Last year, I wa…

ImageLast year, I was listening to a podcast I enjoy on occasion called The Cigar Authority.  They made mention of attending the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival in Boulder and I was intrigued.  Though I grew up in Colorado I’ve never heard of such an event… all those years I could have enjoyed that leafy goodness in the cool, crisp mountain air.  Image

This year we have remedied this oversight and scheduled our summer vacation to overlap with the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival.  The joyous occasion will be taking place at the Millenium Harvest Hotel on Saturday, August 25th.  

Were I a single man I would have sprung for the $400 Executive VIP ticket– the list of swag is too long for this post.  Check it out here.

ImageWe will be going with the, still budget stretching, $100 tickets that include 20 cigars, a cutter, lighter, a bag, food and drinks for the day.  I’ve spent more and gotten less.  This sounds like a great day.

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Great Places to Enjoy a Cigar: Tulsa

Fogue & Bates— Tulsa, OK:  This is my home away from home these days.  Fantastic ownership and highly educated staff.  Great humidor and sizable smoking lounge.  These guys are so incredibly connected you can readily get hard-to-find cigars here… one of my favorites being Liga Privada from Drew Estates.  They carry all my favorite cigars… the more rare like JFR, Kristoff, Brickhouse, and Liga Privada, and all the basics like La Aurora, Fuente, Oliva, and Rocky Patel.  IMO this cigar establishment is second to NONE in Tulsa.  It’s one of the better tobacco shops I’ve been to in all my travels.  If you live anywhere near Tulsa do yourself a favor and head to Fogue & Bates.

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Jury is out

So I’ve been introduced to a guy who has a “cigar radio” program that airs every Saturday morning 11:00-1:00 CST.  He’s on XM/Sirius and 45 other stations around the country.  He comes to you “live from humidor A in the cigar city of Tampa.”  His name is Cigar Dave and you can check out his website here.

I’ve often thought this would be an interesting concept to flush out… sit back, listen to the radio, and talk cigars.  Cigar Dave HAS to be having a good time with this.  He’s the Rush Limbaugh of cigars; happy to discuss and set straight anyone who dares to call his show and bad-mouth “those stinky, nasty cigars.”

He rails against “the pleasure police” a label he applies to anyone trying to control what you can and cannot do.  Obvious targets are those who seek to further legislate where one can and cannot smoke a cigar, but he doesn’t stop there.  He recently belittled the recent assault on Ronald McDonald.

Cigar Dave takes a bit of a military angle to his show:

– refers to himself as “the general”

– united his followers to battle the “pleasure police”… those who would stifle your right to enjoy cigars

– his callers greet him with the statement “long ashes, general”

It’s all a little bit cheesy.  I can’t imagine ever calling a cigar radio show and uttering the words “long ashes.”  But they do some thoughtful and interesting things as well:

– recently had a “cigar draft” a la the NFL draft

– took phone calls and made suggestions for different cigars for different events (weddings, graduations, etc).

Similar to Car Talk on NPR, this show feels like something you’d have on in your garage as you’re out working on the car, building a project, or just taking care of your “honey-do” list.  I have typically enjoyed myself anytime I sit and listen to Cigar Dave.

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Valentines Day gifts for men

While everyone in my region was battling record snowfall, I found myself in Phoenix last week and had the opportunity to play golf at TPC Scottsdale.  Due to the Monday finish for the PGA tournament we got bumped over to the Champions course, but it was still a beautiful, great day of golf.

I was looking forward to playing the famous 16th hole.  Granted there would not have been quite the pressure the pros feel, but would have been great to challenge that particular golf hole.  Here are some thoughts from Valentines Day 2010 regarding this special, unique challenge.

Ah yes… Valentines Day is upon us.  That sweet special day where, it doesn’t really matter what you get your significant other, as long as the thoughts are pure and good.  Yea right.  The timing of Valentines Day is terrible.  Most are still paying off credit cards from Christmas indulgences.  It must be flowers, perfume, chocolates, jewelry… all premium gifts for a special lady.  Following are premium Valentines Day gifts for the cigar smoker in your life.

Kristoff cigars:  I am going to pump Kristoff cigars in 2011.  Kristoff is, bar none, the best cigar you will smoke that you likely have never heard of.  This cigar has flavor that a seasoned cigar smoker will enjoy without overpowering a newcomer to cigars.  And the price… you cannot do better!  My favorite is any Kristoff with the Sumatra wrapper.

Cigar magazine:  For the man who leaves Manhattan on his helicopter, plays polo in the Hamptons on the weekend, then drives his lady around Long Island in his new Bently while drinking champagne and smoking $100 Cuban cigars, Cigar Aficionado is the magazine to have.  For everyone else in America, Cigar Magazine is the best, most informative magazine to read.  Good articles, good information, not snooty.  And quite a bit more affordable than the other cigar magazine offering.

Cigar accessories: Every guy needs nice cigar accessories.  If you look through Cigar Aficionado magazine you can spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on cutters, lighters, ashtrays and other paraphernalia.  Or… you can be smart and check out these items at theperfectashtray.  You will not find a more complete, classy, affordable selection of accessories.

What are you getting for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day?

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Revisiting Groundhog Day

We celebrated Groundhog Day 2011 with record-setting snowfall.  Thirty-one of the 50 United States were impacted by this winter storm.  Our town averages 11 inches of snow in an entire winter… so the 25.5 that fell in a 24 hr. period left this little burgh paralyzed.

The Groundhog and all affiliated Groundhog people would have lost all credibility if the Groundhog had seen anything other than his shadow.  He’d have been relegated to such fake holiday characters as the tooth fairy and Easter bunny.  Such frauds.

Here’s a look back at a 2010 Groundhog Day.

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Community on the road

Community is an important thing.  One of the toughest parts of my traveling job is finding people to connect with while I am on the road.  My solution… find a cigar shop where I can sit down and light up a favorite stogie.  There is sure to be fellowship, conversation, and laughs.

La Casa de la Habana– this place was awesome!  With several locations around Detroit I opted for the one furthest from “8 Mile” or anywhere else resembling the place that nurtured the likes of Kid Rock and Marshall Mathers– Plymouth, MI.

Not only did this place have a great humidor (complete with cigars rolled in-house with a house blend of tobacco), but they have a coffee shop ATTACHED to the cigar shop.  I went from buying a Brickhouse cigar in one side of the building, to ordering a mocha in the other (great pairing, by the way).

The conversation was great.  I sat with a former Marine who was 55 and looked 35… cool guy.  There was also a restauranteur who runs a couple of places on the UM campus.  It was an enlightening hour about life growing up in Detroit and the real estate/job market in Michigan.  If you’re ever out that way, I cannot recommend this place highly enough.

Classic Cigars– since I have lived less than 90 miles from this place for the past 12 years, I am ashamed to say I found it only a month ago.  I will certainly return.  Like La Casa de la Habana in MI, this place has a smoking room in back complete with a bar.  No need to pay by the drink… they’ll run a tab for you.

I spent an enjoyable couple of hours with a friend over a couple of Guinness and a JFR cigar.  Their humidor is incredibly well-organized… perhaps the best of any I’ve encountered.  The selection was wide and the experience there was friendly.

I realize I only travel a portion of the country, so I ask you… where are your favorite places to find some community while on the road?

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Best cigars of 2010

With the end of another year come all the lists one could hope for.  Some of the more popular and interesting are People’s sexiest man and Barbara Walters 10 most interesting people.  There are also many lists we could do without (see top 10 Jersey Shore moments and the top 10 housewives from the OC, DC, etc).

As a guy, I love lists.  Love of lists is a trait that connects all guys.  SportsCenter has it’s top 10 plays of the day, week, season, and year.  Regardless of your love or hobby, there is always a list of the best.  Cigars are an incredibly subjective area to rate, which is why there are so many lists.  Following are some examples…

Toasted Foot’s top cigar of 2010

Tom’s Cigars favorite is here has their list as well

Last year I took a look at some of my more memorable smokes of 2009.  In an effort to expand my stogie-knowledge, I tried not to smoke any of my favorites from last year and expand my palate.  I did quite well, although I did smoke several Rocky Patel’s in 2010… in my defense there’s absolutely no way to go an entire year without a RP.  That’s like going an entire year without having a sandwich.  It’s not good for you and, besides, why would you even want to do that?

Following is my list of smokes worth spending your hard-earned money on from this past year.  If you haven’t tried these, I highly recommend you rush out and try these.

Rocky Patel Connecticut–  Surprisingly, this is my favorite smoke of 2010.  I typically favor fuller, more flavorful cigars, but this RP had an incredible amount of flavor.  I can easily recommend this to a new cigar smoker AND to a grizzled veteran.  Both will enjoy the Connecticut.

Brickhouse–  I smoked several Brickhouse cigars this year and each was just as good as I remembered the previous.  It became a “go-to” smoke for me in 2010.  It’s priced well and is very consistent.  As you walk into a humidor and are overwhelmed by all your options, just look for the Brickhouse.  You’ll be glad you did.

Kristoff-  The Kristoff cigar is tough to find so if you see one, buy three.  Specifically I love the Kristoff’s with the Sumatran wrapper.  The flavor is unreal, very consistent, and smooth.  I shared this cigar with a friend and it instantly became a new favorite of his.  In fact, there are plans to buy another humidor exclusively to house Kristoff.

La Flor Dominicana Double Liguero Chisel– This is another one of my “go-to” cigars.  This is not a cigar to smoke if you’re a new cigar smoker.  This beauty will knock you on your butt!  Like a long kiss from a beautiful woman, this cigar will leave you reeling and light-headed.  If you are a seasoned cigar smoker, this cigar packs tons of flavor.  If you’ve never had one, you really MUST check it out.

Did you have any favorite smokes from 2010?  I’d love to try your favorite.

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