Wednesday, 30 November 2011

What age are you!?

Although I'm told "How old are you?" is the correct way to ask the question, but I prefer "What age are you?".  I normally ask it with raised eyebrows and a smirk.

It doesn't matter which one you go for because apparantly, these questions are no longer allowed.  It's ageist you see and we can't have that.

Every man knows that you never ask a woman her age, unless I suppose, you suspect her to be under age, then you probably should.  I'm not sure the judge will let you off with a warning when you tell him a gentleman never asks.

I don't have to ask John Doyle his age because I know he'll be 40 on Saturday.

I don't have to ask my wife her age either, because I know that one too.  Shes...younger than John.

I'm a couple of weeks behind John and so I leave my thirties behind very soon too.  I don't mind turning 40.  What's to mind?  I've had a great time in my thirties and look forward to more of the same in my fourties, only less clubbing and more sleeping. 

I've just been told that I didn't do much clubbing in my thirties, that was my twenties. 

We're off to celebrate John' big day in Luxembourg tomorrow, and to help with the celebrations, I've a few choice Birthday cigars lined up.

I wanted something special for John, plus some new cigars for myself, Raul and Barney to fight over.

John gets a nice Cohiba Siglo III.  I thought Raul and Barney might enjoy a Regius Robusto or an El Rey del Mundo, which leaves a Camacho Corojo Toro Cello for myself.

The Cohiba looks great and I think John will enjoy it.  The little El Rey looks like a little power house, short and wide.  The Comacho is completely new to me.  It's quite dark and interesting looking and big also.  The Regius was selected because Regius put a link to my blog on their website, so I think they deserve it on that alone.  I did enjoy it last time so I know it's good enough for the celebrations to come.

I mainly picked these cigars thinking that they would suit the boys so I hope I was right.

Luxembourg is a great place for cigars and I'm really looking forward to picking up enough to get me through the next six months at least. *coughBirthdaypresentscough*

Friday, 18 November 2011

Christmas is coming...woo

I know, it's still November, but Christmas is already in the air and has been for weeks.  In the air, on the TV, in the papers.  The toy adverts are in full flow and all the major shopping streets have turned on the Christmas lights.  Weekend shopping has become even more unbearable.

I hate shopping about as much as I hate X-Factor and believe me, that's a lot.  Actually no, I hate it more than that, but it's certainly on the same level as Strictly.  (If you don't know what Strictly is, then count yourself lucky)

In case this was in doubt or if I was somehow thinking that Christmas was still miles off, the wife brought me to an exhibition at Earl's Court, an exhibition called "The ideal homes show at Christmas".

Two problems here.  Firstly, it's not Christmas, it's November.  Secondly, it's far from ideal.  It should really be called "The Nighmare before Christmas in November".

Surprisingly,  the event was a massive disappointment.  It was not the Christmasy, snowy, elf-fest I was hoping for, with mulled wine and sleigh bells roasting on an open fire.  Nothing of the sort.  It was more like your average Sunday market mixed with the shopping channel, only more Sunday market than QVC.

I suggest a law be passed.  A law to keep Christmas in December.  That's a whole month of Christmas.  One month should be enough. Two months is just greedy and a month too many in my opinion.  What's that thing where if you get 75,000 signatories, the government has to debate it?  I think I might start one off.  Might be a bit late this time round but there's always next year.

Thankfully, it wasn't all bad last week.  Gearoid arrived over with Sean and Lulu.  Lulu brought cigars.  One for me.  How ever did she know?  It matters not.  I was very happy with the gift.

The cigar was a Montecristo Especial, which is a long slender cigar with a small pigtail.  As I said in the past, I'm not mad on Montes but this view is definitely changing.  The clubs I had a few weeks ago were excellent, and this was a fine cigar too.  Definitely an afternoon cigar in my view.  Not heavy, with a nice easy burn which required no work.  A perfect burn with a good draw and good smoke.  Big thanks to Lulu and Sean.

Gearoid brough me some excellent Cohibas when he last graced our shores, so it was nice surprise when he picked up a La Rica Corona from Nicaragua.  He picked it up in Cambridge, not Nicaragua in case you wondered.  This one was a disappointment though.  No flavour and absolutely nothing to note.  A big fail for La Rica but big thanks to Gearoid.

Unfortunately, Sean wasn't feeling too well on Saturday night and wasn't up to smoking his Monte.  I was off to bed early so that left Gearoid, and he probably didn't want to smoke on his own, so as they both left for the airport the next day, I had to take charge of both Montes.  Shame that.

It's been a bit of a stressful week.  I had my first IT related exam since 1999 and was happy to get it out of the way.  The La Rica was my celebration cigar, but it was a bit of a let down so I might be having one of those abandoned Montes to compensate.

I did have a few other interesting cigars last week.  One was a stripey number from Vegas.  My Dad brought it over earlier in the year and it turned out alright for something that was as dry as the moon when it got here.  The other cigar was the second from last of the aged Sancho Panza' from 1998.  I'll miss them when they're gone so I've decided to save the last one for a few years or so.  I'd seriously recommend aged cigars if you get the chance.  I picked up the box of 10 from C-Gars Ltd and was more than happy with what I got. 

Here are some photos from the week that was.

Artwork by my Son + a Monte

Last of the Cohibas

Viva Las Vegas


La Stinka

Sunday, 13 November 2011


Cigar mittens, cigar mitts, or cimitts (Smiths) for short.

I'd like to lay claim as the inventor, but alas, I cannot.  Nobody can.  I know of one guy who adapted his mittens for cigarettes by putting a cigarette sized hole into a webbed thumb-index finger construction.  Then there's the ginger bloke who claims that his girlfriend knitted him mittens but without the top part that covers the "smoking" fingers.  I'm not so sure.

Maybe she did, maybe she didn't, but if she did, she really needs to get herself a life, and a new boyfriend while she's at it.  If I was that woman and he asked me to knit smoking gloves, as per his crude design, I'd just get the scissors out and chop the fingers off his normal gloves.  Job done.  I'd probably do his socks while I was at it, taking a diagonal across the big toe area.

So, I don't believe him.  I can easily imagine my own wife's reaction if I put that question to her.  I can actually see her falling off the couch in tears laughing.

My solution, after I googled it, was to buy a pair fingerless gloves, but with a fingers cover for non cigar smoking times.  Johnny D has a lovely pair actually, of fingerless gloves that is, and so using John as inspiration, as I normally do, I invested in a pair of said gloves.

I tried them out last night, which was not particularly cold night, but with the cigar lasting around 90 minutes, and with a cold beer to keep it company, my new gloves proved themselves and passed with flying colours.

The cigar I enjoyed was bought in Dublin last time we visited.  It was rolled and bought at the Decent Cigar Emporium and the guy in the shop sold it to me by saying how great it was.  I believed and trusted this man and I'm happy to report that everything he said was true.

It was a non-banded cigar, rolled with aged (so he said) tobacco by a famous grade-9 torcedor on tour last year and I have to admit, it was one of the finest cigars I've smoked to date.

The burn wasn't great, and I had to keep the torch lighter on hand and give it a blast every now and then.  It didn't actually go out at any stage, it just needed some encouragement along the way.

Those of you that read my blog know that I don't do the full in depth analysis of notes and whatnot, but this one stood out and so I'm going to do one...

The flavours started to come through after a few draws, with leather and spice to begin with followed by strong citrus towards the middle.  The citrus flavour then mixed with the spices and the leather faded away.  The flavours suddenly stopped and I thought the cigar was through, then a few draws later, I was hit by a lovely nutty cocoa flavour which stayed with the cigar until the end.  I almost let this cigar go early as I though it had run it's race, but it came alive again and ended up a finger burner.  A great cigar and when we get back to Dublin for Christmas, I'll have to drop by the shop to see if they have any left. 

The next cigar adventure comes up in a few weeks time when we hit Luxembourg for Johnnys Birthday.  My mission, find suitable cigars.  Good times ahead no doubt.  Last time we visited Luxembourg, John laughed so hard, he fell off his bike.

Real Cigar Mitts

Real Cigar
How to make your own

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

A Crisp Too Far

Tatyo crisps are banned from entering the Sultanate of Oman.  That's a fact.  To be fair, it's probably not just Tayto crisps.  I'm sure there's other stuff on the list.  Sheep for example.  I'd imagine you'd have problems there.  Pigs are a definite no no.  I am guessing here of course.  All I do know for sure is that Tayto Cheese'n'Onion are on the no-fly list.

Presumably this ban is down to the environmental disaster caused by crisp bags back in Ireland.  I don't live there anymore, but I believe crisp bags have been banned, and you have to bring your own bags with you when out shopping for crisps.

Whatever the reasons, the 6-pack of Tayto we brought over to Oman, fell foul of food immigration laws and never made it to Wayne's belly.

Shame but they're only crisps.  A taste of home but still only crisps.  Dangerous as they might appear, they  are only crisps.

I didn't bother picking up cigars in Male or Muscat on the way back because I'm going to stock up in Luxembourg next month, when we're over for John's 40th.  Male have a small selection and Muscat have a nice walk in humidor but I really couldn't be bothered trying to work out how to convert Rials or Rufiyaa into Sterling.

So I gave up on the humidor in Muscat and went in search of Wayne.  We met up and had an hour or so over a coffee.  After over 20 years, it was lovely to meet up.  Hopefully it won't be another 20 years before we meet up again.

Over the course of the week away, I enjoyed some Roman Allones Gigantes, Sancho Panza's, some lovely Cohiba, Monte Cristo' and Partagas.  The Jimmy Saville Partagas was my favourite.

One cigar made it home intact.  A Cohiba Siglo VI tubed that the wife got me months back, survived the week so I'm now keeping it for new years eve.  Why not.

The Luggage

Evening Cohiba

Sir Jimmy Saville Tribute Cigar


Indian Ocean

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Paradise Lost

This is our third trip to the Maldives, the wife and I, and funnily enough, it also happens to be our third honeymoon.  This time we booked through Expedia, rather than Trailfinders, who we normally use, and that might have something to do with the difference between where we've previously been, and where we are now.  To cut to the chase, it's not that great.

The flight with Oman Air was excellent.  The economy class seats have plenty of leg room and the movies on offer are new and selectable at any time, so they're not stuck in sequence.  Thor was the best.

The first leg to Muscat was 7.5 hours, 8.5 if I include the hour delay leaving Heathrow, which left us 10 minutes to catch our connecting flight to Male.  Once off the plane, we felt we should probably rush, but needn't have bothered as they held the plane for us.  Nice people the Omanians.

Standing at the gate, waiting to greet us was a guy I hadn't seen in years, since leaving school or even before that, so it was a shame we had to rush through.  Wayne is a pilot with Oman Air, and as I now felt connected, I was expecting to be called up to the flight deck by our captain, but he never called.  Strange that.  I was thinking a 6 pack of Tayto wasn't a good enough bribe, but there's always the return leg.  Fingers crossed.

At Heathrow airport, I was looking to pick up some duty free cigars.  Unfortunately though, the only outlet in Terminal 3 sells them tax free, not duty free.  They are a little bit cheaper than normal, but not much, and some brands were actually more expensive than C-Gars Ltd, which I was using as a reference.  Cigarettes are duty free, but not cigars, which seems a bit unfair to me.

Anyway, mustn't grumble as I picked up a 5 pack of Cohiba Siglo IV's and a 3 pack of tubed Montecristo Open Masters.  We also spotted Richard Branson smiling and waving at the peasants as he made his way to the Indian Grand Prix.

The Cohiba's were excellent and the Monte's weren't bad either.  I'm not a big fan of Monte's normally as I find them a bit harsh but the Open's were lovely and so I'm giving them a thumbs up.

When we arrived at the resort, we were greeted with a cold towel and a sugary cordial.  We were then left to wait for ages, until we were eventually told our room wasn't available until tomorrow.  To make it up to us, after we complained, we were offered a seafood dinner.  We accepted and were lead to our substitute room, which was horrible.

Not a great start.

To be fair to the place, and I could go on about it's faults, the staff are great and all the place needs is a refurb and some investment.  That includes the food.

The please forgive us meal was lobster, which we had to argue to get, as it was going to be a mix of all sorts of fish, cuttle fish for example, but we got the lobster which was lovely.  The rest of the meal was lovely too, even the Californian wine was alright.  I do like my Californian wines but I think they keep all the good stuff for themselves.

One thing that stood out straight away, and this is not the resorts fault, but down to certain national stereotypes that live here for a week or two.  Some leave their towels on the sun loungers, and others sing vodka fueled drinking songs and bring their Grandmothers with them.

I don't mind the drinking songs, although it was a bit aggressive, but the towel people bother me.  Bringing your own towel to Paradise is bad enough but to leave it on a lounger while you are off doing God knows what, just seems chavvy to me.

Anyway, I'll let it go for now.

The wife bought me a Partagas Serie P No.2 recently which I brought with me.  This is a new cigar, and although it was good, I wasn't that impressed by it.  It's not fair to judge it on one cigar alone, so I'll need a few more.  It's possible the heat and humidity had a hand in it.

I did have a big monster of a Partagas that we got in Dublin a while back.  Now this cigar was excellent from start to finish despite the heat and humidity.  This was my Jimmy Saville tribute cigar and it was a worthy tribute to a cigar lover and unique individual.

Now then.  We have three days left in Paradise and I have 7 cigars left.  Should be enough.

Abandoned but not forgotten


Well earned rest

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Hello Mammy

Apologies.  I know it's been ages since my last post, but due to sickness, busyness and other things, I've not posted in a while.  The post below is one I drafted a few weeks ago, so it's a little out of date, but here goes anyway...

My Mother came to visit recently, and apart from the sausages and stuff she normally brings, she also brought a little something for me.  A cigar no less.

This particular cigar flew all the way from Las Vegas to Dublin, and from there to London.  It's now happily resting in my humidor, the lucky thing.  Very lucky in fact, as somebody had it living in a fridge for a while.

All said ,after two flights and a stint in the cooler, it actually feels and looks pretty good, if just a little bit squished from my Mothers handbag.

My Dad, who got the cigar from a bloke in the pub, was told that the fridge was the best place for it.  Luckily though, he phoned me and asked if this was true, and I put him straight.  I heard my mother voice in the background, softly shouting those immortal words... "I told you so".

Arriving early Friday afternoon, my Mother was on baby minding duty, so I took advantage and started off early with a Ramon Allones Gigantes.  The cigar was excellent but I was suffering from cold fingers, as it's getting a bit cold over here now, so I'm in search of cigar-mittens for the winter months.  It was nice and warm out when the cigar started, but not when it finished.  The fingerless gloves search begins.

A few hours after the RA Gigantes, I smoked another Cuban great.  A Cohiba Siglo IV.  This one was from a pack of 5 that recently made it's way here from Hong Kong, courtesy of Gearoid.  The Siglo IV is a great cigar and Cohiba are not cheap, so many thanks to Gearoid, and a fine choice too.

Both cigars were flawless.  The Cohiba looks and feels like a quality cigar and that's exactly what it is.  I love Cohiba.

On Saturday, we brought the boy to the London Transport museum.  Now for a little boy who's absolutely mad about cars, we thought he might enjoy himself a little, and he did exactly that.

He absolutely loved it.  Running everywhere, shouting his head off.  KAA! TACI! BUZZTS!

Not sure he has a word for train yet, but he went mad for those too.

The London Transport Museum is a great place for both kids and grown ups, with lots to keep both interested.  Not that I had much time to get interested in anything, as I was busy running after that car-razy (sorry) child of mine.

On the way home, we stopped off at the cigar shop in Selfridges.  I've never visited it before, and I certainly won't be visiting it again.  It's a branch of JJ Fox's, and being Selfridges, I thought prices might be a little bit higher than normal, but I was wrong, they were in fact, a lot higher than normal.

The shop is layed out with the Cubans on the right side and rest of world cigars on the left, with a good selection of both to choose from.  Seeing as everything was way over-priced, I went for a new cigar to the market, a Ramon Allones Limited Edition 2011.  At £18, I knew I was being ripped off and when I checked their website later, I found out I was ripped off by about £5.50.  

Despite the price, the cigar itself was a revelation.  I don't think I've ever smoked anything as smooth and balanced as this cigar.  It did burn a bit unevenly and needed a few relights, but even so, it was generous with smoke and went down to the nub.

The thing that really grabbed me straight away with this cigar was how smooth the smoke was.  It was slightly warm but never hot or harsh.  It was the most moreish cigar I ever had.

The wrapper was dark with the foot coming up slightly darker than the rest.  It has its' own unique look, a mature cigar that's pleasing to look at, but it's not about aesthetics with this one, it's way beyond that.  Although I did think the band looked pretty cool.

An absolute winner for me then, and I'll definitely be looking to pick up a box of these babies sometime soon.

We finished off the weekend with a trip to the Museum of London.  Yes, I know, a cultured weekend was had, more culture than I'm used to anyway.  After the MoL, we took an elevator ride to the roof of that new shopping centre opposed St. Pauls, which gives a great view of south west London and St. Pauls.  It's worth checking out.

So that's another visit over.  Donnacha was in great form all weekend and had a great time with his Granny.  Shame it's going to be two months before they get to hang out again, but two months isn't really that long.

No photos for this post, but I should have some next time to make up for it.  I'm three weeks behind and have to catch up, so I'll have plenty of pics in the next posting which should be in a day or two.  Until then so.