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I know that I always try to get a good cigar in any of the pictures that I upload on this site but yesterday’s day fishing in the Fraser Valley in British Columbia was a wonderful day out with many fish on the line and I couldn’t resist showing this off… This is a Coho Salmon, maybe 8 or 9 pounds and fought like a champion… Americans call this a Silver but whatever the name, they taste great…The limit is four hatchery Cohos per person, there were three of us and we took home eleven… A fabulous day …I actually smoked a small flavored cigar as we cleaned these fish on the side of the river… It wasn’t a Cuban but I thought that we were going to be hit with a lot of rain and decided to leave all of my Cubans at home… Not interested in wasting a cigar in the wind and the rain but as luck would have it, we had a nice stretch of good weather and I would have made out fine… Speaking of smoking, I’ll be smoking one of the Cohos I brought home, I have friends who love smoked salmon… Tight lines!

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Yes, those of us who are totally consumed with Cuban cigars tend to hold them in high esteem and we dream about smoking the perfect Cuban, the most rare Cuban or the most expensive Cuban… So much so that there are worshipers of Cuban tobacco who have a dislike for cigar smokers who may be smoking a cigar that is out of the observer’s reach…Now now, settle down !!… I was reading a cigar forum the other day and noticed that a certain smoker was quite jealous of the fact that fellow smokers would show up in an American smoking parlor, light up a Cuban cigar and then proudly display the band as the cigar was being smoked… I guess the thing to do would have been to remove the band and hide the fact that contraband was being set ablaze in a country where Cuban cigars are as illegal to possess as weapons of mass destruction… I’m not exactly sure what to feel about this, I live in a country where Cuban cigars are as available as bottled water and seeing someone smoke a cigar that ISN’T Cuban is a bit of a rarity… I was also, not long ago,  at a gathering of cigar smokers where some pretty nice limited Edition Cuban cigars were being smoked… Yeah sure, I sort of wished that I had a few of those harder to get babies but I felt that these guys had probably worked quite hard to earn the $$$ required to buy them in the first place… After I thought about it for an insignificant amount of time, I silently applauded their efforts in life and went on my merry way… Any other way of looking at it only threatens your peace of mind… Remember, bitterness is you taking poison and hoping the other guy gets hurt!

Mystery Cigar

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Two days ago I was driving and before I left home I decided to go to the humidor and pick an un-banded cigar the size of a Robusto Extra for the trip, one that I bought a few months back from a fellow cigar smoker I met on Craigslist…That is a website that can actually prove to be very exciting if you meet up with the right person who is selling off a collection of cigars or just a handful, but this time I did very well and bought around 50 cigars for a few hundred bucks… The one cigar in question was one that the seller told me was a custom rolled cigar he picked up in Vancouver when a guest roller was in town… I’ve smoked some of the cigars that guest rollers produce in our city and to be honest I wasn’t all that impressed, not because of the construction but the tobacco they bring along with them from Cuba… Or… Maybe it was just the fact that I’ve smoked them right away and the cigars were a bit young… Whatever the case, Sunday’s cigar was a whole different experience for me, it was a fabulous cigar, so much so that I had to take my iphone out and take a few shots of the cigar whenever I was at a red light… As you can see in the picture, the wrapper was a great color, the cigar was a bit rough but had a nice oily sheen… The flavor, which is ALWAYS the most important factor was what had me thrilled… Immediately I tried to identify what kind of Cuban tobacco was used in it’s construction… It wasn’t the Romeo y Julieta profile I thought it might be and it didn’t taste like a Partagas but from time to time I thought that it could have a bit of Bolivar flavor profile but just when I thought that I might have it figured out, the flavor would change and evolve, which would have me starting all over again with my guessing…. Well there you go, I’m again reminded that I’m no aficionado when it comes to a Cuban cigar’s profile and my ability to pinpoint exactly what this was… Did I care?? Not in the least…. keeping my taste buds happy are a lot more important to me than making sure my ego is intact… Its all about the flavor and I’m pretty sure that it will always be that way!!!

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In September I found myself golfing in a tournament in Ontario at a gorgeous course called “Angus Glen” with a bunch of Pharmacy reps.  It was a beautiful day, a hang with good friends and punched greens… Punched greens?? There’s a blemish!!!! Everything else was fine though, and for a guy from British Columbia, seeing a different part of the country in a manicured environment with a golf club in my hand…. well….. It just doesn’t get any better than that !… Just as all the golfers were waiting in their carts for the shotgun start I smelled that beautiful unmistakable smell of a cigar in the air and I had to go over to see what was being smoked… Cigar smokers are usually more than willing to share information about a cigar to someone who walks over and proclaims an undying love for those cylinders of rolled up tobacco… This gentleman smoking a Jose Llopis was happy to reach into a travel humidor and give me one of his Non-Cuban Churchills with a bright gold band.. He mentioned that this was a Jamaican cigar, no longer available and his go-to cigar… That had me very curious about this cigar which really did smelled great in the mid-day air… I went to my golf cart, retrieved my own travel cylinder humidor and, in turn, gave him a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 which I had been aging since 2007….. Fast forward about a month and now I’m golfing in Canmore with Tom, Brendan and Sid and its time to light up a few cigars out on the deck after our first day of mountain golf in Alberta… I light up this PANAMANIAN cigar and find out that it is mild, mild, mild, mild… A bit of a trick to detect any kind of flavor but it DID taste aged and pleasant enough so I was pleased about getting the opportunity to taste something different and was inwardly grateful to the Ontario gentleman who was giving me this opportunity… That night we were smoking an Arturo Fuente Opus X, a Partagas cigar that was given out last November at the Partagas dinner in Havana and this Llopis… The big, hands down, no arguing the fact winner of the night was the Arturo Fuente… The Opus X IS as good as a cigar can get…. I could go on but thats for another day… The Llopis was eventually smoked by Brendan since he likes mild cigars and mentioned that he loved it and would smoke one again…  I took the above picture after a bunch of rum, also seen in the picture, and I guess thats a good enough reason as any for a blurry result… The night WAS blurry… At the end of the night I saw that Brendan didn’t finish his cigar and I thought that I would clip off the ash and smoke the rest in the morning… I don’t like to waste a good cigar, I jammed it into a half package of cigarettes and forgot about it until I got home a few days later… When I pulled it out of the pack, the wrapper had come unravelled, which I discarded,  and I lit up what was left… Wow, what a difference !!!! This was a great cigar that revealed all kinds of flavors that I didn’t detect at all a few days before… Does this mean that I’d go search out this cigar again?? Nope!  But, I did now see what the guy in Ontario finally meant… If I see him again I’ll give him 2 Cuban cigars!

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Chestnuts have nothing to do with a cigar as majestic as a Partagas Lusitanias unless you have an overdeveloped palate and can detect the faintest of notes of roasting chestnuts in the first, second or final third of this cigar… Hey if you can, then your palate is in great shape and you should be working at a tobacco shop… I don’t particularly like roasted chestnuts so I would be the wrong guy to ask whether or not these faint notes exist in the Partagas flavor profile… So how’s your short game?? With a sand-wedge in your hand, can you hit a horse chestnut across the street and nail the fire hydrant 9 times out of 10?  I can NOT, so thats why I take a look out the front window every day in the fall and see how many of these free golf balls have fallen on the lawn overnight… This resource is free and the benefits are priceless… Your short game, when in fine shape, can be the difference between breaking 80 or not.. On a good day… OK OK there’s putting and thats a whole different story and, YES, these little brown Titleists don’t roll worth a darn so go downstairs to the hallway and see how many real golf balls you can roll into your coffee cup… Back to the Lusitanias… This cigar is probably 5 years old and smoking like a dream.. I’m not quite into the second third but there is something unmistakable about the grassy and herbal quality of this cigar… This one is burning very evenly which tells me that the Torceador in charge of rolling this particular Prominente took great pride in insuring this cigar’s smoker would have the greatest pleasure and enjoyment… I just heard a few more chestnuts hit the roof of the house… Off I go!

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Golf has been consuming me…. So much so that I haven’t been fishing as much as I would like but hey,  we make our choices and have to live with them…. A few years back I found myself at Dragon Lake in the Caribou region of British Columbia with the lovely Ramona… We would rent a boat and then anchor wherever we thought there were trout, set our lines a foot and a half from the bottom of the lake and then pray that a giant rainbow would come along… There are quite big fish in that lake and it was the place where I landed my first 10 pound rainbow… Tough and acrobatic would be the best way to describe their behavior as soon as they notice that there is a little hook stuck in their lip… I believe that Ramona took this picture of me pulling one in and then I went home and decided that I wasn’t too attractive in my fishing clothes so I Photoshopped out my body and left the hands in the picture…. There is nothing better than a day on the lake with a cigar and a few fly rods at your disposal….

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I was lucky enough to spend some time in the mountains near Canmore this past weekend for golf, Cuban cigars, some Rum and other adult beverages, but more than anything, spending time with good friends … If you ever get the opportunity to golf at two courses in particular; Silver Tip and the Stuart Creek Golf and Country Club, you’ll experience incredible views, be challenged to the breaking point and ask yourself how it could be possible that any other course could ever give you more… Our friend Sid, was our host and invited us to participate in this experience that we’ll remember as one of the greatest golf weekends we’ll probably ever be a part of…

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Scenes like the one in the picture above with the 18th fairway and green at Silvertip lets you know that keeping your ball in the fairway would be a very good idea, for all of the obvious reasons, but every hole had something to offer as far as the view was concerned… Sid loves cigars and thought that a good idea would be to smoke a Cuban stogie on the course with his buddies so out of his golf bag appeared a supply of Cuban cigars which he passed around… I’m a big fan of Romeo y Julieta so I opted for the No. 1 Tubos… This is a spicy cigar with a 40 ring gauge and 5 1/2 inches of length which gave me nothing but an even burn, over an hour of smoking time and flavors that ranged from white pepper and cedar to strong espresso as the cigar burned down to the nub… I love the small sheet of Spanish Cedar veneer that lines the inside of every tube which helps the cigar to age with cedar notes building in the cigar’s flavor profile… Tearing this veneer in little strips also helps when lighting the cigar itself, without any sort of petroleum gasses coming from an everyday cigarette lighter… The Tubes also protect the cigar from any breaks in the wrapper as it is being transported in a golf bag… A perfect golf cigar !!  Yesterday morning as we left the underground parking lot underneath out incredible condo, we notice that Sid had left us a couple more of these Romeos on our windshield wipers as a bit of a parting gift.. Wow, they tasted great in the car after breakfast… Thanks Sid!

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This “Corona” from Arturo Fuente, although not a Cuban cigar, has a quality that keeps me coming back because of the complexity of flavors that I get out of it and makes me wonder how many other non-Cubans exist that would give me this much pleasure… I’ll admit that I first started smoking Cuban cigars years ago and became a Cuban cigar snob but am now seeing that there is a whole big world of cigars out there that could be giving me as much pleasure….. I just don’t know what they all are yet.. I DO know that the Opus X series from Arturo Fuente is a line that is beautiful tasting and deserves even more of the attention that it is presently getting, but as time goes on, more and more Cuban cigar smokers will “Get It”… My buddy Rick and I bought a few boxes of cigars together this spring, his were these Fuentes and I picked up a box of Carlos Torano Exodus 1959… I love the maduro wrapper on the Torano and the billowy clouds of smoke that the cigars produce.. We traded a few back and forth and as the months go by, these coronas of his are starting to mellow and taste amazing… A dark coffee and chocolate with a hint of caramel come through as the cigar starts off the first inch or so… I find that the flavors intensify as the cigars burns but it isn’t a roller-coaster of evolving and ever-changing flavors that some Cubans can deliver.. .But… If you want something that will take up an hour of so of your time and show you some real beauty, this 5 1/4 inch, 45 ring gauge cigar is one you should reach for.

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Sitting on top of the painting, “The Pursuit Of Happiness” by Ulrike Ebeling is one of my favorite Cuban cigars, the Choix Supreme by El Rel Del Mundo… This Robusto has seen a few years in the humidor and the slight amount of plume that shows on the wrapper lets you know that my humidor is in good shape and this cigar is aging gracefully…The box is from ’08 so you can see that this is a 3 year old cigar… Aficionados who love this Cuban are smaller in number than, lets say, those who enjoy the more popular brands from Montecristo, Cohiba or Romeo y Julieta, but they are a devoted lot and will defend this cigar’s honor to the death… There is a bit of a gingerbread, nutmeg and cinnamon slant to this cigar’s profile that is balanced and very robust without ever being harsh… I love the full strength that Montecristos will give you and always have them in my humidor but from time to time I love a cigar that takes you in a completely different flavor direction… So many Cuban cigars in many different sizes can give you different smoking experiences at different times of the day, try them all and get to know all of their qualities.

Cuban Cigars And Coffee

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Vancouver is littered with coffee shops down almost every block, supplying us with that most beautiful beverage that pairs so well with Cuban cigars.  This elixir also assists in waking us up, perfectly compliments moments of quiet contemplation and for some, helps fuel the driver’s rage you sometimes witness on our streets… At that moment we sometimes wish there were less establishments catering to those, madly propelling rolling projectiles weighing into the tons, who believe.. no.. know for a fact, that they were sent down from the heavens to instruct the rest of the world on how to drive… And they firmly believe that it doesn’t need to be done with any concern for the feelings or resulting state of mind of the supposed mobile student… A few of our neighborhoods are perfect for observing and even photographing some of the more unpredictable drivers on our streets.. Sit back, grab a coffee, light a Cuban and try to identify all of the cigar’s subtle flavors as it burns down.  I’m a lover of sugar with coffee in this situation, I feel that it rounds out a cigar’s more edgy flavors as it enters it’s final third… Set the cigar down and maybe turn your attention back on to the street and take a picture (video) or two, you never know, you may be needed as a witness in court…After taking the above picture, well during if you need to know, I thought of the coffee bean’s oils permeating the cigar’s wrapper and then wondered how good of an idea this all was….. Will this cigar go back into the humidor?? Don’t think so .. It will be set aside and enjoyed with an espresso after dinner.

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