Maduro Rothschild

Sunday Cigar Ramblings – Jan 23, 2010

Saturday night I had the opportunity to go to a local watering hole, Williams Downingtown Hotel,  to see my  friend Greg play with his band, Now and Then.  One of the great things about this venue, and I believe I’ve mentioned it here before, is that it allows smoking!  The fact that it is a stone’s throw from home helps too. Now and Then is a trio of highly talented  musicians who play a mix of music, ironically, from now….and then!  They do a great job with a selection of classic rock and newer rock.  As a drummer myself (retired), I always enjoy great live music, and these guys ROCK.  I lit up a Chateau Real Gran Cru Perfecto maduro to start the evening.  I usually let new arrivals sit for a while, but these just looked so good, and they are!  medium bodied with a nice coffee/cocoa flavor.  I brought one of these for Greg also, who joined me between sets and very happily lit it up and seemed to enjoy it.  Greg and I went to high school together, and when we reconnected last year we found that we share the love of cigars.  Our schedules have prevented us from actually getting together for a smoke, so it was great to finally be able to catch up over a cigar.  Thanks to Greg  for giving CigarCraig.com a shout-out! I should have left you a lighter in case that cigar went out again!

Greg asked me a question last night that I didn’t get a chance to answer, so I figure this is a great place to address the question.  The question was regarding hygrometers, digital versus analog, and calibrating them.  Let me speak to calibration first:  Most of us probably don’t  want to actually change the calibration of our hygrometer, especially if it’s digital.  We want to get an idea how far it’s off so we can make a mental correction (or, if you’re like me, you write the variance on the unit so you don’t forget).

Humifiers and hygrometers out of 2 different humidors.

Here’s a simple way to test your hygrometer:  Take a small container like a bottle cap, and fill it with salt. Make the salt damp with water (don’t soak the salt completely). Place the wet salt and your hygrometer in a ziploc bag, or an airtight container and leave for 8 hours. Your hygrometer should read 75%.

I’m old fashioned. I still use florist foam based humidifiers in my humidor and cooler.  I have an old Radio Shack digital hygrometer and an analog thermometer/hygrometer that I got at a hardware store.  I rarely look at them, and rely on feel and how my cigars smoke to give me an indication as to whether I need to pay attention to my humidity sources.  I also have had a little bottle of propylene glycol for about 10 years, but my gallon of distilled water is starting to get low.  In addition to being old-fashioned, I’m also lazy.  The latest technological advancement in humidification is the polymer beads. You can get these in pre-set humidity levels and they seem really simple to use.  You can physically tell by the volume in the container when they need distilled water added.  I haven’t gotten around to trying these yet, but Heartfelt Industries seems to be a credible source for these.

If your humidity gets too high, a simple trick I’ve used is placing a container of dry white rice in your humidor.  Rice is a great desiccant, although, now that I think about it, aren’t rice producing areas usually really wet and humid?  Ironic, isn’t it?

Obviously this isn’t new or original information, but just some of my experience over the last 14 years of keeping cigars.   Cigars want to be kept in a reasonably damp environment, 65% relative humidity works for me, and they want to be at a comfortable temperature, too warm and you risk insect problems, which is another post all together.  Other than that, it isn’t rocket surgery.  I hope this information is of value to someone.

Congratulations again to our January contest winner, DJ from Boston.  Make sure you check out yesterday’s post and see the video of the selection process.

Until the next cigar,

CigarCraig

Advertisements

Running Low on Cigars…

As I was packing cigars to take to Reno, I decided to do some housekeeping in the humidor and consolidate some boxes.  Imagine my dismay when I realized that I was dangerously close to dropping below 100 cigars in the house!  I will admit that for an occasional cigar smoker like myself (fewer than one a day, and often just a couple a week) having 500 or 600 cigars in the house is maybe a bit excessive, but 100?  Let’s think about this…potentially that’s only 4 boxes, in the days when there were 25 in a box  —  Tangent:  A box of cigars should contain 25 cigars!  The current trend of 20 cigars in a box is ridiculous…think about it. If you have a box of 25 and you smoke 5, you still have 20 left…the box of 20 cigars after smoking 5 you only have 15!  I’d much rather have 20 than 15, wouldn’t you? —

Where was I…Oh yeah…so I’ve gone through the humidor and I have very few of the kind of cigars you can just grab to smoke without thinking, without worrying about where it came from and whether you have to review it.  I’ve found that I have a good many nice cigars, some CAO singles from the IPCPR show in Vegas last year, a handful of Opus X, Ashton VSG, other high end Fuentes and a pretty good handful of Havanas.  So I mentioned this dilemma to my wife, and do you think she was sympathetic?  No!  She wanted to know how long it would take me to smoke what I had on hand…I tried to explain that there were just some cigars that if I smoked I would probably never have in my possession again, either they just weren’t available, or were more than I general spend on cigars myself.  Realistically,  I suppose I do have a years worth of cigars on hand, BUT THAT’S NOT THE POINT!

Lately I’ve been making a mental list of cigars that I would like to stock my humidor with in the near future, you know, the kind of stuff you can just grab one on the way out the door, but something that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to share with a friend.  First on my list is one of my  “goto” cigars:  Maria Mancini…I like the Corona Classico, Palma Delgado, DeGaulle, and the Magic Mountain.  I’m down to a precious few of these and I’ve been stocking some in my humidors for 10 years or so.  Next on the list is La Vieja Habano from Drew Estate.  These are mixed filler and come in various sizes and wrappers.  I’ve only had the corojo wrappers, but have enjoyed them.   A bundle cigar I’d buy are the National Brand from Camacho.  Once you get past the sweetened cap, these are as well constructed and flavorful as just about any premium cigar.  I’m partial to the maduro robustos, but the natural corona is nice as well.  I think I’d get a box of Santa Damiana No. 300 to have a nice mild but flavorful cigar on hand and Don Tomas Classicos are also on the list.  Neither are in the same value category as the previous three brands, but not ridiculously priced either.  I’d probably round out the assortment with a couple bundles of Jose Piedras in a couple sizes, just because it’s really nice to be able to grab a $2 Cuban cigar that tastes great.  Mind you, the humidor restocking project is still in the dream stage until well after the holidays.  I realize to some the pictures here seem to indicate that I have plenty of cigars, but don’t be fooled!  Lake Meade may still have a lot of water in it even though it’s 10 feet down, but there are fish flopping around on the beach man!  It’s just not acceptable to be under 200….or 300…sheesh…

Until the next time,

Craig

(note:  in some circles this sort of story would costitute a mooch…not the case!  Just going for some laughs! My wife laughed at me…)

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