Yes, I have recently returned from New York City and I brought back plenty of smokable treasures, including MyFather Le Bijous, custom rolled Miami Cigar sticks from the Cigar Inn on the East Side, and, naturally: lots and lots of Nat Shermans!
This past Sunday, while spelunking the humidor of the Nat Sherman Store on 42nd, I saw some major changes: the back room, referred to as the vault, was no longer full of experimental blends known as the “Bench Selection” but rather full of unopened boxes of cigars. The time for trial and error for new blends is all but over (in-store anyway). Even still, the humidor is packed with hidden treasures available only there. The Bolivar Gold Medal (non-Cuban only – insert sad face) is one; another is the Bench Selection Cameoon. This is, I can guess, a Michael Herklots creation, or at least a Herklots suggestion. He told me, in an interview two years ago that his “end of the world cigar” would be a La Aurora Don Fernando Choix Supreme (which I had the pleasure of smoking 2 of this weekend as well – Kudos to Davidoff Madison for that one). The Choix Supreme comes only in the corona vitola and comes wrapped only in Cameroon tobacco. I must admit the flavor of the Bench Selection is quite similar, but also a tad bolder and a tad spicier. One tastes the flavor one might normally expect from a cameroon cigar: alittle bit of spice atop a core of smokey wood and subtle sweetness akin to raisin. The draw is a bit tough at first, but eventually eases up and produces a workable amount of smoke. Halfway through, some nuttiness really develops with some wheaty notes. Though the cigar doesn’t develop much, the flavor is good throughout and is satisfying if you’re looking for something with a dry, unique character rather than something leathery and in-your-face. I like it, and I would really like a gin and tonic with it. Especially now, at sunset, outside on a seventy degree day. Again, Nat Sherman has succeeded in making a unique cigar reminiscent of their old blends (which I thoroughly enjoy). One last observation: if they made this in a robusto size, I would love it.
Upon first light, the Alec Bradley Black Market Dirty Hooligan tastes like a classic Connecticut cigar. There’s a creaminess accompanied by subtle but consistent spice. This spice comes from youth; I am exceedingly glad that this youth brings no ammonia flavors into the blend. The aroma is creamy and slightly floral as well. At moments, some acrid scents come from the burning cigar, like a quick whiff of a fish market, but more like a walk down a Manhattan sidewalk past a Sabrett hot dog stand – there you smell the burning salt meant for hot pretzels… a distinctive smell that only New Yorkers really understand. It doesn’t detract from the cigar however, it makes it sort of fun. To be fair, this isn’t really a serious cigar. It was released (presumably) as a novelty for St. Patrick’s Day. There are some vegetal notes but nowhere near the levels of grassiness and ammonia I detect on similar green cigars. The candela wrapper has been the object of disgust for me many times just as Honduran cigars have been so many times. Also, I do not celebrate St. Patrick’s Day considering that there isn’t a drop of Irish blood in me and I hate to play Crazy Taxi on my way home from work, avoiding a plethora of cops and amateur leprechauns pumped full of Guinness and Jameson on the roads. Despite my disdain for the latter three things, I was pleasantly surprised by the Hooligan. Maybe I was tempted by the allure of a new cigar, or maybe I was expecting the cigar to be so terrible that I smoked it out of curiosity… like watching a late night infomercial just to see how poorly produced the ad and product are. But, like a person who eventually says “maybe I can use that LaLane juicer” I said “Maybe this cigar isn’t that bad. It doesn’t taste like burning vegetables and styrofoam like other candelas.” Okay, closing thoughts: the wrapper is thin, so be careful when cutting the cigar and be sure not to bite down to hard. Also, I was throroughly unimpressed with the original Black Market and still am. Further, the draw on this cigar is great on one and acceptable on another. Inconsistency is okay with me as long as I can work with it. I don’t prefer it, but it’s part of life and it, sure as hell, is part of making cigars. So would I reccomend the cigar? Yes, it’s worth a try because it is unique and pleasant. End of story. Enjoy the pics. And thank you to the lovely Kaleela for showing off … the cigar.
Ahhhh, the feeling of having an unlit Arturo Fuente Opus X in one’s hand and the time to smoke it. This amazing combination is magical. Rarely do I smoke an Opus, but I am on the path to changing that. Many cigar shops only get the Opus only a few times a year, but mine has it year round thanks to a long friendship between the owner and Carlito Fuente. I started smoking Fuentes when I started smoking cigars… they were my go to smokes along with Oliva Serie Gs. The Opus was out of my price range until I got a decent job. Eventually I started working as a tobacconist and I could afford to smoke the Opus, but I still have the mindset that they are unattainable. I grind my teeth in frustration at paying thirteen dollars for my favorite Opus size, but have no qualms paying thirteen or fourteen dollars for Illusione Singulares or Liga Privadas… that’s stupid when I can just as easily smoke an Opus. Today begins my “smoke an Opus X instead” campaign. I love this smoke… it’s the original strong limited edition cigar. Honestly, it’s a shadow of its former blend. Old timers are constantly telling me how it used to be stronger and darker, but It still has a great subtle spice and comes in cigar-boom sizes rather than thick long vitolas like others.
This calls to mimnd the bad rap that Dominican smokes are getting today. So many smokers think of Nicaraguan cigars when they want something of the Opus’ caliber. So many smokers who, in the cigar boom days, would reach for a Dominican cigar, now choose some boutique Nicaraguan… which is not bad… just surprising from guys in their 40s 50s and 60s. Meanwhile, I, at the age of 23, love these oldschool powerhouse smokes. They’re what I was raised on (in terms of learning to smoke great cigars) and they’re a great thing to reach for when I can’t take another Nicaraguan puro. I suppose somewhere along the way, I just took advantage of their constant presence, but when I hear how people in other states scramble twice or thrice a year to smoke these, and when I think of how much they cost at Casa Fuente, I feel stupid for not having one once a week. These cigars are so impressive that one of my good friends, a sometimes reticent, leather-jacket-wearing badass who teaches martial arts, smokes Opuses exclusively. That’s commitment.I sometimes wish I could have a go-to smoke, but the lure of every other stick is usually too strong.
Okay, It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Sorry, but this will be the first in a string of regular new posts, so stay updated. I have begun wriring cigar reviews for http://www.robbyrasreviews.com, http://www.mattsminutes.com, and http://www.thedignifieddevil.com. Please visit the latter few sites see my more polished material. Visit here to see my off the cuff cigar comments and some musings on fine timepieces. I also plan to post some other content that will help you escape the monptony of everyday life: hence Life Less Common. This will by no means be The Art of Manliness or anything – I’m not interested in helping you become a better man or teaching you how to properly tie a bowtie or get out of a traffic ticket. My goal is to show you some good cigars, some nice watches… maybe some art and architecture… maybe even some culture. It’s my goal to provide all original content; so many other sites recycle pictures videos and articles from others – not me. Stay tuned. Also, make sure to check out my tumblr at http://www.lifelesscommon.tumblr.com. Again, thanks for reading.
Most humbly, Joe Lordi.
The My Father Le Bijoux is a good cigar. It’s balanced, filled with all the familiar flavors of Nicaraguan tobacco we’ve all come to know and love in a modern day premium cigar. It’s filled with well aged tobacco, lacking any hint of immaturity, and well blended to perfect balance. Lots of of chocolate notes with a tangy dusty core. Great draw, even burn. Fortunately, for regular to heavy cigar smokers, the industry has stepped up the competition. The cigar fits right in with the rank of Tatuaje red and brown labels, and wouldn’t be out of place with some Illusione cigars, but having said that, it does not distinguish itself. It offers no unique flavors, no heavy spices or citrus, no consistent sweetness. What is good about it? Everything. The format is a good one for an evening smoke or a morning complement to a cup of coffee. The price point isn’t bad either, around 7 bucks.
This is also a new cigar… Distributed by My Father Cigars, it’s got a Nicaraguan binder and filler and (actual surprise) a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. Anyway, it’s Janny Garcia’s cigar, and how good it is. I’m also quite sure it’s a blend from Pete Johnson and Janny as a collaboration. Either way, it’s a really balanced cigar. There is a leathery character throughout with a consistent black pepper backbone, also noticeable is a ain’t but relentless caramel flavor. It’s good. Smoke one.