Ashton VSG Robusto vs. Diamond Crown Maximus Toro

Ashton VSG Robusto vs. Diamond Crown Maximus Toro

This past holiday weekend I really cut loose and and smoked two good cigars. I had my eye on the Ashton VSG Robusto that had been sitting in my humidor for a week or two, and just couldn’t wait any longer. The Diamond Crown Maximus was an unplanned follow up base on the recommendation of the local respected tobacconist.

Since I did enjoy both, I thought it might make for an interesting review to compare my experience with the two. I’ve never written a cigar review before, and I’m still learning the appropriate terminology to describe the flavors I enjoy. But I have been reading reviews for a while, and I’ve really been enjoying the video reviews on the Stogie Review website. (At first I didn’t know how video would add anything, but I’m impressed at how much more comprehensive a video review actually is.)

Without further ado, here’s my notes:

Ashton VSG Diamond Crown Maximus
 
The Burn
Good burn, a bit faster than I would have liked, but it burned evenly. I had a heck of a time keeping this cigar burning evenly. I was continually touching it up.
 
The Flavor
A good rich, nutty flavor. The first 3rd of it was enjoyably earthy. The flavor diminished afterward.
 
The Draw
A great, satisfying volumne of smoke, very little effort required. This always appeared visually to have a good quanitity of smoke, but I had to really work on it to get a comparable amount of smoke. I resorted to recutting and pinching the end to try to loosen the draw, but it didn’t work.
 
The Environment
A warmer, but drafty location indoors. (May increased the burn rate.) A colder location outdoors. (May have led to the perception of less smoke.)
 
The Winner
Clearly Superior I think this cigar may had some structural trouble that essentially ruined 2/3 of the smoke. I actually may get another one of these to give it a chance to improve its ranking.
 
Favorite Part
I love the first half of this cigar. After about the first half, it got a bit stronger, and my head got a bit lighter. UPDATE: I tried the Torpedo size during my week off with a young tawny port wine. This really helped with both the light-headedness, and some of the roughness on the back of the throat. The first 3rd of this cigar was really enjoyable, before the burn and draw trouble. My reason for wanting to try this cigar again is based on this experience.

I encourage you to leave me a comment and tell me what you think. Did you like this cigar vs. cigar approach to reviewing? I’ve never seen it done before, but it seemed like it might be fun to do as well as read.

Oh yeah, and don’t take it personally if I don’t respond to your comments right away. I’ll be on vacation for about a week. But rest assured, I will read them, and I’ll try to check in a couple of times during my trip.

UPDATE: I’ve noticed that one of the Cigar related blogs I’ve been reading put up a 2007 Battle of Cigars based on reader votes. I’d like to think I inspired the cigar vs. cigar battle (it did come 4 days after I put this post up). :) Regardless of the source, I like the idea, and encourage you to try the cigar pairings listed and vote.

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The Nintendo Wii: Your Next Exercise Machine?

I was intrigued by the Nintendo Wii when I first heard about it. It sounded like a game system concept with huge potential. (For those that don’t already know, it uses motion and/or light sensors in special controllers to allow you play games with a more realistic range of physical motion.) Though I wasn’t in the market for a new game system at the time, I really hoped it be successful. I could see myself eventually buying one once the price dropped.

A short time later, I ready Scott Hanselman’s post on getting a Wii for his birthday. Between this comments on the system and the video of his wife playing it, I was sold. (Seriously, watching the clip of his wife playing with a big, happy smile on her face has got the be the best Wii advertisement ever. Way better than creepy Japanese guys driving around in a Smart Car.) Ok, so now I want one. I want one enough that I started secretly (i.e. keeping my wife in the dark) scanning shelves to check on Wii prices. I didn’t have to keep my search secret for long. There were no Wiis on shelves anywhere. Nor were there any at any major online retailers. All I could find were scalpers selling their extra Wiis for $450. $450! The original price was $250, talk about a handy profit! (Even now the prices are around $390.)

Well, as if to sprinkle salt on the wound, just this evening I came across the blog for a guy who is using his Wii to lose weight! And it’s working! The latest post on his blog indicates that he’s 6 weeks along and he’s lost 16 pounds. The idea of weight loss or increased fitness had occurred to me when I first heard about the Wii, but I assumed the potential was limited. Anyway, the story is so compelling that it has driven tens of thousands of visitors to his website, has attracted media attention, and most importantly, has me writing a post about it. :)

Ah to think what could have been if I had been an early adopter… But for now it’s the waiting game (which doesn’t burn many calories), and my condo’s gym.

UPDATE: I was checking my blogs, and it looks like the story is much bigger than J.R.’s fitness plan, I hadn’t read around enough. Engadget has posts about a guy who lost 9 pounds using his Wii, and a personal trainer who uses the Wii in his fitness plans. Additionally, it looks like Nintendo may be embracing this trend, and coming out with Wii weights. It’s beginning to look like a fitness revolution! Man this just makes not having one even worse…

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