped in at a local gas station for a routine fill up. This generally unmemorable event immediately became more noteworthy as the tires of my car rolled onto the filling station’s pavement. The air around the car started to twist and writhe like it was filled with gas fumes.  And then there was a bright light. While my vision recovered, I noticed my radio, which had been tuned to a top 40 station was playing “Afternoon Delight”. What the hell?

My vision recovered not a moment too soon. I slammed the brakes and just missed rear-ending a vintage gas guzzler. “Where the hell did that come from?” I said aloud. From the road, I could clearly see that this gas station only had one other car, and it was gassing up at pump on the far side from this entrance.

I took a deep breath and looked around. There were cars everywhere. And not a single one of them from this century. Come to think of it, not a single one of them younger than 20 years old. What is this, a vintage car show? I wondered. Then I noticed the strange looks I was getting, sitting there in my pint-sized 2003 SUV. And stranger than the looks were the people giving them. It was like I was surrounded by extras from Dazed and Confused! Bell bottoms, wide collar expanses, and giant mops of hair were all around me.

Clearly, the last cigar I smoked had something in it besides tobacco, and I was freaking out. My instincts, which I generally trust, said “get the hell out of here, right now.” But as I began to shift my car into reverse, a land yacht of a Cadillac pulled in behind me. Trapped! Screwed! Nothing to do now but go with the slow flow of groovy cars as they wait in line to gas up.

Before long retro folks in their vintage cars lost interest in my SUV and stopped staring. I started to relax when it became clear that they weren’t zombies from a low budget 1970′s horror film and meant me no harm. And as I relaxed, I started to feel boredom coming on. This line wasn’t moving. Waiting for gas sucks. A lot. The radio wasn’t helping. I switched it off when Barry Manilow started singing about writing the songs that make the whole world sing. I didn’t feel like singing, and Mr. Manilow wasn’t gonna force my hand. I grabbed my crackberry to amuse myself with some web browsing while I waited. No service, dammit.

As I dropped my phone on the passenger seat in disgust, I started to smile. I looked around, and sure enough, there wasn’t a singled idiot bellowing into his cellphone. Whenever I’m stuck in line, it seems like there’s always that moron who seems to think that shouting into his mobile will ensure it doesn’t lose signal strength.

Slowly the line creeped forward, and I amused myself with people watching. Man, these people are skinny! I’m used to being about average weight-wise in any group of people, but clearly I’m the fattest guy here. And dear god, the tight polyester, how the hell can these people stand this heat and humidity wearing that crap?

Finally it was my turn. 13 gallons for $7.67. Damn, that almost made it worth waiting 45 minutes and the weird looks.

As I pulled away from the pump, I felt a cold shiver. Oh god, I hope I’m not stuck here. I can’t imagine programming with punch cards! And just then the air outside my car got strange again. Another flash of light. And as I looked in my rear view mirror the old cars and and people were gone. The gas station was again mostly empty. The price sign listed unleaded gas at $3.91 a gallon and my blackberry buzzed to let me know I had a new email about cheap herbal Viagra. I sighed in relief and burned rubber getting the hell out of that gas station.

I think I’m going to start taking the bus.

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Xikar Defiance The Renegade

In spite of picking one of these smokes at RTDA last year, somehow I didn’t get around to actually smoking one until now. It seems like a pretty big oversight, doesn’t it. Well, if you take a quick peak in my humidor, you’d quickly see why. Let’s just say organization isn’t one of my strong suits.

It wasn’t until Jarrod from Tex Cigars sent me a couple of Defiance robustos (a.k.a. “The Renegade”) that I remembered that year old stick resting quietly in the deep recesses of the humidor. In this case, my lacking organization skills worked out. Since I didn’t review that cigar last year, I’m open to smoke and review two this year.

The story behind the defiance is that it is more than just a cigar. It’s also the flagship smoke of the Defiance Alliance, an organization dedicated to fighting anti-smoking legislation. 5% of the proceeds of each cigar go to support this worthy effort. You might be tempted to dismiss this cigar as a well intended gimmick, but you also need to know that its the creation of the very talented Jesus Fuego. So it goes without saying that I’m really looking forward to finally trying these out. So let’s get to it.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 5 x 50 (robusto)
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo
Filler: Nicaraguan
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Beverage: Water
Price: ~$5.75 (buy it here)

The Pre-Smoke
To begin with, the cigar has a very classy appearance. The dual bands are sharp looking without being tacky, and a little comical. What’s a little funny about them are the phrases. On the front, a rewording of the classic phrase, In Vino Veritas. In this case, In Puros Veritas, or “In puros there is truth”. And on the back of the band a note: “Do Not Remove!” Of course sooner or later you will, only to find a message inside the band that praises you for not always doing what your told and directing you to their website.

The cigar itself looks great too. Visually both cigars appear very smooth with tiny veins and just a little bit of lumpiness to the touch. The scent of the wrapper was also noteworthy, the aroma was an interesting combination of honey sweetness, compost and dill. Yes, dill. After clipping the cigars, I tasted syrupy coffee in the cold draw.

The Burn
In the burn department, these cigars were slightly disappointing. One cigar cracked near the head, and slowly unraveled as I smoked. Fortunately, it was only this first stick (and the one photographed for this review) that had this problem. The other cigar’s wrapper did not form any cracks or other similar problems.

However, the burn line of the second one was noticeably less even than the cigar with the cracked wrapper. I also noticed that this cigar had draw that was slightly too firm at the beginning. This turned out to be only a slight irritation as the draw opened up nicely as the it burned.

But there’s one place where both cigars preformed beautifully in terms of the burn. That would have to bee the great lengths of light colored ash that held tight to the end of each smoke.

The Flavor
Both cigars began with enjoyable sweet, creamy flavors. I noted coffee, caramel, a bit of cocoa, and a incredibly tasty spicy cinnamon in the first third.

The second third continued to be syrupy sweet and more cedary and woody. (Yep, I did notice different woods!) I also got more chocolates and cocoas and a surprising, but short pocket of butteriness.

These cigars finished on a very cedar-y note. At times the cedar was sweet, other times it was more aromatic or even floral. And in one cigar I actually briefly tasted some nice coconut.

The Price
I have no complaints about the price. I wouldn’t have a problem buying more at this price.

The Verdict
While the burn was problematic, particularly in the first, unraveling smoke, the flavors more than made up for the trouble. You’ll notice from the pictures that I didn’t give up on the cigar when the wrapper got ugly. I was enjoying the it too much to put it out. (I only wish I had a bit of pectin so I could have made dealing with the wrapper a bit easier!)

So my verdict on these cigars is very positive. The Xikar Defiance goes on my short list for cigars I need to buy by the box. But while I’m waiting for my humidor to clear out a bit, I’m going to have to go searching for that long lost RTDA ’07 Defiance. I have a feeling I’m going to love it.

I also need to say another quick thanks to Tex Cigars for hooking me up with such great smokes. I really appreciate it, and encourage you to give them a little business if you’re interested in trying out this cigar!

Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Definitely
Recommend It: Absolutely

Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.

Xikar Defiance

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Reserva Miraflor Habano Oscuro Robusto

I’m happy to say that I survived and have returned from the cigar event to end all cigar events. Of course, I’m talking about none other than the annual IPCPR (formerly RTDA) show in Las Vegas, Nevada. And what better way to get back into the swing of things but with a review of a brand new cigar?

This cigar is a particular treat to review. Not only is it absolutely new (which makes it especially attractive to me), but I happen to know that very, very few people have ever smoked it. There were very few samples available at the show, and I was lucky enough to get one only because I met the man behind the cigar, Andres “Andy” Madera on the CigarLive forum earlier this year.

There isn’t yet a whole lot of information yet available online about the cigar, so here’s what I know. The cigar is produced in Esteli, Nicaragua by GDW Cigars. Andres Madera, the owner, has set up his U.S. base of operations in the rainy city of Portland, Oregon. Andy has big plans, but is starting out with a single line of Reserva Miraflor cigars. It’s available in the standard vitolas (robusto, churchill, toro, belicoso) as well as the increasingly popular lancero size.

And that pretty much covers what I know. Let’s light it up!

Cigar Stats:
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Beverage: Water
Price: ~$4.00

The Pre-Smoke
As you would expect from a cigar with “oscuro” in the name, this cigar comes wrapped in a nice, dark brown, oily leaf. But not quite as dark as some other oscuros out there on the market, more of a slightly reddish maduro. In my inspection of the cigar, I found it to be free of any obvious flaws and nicely firm.

The cigar had a faint compost scent on the wrapper that was a little bit more pungent at the foot. I clipped this cigar with my trusty Xikar scissors and found the cold taste to be a slightly sweet cocoa.

The Burn
The burn of this cigar was very respectable. The ash was solid, light and hung tough on the cigar for around an inch before dropping. The draw was also prefect. The only flaws I noted while smoking the cigar was a little bit of unevenness in the burn in the first and last thirds. And I did have to relight the cigar once right around the halfway point.

The Flavor
The cigar started off with a rich, creamy, nutty cedar flavor and quickly developed some caramel and coffee flavors early on in the first third. Creamy and occasionally spicy coffee dominated this portion of the cigar, and was rejoined by cedar just before second third began.

By the second third, the coffee flavor faded and was replaced by cocoa and dark chocolate that combined nicely with the cedar. As the second third burned, the cedar flavor became more and more prominent. Just before the final third, the cigar was all aromatic, almost floral, cedar.

The final third saw the return of the cocoa and chocolate, but cedar remained dominant.

The Price
I have no complains about this price. I’m not sure what the final MSRP will be once these cigars become more widely available in retail shops, but I know it will be pretty close to the price quoted by Andy to interested buyers on the CigarLive forum. (You can see the details here.) Since it falls in the $3 to $5 range, I think most cigar smokers will find it affordable.

The Verdict
My verdict for this cigar is simple. It’s a great tasting cigar that burns well and won’t break the bank. I really enjoyed the combination of cocoa and chocolate flavors with cedar and can see myself smoking this more often in the future. And I’m really glad that I enjoyed this cigar. I didn’t know what to expect from this cigar, and I wanted to be able to help support the new guy to the market! Andy made that easy by producing a fine cigar! If you have the opportunity to smoke one, I say go for it.

Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes

Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.

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The Day That Nub Came To Town

After months of waiting, Atlanta finally got some Nub love this weekend. On Friday, Sam Leccia, one-time Oliva cigar rep and brains behind the new Nub cigar line, loaded up the Nub Mini Cooper and drove into Georgia. His destination was La Casa Del Tobacco in Buckhead which locals may know by previous incarnations as “Georgia Cigar” or “Cigar World”.

Nub Mini Cooper
Nub Mini Cooper

In case you haven’t heard about the Nub cigar yet, here’s a quick explanation of these unusual looking stubby smokes. The theory is that these chubby four inch cigars capture “the sweet spot” of the tobacco, which they say generally begins around the 3 1/2 to 4 inch point on a normal cigar. At the same time the larger than normal girth of the stick gives you the same quantity of tobacco as a much longer cigar and keeps the cigar cool at the same time. So in theory, you’re doubling up on the best part of the cigar.

Nate and Eddy Fontana
Nate and Eddy

In the months between the announcement of the Nub and it’s arrival in Atlanta, I had plenty of opportunity to talk with people about both the concept behind the cigar and the cigar itself. As you might expect, early on the buzz was huge. People who had only just seen pictures and a read a quick blurb about the cigar were asking if they could buy boxes of them. But then as time wore on, I started to notice more an more skepticism. Some of it made sense, and some of it just seemed like the natural backlash against the initial feeding frenzy.

Nub Connecticut
Nub Connecticuts

And then a month or so back I finally got my hands on a sampler. I’ll be honest, they weren’t that impressive. The Cameroon had a flaky ash and none of the Cameroon flavor I so enjoy. The Connecticut and the Habano had a better ashes, but the cigars seem to have no soul. Where was this “sweet spot” flavor I heard so much about?

So it was with a healthy dose of skepticism that I headed over to the event. I knew it would be a great time, but I had serious doubts as to whether I’d enjoy the cigars. After taking a quick moment to check out the Mini Cooper and say hi to some of the folks, I picked up a few to smoke there at shop. I decided to start with the Cameroon, both because it because it had been the poorest performing before, and because, oddly to me, Nate, the local Oliva rep who joined Sam on this leg of the journey, said it was probably his favorite.

Nub Mini Cooper
Nub Mini Cooper

I quickly lit it up, and noticed something I hadn’t before. Flavor. This cigar had a very pronounced and very enjoyable Cameroon flavor! Hey, this was great, what’s the deal? So I asked Nate. He told me that some of the early sampler cigars were rushed a bit, and that he had actually had the same experience.

Nub Cameroon Ash Stand
Nub Cameroon Ash Stand

So with a tasty cigar in hand and drink in hand, I sat back and watched the Sammy the Roller show, starring Sam Leccia, a pile of tobacco and the cool rolling table Walt White made for him. It wasn’t like touring a cigar factory, watching torcedors (or tabaqueros) pounding out cigar after cigar. This was more like “cigar hacking.” And I mean “hacking” in a good sense. Sam was creating little Nub masterpieces by stealing wrappers from other cigars to create double wraps, triple wraps, pipe shaped cigars and even more interesting wrapper combinations.

Sam Rolling
Sam Leccia Rolling Another Special Edition

Special Nubs
Special Nubs

And then it got even more interesting. Sam turned the table on us literally and had a number of us roll our own cigar. Yes, I’m happy to say that I tried my hand at making a cigar. After 20 or 30 minutes of applying and re-applying the habano wrapper (and pained grimaces from Sam), I succeeded in making a Nub Habano “gummy bear.” Let’s just say it had the shape of a cigar, with the gooey, vegetable-gluey consistency of a pudding.

Brian Rolling A Nub
Brian Rolling: More Idiot Than Savant

Finally, the evening was winding down. I opted to buy a mixed box of Nub torpedos, now that I found myself enjoying them. (Interestingly, I found myself enjoying the Connecticut and Cameroon more than the Serie V-esque Habano) And I wanted my shot at winning the Mini Cooper. A name was called for the Mini Cooper finalist and it wasn’t mine. But hey, I walked out of there happy, with a box of good cigars and a free t-shirt. And the knowledge that I won’t be rolling cigars for a living any time soon.

Mini Cooper Finalist
And the Nub Mini Cooper Finalist Is…

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Puros Indios Viejo Rothschild

Puros Indios ViejoA while back the guys over at my local Tinderbox dropped me a line to stop by and say hi. So a day or two later, I did just that. I was in the mood for another Winston Churchill, or maybe one of those Illusiones I kept seeing in their newsletter. After picking up a few of each, Grant surprised me with a small assortment of smokes to review. I greatly appreciated the cigars, and determined to review them as soon as possible.

But time passed. Possibly a month, possibly more. Work and the Stogie Review was keeping me busy. One day I was digging around in my humidor and I stumbled on a bag of unfamiliar smokes. Almost immediately I realized they were those smokes from Tinderbox. And I was really lagging behind.

I reached blindly in and the first smoke that appeared was the Puros Indios Viejo Rothschild. Good choice, I thought. I haven’t heard much talk or seen many reviews about Puros Indios recently. And truth be told, I haven’t had all that many.

The Puros Indios Viejo is a special edition line of that was first introduced in 1999. Each year 50,000 cigars are produced and are aged for four years. And that about covers my knowledge. Now let’s talk about the experience.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Ecuador
Binder: Ecuador
Filler: Brazil, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Beverage: Water
Price: $5.95

Puros Indios Viejo Foot

The Pre-Smoke
The band on the Viejo is much like the bands on any Puros Indios cigar. It has that same trademark bright green background with the red lettering, with just an extra bit of white space to denote the special edition. It’s the wrapper that’s a little more interesting. It’s an oily rustic looking leaf. As I looked it over, I noted that it had a few veins in it, and it was visually a little lumpy. And then I noticed something a little unusual. A big patch near the foot. What makes the patch unusual is that it covers a little pointy bit that really noticeably sticks out from the cigar.

To the touch, the cigars seemed nice and hard, with no inconsistency in the firmness. I noticed a bit of butteriness in the scent of the wrapper, and the cold tasted was creamy. I also noticed something I’ve been getting a lot in the cold taste recently. Prune, or something like it. It definitely wasn’t raisin.

The Burn
Aside from a slight runner in one cigar, a relight in the second third and a comical little bit of smoke coming out of the little point bit I like to think of as Mt. Puros Indios, the burn on this cigar was good. The draw was great in both cigars, and though they did stray a bit on the burn line, they self corrected nicely. No complaints here.

The Flavor
Puros Indios Viejo Band As you might expect from double dose of Ecuadorian tobacco, this cigar starts of creamy with some nuttiness and a little bit of coffee. I noticed that the flavor was slightly savory, and the creaminess became buttery. Beyond those flavors, the cigars seemed different one time to the next. One had more predominant wood and aromatic cedar, while the other was considerably more nutty. In fact, I got a great creamy peanut butter flavor from that cigar that I really enjoyed. These flavor profile differences continued throughout the second thirds as well.

In the final third the nuttier cigar became a bit more earthy and spicy, with some leather appearing right toward the end. The woodier cigar remained surprisingly buttery almost to the end with leather joining the wood.

The Price
I have no issue with the price I paid for these cigars. They both seemed like quality sticks, and considering that they a special aged addition price tag seems reasonable.

The Verdict
I really enjoyed the creaminess and butteriness of this cigar. When those combined with the nutty flavors, the cigar was just outstanding. Now to be clear, this isn’t a particularly full bodied or powerful smoke. It’s probably around Medium at best, but if you enjoy a creamy cigar, I’d recommend you check this one out. Just be sure to check your cigars out before you buy them. That is unless you like mini smoking volcanos on your wrapper!

Seriously though, I’d like to thank the guys over at the Tinderbox in Lenox Mall for hooking me up with the great cigars. If you live in the Atlanta area, check ‘em out. I’ll bet they have a few of these guys left if you’d like to try one out!

Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Yeah, I think I will.
Recommend It: Yeah, it’s a good smoke.

What Other People Are Saying

My Other Reviews
If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out my Cigar Review Index for a complete list of my other cigar reviews. Also, I’m a regular contributor to Stogie Review, so head over there once you’re done!

Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.

Puros Indios Viejo
Puros Indios Viejo
Puros Indios Viejo
Puros Indios Viejo
Puros Indios Viejo
Puros Indios Viejo
Puros Indios Viejo
Puros Indios Viejo
Puros Indios Viejo
Puros Indios Viejo
Puros Indios Viejo
Puros Indios Viejo
Puros Indios Viejo
Puros Indios Viejo

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CAO Mission Escaparate Movie

I know, I know, it’s been a while. The standard disclaimers apply regarding why the blog has been so quiet lately. Instead of me spinning a long yarn about all the reasons, I’ll leave it to you to select the excuses you like the most. Feel free to mix and match.

Reasons Brian Hasn’t Written A Post Lately

  • He’s been legally dead for tax reasons.
  • He won the lottery and moved to Peru.
  • Cigar Jack killed him to eliminate the cigar review competition.
  • He got trapped in a Joe Drinker cartoon ala A-Ha’s Take On Me music video.
  • He’s trapped under a fallen humidor and can’t reach the keyboard.
  • He’s busy planting evidence in McLovin‘s living room.

And once you’re done considering all the bad things that may explain my absence, take a few minutes to check out this funny new video from CAO. You may not find out much about the Escaparate, but you will see Jon Huber (CAO’s Director of Lifestyle Marketing) wield a disembodied hand to disable a security system. And really, isn’t that enough? Enjoy!

CAO Mission Escaparate Part 1

CAO Mission Escaparate Part 2

And check back again, I’ll be reviewing a cigar or two compliments of the guys at the local Tinderbox and Tex Cigars! (Really, I haven’t forgotten- thanks again guys!)

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Antoni Gaudi’s Barcelona In Pictures 2003

I’ve noticed recently a surprising number of search traffic coming through my blog looking for “Gaudi”. Gaudi, if you didn’t already know is the surname of Antoni Gaudi, a Spanish architect who is responsible from some of the most memorable structures in the world. Many of them located in Barcelona, Spain.

But why on earth am I getting search traffic for Gaudi, you ask? Don’t you pretty much just write cigar reviews? If either of those thoughts came to mind, you have a beautiful, sexy mind. And you’re playing right into my hands. You’re right, I have been spending a lot of time on cigars lately. But I do have other hobbies. Two of them are travel and photography. Back in 2003 I combined all three hobbies and visited Barcelona. You probably didn’t realize it, but if you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you’ve already seen some Gaudi already:

Antoni Gaudi Sun or Star Mosaic

Look familiar? That’s a Sun (or maybe star) mosaic decoration Gaudi designed into the ceiling of one structure at Park Güell in Barcelona. It also happens to be one of my favorite bits of his work I came across while I was there.

This got me thinking. I have a whole bunch of pictures from that trip, why not give those in search of pictures of Antoni Gaudi’s handy work what they want? After a good deal of searching (and a little terror when I thought they were lost), I found ‘em, cropped ‘em and polished ‘em up to make them blog worthy. Though these pictures were taken with my first digital, 2.1 megapixel camera, they’re still some of my favorites. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them as well!

Antoni Gaudi\'s Casa Batllo

Casa Batlló, one of a number of intriguing building on the Illa de la Discòrdia block in the Eixample district of Barcelona. This was probably my favorite Gaudi building.

Antoni Gaudi\'s Casa Batllo

A closer look at the alien balconies on the Casa Batlló.

Antoni Gaudi\'s Casa Battlo

The oozing lower windows of the Casa Batlló.

Antoni Gaudi\'s Casa Mila

Not too far away is the similarly wavy Casa Milà.

Antoni Gaudi\'s Casa Mila

The Casa Milà from the sidewalk below. Check out that crazy iron work fencing in what looks like a deck.

Antoni Gaudi\'s Casa Mila

The Casa Milà isn’t just wavy on the outside, the walls, windows, doors and even the stairways on the inside of the building are resistant to straight lines. We couldn’t go in much further than this, as the building is currently in use.

Antoni Gaudi\'s Casa Vicens

Casa Vicens couldn’t be more different that the previous two buildings. Not only is it block and full of straight lines, it doesn’t have an interesting accent mark in the name. (Which makes it a lot easier to type.) Looking at this building still makes me want to play checkers or build legos. Or both. Probably while drinking.

Antoni Gaudi\'s Casa Vicens

A view of the side of the Casa Vicens.

Antoni Gaudi Palau Guell

Palau Güell had a strick policy about photography inside the building, but the rooftop was up for grabs. These are a few of the numerous mosaic chimneys decorating the roof. (I think there are something like seven.) Due to the rather narrow side street it opens up to, a shot of the side of the building was all but inpossible, at least with that old camera.

Antoni Gaudi\'s Park Guell Bench

The famous winding bench at Park Güell. This single bench encircles a large open mezzanine-like area overlooking the entrance to the park.

Antoni Gaudi\'s Park Guell Lizard Fountain

A close up of the mosaic lizard fountain on the steps at Park Güell.

Antoni Gaudi\'s Park Guell

One of the little buildings in Park Güell. This building was under construction at the time, but I think it is used for management of the park. Or a tourist gift shop. One or the other.

Antoni Gaudi\'s Park Guell Sign

The sign on the outer wall of Park Güell.

Antoni Guadi\'s Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia is a massive, unfinished cathedral that Gaudi may be best know for. Even though he didn’t finish it in his lifetime, the construction continued. In fact, it’s still under construction today! (Or at least as recently as 2003.)

Antoni Gaudi\'s Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia is designed to be enjoyed. From every angle. It’s just incredible how much thought went into this structure.

Antoni Gaudi\'s Sagrada Familia

Another shot of the spires of Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, with the city of Barcelona below.

Antoni Gaudi\'s Sagrada Familia

As I mentioned before, the structure is still under construction. In spite of the cranes, this shot gives you a better idea of what the building looks like as a whole.

Antoni Gaudi\'s Sagrada Familia

Before you get sick of looking at the Sagrada Familia, you gotta check out the facade above one of the door. Each of the main entrances have a different, but equally elaborate scene above them.

Joan Miro\'s Woman and Bird

OK, you got me. This isn’t an Antoni Gaudi creation. This sculpture, named “Woman and Bird” was created by Joan Miro, another (a bit less) famous Spanish artist, who I suspect was at least a bit inspired by Antoni Gaudi. This is also located in Barcelona.

Want to see more? Check our my Antoni Gaudi photography galleries.

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Jameson Torpedo Cigar Review

Jameson TorpedoLooking around the cigar blogs just now, it seems that I’m the very last person on earth to put up a review of a Jameson cigar. While I will admit to being a little lazy, it’s not my slacking off that’s got me so behind the curve. At least this time. As with the incredibly hyped Nub cigars (of which I’ve still only had one, and only because Walt was being generous), I seem to be the very last person to get one of these cigars! That’s ok, I’ll try not to let my sadness and bitterness taint this review.

I’m kidding! Seriously, I really do appreciate it when manufacturers and retailers value my opinion enough to share their cigars with me for a review. And the cigars for this review came to be completely out of the blue. I had just reconfigured my HerfSpace account after thes site’s big software update when a friend request came in from Jameson Cigars. I knew they were a generous sponsor of the Stogie Review and any friend of the Stogie Review is a friend of mine. So I of course accepted the request.

In very short order Brad of Jameson Cigars sent me a message offering me the chance to try out a couple of Jameson cigars, the vitola of my choosing! Harkening back to my experiences with the Camacho Corojo Maduro, I recalled enjoying the torpedo more than the toro. So went for the torpedo. (My second choice was the petite corona, which he also sent!) Thanks for the cigars Brad! Now let’s smoke ‘em!

Cigar Stats:
Size: 6 1/2 x 54
Wrapper: Sumatra
Binder: Honduras
Filler: Dominican Republic
Smoking Time: 2 1/2 hours
Beverage: Water
Price: $25.50 a five pack

Jameson Cigars

The Pre-Smoke
As you probably already know, I often like to comment on the cigar band. Though you don’t actually smoke the band (man, I hope you don’t!), it is a part of the smoking experience. Especially if you leave the band on like I do when you smoke your cigars. I’m not entirely sure why, but something about this band says Trader Joes to me. I think it’s because the leaf pattern reminds me a little of the Hawaiian shirts the employees wear. It says to me, clean, a bit unusual and relaxed.

Beyond the band, on thing that makes these cigars look a little unusual to me is the sharp point at the head. Most torpedo cigars I’ve come across are a bit more rounded at the end. The Jameson torpedoes are sharp enough that they could almost be used in self defense when not being smoked. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that bringing the cap to a point like that is a little harder to accomplish than the normal rounded end.

Both torpedoes I smoked had a mottled brown wrapper on them with a few prominent veins. Giving each a squeeze I found them to be very well packed with tobacco and very firm. The scent of the wrapper was your standard barnyard/compost and at the foot I got more of a dusty hay scent.

As with all torpedoes I smoke, I clipped these cigars on about a 45 degree angle. A cut which is commonly referred to as a “dickman” cut. (Someday, I’m going to find out why it’s called that. Someday.) The cold taste was kind of a sweet prune or fig flavor.

The Burn
I have absolutely no complaints about this cigar’s burn. The ash was mostly solid and white, and held on easily to achieve lengths of at least an inch and a half. The second cigar I smoked only ashed once! As you will see in the tower of burn, I put it to rest with about a two inch ash still very firmly attached.

Likewise the draw was great.

The Flavor
These cigars had a rather unusual flavor profile. If asked to compare them to another cigar, I’d be a bit at a loss to do so. They started out with an interesting combination of sweetness, creaminess, leather, wood and spice that seemed to play musical chairs on my tongue. Each puff seemed to be a little different, and my notes for the first third were rather long. But what really stuck out to me is that about half way into the first third, the flavor seemed to go flat, great suddenly sweet and then it jumped into a kind of rough, dry salad flavor.

In the second third the cigar seemed to settle down a bit, opting for a savory leather with some occasional earthiness here and there. In the first cigar I smoked, I got an unpleasant burnt flavor a couple of times in this third.

The final third saw a re-emergence of sweetness, with cedar and almost a cinnamon raisin flavor at the beginning. But it wasn’t long before the cigar went back to its savory leather ways. I should also mention that the first cigar I smoked had a sort of unpleasant funkiness that appeared in this third. It didn’t overpower the other flavors, but it was there almost the entire third.

The Price
You’re looking at $4.60 to $5.10 per stick with these, depending on whether you buy them by the five pack or the box. It’s hard to find any fault that price tag for this size of smoke.

The Verdict
I think there was a problem with the first cigar I smoked. The burnt flavor of the second third and the funkiness in the final third were enough to make me a bit hesitant to try the second. But I’m glad I did. I really enjoyed the second cigar, especially after I got past the slightly hyper first third. It just really hit the spot that evening which was a bit of a surprise after the first completely missed the mark! And that is why it’s important to smoke a cigar more than once, especially for a review. I have the petite coronas still left to try and I have high hopes for them.

I’d recommend giving these a shot, but I’d advise going for the five pack first. (I love that they sell them by the fiver.) As I mentioned before, the flavor is pretty unique, and after five, you’ll know whether they’re a box buy or a pass.

Thanks again Brad for the smokes!

Liked It: Yes and no, the second was pretty enjoyable, the first, not so much.
Buy It Again: I think I will, we’ll see how the petite coronas fare.
Recommend It: I think it’s worth a try. It’s unique!

Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.

Jameson Torpedo

Jameson Torpedo

Jameson Torpedo

Jameson Torpedo

Jameson Torpedo

Jameson Torpedo

Jameson Torpedo

Jameson Torpedo

Jameson Torpedo

Jameson Torpedo

Jameson Torpedo

What Other People Are Saying

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