Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Wild Ride Ends

As I mentioned in my last post.  Stay tuned its going to be a wild ride.  

Fortunately, during our trip to Auburn in the end of January,  we were able to find a house that we both fell in love with.  We moved into a 113 year old Victorian.  The home had been vacant for several months and as far as rent goes we got it for a steal. It is very different from the cookie cutter houses that Arizona is famous for.   

We arrived back in Arizona on Saturday night, and the fast and furious packing began.  It was during this moment that House of Emilio became the official cigar of cross country moves everywhere.

Monday we finished packing cleaned up the house for any prospective buyers and didn’t look back. I headed up to my mom’s and Rhea headed to the airport to pick up her Pop.  With Rhea’s health issues, she suffered a stroke in 2012 and suffers from TIA’s or mini strokes; he thought it best to have someone with her and our dog.

We pulled out Tuesday morning; the plan was to get as far east as Oklahoma City and stay ahead of winter storm that was hitting the Midwest and making its way to the Northeast . 
One of things I was sure to keep with me was my humidor.  So after a stop for a meal somewhere in Eastern Arizona this happened.

…and it was good.  

We had changed our route to stay towards the south to avoid this winter storm which nailed the Midwest.  I then tweeted that saying I was feeling a bit Nomadic.   Then somewhere in Arkansas, this happened

Then I ended up detouring 40 minutes the wrong direction.  

The final leg of the journey, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and NY I made solo.  Rhea stayed in Indiana until closer to the time the furniture arrived in Auburn.  O.K. i wasn't exactly alone, I had Rodrigo with me.  He was good company and kept relatively quiet for the rest of the journey.

Since arriving I have had the chance to enjoy ONLY one cigar.  I am currently in the process of stabilizing the humidor.  My Boveda packs are toast and I am waiting on an order to arrive that I placed thru Cigars International.

Gradually I have begun to check out the cigar scene here in Central New York and here’s what I discovered. There is a place here in town called A.T. Walley’s  who has a cigars for sale, but except twice a year, smoking is prohibited in the store.  The upside is that come summer you can enjoy your cigar outside when they set up their sidewalk cafĂ©!

I did stumble upon D’Angelo Cigars in Waterloo, NY.  I asked about Boveda Packs, Carmen knows what they were and went as far as to say he had just ordered them but didn’t know when he would have them.  I explained to him my plight of keeping my humidor stable and he cut of a piece of teak wood. He told me to soak it in distilled water and place it on top of the cigars.  At this point I am having to call BS on this the grand experiment.   The conversation continued and I can say that this man is fascinating to speak with.  He is the owner of the D'Angelo Santana Plantation in Tamboril, Dominican Republic.  Upon leaving I was given one of his house blends, which are rolled in the shop in Waterloo.  This cigar, pictured with the teak wood, it is  described as a medium fill. Consisting of the following types of tobaccos Piloto Cubano, Cubano Seco, Single Long Leaf, San Vicente Ligeto Criollo, Criollo 98 Ligero, Criollo 98 Seco, Olor Ligero, Olor Seco, and Connecticut, Summatra, Marduro blended short fillers.  This will sit in the humidor until it gets some age on it and then I must remember to cut it with a guillotine cutter, which has disappeared, and not a punch.

I plan on getting to know Carmen D’Angelo some more and I am sure I will have some interesting stories to tell you. 

So until next time

Sunday, February 2, 2014

House H(a)untings and Other Strange Things

Let me make one thing perfectly clear.  I am a pain in the ass to travel with.  Not sure if it stems from traveling in the time shortly after 9/11 but I am a pain in the ass to travel with.  Why? I follow the rules, I get there two hours before the flight etc. Now throw in a connecting flight or two and I become a royal pain in the ass!  

So we land in Philly to learn that we came in at the C Terminal and our connecting flight is departing from the F Terminal.  This involves taking a shuttle bus!  Bam stress level thru he roof!  Now here is a valuable travel tip, if one of youse is in wheel chair, it makes this part less stressful. As your entire party get preferential treatment. So now we head to the front of the line and make it to the F Terminal with 15-20 minutes to spare before we board.  Then it happens!  I see Tony Luke's and I have to have one.  No time for screwing around deciding what to get? We order at traditional size wit whiz, wit out (without onions), 7 minutes later we are hauling ass to the gate, and I have already chocked down my half of this delectable delight like I am Joey Chestnut, in food eatin contest, before I get to the Jetway!

So I also love small airports.  They are easy to navigate and less hassle. When you get to baggage your bags are there in a matter of minutes not what seems like hours.  The rental car counters are right behind baggage and the rental cars are in the parking garage outside the terminal. So we pick up the car and of all things our 2013 Chevy Impala has an Arizona license plate! Are ya kidding me?

We were fortunate to be introduced to Vickie and Peter Harris, who offered us the use of their lakeside cabin while we house h(a)unted.  This 760 sq ft cabin was awesome, and it even had wifi and cable! 

As I mentioned in my last post we have a short window to get things done. In fact, since I started at the Citizen on Friday , we really only had one day to find a home. Rhea took charge of the realtors!  And the third home we saw the h(a)unt wa over.  We jumped all over a Victorian that was built in 1900!  The home needs a little TLC and we are happy happy to provide that. And for all you idiots that said it's haunted. Nope, if a buyer asks, you have to disclose that sh*t!   We learned that from our realtor I. Auburn. The home is also located about 2 miles from my office...

So back to me being a pain In the ass to travel with.  We were flying out of Rochester, with a connecting flight in Philly, so we have turned in the rental car, checked our bags and we're  enjoying a bit of lunch. When I discovered that the inbound flight, that would be ou aircraft, was delayed and I went into royal pain in the ass mode. Then this arrived, smiled and then this conversation happened:

RW: Is that our plane?
JW: (looking over the top of my iPad) Yup
RW: I am not getting on a f*ckin prop plane
JW: (Not looking.up from my IPad) Technically babe, it's a turbo prop, and I don't think you have much of a choice!
Gate Agent: Now Boarding Zone 2

As I write this, on the plane back to Phoenix, I am trying to think of all that we need to accomplish in the next couple three days. Both the boy's their girlfriends, Kirk and Jen will be helping us load the uPack.  Well Jen is actually the supervisor.  I'm also grateful that Rhea's dad is going to make the journey with her in her car.  They will stop and spend some to time in a Greenwood, IN, while I go onto Auburn. Then when the delivery date of our belongings  and the time we take over the home on Perry Street gets closer she will join me in Auburn and her dad will go onto Boston.  

Oh I did manage to stumble upon AT Walley 7 Co., which is described as, a Martini and Cigar Bar  I will investigate further when I have more time but if this sign in the window is any indication Disneyland will no longer be the Happiiest Place on Earth for me! Well they do need some serious representation from House of Emilio, its an untapped market!

Until Next Time

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mr Toads Wild Ride and Other Things

Well, I told you in my last post that that "opportunities will be abundant" and to "stay tuned it's going to be a wild ride."  That wild ride is now in full swing as my wife  and I are in the process of selling our home and preparing to move 2,400 miles to upstate New York. That's right we are leaving the Valley of the Sun for Auburn, NY where I have accepted a position as the Advertising Director for Cayuga Media.  Cayuga Media, part of Lee Enterprises, publishes the Citizen, the Skaneateles Journal, and this Week in Cayuga County. I am looking forward to working for a true community newspaper that has been part of the community for almost 200 years.

So in between flying to NY, pre-employment paperwork and drug screens, and meeting with realtors and moving companies.  I managed to spend some time with, the National Sales Manager for House of Emilio, Nate McIntyre.

Ambassador Fine Cigars, hosted an event titled "Help Us Pick the Next Cigar in Our Humidor!"  The events were held at both locations and were very well attended.

On Sunday I opted for the Bodega Premium Blend Reunion Apertivo (Before Meal) and The Ezra Zion FHK (Fathers of Hoover and Kyle) two cigars I have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for to arrive in Phoenix!

And at Wednesday's event I grabbed the Bodega Premium Blend Reunion Digestivo (After Meal)

All three of these cigars did not disappoint, but I am telling you that the fellas over at Bodega hit a walk off grand slam in their first at bat! Now which one of the two Bodega's did i like better?  I have to say the Apertivo simply because I love a Habano Wrapper.  I cant wait for the next release which I heard is a Connecticut Wrapper...

 I've also had some great cigars, courtesy of my wife, this year.  Starting with this RoMa Craft CroMagnon Mode 5 and this here Tatuaje Seleccion De Cazador Petite Robusto!

The next month is going to be a bit crazy, but at least my humidor is fully stocked...

For updates on the trip, follow me on twitter, @JRWeigand, I bet I can find a cigar lounge or two that will be willing to host a weary traveler

Until Next Time #KeepATightAsh

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year from the Hillbilly Hilton

Another year has come and gone, and to be quite frank, I am glad to see 2013 pushed out the door. 

Granted 2013 was a banner year for the cigar industry. New brands entered the market, a few old Cuban brands were resurrected, and the first commercial flight, in 50 years,  made the 90 mile journey to Havana from Key West Florida.

Who knows what 2014 will hold.  New opportunities will be abundant. Stay tuned its going to be a wild ride.

My first cigar in the New Year turned out to be a great disappointment!   I had been eying this cigar for the better part of two, maybe three, years and this year when I was on Maui, for Thanksgiving,I picked up an Island Prince Dark from the Kauai Cigar Company. Price-point being a factor I picked up the 42 x 4 1/2 Luana Iki meaning Short Pause for Please in Hawaiian, which has a single stick price of $9.99. 

Here's what intrigued me about this cigar.  The filler is a sun grown tobacco that is grown on Kauai.  After harvesting and curing tobacco, which is to become the filler,  is  then shipped to Nicaragua  where the manufacturing process is completed at a "small and personal factory."

The Island Prince Dark boasts a Habano wrapper and is touted as the fuller bodied, most complex, of the two cigars in the this line.

Unfortunately I found that this cigar was not complex at all and actually had no flavor profile. We'll see maybe next year I will try one of the other lines that Kauai Cigar has in its portfolio, but there is no need to run out and buy a box of the Island Prince.

Finally, like all cigar aficionados, at year end I go through my dossier or journal and highlight my top 10 cigars of the year. My top ten cigars are ones that I enjoyed from 1/1/2013 – 11/30/2013, The order is random, very random, and in the interest of full disclosure I am the Arizona Disseminator for House of Emilio, distributors of Emilio Cigars, Herederos de Robaina, Rodrigo, Guayacan Cigars, 1502 Cigars (GPC), Ezra Zion, Nomad, and Bodega Premium Blends.  My “affiliation” with House of Emilio in no way influenced the outcome of this list.  So without further delay here are my top cigars for 2013.
  • Ezra Zion Tantrum Prensado Pequeno*
  • Davidoff Nicaraguan Puro Short Corona
  • Tatuaje 10th Anniversary Perfecto
  • Nomad EstelĂ­ LE 1386 Toro*
  • Ortega Wild Bunch Fast Eddie Lancero
  • Nomad S-307 Toro*
  • Room 101 Master Collection One Mutante Lancero
  • Guayacan Habano Ecuador Toro*
  • Davidoff Club House Toro
  • Regius Seleccion Orchant Robusto LE
Honorable Mention
  • Psyko 7 Robusto
  • San Cristobal Revelation by Ashton Robusto
  • Azan Natural Maduro Robusto
  • Fratello Robusto
  • Esteban Carreras Chupa Cabra Robusto Grande
Bear in mind there no rhyme or reason to this list except these are the cigars that I enjoyed them once and in the following weeks or months I made a point to find more.

So there you have my first cigar of 2014, and my Top Cigars of 2013

I wish each and every one of you all the very best for a happy and healthy 2014.


*House of Emilio brand