Wednesday, May 16, 2012
This is why I say cigars are not a habit, nor are they an addiction. They are their own unique lifestyle, and smokers of cigars have a culture all their own. So For this author, as much as I enjoy the flavor of a fine cigar, such as one of my personal favorites (The Drew Estates Natural), what really separates cigars from so much else in the world is the quality of the company I find I can keep while smoking them.
At our last cigar meeting I met some remarkable members of the world's citizens. A Haitian businessman, a Frenchman, a Canadian in the copper industry...and the list goes on, I cut it short only because the list would be too long to name them all. We smoked for hours, discussing education, politics, business, and of course, no such encounter would be complete without a few jokes to go with it all. All of this social interaction was made possible because of our shared fondness for good cigars.
Is there any social setting better, than a comfortable chair at a table, with a glass of good bourbon to hand, a good cigar freshly lit, with quality light jazz music in the background, telling jokes and swapping stories with ladies and gentleman possessed of intelligent minds, sharp senses of humor, and years of experience in diverse fields who all keep conversation fresh and moving?
It is my opinion that there are few that compare.
We're hoping that you might throw in some of your own commentary:
1) What are some of the reasons you light up?
2) And what were some of the best times you had while smoking, that only happened because of your enjoyment in doing so?
Written by Robert Butler
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
If you're like me, you enjoy good music, good smokes, and great memories of the company you kept while enjoying it all. For many years this meant that cigar aficionados have kept journals detailing what they liked and didn't like, where they tried them, what they cost and what their flavors were…and for the truly dedicated, the company and event that prompted them to light up. What they smoked the day they toasted at their best friend's wedding, or got that big promotion, or closed the deal on their first home.
The entries are easily added and edited, and there are spots for everything from the currency used to buy it to the place it was bought. The cover of the journal is even customizable with your own name, giving it a unique and tasteful flare. Sorting through your entries is equally easy, the book has the look of a table of contents, but one that can be reordered by your own preferred criteria, from your rating (1-100) to how long it took to smoke to how much it cost, even brands and names.
So I've tried this app and I give it thumbs-up and not because I'm biased for our fellow cigar buddy but do definitely say it's worth checking out. Plus, he has a lite version out so you can give it a test run. It's a no-brainer...even for challenged knuckle-draggers like us!
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Is it when you accidentally chomp down on your tongue when you smoke your stogie and it hurts so much that you need to figuratively bite your tongue again as to not say an expletive?
o.k. maybe not, but still a funny image (at least in my warped mind). Tongue bite is really just a unfriendly tingling, burning, gnawing, hot, toasty, burned negative effect on the tongue while smoking a cigar or pipe. Generally, pipe smokers are mostly the ones that talk about "THE bite" but cigar smokers do often talk about the effect in terms like 'harsh' or 'bitter' without realizing that they could also be referring to tongue bite.
Because I smoke both cigars and pipes, I'd have to say that it's caused by the differences of flow or channeling of smoke and the chemical effect of tobacco on the pallet. Without going into the chemical science...hard for cavemen like me...but easier explained by the flow. Try this one day, and you'll immediately notice how the flow is different. Hold a cigar in your mouth in a conventional method and feel where the cigar rests and where the smoke is channeled. If cigar is placed in the center or near center of the lips, you'll notice that the smoke generally flows mostly over the tongue and in-and-around the mouth. Now do the same for a pipe. Most pipe smokers position the pipe bit between the teeth regardless of position on the lips; generally to the right or left side of the lips depending on which hand is the dominate hand. This, when tested, almost always directly points the smoke to either side of the tongue and always that spot. For those that pull the tongue to the roof of the mouth when tokin' on the pipe, can feel it even more as the unprotected underside of the tongue is not as seasoned as the good 'ol scaly taste-bud side.
Perhaps one day when I feel really ornery, I'll explain the science aspect...perhaps once I research it more myself. :) Fellow Cigar Nerds and Geeks are free to expound.
How do you combat the effects of "THE bite"?
#1: Start with a good cigar...NO amount of aging is going to make a crappy cigar get 'better' with age. BLUF: Start with crappy tobacco, you'll smoke and un-enjoy crappy tobacco.
#2: Start with a cigar that is within your flavor profile and not too strong unless you intend it that way.
#3: Smoke the cigar slowly. A cooler burning cigar means more tobacco essence is preserved and not destroyed by intense heat. You'll detect more out of the cigar than one burning too burn that scorches your poor 'ol taste-buds. Awesome 'essence' explanation from Willy Alvero HERE.
#4: Try pulling your tongue back as you puff in so that the smoke doesn't hit the same spot of your tongue each-and-every-puff.
#5: Let the smoke gently roll and expand into your mouth thereby allowing it to cool in your mouth.
#6: Tricky but easy with practice...You can cool the smoke going into your mouth by drawing a small bit of 'outside' air in with the cigar smoke. When cigar in mouth, leave a small air path at the corner of your lips and where they meet the cigar. Draw in 'outside' air the same time you puff in cigar smoke. The mixture of air immediately cools the sensation. Helps when you have a finger-burner that you just have to finish cause it's so damned good.
Well...That's about all I have on that for now...
Thursday, March 22, 2012
We call him "&" Aka - Shift_7
Great times with Shift_7 talking about the cigar industry while smoking beautiful Room101 cigars:
Cheers to Shift_7 and the B&B Cigar Club!
For lighting cigars, people seem to like using long matches, Spanish Cedar strips from cigar boxes, or butane lighters/torches. Matches and 'cedar' sticks seem to be done out of tradition or nostalgia, but really most folks today are using butane lighters ranging from cheap to ultra-expensive. It's pretty much accepted that butane is about the cleanest burn you're gonna get so why would you use a yucky Zippo that would taint that little 'precious' of yours?
Well, it was actually a smoke session I had with an older Korean gentleman that really made me rethink the whole Zippo and cigar combination when he nonchalantly pulled out a Zippo and used it on his nice stogie. Even without me saying anything, he automatically volunteers the information that it's unconventional to use a Zippo for a cigar, but also simply states that it works and...just works. This gentleman is most certainly not short on money, in layman terms, a rich man. He could afford the most expensive lighters in the world but decides to use a humble Zippo.
Then it hits me...Holy SNIKES! That's right! It just bloody works!
With all the possible ways to light a cigar, recommended and not recommended, I've probably tried them all. Every possible way will eventually present some form of frustration that prevents you from lighting your cigar. Butane lighters are notorious for this. Love 'em and use 'em but dang it if it doesn't run out of gas right when you need it or just mysteriously doesn't want to work. Plus, cigar torches simply do not have a long life expectancy due to heat, seals, mechanics, pressures, gas flow, etc. eventually causing complete mechanical failure...yes...even the ultra-expensive ones...and yes...regardless of what the manufacturer and its warranty says.
But guess what? That useless Zippo isn't gonna fail you and your cigar lighting mission. Why do you think so many U.S. GIs have carried them from the days of beating down Hitler's door, to the rice paddies of Vietnam and Korea, and into the desert. It simply takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'! Maybe that's the reason why the Zippo company says, "It works or we fix it for free." I would know as I've carried one my entire career and hasn't failed me yet.
So we know it's reliable but how would you begin to use it on your cigars? Well, if you're a stuffy purist and can't get enough of yourself, stop reading here and commence with your miserable little life. If you are open-minded, continue reading on.
The simple way of operating a Zippo with a cigar is to:
1. Not overfill the zippo because the flame is too high
2. Let the zippo burn for 3-5 seconds before applying to cigar
3. Regardless of lighting tech, you use the heat and not the flame. So...hold a couple of inches above flame at the heat point and not in the flame.
4. Naturally let the heat do the work, no need to draw on the cigar simultaneously because there is more of a chance to draw the undesired naphtha smell.
5. Puff air out of the cigar once prior to enjoying that fine stick of tabaccy
That's about all there is to it. I've done it many, many times to test it, and I don't seem to have issues (at least cigar related). As for the naphtha smell, can't say that I really notice any difference compared to the other lighting methods. Regardless, as with everything, might need some practice if this interests you.
Overall, can't really put a value on stuff that works when you need it to, and that's all I gots to say on that. Take it or leave it.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Having smoked pretty much the entire line of B&A cigars, I'd have to say that these are medium to full-bodied cigars...with more of them favoring the full-bodied.
The Clasico and the Mooch: I'd say, "a bit of pepper with earthy aromas." The initial pepper spiciness mellows within the first inch or two and then gains in the earthy tones. For the price points, I'm ready to make these my everyday cigars.
The Entubar: One interesting construction technique that has some history behind it! Perhaps one of the most unique in the industry as they use a separate tube of Ligero leaves with the rest of the cigar wrapped around it; creates a channel that helps to ensure proper air flow through the cigar. This cigar looks like meanie but is actually is a big sweetie with a heavy and developed maduro mellowness. Amazing sweet billows of smoke produced by this babydoll!
SCAS Entubar review here: http://seoulcigaraficionadosociety.blogspot.com/2011/08/cigar-review-berger-argenti-entubar.html
JW Marriott Hotel, Lobby FL
19-3 Seocho-gu, Banpo-dong
Seoul 137-040, South Korea
Saturday, February 11, 2012
As you might well know, it's a common practice to use paper napkins soaked with water inside standard cigarette ashtrays. This is normal and accepted by Korean cigarette smokers, BUT...for the common-practice cigar smoker, this practice is quite annoying. Here are three reasons why water-napkins in ashtrays are not good for cigars:
1. Cigar smokers use ashtrays to rest their cigars during breaks, should cigar fall into wet ashtray...say bye-bye to expensive cigar.
2. Wet cigar ash is much stinkier than dry cigar ash.
3. Some establishments do not keep the ashtray's napkin wet all the time or allow the paper napkin to become dry...can you say fire-hazard?
Why did we write this article? It for awareness really. If you happen to be an establishment that caters to or occasionally caters to a cigar smoker, this small detail makes the difference.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
BURN Lounge and Cigar Bar
Monday, November 28, 2011
It is once again time for the Cuban Cigar Roller event. We have the pleasure and honor of hosting Gustavo Garcia for the second time. His last trip to Korea was back in 2006 of which he left many lasting impressions and memories for those that met him. He is a consummate gentleman and a fine cigar roller. Without question, you will enjoy his cigars and even more...his company.
Some fine pictures from the last time Gustabo rolled in Korea:
For more info and RSVP, please email SCAS.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
We've dealt with so many different kinds of cigar accessories throughout our cigar smokin' days that I can't even recall all the different types, styles, gee-wiz contraptions that have crossed our hands. With that many, I can say one thing and that's Xikar has yet to fail us on quality, reliability, and their lifetime guarantee. I can't say that there are too many companies nowadays that are willing to give their products a lifetime warranty. That is what we believe is service!
Luckily, we have seldom had to exercise the warranty because the Xikar products are extremely well built and have such a good quality control & quality assurance program.
Here's from the horse mouth (Xikar Inc.): "We are proud to offer our lifetime warranty on all XIKAR products. So, if you feel that a XIKAR product fails to live up to our promise of fit, finish or function, simply return it to us and we will immediately and cheerfully repair or replace your product under our Total Satisfaction Guarantee!"
Some say that Xikar is expensive compared to other products out there, but I counter that I'd be willing to pay a premium to have the confidence, that should any happen to my Xikar cutter, I can send it back for repairs or replacement without question.
If you are looking for quality then look for Xikar at Maska's Tabac.
J.W. Marriott Hotel, Lobby FL
19-3 Seocho-gu, Banpo-dong
Seoul 137-040, South Korea
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Berger & Argenti Entubar Quad Maduro: 5.375 x 54
Up for review today is an unusual stick, the Entubar Quad Maduro. Wrapped in a rich mocha-colored wrapper, the really striking thing about these is a thin straw of ligero poking out of the middle of the cigar. Apparently, this is an older style of rolling cigars, set a middle rod up and roll the rest of the leaves around it. They chose to leave this center tube in place and protruding, I guess to make it stand out. And it does, it’s a nice looking cigar that catches the eye. These sticks were gifted to me. Lets get on with the review!
The scent on the wrapper is a sweet cocoa, but the scent at the foot is a zesty pepper from the ligero tube. There were a few chips out of the wrapper, but they didn’t cause any leaks and were merely aesthetic. It cuts and draws easily, and has a smooth, barnyard taste on the cold draw. Following the directions, I ignite all of the cigar’s foot at the same time, which fires up easily after I toasted it.
After a bit the cigar settles into a nice even cone shaped burn. The initial tastes are of cocoa beans, light pepper and an easy toasted tobacco taste. It starts with a barnyard finish. After a few puffs a seam burst on the wrapper. Ah, the perils of smoking in high heat and humidity. Still the smoke tastes great and the cigar is still delivering plenty of smoke, so no great disaster.
Into the second third, the taste was pretty consistent. It picks up a creamy smoothness and the ligero pepper dies out about halfway. Just an easy smoking medium bodied maduro here. There are a lot of toasty, grain notes, and there is a real depth of complexity. It really shines here and I am wishing it could stick with this profile.
As the cigar dwindles away, it loses its way a bit. The burn goes jagged and the smoke gets a little too basic. There is a strong hardwood smoke taste, but mostly, it just washes over the elegant tastes in the middle. The cigar isn’t bad, just not up to the great tastes in the middle. The smoke volume was awesome from front to back, though and coated the palate nicely.
Although I had two of them, they were both paired with dark stout beers, so I can’t really make any good recommendations. The stout was pretty good for it though you might want to do this with coffee I think.
So overall, I liked this smoke a good bit. It’s a nice blend, and it reminds me of some of the Padron maduros, which I also love. The burn was pretty good and the draw and smoke level is what you want in a non-cuban. My only real complaint is a flimsy wrapper, which is common among maduro stogies. Also, you have to love the unique style this thing has with its sharp box-press and wacky tube. So I think they have a winner here. Give them a try!
Final Grade: A-
Review by Matt O'Dwyer
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Cause you know that means the boys have a near equal excuse to have the boys' night out...perhaps once in a blue moon.
Well here's to boys' nights out smokin' fine sticks of tabaccy and imbibing in fine spirits!
|It was nothing but a sausage fest!|
|Locked into the man cave.|
|What the Pak are you looking at?!|
Yeah Yeah Yeah...shut yer piehole and keep smokin' them stogies.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
This is a private event for OWL Espresso so you must RSVP to email@example.com by April 5th to get on the guest list. We are limited to 25 folks and it's more than half full. RSVP now!
Let the good tunes roll!
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
We are damned saddened to report that the OWL is closed for good due to something they call zoning regulations. Once again the "MAN" attempts to beat the fun things out of life...so they try.
The proprietors: Hwang Insoo and Soh Jaewoo, are masters of creating the 'underground lounge with eclectic art creations strew about' feel. Upon entering, I immediately felt like I just knuckle-dragged myself into a MAN-CAVE ready for meat-eating, tobacco-burning, and fire-water drinkin'! URRGGHH!!!
But Insoo and Jaewoo are no neanderthals when it comes to treating guests right. I was treated to a spread of Taylor's port, French cheeses, Italian salami and olives, and oven-roasted mussels finished off with a fine cup of hand-dripped Kenyan joe all in the name of stogies. The boys made entertaining look easy all while simultaneously enjoying fine Espinosa y Ortega: 601, Cubao, and Murcielago cigars.
You can check out the awesome grunginess of the pad here: http://www.owlespresso.com/index.php?/owl/owlshop/...way better than my crappy iPhone w/ no flash pics (click on the "OW:L/SHOP" link).
*ADDRESS(주소)> 서울시 강남구 역삼1동 690-10 1층 오울에스프레소
OW:L ESPRESSO 690-10 1F YOCKSAMDONG KANGNAMGU
SEOUL CITY / SOUTH KOREA [POST NO.135-917]
*GOOGLE MAPS: OWL ESPRESSO
NOTE: This is a reservation only joint. You must call and make a appointment for a "calling of the torch". Without one, you might be greeted by a closed door and a dark room.