Month: September 2009

The Origin of the Word “Herf”

Please visit my new CigarCraig blog at http://www.cigarcraig.com.

The word “Herf” is used liberally throughout the online cigar community and  I think a lot of people probably don’t know it’s origins.    I was a frequent contributor to the alt.smokers.cigars (ASC)  Usenet group at the time the term appeared and have re-printed below the definitive origin of the term “Herf” as posted by the esteemed Mr. John Chunko on alt.smokers.cigars on May 4, 1998:

HERF… to herf; herfing; herfers; the ASC Philly Herf;
the Gellman Office Herf; Herfedor; Fart Nard Herfing;
circle-herfs; herf-off; an after-dinner herf;
the San Francisco Herf; Gentlemen, you may herf…

HERF – EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

The un-official word of ASC is Herf. Herf is a unique part
of speech. It can be correctly used as a noun, a verb, an
adjective, an adverb, an infinitive, a prefix, a suffix and
an explicative. The arcane word “herf” first entered the
ASC lexicon on November 21, 1996, and was quickly elevated
to frenetic and common use by ASCers. The Prince of Skeeves
(aloys…@gte.net) exposed ASC to the word herf in a casual
posting to the group… however it was ASCers, as a budding
collective, who took the word and made it divine. Herf is
now virulently spreading to worldwide common use as hip
cigar parlance.

HERF – CHRONOLOGY:

As for the _origin_ of Herf, here’s the History of Herf
(it’s a matter of record on DejaNews)…
The word “herf” first appeared on ASC…
——– [post quoted below] ———————————-
It was November 21, 1996… the elections were over,
and “herf” unceremoniously beams into our lexicon…
And, you were there (here’s the exact post)…
******************************************************
> Subject: worst cigars IMHO
> From: aloys…@gte.net (Prince of Skeeves)
> Date: 1996/11/21
> Message-ID: <571i9b$…@news3.gte.net>
> Newsgroups: alt.smokers.cigars
> I bought a Canaria d’Oro(sic?)Robusto out of curiousity
> and it was really a horrible, stale,grassy smoke with a
> peed-on taste. I gave it about 2 inches before I put it
> out. Also, anything Macanudo…I tried several when I
> first began smoking cigars and found them all to be very
> bland and almost impossible to herf, they were so tightly
> wrapped. I think the list of `Mediocre Smokes’ for most
> folks would be huge.

<http://groups.google.com/group/alt.smokers.cigars/browse_thread/thread/55d33094dad52477/f1a8baef7888fa05?hl=en&q=worst+cigars+IMHO#f1a8baef7888fa05>

******************************************************
And, the voices of ASCers cry out immediately…
saying, “what is this _herf_ thing?”
In answer… on November 23, Prince of Skeeves elucidates,
Message-ID: <5770op$…@news1.gte.net>:
> To `herf’ is to draw on a cigar.
The voices of ASC follow in chorus: “this herf thing… it is good”
And, in a grand gesture, full grace is shared…

– Show quoted text –
——– [end quoted post] ———————————-
So, that’s the herf story… on 11/21/96 “Prince of Skeeves” (whoever
he/she/it is/was) introduced our newsgroup to its very own beloved word…
And, as a bonus…

HERF LEVITY:

Herf… a word which is now spreading to virtually all corners of the cigar
world… thanks to the likes of the many and varied distinguished herfing
enthusiasts (herfnicks)… such as:

• the good Dr. Miguelit (used on his many national radio interviews),

• Mr. Lew Rothman (used proudly and prominently on JR’s Winter
catalog issue’s front cover),

• ASC elder Mr. Bob Curtis (used liberally all over the ICG website),

• the Hon. Steven Saka (used strategically at least four times in the
course of the 1997 New Hampshire state senatorial debate and
once as an invective following the debate’s broadcast, which,
btw, was televised on CSPAN-3 to over a half-billion viewers
worldwide, including the space shuttle mission crew),

• Connie Whittager, perky weatherwoman on Montgomery, Alabama’s
WKKG-TV (used to describe the fog which paralyzed suburban
roadways for two straight days in April 1997… in an interview
on the Weather Channel, she explained, “…motorists were advised
to avoid the western beltway and all lakeside arteries due to a
stationary fog bank thicker than a hundred hounddogs herfin’
Hondurans in a hayloft”, and

• by Jorge Jesus Delgado, Jr., now departed, (who ardently
pleaded to “herf a cigar” before his execution in the
Texas death-house in October 1997)…

…just to mention a few of the notables!

PS: Remember… November 21 is World Herfing Day!!!

Sorry you asked, huh?!

Regards,
…JC

_______________________________________________________________
I have attended many herfs, hosted a few herfs, and herfed many cigars over the years.  Obviously there are references in the above post that are unique to the ASC community at the time.  The Google Groups archive of alt.smokers.cigars can be a very useful resource for cigar information, as well as some very funny threads.   Over the 10 year span that I was a contributor, I was fortunate to have met hundreds of fellow posters at herfs and crawls all over the country.  I have many friends today that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.  If you have the chance, go to a herf, even if you don’t know one person, I bet you will have a great time!  Cigar smokers are generally a pretty friendly bunch!

mahogany_friday

A Typical Herf Scene

Until next time,

CigarCraig

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Cigar Ramblings for Thursday September 24

It’s been a slow week for me cigar-wise, which is in inverse proportion to how busy I’ve been at work.  Last Saturday evening we had the pleasure of hanging out at our neighbor’s house where I was able to share some cigars with Phil again.  We started with a pair of Tatuaje Series P in the P1 size (5 5/8″ x 46).    While this was a really tasty mixed filler cigar, my example had a very fragile wrapper

tatuajes_091909

which flaked pretty badly, as shown in the crappy cellphone camera photo.  I purchased these at different times, and my theory is that Phil smoked the one I got a few weeks ago and stored in my humidor, and one I bought earlier in the day.  Of course, it could be the other way around, I really don’t know.  Point is, flaky, exploding wrapper aside, this is a tasty cigar, well worth the $3 and change.  t’s the only Tatuaje I’ve tried, I think they are pretty expensive.  After dinner I smoked a CAO LX2, which started off quite a bit stronger than I remember.  This one burned really nicely though.  It had a lot of the ligero flavor that this cigar is meant to showcase.  Nice cigar, it will be interesting to see how these mellow with age.  In a couple years these should be really nice.

Shifting gears a little, it’s nice to see that the state of Pennsylvania had the good sense to remain one of two states in the union to not tax large cigars (http://www.dailylocal.com/articles/2009/09/24/news/doc4abbbc7ee5280821926306.txt).  I’m sure the anti’s are already complaining, but obviously our legislators had the sense to understand that any tax revenues that would have been gained by taxing cigars would have been offset by the loss of the several major mail order venders and distributors who operate in PA because there is no cigar tax.  Hundreds of Pennsylvanians would lose jobs when the likes of Cigars International, Holts and Cigar Express moved to Florida (the other state with no cigar tax).  Kudos to our lawmakers for considering businesses and constituents interests over the nannies who would legislate away our ability to enjoy a legal product.  Here’s a question:  when nobody buys cigars in PA, how much tax revenue would the state receive?

Enough ranting for one day…I welcome your comments, criticisms and suggestions!

Until next time,

CigarCraig

Music, Bikes and Cigars

Today was a trifecta, of sorts, we combined three passions: music, bikes and cigars.  I turned on the radio in the car this morning and I hear WMGK‘s Andre’ Gardner broadcasting live from Mike’s Famous Harley Davidson in Delaware.  AndreCraigLX2

We’ve known Andre’ for some time, and I always lay a nice cigar on him when we cross paths since I know he likes a cigar now and again.  Today I gave him a CAO LX2 Rob.  The LX2 was released last year.  It’s a blend of Dominican, Nicaraguan and Honduran tobacco, and is heavily laden with ligero, which is the top most leaves on the plant, which are generally added sparingly to give a cigar some “oomph”.   CAO classifies these as the strongest cigars in their line-up, but I would  put them on the high side of medium.  I will feel guilty if the LX2 kills Andre’, as he’s just a heck of a nice guy who knows about as much about the Beatles as anyone who’s not a Beatle.  I’ve smoked several of these and while I wouldn’t suggest them for someone who prefers very mild cigars, I wouldn’t put them on a par with a Camacho Corojo or a La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero, or even the new Cain from Oliva.  I find it interesting to taste what different tobaccos taste like, and the LX2 does a nice job of showcasing the ligero.  Typically ligero doesn’t burn really well, which is why it is typically used in small doses.  I have notice that the LX2s I’ve had didn’t burn the greatest, but neither cigar was smoked under ideal circumstances.  It will be interesting to see how age effects these.

I’m off to the neighbors house to enjoy a cigar or two, maybe I’ll grab a LX2, and I have a couple of the Tatuaje Series P that I’ve been looking forward to trying.

Until next time,

CigarCraig

AndreCraigMikesWMGK

Tuesday Night with Dr. Marc

Dr. Marc and CigarCraig

It’s always nice when you get to hang out and smoke great cigars with an old friend you don’t get to see very often!  When Dr. Marc left me a comment saying he’s in Phillly for a meeting I had to meet up with him.  I picked him up at his hotel and we went down the street to Harrah’s in Chester.  Now, I don’t get out much, so I don’t know all the good places one can go to smoke cigars, and I didn’t really want to drag Marc into Philly to Mohogany and spend a fortune, but I did know that it was OK to smoke cigars in the casino which was 5 minutes down the street from Marc’s hotel.  Fortunately, it was pretty slow at the slots, so we parked ourselves in front of an out-of-order bank and lit some cigars (Hoyo Epicures I believe….tasty!).  Then the security guard chased us (very politely, actually all of the staff members at Harrah’s were really very nice)  5  feet away from the no smoking, out-of-order machines to the working, smoking area.  We got some beverages and spent some time chatting about a range of topics.  Dr. “I’m not a big gambler” Marc puts a $20 in the machine, asks how to play, and in a couple plays cashes out $40+.  I later put a $10 in my machine, as a way of paying rent on the chair I’m sitting in, and wave goodbye to it.  A bit of time passes and Marc feeds in another $20 and in five minutes it’s $45.  I need slot machine lessons from Marc.  By then I was into a Upmann Monarch which was also quite nice While Mark enjoyed a Camacho Candela and a Punch Petit Coronation. Hopefully Marc will leave a comment with his impressions of the evening’s cigars.  An awesome evening hanging out with an old friend! Thanks, Marc, it was great seeing you again!

Until next time,

CigarCraig

Random Thursday Thoughts

I had just typed a masterpiece of a post, but I did something wrong and it vanished.  You’ll have to trust me, it was brilliant.   I got so aggravated when I lost the last post that I forgot most of what I wrote.

The jist of it had to do with the various podcasts I’ve been listening to on a regular basis.

I load these on my Zune and listen to them in the car (when I have to use the car) and when I take a cigar for a walk.  They all are distinctly different and entertaining, but they also have some aspects that annoy me.   They all feature a cigar review or two, Rob Heming’s Blowin’ Smoke takes the panel approach and can be brutally honest.  Bob and Dale of Dogwatch compare their tasting notes, they are pretty objective, and have fairly different pallates.  Doc Stogiefresh only reviews cigars he really likes, there’s rarely a bad review.  I would recomend these to anyone who has the inkling to listen to cigar podcasts, with an honorable mention to The Mind Of Men podcast, which has a regular cigar segment.

Until next time,

CigarCraig

Labor Day

Sunday was a beautiful day here in PA, so we found ourselves invited across the street to our neighbor Sue’s for a cookout.  We were introduced to Phil, Sue’s boss, and told we’d get along because he likes cigars.  That kind of news always brightens my day, so back home I went to rummage through the humidor for some appropriate pre-dinner cigars.  I chose a Camacho Corojo Candela for myself, and a Don Tomas Clasico for Phil, not knowing his tastes.  I’ve really enjoyed the Clasicos, I think they are a quality cigar that will appeal to a wide range of tastes, and he enjoyed it as well.  Call me weird, but candela cigars hit the spot for me at certain times, and the Camacho hit the spot.  This box has been a little soft in construction, so they don’t always burn razor sharp.  The candela wrapper tempers the strength of the cigar a little…it’s still a powerful cigar that has  made me a little queezy in the past.  Yesterday it was just right for the moment.

Labor Day Smokes

Labor Day Smokes

After some tasty fillets and sweet corn, I grabbed the last two H. Upmann Coronas Minor from the humidor for after dinner.  This is another tasty little treat I’ve been enjoying the hell out of for quite a while.  Just a perfect cigar for any occasion.  At 4 – 1/5″ x 40 ring gauge, it requires a gentle approach, smoking this too fast will really ruin it.  It still lasted nearly an hour for me, and was a special treat, for me as well as Phil, who had a constant smile on his face.  I will, one day, replenish my supply of these tasty treats!

I hope everyone has a restful Labor Day!

Until next time,

CigarCraig


Smokin’ Bargain Cigars

budget_090309

cigars

It’s been a busy week, back to school for the kids, long hours at the office, shorter days…so I thought I’d say a few words about some very reasonable priced cigars I smoked this week.  I picked a few up at the shop Sunday, the National Brand Maduro Rothschild and the  Flor de Gonzales Torpedo .

I’ve smoked a few of the National Brand Maduros lately and find them to be quite nice.  Once you get past the sweetened cap, they are a tasty, even burning, medium bodied cigar.  These are cousins of Baccarat The Game and Camacho, so you know the quality is going to be there.  At $2.10 for a single retail (in PA), these are an easy choice when you aren’t looking for a cigar you want to think about too hard.  This one was particularly good while sitting on the front porch reading “Proficient Motorcycling“, which was birthday present from my daughter.

The Flor de Gonzales mixed filler sandwich cigar in a big torpedo shape (listed as 6½” x 52).  I took this cigar for a walk last night with Jenn.  Nothing offensive at all about this cigar.  Another even burning, decent tasting cigar.  I’ve had MANY cigars that were more than the $1.95  I paid for this that weren’t nearly as good.  The cigar shop only had these in the torpedo and Churchill sizes, I will be looking for these in a corona size out of curiosity.  It was a great walking cigar as it didn’t require too much thought.

These are both cigars I’ll happily smoke again.  I’m cheap by nature (I can squeeze a nickel so hard the buffalo poops!), and am always looking for quality cigars at a good price.   I will do my best to talk about cigars of all social and economic strata in this space.

Until next time,

CigarCraig