March Madness for stogies

Spring is in the air.  Trees and bushes are beginning to bud.  We just suffered through the hell that is “spring forward” which brings longer days.  Here in my hometown the daffodils are starting to bloom which is an unmistakable sign that warmer weather is upon us.  All these indicators point to two of life’s most wonderful gifts:

* the ability to enjoy a premium cigar outdoors rather than cooped up like a rabbit in the garage, and…


Yes, that’s right.  The NCAA basketball tournament starts up this week.  Put it on your calendar.  Thursday, March 18th.  The one day in 2010 where more workers will be “working” at their computers… making last minute adjustments to their brackets before the first set of games tip at 12:20 EST with BYU taking on Florida (not Flo-rida).  It is estimated that 58.3 million people will participate in office pools, costing employers approximately $1.8 BILLION dollars.  Here’s the full article.

(This is only slightly more than lost wages due to people blogging at work).

During March Madness our vernacular takes on a distinctly different twist; we start talking about underdogs, favorites, upsets, and Cinderella.  Sweet 16.  Elite 8.  Final 4.  Cigars are a lot like the NCAA tournament.  We pick winners and those are usually our favorites.  It doesn’t take any effort to pick a favorite and there is little risk– you are rewarded the vast majority of the time.  Schools like Univ. of Kansas, Univ. of North Carolina, and UConn deliver most every time; just like Cohiba, Montecristo, and Rocky Patel.  These cigars are impeccably built, they burn well, and the taste is consistent from cigar to cigar.  You choose these if you want to win.

Picking an unknown or an underdog is incredibly risky and equally rewarding.  It is an unexpected reward.  You don’t necessarily expect to win.  But when you do, it is sweet!  Northwestern St. upsets Iowa in 2006.   Bucknell defeats Kansas and Vermont shocks Syracuse in 2005.  All unexpected.  All exciting.  The underdog came out of nowhere and delivered.  The same is true of a cigar– Ancient Warrior, Telson, and Cain are all little-known cigars that perform and compete like tried and tested winners.

Then you have that nasty scenario– the one that everyone says can’t miss.  Gonzaga in 2004.  Up and coming with high hopes… falls flat.  This was my experience with the Best Seller from Arturo Fuente’s Hemingway Series.  All the other Hemingway’s I have smoked have been great.  The Short Story, Opus X, Masterpiece… all great.  Frankly, I was smoking the Best Seller on principle… just to smoke one before buying a box of 25.  It was a mess!  It tasted fine, but the construction was subpar and it burned incredibly unevenly.  It is a small cigar to begin with at only 5″ long (less once you cut it, snip the tip, and smoke the first 1/2″) and maintained an uneven burn of at least 1/2″!  Even with attempted maintenance and attention it never balanced out and was an extreme disappointment.  I’ll give it another try– if someone else pays for the cigar.  I’m not spending another dollar on the Best Seller.

I picked Kansas to be lighting up Cohiba’s and cutting down the nets this year.  I’m pretty much “chalk” in the Sweet 16, although I do have both Utah State and UTEP as Cinderella picks in their respective brackets.  My other wild and crazy pick is a Temple upset of Kentucky to go to the Elite 8 in the East.

Who do you have winning it all?

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2 Responses to March Madness for stogies

  1. Rob Sorbo says:

    As much as it pains me, I have Kansas winning it.

    I called a Texas over Kentucky upset…only because I’m a native Texan, I don’t actually expect it to happen.

    I also went with UTEP. I picked a couple other upsets too, but I can’t think of them right now (I’m not a huge college bball fan, I only come around in March for the tourney).

    I enjoy reading about your cigars (actually, I enjoy your blog as a whole–of all the blogs I read, yours is the only one that is consistently updated and interesting). I work at a Christian organization and I could (no joke) be fired if I ever even mentioned I had ever smoked a cigar or drank something stronger that soda. I guess I live vicariously through your blog…thanks for that escape.

    • jelliott5011 says:

      Painful as it certainly is, I think KS is a good pick to win it. I am curious where you’re working now… and am glad I can be here for you Rob. I hope they don’t find out you read my blog. 😉

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