Month: February 2010

A New Home For CigarCraig’s Blog!

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

 

I will be posting the winner of the current contest there later today.  Please change your bookmarks and I’m still working on a way to allow e-mail subscriptions!  In the meantime follow me on Twitter @cigarcraig, where I have it set up to tweet when I post a new article!   Thanks for your continued support!

Until the next cigar,

CigarCraig

www.CigarCraig.com

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Take a Cigar for a Walk (in the Snow) – Wednesday, Feb 10, 2010

Here in South-Eastern Pennsylvania we rarely get more than a foot of snow at a time, let alone three storms in a season.  Today we got about 20″ on top of the 24″ or so we received on Saturday!    After spending the day going in and out trying in vain to keep ahead of the mounting snow, I realized I needed to take my walk to the local convenience store to pick up a Powerball ticket!  I had pulled a Chateau Real Maduro Gran Cru out to give to the snowplow guy when I saw him, but when he didn’t come around again I decided it was too much trouble to put it away.  I love these cigars, they have enough flavor and are constructed well enough to withstand the blizzard.  It was so good that I hung out on the porch for a few minutes after getting home to finish it off. Incidentally, I used my Drew Estate cutter on this cigar and got a perfect cut.  Remember to leave me a comment on Monday’s Blog posting for a chance to win one yourself! 

I have been contemplating making some website changes and moving this blog to a WordPress blog hosted on the CigarCraig.com server.  Have a look at the beta version at http://www.cigarcraig.com/blog/ and let me know what you think.  If anyone has any advice on how I can put an E-mail subscription on there I sure would appreciate it.  I have some other minor concerns, but that is the one item that is keeping me from taking it live.

That’s it for now!  I’m REALLY looking forward to spring!

Until the next cigar,

CigarCraig

Monday Cigar Ramblings – January 8, 2010

I think I left my ashtray on the picnic table...

Two feet of snow here in southeastern PA kind of got me off of my schedule.  To add insult to injury, they are predicting another 12″ to 18″ on Wednesday!  I don’t know where we are going to put it.

Here’s my winter smoking strategy:  Since conditions aren’t right for enjoying a premium cigar, I like having some more pedestrian cigars on hand for taking my walks in the cold weather, or shoveling or even just standing around outside.  This week I dug out some old cigars that may not have been great when they were new, but age hasn’t hurt them.  I smoked a couple of unbanded cigars and a JR Alternative that was given to me in a mixed bag of cigars when my bother-in-law gave up cigars years ago.  I’m suspecting all of these were around 10 years old.  They all burned well and tasted well aged, smooth and mellow, but enough flavor to be satisfying even out in the cold.  I hate to smoke a really good cigar under these circumstances.  One exception to this was a Hatuey Double Wrap 5 x 50 that I enjoyed while hanging out outside watching a friend work on one of our cars.  I had the propane heater out there and it was before the snow.  This cigar was a barber-pole cigar with  Connecticut shade and Connecticut broad-leaf wrappers that was very nice.  I really couldn’t taste any difference in the two wrappers but the overall flavor was good.  I look forward to better circumstances to enjoy the second one I have in my humidor.  I haven’t smoked that many barber-pole cigars, and, apart from the visual appeal, I don’t really see the point.  Because it’s a spiral, the wrappers have to blend together.  If it was striped, you could probably discern a flavor difference.  Feel free to let me know your opinions on this style of cigar.

In the “new inmates in the humidor” department, I received an incredible package this week from my friend Jason.  Quite a few cigars that I haven’t had a chance to try.  A veritable cornucopia of cigar goodness!   I look forward to spring and summer when I can relax on the deck to enjoy these!  Thanks Jason!

Tickets went on sale for Cigarfest this morning, but I over-slept and by 8 am they were sold out.  I’m still on the fence as to whether this event is a good value for me.

It’s February contest time! Up for grabs this month is a really cool Drew Estates cigar cutter.  I’ve been using one for the past few months and really like it.  It’s closed on one side so you can’t over cut your cigars.  I am in the habit of placing my cutter on a flat surface and standing my cigar up to cut it. This cutter removes the need to find a flat surface.  Anyway, leave a comment here to enter and I’ll select a winner in the usual manner.  I’ll make the selection and post the winner on or after Sunday, Feb 14, 2010.

Remember, you can subscribed to this blog and receive an e-mail each and every time I post a new article!

Until the next cigar,

CigarCraig

Italian Night – Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010

After dinner we were flipping through the channels and came across the Pennsylvania Cable Network’s PCN Tours show featuring the Avanti cigar factory in Scranton, PA.  The PCN Tours show is an hour-long, very simple, tour of manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania.  DVDs are available for purchase on the PCNTV.com website.  The tour was given by Avanti Cigar Company President Don Keating.  It was interesting to  see how this 100-year-old company uses machinery and techniques that are unchanged in at least 50 years.  They make thousands of Italian style cigars every day and they age them for quite a while before they are packaged and shipped.  This company really prides themselves on creating a high quality and consistent cigar.   Ironically, my wife and her father came home with baked goods from Termini Bros today.  After devouring a delicious biscotti and a cannoli, I ran out to the drugstore and picked up a pack of Avantis.  I’ve smoked plenty of  Toscano cigars, I had some Antico Toscanos from Italy years ago and enjoyed them.  Typically they are rugged cigars, often called cheroots, or  stogies.  Nothing subtle about them either and since they are dry cured, they keep for ever.

I am also a fan of black licorice.  The Avanti’s dominant flavor is anise, smoking on is like eating a package of black Twizzlers.  The PCN Tour show showed them painting the cigars with anise liqueur, and they load it on.  I was surprised at how long this little ugly cigar lasted, it was about a 45 minute smoke. This was an interesting change of pace, and I will enjoy these from time to time, and they have fewer calories than a box of Good ‘n Plentys!

Sunday I took a walk to pick up my car and smoked a 10-year-old Dominican cigar that was from E-Stix.com, an internet reseller from the ’90s which is, sadly, no longer operating.  It was actually a tasty cigar, it held up well after all these years.  It was a Churchill sized cigar that lasted the entire 3 mile walk.

Enough for now!  Until the next cigar,

CigarCraig