Sunday, March 31, 2013

Two Weeks of Being a Bachelor

Almost two weeks ago my wife left on a trip to visit her parents  (cue Jim Nabors) "back home, again, in Indiana..."

All in all it was a relatively uneventful two weeks.  I did manage to attend a  Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce mixer or two, simply for the food, and make my way to Fair Oaks Cigars, Goodfellas Cigar Lounge, Ambassador Fine Cigars West, Fine Ash Cigars, and Owl Ear Cigars.

Old friends, who met at Applebee's almost 7 years ago, got together for a BBQ.  These events are fun as everyone brings a dish.  Mario Batali's Spicy Beer Shrimp Boil.  Earlier in the day I picked up a 6-pack of beer from Whole Foods.  The beer, called Gold Mine Lager, was average so I didn't feel all that bad using 3 cans for the boil.  By the way it was $2.99.

A couple of weeks ago I was given a Padron Serie 1926 80 yrs from a good friend at Ambassador Fine Cigars.  This maduro, was the #2 cigar on Cigar Aficionado's Top 25 cigars of 2008, uses some of Padron' rarest leaves in its blend.  The cigar, a perfecto, is also rolled by one trocodero and at roughly $30 per stick, this cigar, according to one source, is one of  the 10 most expensive cigars in the world.

Wednesday found me with several client meetings in Central Phoenix, so I detoured over to Goodfellas Cigar Lounge.  Short on time, I didn't have time to enjoy a cigar with Shawn, but I did pick up a few nice smokes that are distributed by House of Emilio.  The Ezra Zion Ja Mais Vu (formerly the Inception, the Emilio Series H Maduro, and the Rodrigo La Fortaleza. For the record, the Ja Mais Vu didn't last long I burned that Wednesday evening.

Glen Case, owner of Kristoff Cigars, was in town this past week. Owl Ear Cigars hosted Glen for a Spring Training themed event. The event was catered by BOTL Chef Tom Baumbach.  I've known Tom a while, but never had the pleasure of enjoying his food.  Here, in no particular order, is some of what he created for this event;  the Chicago Dog, the Anaheim Angels  Halo Dog, the Kansas City Royal BBQ Dog (using Kristoff's BBQ Sauce).  I went with the Pittsburgh Dog, complete with pierogi's and caramelized onions.

Kudo's to "H" at Owl Ear.  Earlier in the week I received a call, from "H", telling me that I had won baseball tickets for Thursday afternoon.  I promptly call "H" and told him I couldn't use them and to please give the tickets to someone who could use the. When I arrived at the event  "H" gave me $50 in store credit to use however I wanted to. I used the credit to pick up a Xikar Cutter and a few sticks to balance out my humidor.

A last minute change of plans, to catch up with an old friend, found me at the Arizona Biltmore with "Uncle" Michael.  Listening to live music, and enjoying a Kristoff Sumatra.  

Friday I popped by Fine Ash Cigars o see what was new, and stumbled upon this.

The Esteban Carreras Chupa Cbara Coronoa,  The cigar was very  well-balanced flavors yet took some  surprising turns during the course of the smoke. 

It's Easter Sunday and I about the least religious person you will ever meet. Don't know what happened but it is what it is.

I spent the day in Scottsdale, with Mom, where we went through some of my grandpa's old papers. One of the more interesting items I came across was a letter from my great-grandfather to my grandfather when he was a, boy of maybe 8 or 9, and had just broken his arm.  The formality of the letter blew my mind. It essentially seemed like a scolding for, well basically, being a child. 

This afternoon's cigar was the Rodrigo La Fortaleza Forte, at this point I believe this cigar is available, in Arizona, at only Goodfellas Cigar Lounge in Central Phoenix.  I paired it with a 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet from Sean Minor.  Full Bodied and very complex it paired well with the Cabernet.   

For a unique look into RodrigoCigar Factory, Click Here, it's fascinating...

Looking forward to a Davidoff Tongue Tasting, as I understand it we will taste the three components of a Davidoff Cigar (the Filler, Binder and Wrapper) individually, and then the final complete blend.  Should be fascinating.

Until next time...



Monday, March 25, 2013

Cease and Desist????

It's been a busy couple of weeks out on the Hillbilly Hilton, which by the way I figure that any day I will be getting a cease and desist letter from Conrad, Rick, Paris, Nicki and Barron any day now for disparaging the Hilton name. So I am taking suggestions for new name for my outdoor man cave.  But its not like the Hilton name has been disparaged, on numerous occasions, by both Paris and Barron.

(PHOTO: Courtesy of the LAPD)

In preparation for St. Patrick's Day, and also for Earth Day, I toasted a few candela's. First was the La Flor Dominicana Double Claro.  This is a not a mild cigar, it has some meat on it's bones and has some complexity to it.  However, these are not something I would smoke daily, yup that's right I smoke them only around St. Patrick's Day and, for kicks and giggles, Earth Day. 

The second candela that I picked up, from Fair Oaks Cigar, was the Filthy Hooligan from Alec Bradley.  This cigar was originally called the Dirty Hooligan. Word on the street is that out of respect for Jonathan Drew, of Drew Estates,  who uses the moniker "Dirty" in the name of several of cigars in the Liga Privada line, Alan Rubin changed the name of the cigar, to the Filthy Hooligan, even after having swag, bands etc, printed up!

This is an ultra-smooth, creamy smoke laced with hints of spice that finishes with a touch of sweetness.  Unfortunately. that rather large vein, that you can clearly see, became a bit problematic in the final third

Viaje Super Shot 12 Gauge, is a 3 1/4 x 53 that  tons of flavor in such a short smoke, and because it was a small offering it is a cigar that I can have in times when I am short on time. In this case it was a late evening smoke enjoyed out on the, soon to be renamed, Hillbilly Hilton.  

The Room 101 Daruma Papi Chulo was another late night evening smoke. I enjoyed this after steak dinner of which I set off the smoke alarm in the house!  My wife came out of her studio saying, well I guess dinner is done! This is 4 x 42 is a very well balanced and complex smoke.

I really enjoy the monthly meet-ups of the West Valley Cigar Club, this time of year we meet at Johnny Foxes Pubic House in Peoria.  For this meet-up I made a trip out to Goodfellas Cigar Lounge to pick up a few sticks for the evening. Wednesdays haul included  a Reagan 40th, an Emilio, AF2, and an Emilio Series-H. 

I wanted to tell the story of Ezra Zion Cigar Company which Nate McIntyre told during his visit earlier this month. Wednesday Morning I reached out to Nate, and he told me to call Chris Kelly. Chris then had me call Kyle Hoover.  This is the story they told me, I hope I don't screw it up.

Ezra Zion is more than a Nicaraguan Puro. It is a cigar company that was started by three (3) families (and three Brothers of the Leaf) who met at church and bonded over Family and Cigars. (Chris Kelly, Kyle Hoover, and Alan "The Don" Fonseca) The origin of the name Ezra Zion stems Kyle and his wife Tanya who  had a son, who passed away before birth, to be named Ezra, and for Chris and his  wife who lost a daughter, her name was Coco Zion.

The label incorporates several things. Two angels, which has two meanings one for each child lost, but also represents the two angels that are overlooking the ark of the covenant.  A flame which represents God and 12 stars, which represents the 12 tribes of Israel.

Simply put the goal of Ezra Zion is to produce the "Best Cigar You Ever Had".  This process starts with the philosophy rather than the cigar. The first cigar in the line was the Ja Mais Vu, formerly the Inception, which was 14 months in the blending.  The second cigar in the line, and first of the Honor Series, the Reagan was 12 months.

Here's what they want you to remember Chris, Kyle and Alan are cigar smokers just like us.

Goodfellas Cigar Lounge is becoming truly a House of Emilio, If memory serves me he has the AF Series, the La Musa, and just brought in the Series-H.  They also carry the Ezra Zion, Steve Ysidron's Epicurean Cigars, 1502, and Guayacan. My second cigar of the evening was the Emilio Series-H which I will describe as simply stupid good, full bodied and very complex.

This week, I'm looking forward to catching with Glen Case, of Kristoff Cigars, at Owl Ear Smoke Shop in Scottsdale, on Thursday night.

Until next time...


Friday, March 8, 2013

Random Thoughts From A Disseminator

So here is a rare mid week post from me. I am actually sitting at a pizza joint , here in Goodyear, eatin on some NY style pizza and wings, reflecting on last nights events. Hindsight being foresight I probably should have taken more pics, and some freakin notes, cause I learned a lot and let's be realistic I probably won't actually post this until sometime over the weekend

Emilio Cigars and House of Emilio Cigars, the distributors for Guayacan, Epicurean, Ezra Zion, GPC, Nomad, Rodrigo and 1502, has been experiencing phenomenal growth. Kevin Bishop, from Groucho Cigars, myself and Stephen LaPre Sr have created such a stir, in the Phoenix Metro area, about these brands that people are taking notice. Prior to January the ONLY store in Arizona to carry Emilio cigars was Fox Cigar Bar in Gilbert and Goodfellas Cigar Lounge in Phoenix As of last night. Goodfellas  in addition to the Emilio AF Series, La Musa, Epicurean and 1502, has since added the Ezra Zion to their Humidor. Oh and by the way they sold 8 boxes in 3-days and has since reordered. Fumar Cigars, already a retailer for Epicurean, has added the Emilio Cigar AF series and the Ezra Zion to their inventory. Last Night we learned that House of Cigars, in Gilbert is the first store in Arizona to carry the Guayacan line of Cigars. I am looking forward to several more B&M's in the Phoenix metro area joining the Emilio family in the next few weeks or months.

In the photo, is my partner in crime, Stephen LaPre Sr., Nate McIntytre and Kevin Bishop.  The cigar is a Guayacan, that is an Ecuadorian Habano with that is a solid medium bodied smoke, that retails in the $6.50 or so range.  It also received a 91 rating in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Cigar Snob Magazine

Nate McIntyre. National Sales Director for Emilio Cigars, and I have chatted over twitter, on the phone, and by way of text message. Last Night we finally met I person, at Fumar Cigars. I arrived and five and didn't leave until nearly 10pm. To sit and talk with Nate about the cigars he represents, his degree is in Rare Biblical Languages, and other topics was thoroughly enjoyable. I also learned what the logo, a digital scan of the Griffith Family Sword, and a digital scan of a long thought to be extinct Metasequoia, or Dawn Redwood, from Emilio Cigars represents. I look forward to spending more time with Nate in the future.

Tonight would have been my Mom and Dad's 49th Wedding Anniversary.

Dad passed almost 9 years ago and on their anniversary I make a point to have dinner with my Mom. I tell you that to get to this. On the day we were to bury Dad,  Mom was at the kitchen and I heard her say "Richard If you are OK, give us a sign..." All of a sudden a hummingbird appeared in the window. 

Tonight as I was walking outside to fire up the grill, there was a hummingbird (look closely at the center of the photo on the right)  milling about the lavender. Without hesitation I looked and the hummingbird and said "Hi Dad..."  and this is not the first time the hummingbird has been seen over the past nine year.

More to come over the weekend., Maybe...Well after I finish helping the wife with the Garage Sale at Scraps of Love... I get to hold the money!

Until next time...


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Race Week in the PHX

Twice a year NASCAR makes it's way to the Phoenix Metro Area and you never know who you will run into when out and about town.  This past week I was invited to the Phoenix Coyotes and Minnesota Wild game, at arena in Westgate, by a good friend  It turns out it was NASCAR night in Glendale and 5-time himself, Jimmie Johnson, was in the house...

Needless to say, as practice started at 10am and considering, he had been to 60 appearances since winning the Daytona 500,  he didn't stick around long...

This week was also nothing about the Boutique Cigars....

I started the with a new cigar the Cult Fuerte.  Stinky, the man behind Stinky Cigars/Ashtray, brought a few of these to last meet-up of the West Valley Cigar Club.  This cigar, is a full bodied with clean, even burn that didn't require any touch-ups, and  had a wonderful finish.

BREAKING NEWS:  Arizona suffered one of it's darkest days in it's 101 year history.  Sheriff Joe, dubbed America's toughest Sheriff, fell down and was briefly hospitalized.

But I digress

As I mentioned it was the week for Boutique Cigars, and thanks to the "Chairman" Stephen  Le Pre, Sr (@CigarChairman) I was able to try a Nadi Cigar.  As I understand it Cigar Aficionado'd Nadi and Jeff Jumper were given a once in a lifetime opportunity to produce their own line of cigars, and man did  they deliver!    This cigar was very complex, and full of flavor. They only way to describe this cigar, a 6 x 43 corona, Connecticut wrapper, is....well in a nutshell is that it is stupid good and I am looking forward to enjoying the robusto.

and yes I smoked it to the nub, with the help of a Kobalt Tools 6/54 screwdriver.

Today my wife is at a all day craft retreat, so after I watched the Rolex Series Race from the Circuit of the American, detailed my 2004 Toyota Solara SE and had a bit of lunch,  I sat down to watch the NASCAR race from PIR.  Today's smoke was an Epicurean AG Azul Vintage 2008. I liked this cigar. I liked it a lot.  It burned clean and evenly, and the only relight it required was when my A.D.D kicked in and I started doing other things around the house.  

As the Emilio Cigar Disseminator for Arizona I am looking forward to spending some time this week with Nate McIntyre.  Nate is the National Sales Director for Emilio Cigars and House of Emilio, the distributors of Emilio Cigars (including the AF Series, La Musa, Series H, Draig K, and Los Regalo's).  Ezra Zion, Epicurean, Herederos de Robaina, Rodrigo, Guayacan Cigars, 1502, and Nomad Cigars.

This Wednesday, Kevin Bishop and I are hosting a Meet and Greet with Nate at Fumar Cigars, the newest retailer,  in the Phoenix Metro Area, to carry the Emilio and Ezra Zion line of cigars.  The event is from 6pm-8pm, and will also feature the Epicurean Gonzo, AG, and AG Azul.

If you can come out and join us, we'd love to see you!

Until next time...