Herfs Galore Before Hitting The Road

I’ve made promises to some people to get up some pictures of the recent Blue Havana II herf, but I just haven’t had the time. The road trip approaches, and I’m scrambling to get ready for that and keep up with all my obligations (blog-ligations?). But good news! Jim has already uploaded his gallery of herf pictures, so I’m sorta off the hook. (At some point I will definitely upload the pictures to my online photo galleries, I’m just not sure when.)

The Blue Havana II August Herf
Blue Havana himself, DiscDog, CgarDan and Shelby07 at the Blue Havana II herf

By all accounts the herf was a success and a great deal of fun. Relying heavily on Jim’s pictures, I think we had a total attendance of 15 or 16 people, with ten of them participating in the box pass. His innovative live “Twice Around the Block Pass” was like Christmas in August for the attendees. I don’t think anybody walked away without a treat. (And if you did, it was your own fault, you had two shots at the box!) If you’d like to see how it went down, you can find the complete list of puts and takes, as well as the original box contents on this thread at CigarLive.

Though it was billed as a Camacho “cigar tasting”, last night I joined DiscDog (Every board known to man and a few besides), NNexus (CigarLive) and Justin (Is he on the board yet?) again for what was basically another herf at Highland Cigar Company. A little foolishly, I didn’t bother to bring a supply of cigars along, assuming that there’d be a sample cigar or two at a cigar tasting. I was wrong, at this event, you only get a taste of what you buy. (Of course there was a buy-3-get-a-cigar-of-lesser-value-free deal.) Which, if you think about it, is a bad idea. How on earth would somebody new to Camacho know what to buy? The Triple Maduro is still pretty new, do you really want to buy three to find out if you like it? Unless you’re selling dog rockets and you know it, you only stand to benefit by giving out a freebie or two.

Compare this to the Oliva Serie V event I blogged about a while back. There was a lot of buzz about this cigar, but a lot of words of caution also regarding it’s potency also. Allowing people to try it before they buy it, has resulted in them selling their entire stock out at each event. Heck, I wasn’t planning on buying any, but I walked out of there with all the double robustos they had left! And I know a few people who were initially intimidated by the cigar left the event with a handful and a big smile on their face.

The badness of the no-sample plan is magnified by offending a true connoisseur and cigar board veteran like DiscDog. His opinion of a cigar may affect as much as thousands of dollars in sales. Rumored to have the most splendiferous cigar collection in the state of Georgia (I should know, I’m actively spreading the rumor), he not only didn’t buy a Camacho that night, he didn’t even smoke one of his own. Instead he broke out one of the finest, most exotic cigars any of us had seen in a very long time: A Partagas Culebra, constructed of three, full-sided churchill cigars intertwined.

For a cigar that looks a lot like you’re burning Dilbert’s tie when smoked, it had fantastic construction, easily sporting a two inch ash that even held on even through the bends of the cigar. (Keep an eye on NNexus’ signature on CigarLive, you might get to see what I’m talking about.) I had a puff or two off one of the curly beasts and it had a great smooth flavor with an subtle edge-of-the-tongue spice and a sweetness that built up as the cigar smoked. (Actually, I can’t verify the sweetness, the Camacho Select I was smoking made it impossible for me to tell in the second sample.)

You never saw a happier group of herfers. Did I say “happier”? I meant higher. Those guys were buzzing something fierce by the time the rounded the first bend. Man, I really wish I hadn’t forgotten my camera.

OK, I’m off. The next post you read is likely to be from the road, somewhere between here and Portland, Oregon.

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No, It Wasn’t As Good For Me As It Was For You

Happy Shootin’ DudeSunday afternoon I took a what I thought would be a quick break from my on-the-side I.T. consulting gig to pick my wife up from the grocery store. I didn’t want to be gone too long, because I had plenty of work to do and not a great deal of time to get it done in. So I rushed out to the car, hopped in and started driving away without even bothering to light up my customary short-trip Sancho Panza cigarillo. I didn’t get five feet from my parking spot before I felt it. My vehicle was waddling. Yep, shaking it’s hind-quarters like it was a giant, 6-cylinder fiberglass duck.

Some of you have probably already guessed what’s wrong. But my mind was elsewhere. I checked the dash for the emergency break light. It wasn’t lit. But to be sure, I engaged the emergency break and then released it. I drive a few more feet, and nope, that wasn’t it. My vehicle is still wiggling its butt like the driveway was a catwalk. So I try putting it back in park and then putting it back in drive. A few more feet. Nope, more waddling.

Then a scary thought occurs to me. I might have run over something and somehow got it caught between the tire and the car’s body. It could even now be tearing healthy chunks out of the side of my car. (For that thought alone, I’m adding the “crackpot theories” tag to this post.) My car is no beauty, but it’s no red-neck body-by-Bondo affront to the car gods either. And I’d like to keep it nondescriptly normal.

As I walk around the car, I breathe a sigh of relief. No car chunks on the ground. And then I see the culprit: A flat tire. I was literally driving on the rim of the back passenger-side wheel. I’ve changed flats before. In fact I changed a flat on a large rental van in a gravel parking lot in the rain once. No kidding. But I’ve never changed any flat without a jack before, so I went the easy route. I called Triple A (AAA), and asked a neighbor to pick up my wife.

With nothing better to do, I fire up 5 Vegas Gold and wait for the AAA guy to show up. And if there’s one thing to learn from this little anecdote, it’s that you should smoke a cigar while you’re waiting for AAA. You will have the time to finish it! No matter what they say, it will be at least an hour before they show. Don’t sweat it, smoke it. (Another one for the Quotable Brian!) True to form, about five minutes after I finish that mild, but tasty little robusto, the guy drives up.

Fast forward ahead about an hour and a half. I’m at a local shop having the tire looked at. It doesn’t take long for me to spot a little metallic glint near the outward edge of the tread. I’d been nailed. It had to have been the sloppy bastards working on the condo construction next door. When I drove back from the herf the night before, I must have picked up a little present they left in the middle of the road. So the tire guy starts extracting the nail. Inch by inch. And it just keeps coming! And suddenly, it’s threaded! I hadn’t been nailed, I’d been screwed! And despite the evidence to the contrary (the cigar), I wasn’t enjoying this!

But actually, it all worked out as well as you could ask. Everything was sorted out by 7 that evening. Hey, if you’re going to get screwed, what better time than Saturday night? And what better place than at home? And can you beat thirty bucks to cover all the costs? Sure, the rubber broke, but we were able to plug it up just fine before any real damage was caused. OK, I’m out of innuendos (or in-your-end-o’s as a friend of mine used to say), so I’ll leave it there before this post just gets creepy. How was your weekend?

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Giveaways Galore! The Pre-Release CAO America And More!

The CAO AmericaMan, where does the time go. I can’t believe it’s already been another week. Frequent visitors to my blog will have noticed it’s been unusually quiet this week, will probably be a little concerned about my health. Have no fear, I’m as healthy as an ox, in roughly the same shape, and probably nearly as rational. I’ve just been making my noise and mess on some other blogs. That and working two jobs. I know, I know, the world’s smallest violin is playing just for me.

Here’s what I’ve been up to. Earlier this week, I reviewed the Joya De Nicaragua Celebracion Consul for my buddy Stinkie on CigarBeat. I don’t wanna spoil it for you, but a nearly impervious draw kinda spoiled it for me. And then on the Stogie Review, I continued my video boycott with a text and photo-heavy review of the pre-release CAO America Potomac. Judging by the overwhelmingly positive response to the review, it’s definitely one you want to check out. But be sure to come back here, because you’re gonna want in what’s coming up a bit later in this post. And of course, these reviews will be added to my cigar review index to make sure they’re always easy to track down.

If you’re in the Atlanta area (or anywhere in the south with the desire for a cigar and a road trip), you should join me and a bunch of the guys from the area and the CigarLive forum for the herf at Blue Havana II in Alpharetta, GA. (It looks like his site might be down at the moment, but it’s there! [UPDATE: Link updated!]) It’s happening this Saturday starting at 6:00pm and going until Jim gets tired of all of us and kicks us out of his shop! For more information, check out the official thread on CigarLive. I’ll be there, and if you’re really nice (we’re talking serious brown-nosing, here) I might let you have one of my Gran Habano Corojo #5′s. Trust me, it’s worth that dirty feeling you’ll have inside. ;)

To get things humming again on this blog, I’m starting up another giveaway contest! The last one was so much fun (and generated so much traffic, I won’t kid ya), that I’ve decided to do it again. But this time, I’m giving away two (2, count ‘em, 2) pre-release CAO America Potomacs!

Why do I keep mentioning “pre-release”, you ask? The reason is that it’s been pointed out to me by one of my CAO friends that these won’t be available for around 2 months! That doesn’t mean they’re still rollin’ ‘em like mad (though they might be), it means that the supply is sitting in a warehouse getting some age, which is generally a good thing.

The CAO America Potomac Giveaway rules:

  1. You are allowed two entries to this giveaway. Please note you must be 18 or older to enter. (Sorry, I don’t make the laws, I just try to follow them!)
  2. Your first entry is commenting on this post. Please include the text in your comment “I am 18 or older.”
  3. You may enter a second time by posting a link to this contest on your blog that pingback/trackbacks to this post.
  4. The winner will be drawn on September 2nd, 2007. (Or shortly after. Or whenever entries slow down enough that making everyone wait becomes a pointless exercise. Totally my discretion here.)

Oh but wait, I’m not finished yet. Well, I am, but Stinkie over at CigarBeat isn’t! He’s got two (again, count ‘em, 2) giveaways running on his cigar blog and forum. So this week, you’ve got an excellent chance to really cash in on the generosity of the Brothers of the Leaf (BOTL for short).

Stinkie’s Giveaways

[UPDATE: And now Cigar Jack is in the action, and he's giving away not one, not two, but six (6!) Arganese cigars to some undisclosed number of lucky commenters! Head over now, and enter, the odds are great!]

Best of luck!

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Toilets And The Crap We Put Up With

Happy Shootin’ DudeDon’t ask me why. For some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about toilets. I might have something to do with the leaky, finicky Kohler crapper in our master bathroom. (The linked model looks like ours, but probably isn’t the same one.) The one that sounds like a balloon slowly loosing air. Or a snake in a permanent state of hiss. Of course, this means it has a broken part.

Broken parts are understandable and an acceptable part of doing business with daily-use machinery. Things break, we fix them and move on. But what isn’t acceptable is a defective product right out of the box. Ladies and gentleman, I’m convinced that 99% of us are shelling out $300 plus dollars on defective products. That’s right, I’m saying that porcelain throne in the tucked away in the corner of your home isn’t worth the cheeks that press up against it or the matter left behind in it.

“What on earth are you talking about, Brian?” you ask. Well, let’s look at it this way. What is a toilet’s primary function? Is it to look nice? No. When was the last time you invited somebody into your bathroom to have a look at your crap cruiser? A water bowl for the dog? No. (Well, maybe, I guess it depends on the number of cars you have on blocks in the front yard.) A place to read the paper? No. No the sole purpose of is of a toilet is to make crap disappear.

“And isn’t that what it does?” Yes and no. Slim, spritely vegetarians may live their entire life and never comprehend the true failure of the western world’s toilets the way hefty steak-and-potatoes people do. What I’m saying is that the our toilets are marvelous when it comes to whisking away bird droppings, but absolute failures when it comes to processing the end result of a hearty meal.

“But it’s better than using an outhouse!” That may be so, but better than bad does not equal good. But wait, is it actually better? Sure it’s indoors and climate controlled, and you’re not likely to get a splinter, but when was the last time an outhouse backed up? Unless the countryside is flooding, you’re not going to have a problem until it’s time to dig another hole. And no matter how bad that breakfast burrito was, you’re not going to smell up half the house when you’re ridding yourself of it.

So here’s what needs to be done. For ages Asia has had some fantastic all-in-one johns; virtual spas for the backside. I understand the cultural reluctance to embrace something like that, to be honest, they kind of creep me out too. So that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about improving the existing toilet of the western world so it reliably does its job. No toilet should ever again clog up. Ever. If it does, it’s broken and in need of repair or replacement. Think of the garbage disposal. It has a very similar function, does it plug up every other time you use it? And when it does gunk up and stop working, it’s a good sign that it’s in need of repair. That’s what I’m talking about.

I know there’s a push for less water consumption in toilets, and I don’t think this is a limiting factor. Manufacturers need to look at other options. Motors. Pumps. Grinders. Pressure, suction and vacuums. Guppies with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads. The answer is out there, and it’s time we had a decent toilet! For what we pay, we deserve to be able to push the lever, let it go (without holding it down!) and see the ghost of dinner past swept on it’s way. Every single time. Our bathroom floors and cabinets should be free of the filthy toilet-crutch, the plunger. I should be able to dump an entire bag of potting soil in the bowl hit the lever and see a sparkling bowl 30 seconds later. Damn it, it’s time we had an actual toilet!

(I bet you’re wishing I was still talking about cigars right about now, huh?)

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And The Winner Of The Oliva Serie V Is…

Picking A Winner!I couldn’t be happier with the way this contest has turned out. Yesterday, on the final day of the contest, this blog broke the traffic record by a hit or two! And a large percentage of that traffic coming in to have a look at the contest. (Of course, a good helping of that traffic also when to the RTDA picture post. Be sure to check that out if you haven’t already!)

This morning after brewing up a pot of coffee, I scribbled down the huge number of entries on slips of paper, braving almost certain Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I decided to do this right, I had to put the entries into proper container for random selection. A hat just wouldn’t do it, these little slips of opportunity had to go into the Oliva Serie V box I got the cigars in. (Henceforth to be referred to as the Special Ceremonial Serie V Box. Hey, it’s a contest, you gotta expect it to be a bit over the top. ;) )

OK, I’ve kept you waiting long enough. After a healthy shaking of the box, my wife, who insisted on picking the winners, reached in her rich, maduro-hued paw in an drew a name. And the winner is…

Comment #64: Duane Pullen!

And just like that, the contest is over. Or is it? I’m just like anyone else, I hate to see a good thing come to an end. Especially a quick end. So in a flagrant violation of my own rules (it’s good to be the undisputed Fidel Castro of this blog), I told my wife to pick another. And I can hear Duane Pullen now, saying “hold on there buddy, I won that fair and square!” You’re right! You won one, but I’ve decided another, even luckier person will also win one! And that lucky second person is…

Comment #46: David!

The Serie V Winners

That’s better. But I have one last one to give out. This one I’m not drawing, I’m selecting. (Still dictator of the blog, remember. Don’t make me incarcerate you as a dissident!) The Serie V Cigar Humanitarian Award goes to…

Stinkie of CigarBeat!

He deserves this cigar for several reasons. To begin with, he very generously provided me with my first Serie V smokes (not one, but two!) when they were impossible to find! And in his entry, he expressed his desire for his winnings sent to someone on the CigarBeat Forum who hasn’t had the pleasure of one of the finest cigars on the market! That, my friends, is a true Brother of the Leaf.

OK, now I’m satisfied. Congratulations to all the winners, and my thanks to all the participants! If you didn’t win this time, take heart, this was such a success that I’m very likely to do it again! I hope you’ll keep checking in from time to see my random thoughts on life and, more importantly, cigars!

Wait, one more thing. A humble request. I would ask the winners, if they’d be so kind, to get a picture of themselves enjoying the cigar and either send it to me, or send me a link to it so I can add it to this post. It’s not a requirement (if you’re photo-shy), but it would be the cherry on top of this sweet dessert of a contest. And it would please Brian the blog tyrant, and really, isn’t that what it’s all about? ;)

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So About RTDA 2007

Yours truly and Kinky FriedmanNow that I’m somewhat rested, it’s time we talk about this year’s RTDA.

The News

As you may have already heard, this is the last RTDA ever. Yep, no more RTDA. But before you drop your cigar in your lap and catch your naughty bits on fire, that doesn’t mean these conventions are coming to an end. What it means is that the organization is changing it’s name to IPCPR (International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers). The point of this verbose new name, as noted by Cigar Aficionado’s David Savona “gets rid of the words “tobacco” and “dealer”“. The idea was to pick a name that more accurately reflects the members of the organization. “Big Tobacco” is not a part of this group, it’s primarily comprised of makers and retailers of premium, hand-made cigars and pipe tobacco.

The Cigars

CAO America

A number of new cigars were introduced at this year’s RTDA. The one I was most looking forward to was the CAO America. I had a chance to smoke one of these beauties on the second day of the convention, and I really enjoyed it. I’ll save a full analysis for an upcoming review (I have a few extra to smoke), but I can say two things I noticed about it. The first thing is that it burns nicely. Many had expressed concern that the different leaves might cause burn issues, but I’m happy to report that they burned perfectly together. The other thing I noticed is that the America didn’t seem to be a full bodied as reported on the CAO website. However, I must admit that and my palate had a nice even burn by the time I got to this cigar (I lost count of cigars smoked), so I say this tentatively.

Oliva Serie V Lancero

I think the cat is out of the bag on the new Oliva Serie V size. It’s called the Lancero, and my local Oliva rep hooked me up with one from his very small supply. I don’t have the exact measurements now, but it looks a lot like a pencil and is likely a 7 x 40. I’ve very interested to see how the size impacts the smoking experience, and will write it up when I get to it.

Great First Impressions

At a small La Flor Dominicana party in the hazy presidental suite of the nearby Hilton Sunday night, I had the opportunity to try out the un-banded Cameroon Cabinet. Even though it was probably the last of five or six cigars smoked that day, I found the cigar to be surprisingly flavorful and simply delicious. And with the textured, even burn that was my mouth by that evening, that’s really saying something. My LDF rep generously allowed me to take a couple with me, so you can expect a full review on this cigar in the somewhat near future.

Craig at the Cigarmony booth hooked me up with another gem of a cigar: the Gran Habano Corojo #5 Churchill. As with the LFD Cameroon, this cigar broke through the char-barrier on my palate and impressed me with a great spicy flavor and long ashes. After that tasty smoke I made a bee-line for the Gran Habanos booth to beg for a few more. (That is once I figured out which booth was theirs.) And yes, you guessed it, I plan to review this cigar too.

Other Notable Cigars

While I wasn’t able to get my hands on the Ashton’s new San Cristobal, I did luck out with a giant Gurkha Black Dragon (I literally bumped into one that had been dropped!) and General Cigar’s new $40 high-roller the “Stradivarius”. I haven’t decided what I want to do with these guys, though I’m sure once I get around to smoking them, I will definitely write up my impressions.

All told, I came away with a generous, but yet untallied number of cigars from RTDA. I mean no disrespect to any cigars I haven’t mentioned, I simply haven’t gotten them all organized yet. (I was just happy to find them all a space in a humidor!)

The Stories

My favorite story from RTDA is the one I was telling. On the first day as we were making the rounds, my wife kept grabbing the camera and getting up close and personal with the big names of the cigar houses for a picture. (If you met my wife at the RTDA, you know that one thing she isn’t is shy.) I definitely have her to thank for many of the great pictures I put up in the previous post.

It’s interesting how people react to my brash wife and the little bright red camera. Rocky Patel stopped mid-sentence and posed. The guy Tim Ozgener was talking to gave him a big, sloppy kiss on the cheek. (Priceless picture!) But my favorite reaction was that of Carlos Toraño. He smiled for the camera and then told her “that’s pretty camera you have, but what’s behind it is far more beautiful.” Yep, that’s right, Mr. Toraño hit on my wife.

And then there’s Avo at the General Cigar party. Blue Havana II and I were loitering behind a stairway railing, tucked away from continuous flow of people and who comes walking up but Avo Uvezian! He stops on the other other side of the railing to have a look around. Immediately people descend on him to shake his hand and get a picture. I moved back a little to give him some space, and before I knew it, he was standing on my side of the railing. And then he was standing where I had been and I was out in the main channel. Moments later both Blue Havana and I had been displaced. He turned our little alcove into Avo meet-and-greet central. And neither of us know how he did it. I’m thinking it was cigar magic.

Some Thank-Yous

To begin with, I want to thank Jon and Jeff “Jerry Curl” at CAO. These guys are the reason I was able to attend. And the Escape With CAO event was awesome! You guys rock!

And thanks also to the ladies we met from 310 Pipe and Tobacco Shop. They very kindly set me up with their tickets to the General Cigar event.

Another thank you goes to Nathan the local Oliva rep. He hooked me up with the Serie V Lancero from his small allotment of the newest size of a very new cigar.

Also, a big thanks to Mark Neff and Craig from Cigarmony for the pucks (I needed ‘em!) and the cigars. Seriously folks, if you aren’t using the puck-ifier in your humidor, you’re working too hard, and just wasting time.

Thanks to Jim “Blue Havana II” Luftman [UPDATE: Link Updated!] for sneaking me into the La Flor Dominicana party. Not only did I get to smoke a great cigar, but I got a better understanding of the cigar business from the retail point of view. I’m not gonna tell anybody to completely quit buying cigars at the various deeply-discounted sites online, but if you want to keep the great B&M’s around in your area, don’t forget to give them your business too! Your couple of cigars a week, or box a month, or whatever will help ensure you always have a cigar-friendly place to go to relax and socialize.

I know I’m forgetting somebody. If you think I owe you a thanks, consider yourself thanked!

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RTDA Houston 2007 In Pictures

And… I’m back. I wish I wasn’t, but all good things must come to an end. Otherwise those good things would become average things. Since I’m already getting search hits for RTDA pictures, now seems like a good time to put up mine. Hopefully they’re up before everyone has lost interest! Once I have a decent night’s sleep under my belt, expect a more thorough write up of the event. (Yeah, yeah, I know, I’ll be the last one to write up my impressions. But like a good cigar, it’s important not to rush these things. And that’s as good an excuse as you’re gonna get.)

In the meantime, I forgot to mention my first review on the Stogie Review. Head over and check out my thoughts on the Rocky Patel Vintage 1992. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I keep talking about writing up. Well, my friends, procrastination has paid off. When I was asked to fill in for Jerry on Fridays, I had a review all ready to go. Now I just gotta figure out what I’m doing for this week! :)

But back to the pictures. Here’s my RTDA experience, in pictures, roughly in the order it happened. Enjoy!

Downtown Houston

Downtown Houston, as seen from 3rd floor deck of convention center.

Cigar People!

Yours truly, Daniel “Stogie” Lopez, Colin Ganley, Dogwatch Dale “Marzipan” Roush

Gentlemen Revelers

Some gentleman revelers at the Hilton Ballroom

Don Francisco

Don Francisco

Blue Havana II

Jim “Blue Havana II” Luftman (Atlanta-based retailer)

Fumee World Heather

Fumee World Heather Waibel and entourage with Yours truly at Slainte Irish Pub

CAO Booth Babes

The CAO Flavorettes

Graycliff Cigar Roller

Graycliff cigar roller

Rocky Patel

Rocky Patel

Carlos Torano

Carlos Toraño

Tim Ozgener

Tim Ozgener and possibly his biggest fan. :)

Red Rooster Chick

I dunno, but she was colorful…

Gene Arganese

Gene Arganese

Bert and Nathan

Bert and Nathan, my favorite Oliva reps

Kinky Friedman

Yours truly and Kinky Friedman, musician and maverick Texas politician

Cano A. Ozgener

Mr. CAO himself, Cano A. Ozgener at the Escape With CAO event

Sondra Hankamer

Sondra Hankamer of Atlanta-based Ash Cigar Co.

Jesse “Cigar Jack” and Denise Nachtigal

Jesse “Cigar Jack” and Denise Nachtigal overlooking the dance floor

Wow, 18 pictures, and the crazy thing is that I missed so many great photo-ops!

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RTDA And The Sancho Panza Extra Fuerte Pamplona Review

Sancho Panza Extra Fuerte PamplonaI’ll admit it, I’m a little hesitant to write a new post. I’m really enjoying the huge volume of traffic I’m getting for the Oliva Serie V giveaway post, and anything new I post will likely get in the way of that. Oh well, it is a blog after all, and readers stop being readers if there’s nothing new to read!

Well, there is something new to read! It’s my second guest cigar review over on Stinkie’s CigarBeat. This time, I’ve taken on the Sancho Panza Extra Fuerte Pamplona, the most full-bodied of the Sancho Panza line. And I’ve done a much better job of photographing the cigar in action, so it’s almost like a video review. If you print it out, you could make a flip-book of the pictures and basically have a video. It really is the post that keeps on giving. (And check out the ashtray, it was a gift from my wife!) OK, you get the point. Head over to CigarBeat and see what you think of what I think of it!

Those of you who read this blog for randomness on topics other than cigars, have no fear. The substantial increase in smoky cigar posts has a lot to do with this weekend’s RTDA in Houston. After this weekend, my posts will go back to their previous levels of nicotine and carcinogens. Though you should expect a full report on RTDA. :)

For those of you who don’t know what RTDA (Retail Tobacco Dealers of America’s trade show) is and are curious, it’s basically the cigar world’s Super Bowl/World Series/championship-game-of-your-chosen-sport. The only difference is that instead of featuring in teams of guys in great physical shape accomplishing difficult tasks with round objects, it’s dominated by heavyset guys in Guayaberas accomplishing difficult tasks with aged tobacco leaves. And fans smoking those completed tasks. So, pretty close, but clearly better. Hey, you can’t smoke a touchdown or a home run, but you can smoke an Oliva Serie V or a CAO America! I rest my case.

One more note before I end this meta-post. (I know, I hate these posts too, but I’m smokin’, codin’ and reviewin’ my glutes off right now.) I will be at RTDA in Houson. There have been rumors, shifty glances and whispered conversations in the cigar forums. It’s getting out of hand, frankly. I just want to make this clear so everybody can get back to work. :) If you’ll be in town, and want to join me for a drink and a cigar, drop me a line! Or just look for me at Slainte Irish Pub in downtown Houston!

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