Thursday, 9 February 2012

Blogs First Birthday

My blog will be one year old on February 26th.  I know, it's hard to believe.  Where did all the time go? 

In the whole blogisphere scheme of things, it's still only a baby blog, but with almost 100 posts to it's name, this blogs done good, as they say.

There were a couple of reasons why I started the whole blog-twitter thing, in case you ever wondered.  One was to chronicle my cigar experience from a beginner to whatever, and the other reason was because I had a three month sabbatical, during which I was to look after our baby boy, and I wanted to record our adventures together.

After three months of baby bonding, I went back to work and our boy went to creche, but cigar stories lived on and I'm happy that it did.

I've enjoyed it and I'm hoping you have too, so to celebrate, I'm doing a best bits clip show sort of thing.

I normally celebrate by smoking a cigar, but it's snowing again and I'm all toasty so that'll have to wait.

Selecting the best bits is obviously a difficult task, and not because there are so little "best bits" to choose from, but because they're all so good, it's just too hard to choose...

Best bit numero uno.

1. Fr. Teds house.

This gets number one because I have a beard and we're at Fr. Teds.  Enough said.

Best bit numero duex

2. We beat the English at their own game

Another Irish victory that I'd like to remind my English friends of, in case they forgot.

Best bit uimhir a trí

3. Culebra

This one sums up the best of the whole year.  The laughs and good times shared.

Worst bit

1. John accidentally fell off his bike in a freak accident that was nobody fault, not even mine.

I'm only having one worst bit, and the day the breaks on Johns bike failed, was definitely the worst bit ever.

That's it for the best of clip show, and I didn't want to do one just because I was stuck for something to write about.  All the greats have done it you know, The Simpsons, Friends...

Next up on cigar stories is my Sons second birthday party.  Another reason to celebrate.


Lovely hands

Bestest friend ever
Ireland win again

Sunday, 5 February 2012

The Cap of Montecristo

This weeks Saturday cigar was a Montecristo Edmundo that Ciaran got me at Christmas in Galway.  Originally tubed, I detubed it and left it naked to rest in the humidor for a month, before deciding on Saturday that its time had come.

A flawlessly constructed, high quality stick, that was an excellent smoke and if you want a review of this cigar, here's one by cigar reviews.  I loved this cigar, but one thing that stood out was the cap, which was I thought was bigger than most, so when I cut the cigar, the big cap that remained looked a bit strange.

Not a problem but as I got towards the final third, the cap came away and the wrapper began to unravel.  No biggy, and I stuck the wrapper back with a bit of gum from the cap.  This got me thinking about how I used to cut my cigars when I first started out. 

Maybe it was just me, but I think most people who are new to cigars, or who might be given one to smoke (and cut) for the first time, might make the same mistake I did, which was to cut too far down the cigar.  This always resulted in an unravel of the wrapper, which pretty much ruins the enjoyment as you fight to hold the cigar together.

I learnt from that mistake early on, and nowadays I carefully line up the cutters and only cut the end of the cap.  I try not to take any of the cigar or tobacco with the cut, which leaves the cap in place, and so the cigar should never unravel.  The key here is to take your time and not rush.

Later in the evening, myself and the wife made our way through the snow to enjoy a night out at the Barbican, where the Dressner twins were putting on a show.

The Long Count is described as baseball meets Mayan creation myth, meets art, meets American indie rock, meets classical music.

The show starts with the twins in a tug o'war, with a guitar suspended in the middle of the rope.  They relax and drop the guitar ever so often, bouncing it off the steel like mirrored floor, generating noise.  Later on, the guitar is lowered on a rope from the catwalks, and then bashed with baseball
bats by the twins.  This left me wondering if it the Mayans invented the piñata, which then lead to the invention of baseball. Anyway, great people the Mayans.  Shame about the calendar.

Actually, the calendar is fine.  If people think the world is going to end on December 20th 2012, then let me put their minds at ease.  The world will not end.  All that's going to happen is the Mayan calendar will start a new cycle.  Hollywood decided to cash in and make the disaster movie "2012", and what a disasterous movie it was too.  So don't worry.  We are all going to die, but not together at the same time.  Fingers crossed anyway.

The show was introduced by Matthew Ritchi who created the visual artwork.  The visuals and the singers are outstanding, as were the ten piece orchestra.  Kelly Deal stabs the floor with a knife made of mirror and also does a nice indie piece on guitar but it's the other two singers, Shara Worden and Tunde Adebimpe, that grab you and take you some place else.

After the show, we once more braved the Arctic conditions and I got a Ramon Allones going for the walk home.  We stopped off at The Golden Heart for a couple of pints of Guinness, standing out in the snow while dodging the odd incoming snowball.  I can happily report that the Ramon Allones Specially Selected is the perfect outdoors snowy weather cigar.

Monte and cakes (baked by my two year old)

RASS and snow

London bus and snow

Guinness and snow

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Six Nations

It's the start of the six nations this weekend, and I'm looking forward to few weeks of exciting rugby and Irish victories.  Not to mention the five crushing defeats to England.

The six nations, for those of you that don't know, is a rugby competition involving six nations.  Not to be confused with the southern hemisphere Tri-nations tournament, which has four nations.  Obviously, four doesn't fit into Tri so they're calling it "The Rugby Championship".   Sounds a bit pretentious to me.

Either way, it all kicks off this weekend and to celebrate, I'm going to brave the freezing conditions and enjoy a cigar or two.

It's brass monkeys over here and it's not easy getting out to enjoy a cigar.  I do try and if those brave lads can run around a frozen field in a pair of shorts, I can sit outside and smoke a stogie.

I did have a couple of cigars last weekend, even though it was below freezing, but I wrapped up and enjoyed two Ramon Allones, one from Luxembourg which was excellent and the other from Uncorked on Bishopsgate.  This little shop has a great selection of wine but it also has a small humidor which I don't think sees much action, and because of this, the cigars have been ageing nicely and are in great condition.

Another thing going for this shop is the price.  There a few shops in the City of London, in and around the square mile, and their prices are all a bit on the high side, which is understandable, but I think the Ramon Allones Specially Selected at Uncorked is pretty good value at £13:50.  This obviously isn't cheap, but if you're looking for a cigar in the city, I think it's the best you're going to get.

We have Ashling babysitting tonight, as myself and the wife are out at the Barbican to watch the Dressner twins from The National perform an audio visual collaboration called the Long Count.

I'll report on that next time but beforehand, with ten centimetres of snow forecast for this evening, the chance of smoking a cigar is getting slimer by the hour, so I'd best get out and enjoy one while I can.

Ramon Allones Specially Selected

Mr Potatohead