This is part three of the Don Cervantes video interview we did back with Max Myers in October of 2010. Find cigar reviews here.
I haven’t focused too much on wine lately here at Pure Indulgence. Sure we’re drinking plenty of it but it’s not been up to par. Plus, if you’ve caught any of the shows, you’ve heard me talk about setting a standard for Pure Indulgence. Developing a standard for which there isn’t an easy definition of in my head has been the main issue and goal here.
That being said, the wine we’ve had of late hasn’t been up to par. I mean it’s been drinkable but the lots Grocery Outlet has picked up weren’t all that stellar until recently.
I’m pleased to tout the goodness of Redhead Ranch though. Sadly I don’t have notes but if you’re going to Grocery Outlet, be sure to pick them up. They hold the candle right now. Nothing stellar but they are a good start for a wine that normally sells for above $15 a bottle that we pick up for $4.99. Out of Paso Robles, we get some pretty good wine. The 2005 Zinfandel was especially nice.
We’re slowly changing things around here as promised at the first of this year. Slowly, adding different dimensions to the blog as we rotate through what it means to enjoy the true essence of Pure Indulgence.
The other update is that my email posts aren’t showing up as they should. The last update I had from @UrWineGuy from Twitter should have been more than a PDF. Alas, Google is being a pain in the ass and won’t let me access it right now to repost. But I will be remaining more active. Plus Pure Indulgence is going to get a facebook fan page soon. Since I CAN use the facebook app for my pixi, I’ll be doing that more often as I attend events and tweet from them too.
By the way, the twitter account for here is @WhiteWolfIndulg
Last night I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Alejandro Martinez Cuenca of Joya De Nicaragua. He’s a very pleasant man with a passion for sharing his cigars, relaxation and quality of life. We’ll be exploring more of his product on Pure Indulgence in an upcoming podcast but until then I’m going to share my notes on thew two cigars I smoked last night.
First up: The Antano – The first time I smoked this stick a few months back it was a power bomb with no flavor what so ever. I chalk this up to my palate because the one I smoked last night had notes of coffee, mild earth and robust flavors that were NOT overpowering. It required a few relights but that was due to the networking/partying I was doing on behalf of Radio Dentata of course 😉 Even in the end of the cigar where I’d expect a buildup of tar and such, the flavors still held solid with a draw that was easy and enjoyable. I paired this with Bushmills Blended scotch.
The second cigar I smoked was the Antano dark Corojo – a tasty cigar with an oily wrapper and some nice spices that cut through the previous cigar and paired well with a German Hefe Wiessbeir. The draw was smooth, flavors consistent yet not overly complex.
The style of both smokes was reminiscent of an old world smoking style. Full bodied cigars that have flavor and power. These sticks aren’t for the faint of heart but JdN does make a line of mild-medium cigars for customers who prefer less strength in a cigar but still seek an old world taste.
More to come on Pure Induglence!
It’s been a while since I’ve given anything more than a cigar or alcohol review for the blog so I thought I’d share new goals this year.
Remember in an earlier post I seemed stuck in a rut? Well this year I’d like to break out of that rut OR examine why I’m there. I’ve got a pretty good idea already as to why I smoke the way I do. It’s even carried over into my pipe habits as of late, (or that could be the fact that I’m breaking in a new pipe and dedicating it to English blends only.)
For starters, the following cigar makers represent a few things to me:
1. Consistency. Every time I want a cigar that tastes smooth, clean and is well constructed, I can pick up anything made by Pete Johnson, Max Myers, Eric Newman or Padron. If I’ve ever had one fall apart it was due to how I cut the cigar, lit the foot, etc. I can’t say the same for H. Upmans, which I used to love.
2. Lifestyle. Padron and Newman to me represent the old way of living, a comfortable way Having spoken to Eric Newman, I’ve discovered that his message is one we can all agree on. Prevail through the tough times but during our well deserved down time, slow down. To me, Max and Pete represent a newer trend that allows us to have the nicer things in life we’re working towards. The two compliment each other as far as I’m concerned. You won’t find too many of the wealthier people smoking the Warlock (a good stick) when they could smoke a Padron Anniversario or the Tatuaje SW Reserva.
3. Price. Yeah, I said it. I’m all about money and to me and my old way of thinking, money used to mean quality. The more you spent after doing your homework, the better the product should be. In short, like Zig Ziglar used to say, the Cost was worth the Price. The Brick House (to me) smokes like a $20 cigar every time even though it’s less than $6 in most cases while the Diamond Crown Maximus makes me kinda feel like a king.
4. Not least on my list but last because I’m writing the blog in advance and am on an author deadline: The people behind the cigar. I’ve met and hung out with Max, Pete and spoken to Eric at length on the phone. We did an interview for Radio Dentata with him and Max (separate interviews!) and will have Pete on eventually But all of the men I’m referring to have character that’s genuine, sincere and honest. I don’t know the people at Altadis or General Cigar. They’re probably pretty nice folks I’m guessing. But I don’t know.
So there it is. I’ve laid down why I’m a cigar snob, but only time will tell if I expand in THIS part of my journey towards the Good Life.
Picked this whiskey up last week at BevMo and decided to give it a try. Light amber in color, it smells of typical bourbon. The aromas in the glass give hints of floral notes but the taste that comes through is overwhelmingly smooth when sipped. Some caramel and floral notes bounce off the palate with a medium finish.
Serve warm or with two ice cubes. This is definitely a sipping whiskey, with a minimum bite that disappears after the first taste.
It’s charcoal filtered twice for extra smoothness and that comes out in the taste profile. Subtle hints of oak help smooth out the finish.
Visit Jack Daniels Website
Definitely a whiskey I’ll be adding to my stock on a regular basis! Oh and for those interested, I’d pair this with a Don Cervantes Masterpiece Gold. The woodsy taste on the palate along with hints of pine marry well with the floral notes.
The Don Cervantes Tres Maduro is a true triple maduro cigar, is a complex cigar with rich notes of earth and cocoa. I sense a theme with Max’s sticks 😉 It starts off with a fresh, clean taste and plenty of smoke though the draw is a little tight. Chocolate brown maduro wrapper has been fermented properly to give the cigar more depth.
The second third melds those clean flavors with more pronounced earth and a very faint amount of spice. The final third ends with mellow notes. A tight white ash so well constructed the cigar could stand on it is impressive since rarely a cigar is out that’s so well made.
Look for them here in California soon!
The latest slew of cigars I’ve smoked have all been the same. Don Cervantes, Tatuaje, Padron and a Brickhouse thrown in for good measure. But then Joe Barron of Grants Tobacconist turned me onto Jose Fuego’s Origen cigars and then suggested I try the CAO La Traviata Maduro.
The problem with the last two is that they don’t qualify for the blog but they’re both very tasty, such that I’ve gone back and picked up more of them. Hell, even Brickhouse doesn’t qualify based alone on price. If I were going by ratings, that would be different. Let’s look closely at that first.
Brickhouse, Padron and Tatuaje consistently score 89-91 points from most of the big players like Cigar Aficionado and Smoke Magazine. Yet by my standards, based on price alone, only the Padron Anniversarios, Tatuaje Miami and JC Newman’s Diamond Crown would qualify for review.
Fine. So I’m a snob. And even worse, I’m a romance writer which means I currently don’t bring in the sort of money that the average Cigar Aficionado reader is reported to make. But I refuse to compromise on quality. So what do I do?
That’s one area I can work on with a little bit of thought and talking to other cigar fans. The other problem I have is that I actually only want to try extensions of the above mentioned makers. So that limits me to Don Pepin Garcia, Padron, Eric Newman and Max Myers. Now I’m sure these guys are honored to know that with my income I chose to spend it on their product but the funny thing is that once we start talking to each other, more cigars are suggested and that puts me in an odd position.
“Well,I only smoke Padrons.” In fact, Pete’s La Riqueza #2 broke that streak. Padron broke my JC Newman streak, you see how this goes. And in truth these cigars have different, unique tastes that evoke different sensations on the palate yet still give me that one thing I seek when I light up. A relaxing experience.
Perhaps I just need to stop being stuck in my ways. Oddly enough, I don’t have this problem with wine and spirits. I tend to drink Glenfiddich/Grants as it’s what I can afford and I refuse to compromise on that. With wine, I am a ratings whore. And a classist too. And a Francophile. But I have a hard time getting good French wine in California. But when someone suggests a new cab or merlot I’m welcoming with open arms.
I honestly don’t know what to do about my dilemma. I guess for now, I’m still figuring it out.
This week we cover the question I posed on episode 6 about the cigar shops and tobacconists across the country that have strict policies.
A recap of the issue: Grants Tobacconist had changed their policy whereby customers could enjoy use of the lounge. Prior til August 2nd, there was no minimum required purchase and patrons could enjoy smoking from 5-7 during the weekdays and all day on the weekends. After August 2nd, this changed as did the rules of the lounge. Things looked a little grim and led many of the former patrons to boycott the shop yet I felt it was better to ask why the change occurred and what we as customers could do to help ensure a future of one of the Bay Area’s oldest smoking lounges.
I discovered a very simple answer in talking with Joe, one of the owners of Grants Tobacconist. I think you’ll be delighted.
We’ll discuss Westerly Vineyards 2004 Merlot, Atlas Peak 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon and some basic notes while covering the beauty of these simple, yet elegant wines. Sadly, I haven’t been drinking much in the higher end of things. Yet I intend to remedy that soon as there are a ton of events coming up in the Bay Area that cater to those seeking a taste of the Good Life.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. We recently had a chance to sample wines from the Stepping Stone line by Cornerstone Cellars, Napa Valley California. Tasting notes to follow.
As always, catch repeat shows on Radio Dentata
The White Wolf Indulgence Blog: http://whitewolfindulgence.wordpress.com which is the official blog for Pure Indulgence!
With all the new bullshit legislation coming down on cigar and pipe smokers, we’re left looking at each other with unlit vitolas in hand, stress on our shoulders and a crumbling economy. The problem has become so bad that many retailers are scrambling to find new ways to generate revenue -ways which are ultimately going to drive away business.
One of the shops I’ve visited has a policy whereby customers must purchase $25 worth of merchandise in order to enjoy ONLY two hours with one other person in the shrunken smoking lounge. They shrunk the lounge to make more room for product that’s NOT cigar/tobacco oriented.
This policy took effect recently and has already shown itself to be harmful. Many of the regulars have stopped coming to smoke there and will find other places to hang out, if those places can be found. In San Francisco, we’re limited to the Occidental, 850 Montgomery Cigar Bar and that’s it.
Things continue to worsen. The bar around the corner has a sign up in the “smoking” section that says no cigars, no pipes, no weed ya’ll. I agree on the latter but the former two? I’m a cigar smoker, a pipe smoker and now will be taking my money elsewhere as I search for a cigar friendly place to relax.
In the first case, I understand the need to generate revenue in a brick and mortar store located in state with high as hell tobacco taxes. Legislation has shut down many of the businesses that support cigar and pipe smokers, leaving less revenue on the table. This may all seem like whining from a minority group but the last time I checked, this was AMERICA.
In ultra liberal California I’m no longer allowed to smoke cigars on the community balcony. So far the manager has said shit about me smoking my pipe on the front steps.
So what is the answer for shops with shrinking revenue? Even with unlimited funds I couldn’t justify going to a shop every day to smoke and having to spend a minimum amount, which makes it seem like I’m carrying the shop. And the feelings a lot of folks have expressed have been less than stellar.
One of the newest cigar makers the industry at the time when I first picked up smoking cigars was Rocky Patel. He’d left his career as a lawyer and found a much better following and probably more success in the cigar industry by making his own cigars. Most folks probably know him for the Edge, a full flavored vitola only for “professional smokers.” Quality on these cigars was astounding and the price was unbeatable.
Shortly after the release of the Edge, Patel launched the 10 year and 12 year blends which were an instant hit due to consistent flavor and great rankings from Cigar Aficionado. Personally I tend to like the 12 year 1990 in a Churchill form for maximum smoking pleasure.
I had the opportunity to try out the Rocky Patel Patel Bros yesterday and I have to say it’s a wonderful stick. A gorgeous dark maduro Pennsylvanian broadleaf wrapper adds flavor and power to this unique Nicaraguan binder and filler. The cigar starts off with robust, spicy and somewhat overpowering flavors that meld into dark roasted coffee notes.
The second third of this cigar mellows even further with toasty earth and mild spice while allowing a perfect draw throughout. The ash held on for about a half inch, indicating flawless construction. A medium to full finish on the palate reminded me of the Casa Magna blend, only a little more complex.
For those interested, this is the first cigar released that was a collaboration between Rocky and his brother Nish. The two for some time wanted to create a special cigar and this is definitely one that continues the legacy of Rocky Patel.
We’ll cover this cigar and a little more about it on an upcoming episode of Pure Indulgence, found only on Radio Dentata. Don’t forget that we did have the opportunity to speak with Tim Wong of Rocky Patel for almost an hour and as soon as the podcast link is up, you’ll find it first here!