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Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



Not necessarily for nicotine sickness, although it would work for it, but just as a general accompaniment to cigars, but especially a lot of pipe tobacco I find sugary tea with a bit of milk goes well. Irish/English breakfast tea, one or two teaspoons of sugar to taste, and a drop of milk.

If I'm going to light a pipe tobacco or cigar that I don't already know the flavour of, and so what to pair with it, tea works really well. When you drink it it doesn't add or mount up with the flavours of the tobacco, I feel it almost neutralises them so you get a fresh go at the taste next draw.

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Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



I had a Cohiba Siglo II this evening. It was so Cuban I'm now a member of Buena Vista Social Club. It wasn't complex. It didn't really develop as it went. But start to finish it was like huffing in solid Cuban sourness/tang. A lot of Cubans range from hinting to having that flavour, but this was a pure example throughout.

I'd guess it was quite young, seeing as I bought-to-smoke it (which is all I can afford) and there was little strength or nuance to much else. But as an example of pure Cuban profile in a single smoke it was 100%.

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



Kenning posted:

Quoting to say that this is an excellent choice. My go-to had been an Old Fashioned with cigars, but I've been having heartburn/not sleeping very well lately so I've not been drinking on weeknights to see if that helps. A simple English breakfast with milk and sugar was an excellent accompaniment with the Rocky 1990 perfecto tonight. Highly recommended for when you're keeping it low key.

I'm really glad you tried the breakfast tea with a cigar and it worked well. I've never seen the combination discussed anywhere, but it really worked for me, so it was entirely a suggestion based on my own trials. Someone else saying the combo worked for them means it might actually be "a thing."

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



ThatOneGuy posted:

Do not be lured by the Partagas Serie D No 4 hype, they are mediocre at best. You want full? Bolivar Royal Corona. You want not quite a full? RASS.

This is correct, and I'm not sure how much of the No. 4 hype is an actual marketing instruction from on high, or else brokebrains within the industry. It's the "cigariest" cigar I ever done smoke. If someone ever asked me for a cigar that tastes like 100% cigar I'd say the Serie D No 4 is the one, but it's not because it's an interesting, nuanced smoke with differences throughout to interest you or inform you of possibilities. It's like someone found a tobacco leaf that epitomised tobacco and made it into full-in-your-face smoking. To use an allusion, if someone asked you what a "guitar" sounded like, the guitariest guitar that done ever guitared, you could strike one powerchord, and let it ring out with your hand raised in the air holding a pick, that's a Series D No 4, but it doesn't actually give you any idea of what a guitar/cigar can do. It's just a raw "one-note" example, flexing on its muscle.

If I've sold you on the No 4, good. But buy one of them. It's worth smoking literally one of them to see what they are, because in a way it's foundational. But it's nothing more than a foundation.

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



For the people wondering about Cubans bear in mind they aren't some smoking holy grail. I have relatively easy (legal) access to the bigger Cuban marques and vitolas, but knowing what I know about them, I'd trade (in the very specific instance of cigar smoking) what the US has when it comes to cigars for what a lot of the rest of the world has. It's not just a tax thing, where a lot of the US has much lower taxes on cigars, but it's availability and range as well. It seems the US has a lot more places you can get cigars, and without national boundaries (i.e. such a large country) it's a lot easier to order cigars (without dealing with specific customs laws, taxes and seizures, etc.) The range of smokes is huge as well, which is part of the fact that there's a lot more places to get them. If you were to compare to Cuban smokes (price points) the cigars other nations produce, those other nations will have ones with similar, if not better quality (even if there's a different flavour profile.) As well as that there's a range of cheaper, decent cigars available. Cubans are mostly higher priced even before taxes come into things. Sure, I might never smoke in a cigar lounge in the US (and be subject to either Fox news on the TV or someone repeating Fox news's lines to me) but the actual culture around cigar smoking is far more developed, something you only have to look at the stats for which countries smoke the most cigars per capita to figure out.

Things could be different elsewhere. There are definitely large European, Australasian, South American, etc. countries where you can get non-Cuban smokes, but the influence Cuban cigars have is simply too large (and a big part of that is because they're embargoed from the US.)

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



CRIP EATIN BREAD posted:

Do you not have cigar lounges near you? We have a pretty nice one by me in Southeast MI that also serves great booze and killer steaks.

All smoking in workplaces is banned here, and there's no cigar culture. If I want to buy cigars locally I have to buy one of the ten vitolas (when they're well stocked) of Cubans a high quality wine shop sells. If I want more choice I order online from a store a couple of hundred miles away, and they only stock Cubans. If I want to buy a box of Cubans (the only hand rolled cigars available)(and not risk import duty/having them seized when I don't pay a hugely inflated estimate of import duty) you're talking over €300 for a 25 box of H Upmann Half Corona.

The US is an absolute outlier when it comes to cigar smoking. It's really hard to find accurate stats but some site I went to said the US spend on cigars in 2020 is expected to be just over $9b. The country with the next highest spend is Germany with $900m.

This is why the Cuban cigar industry is both excited and terrified about what could happen if the US was legitimately opened up as a market for their cigars. They could make a fortune, or be destroyed by the world's largest cigar market (by far) reacting to a tiny island's inability to produce (in terms of demand, taste, and quality.)

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



I smoked a Montecristo No. 4 last night, sitting out under the stars in a garden by the coast with a couple of beers. I can see why it's the biggest selling Cuban smoke. It's just big enough that you feel like you're getting a decent session in. It starts of beautifully, a really nice mix of flavours between cream, a hint of hay/grass, some coffee, but lovely caramel and even a bit of tea. Fifty percent of the smokable length was delicious, but it didn't really develop as it went on. It felt a little stronger in the latter stages but it was just real strength of what came before, no real new depth or nuance. I'm looking forward to my Monte No. 2 on this basis. If all Cubans started as strong as the No. 4 it'd be perfect.

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



I smoked the last of the "good" cigars I had in my little tuperdor lunchbox last night. A Montecristo No 2. I had a present of three cigars from my parent's holiday (to a place with affordable cigars.) A RyJ short churchill, which was the best of them, the Monte No 2 I had last night, and an obviously fake (both band and flavour/taste) Cohiba Robusto. I don't think the No 2 was fake, it had enough Cuban-cigar-flavour going for it, but it was a pretty bad smoke. It just didn't burn well/evenly, tar gooped it up, and the draw was poor. My hit rate on those foreign bought cigars is 0/3, at best 0.5/3. I know the idea that Cuba sends different quality cigars to different markets shouldn't be true, but my hit rate of cigars coming from non-official sellers (either from Spanish islands or Germany) compared to officially sanctioned resellers from Hunters and Frankau is alarming. Apart from one bad smoke all the H&F resellers cigars I've had have been decent, I'd say at least half of the non-official sellers cigars have been poor (while the NCs have been fine.) It's ridiculous, the whole buying thing feels like a gamble if I'm saving on price, which ends up costing me more in bad smokes.

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



I'm smoking a pipe of Mick McQuaid. It's one of the few pipe tobaccos you'll find in a newsagents in Ireland. It's not the most interesting flavour but it smokes so easily I might just break it out more when I don't want to be disappointed.

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



Lyon posted:

Same but I usually get over it and then buy more cigars I can’t afford or store.

A good way to get over impulse buying cigars is to only have access to a limited range of Cuban cigars and then for a basic PC to cost about €16.50 a stick (unless you want to chance customs seizing everything.) It really slows you down picking stuff up. It also sucks loving balls.

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



I just had a bowl of James Fox The Bankers. I've had two 50g tins of this in a jar for a year (probably two years, I think) and I think the tins I received were old anyway (they had the warning label put on over the original, slightly older label.) It was enjoyable when I first opened it, but sitting in the jar with the occasional dose of air getting into it has made it a quite interesting smoke.

It's a cigar leaf mix, on top of a fairly standard English tobacco (although I think it was originally blended in Dublin, where James Fox have a store that is staffed by absolutely lovely people.) Getting a decent mix of all the various tobaccos can be a challenge, but when I do get it it's a lovely smoke. It develops as it goes on, but throughout it's a really solid English, while the cigar leaf gives it some changes as it goes. When I first started out with it (years ago) I couldn't tell what the cigar leaf addition did, but now I realise it adds a touch of the traditional Cuban sourness to the mix, that really offsets the fullness of the latakia and burley. As it smokes it goes from slightly sweet, to full, to having a bit of depth in the flavour if not nuance. There's a strong feeling of dusty old bookstore, or maybe a lot of aged paper, like in a "Bankers" office.

If it wasn't for the fact it's almost €30 a tin here, and I'm still smoking out of corncob pipes, and I'd like to get a few cigars, and I have other hobbies to sort out, I'd be putting in orders for another couple of tins to put in my big jar. It's definitely a polarising tobacco, but if you can pick it up for $15 in North America it's worth getting a tin and putting it to age for a year or two, smoking occasionally, as a different take on English mixes showing what a few additions can do for them.

Another thing is TobaccoReviews seems to have a strange series of reviews for it. Up to about 2012/2013 there's a lot of reviews saying it's not as good as the older version, after changing where it was produced. Then from about 2015/2016 onwards there's quite a few positive reviews, so I'm guessing adjustments were made. I'm of the opinion it's definitely worth picking up. A smoke I'm happy to go to when nothing else takes my fancy.

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



I had my first cigar in a while the other night, a Trinidad Reyes. It was really disappointing and I abandoned it halfway (it probably didn't help that it was cold and windy on the porch and my blanket wasn't doing much.) It just had no steady flavour, a burnt cedar was the best I got off it, and it had none of the creaminess I've had from other Reyes.

The one cigar has really soured me, and I think I'll be sticking to pipes until the summer. If I could pick some hand rolled cigars up for less than €15 for the smallest vitolas I might be faster to try another, but it's just put me off smoking them until I can be out in the garden on a warm night with a few beers.

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Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



Gramps posted:

Ok Cuban smokers- what should I go after for my first cubans? I think Nexein and myself are gonna have ourselves a cookout to make cuban sandwiches sometime this spring/early summer and I figured having some cigars on hand would be a good idea. Hit me with those recs.

You've had good advice if you want to get into some of the details of what Cubans offer, but if you just want a standard Cuban, that does very little wrong, and is typically well made, to the point that it might as well be called the Cuban Cuban, the Montecristo No. 4 will not see you wrong. It's the type of smoke that if you don't know what you want you can just pick one up somewhere and not be disappointed.

Also, after about two years of smoking pipes I feel like a complete dummy after doing something the other night. I have a piece of cardboard I'd normally put some tobacco on, just to let it dry out, and then to pick from and pack my pipe. I have an otc blend in one of my jars, and didn't want the hassle of waiting for a tobacco to get to the right dryness (roughly) or waiting around. I just picked up a wodge of tobacco from the jar between my thumb and forefinger and packed it. I did this three times, and it felt like I was getting more tobacco than I normally would, but I just went with it because I've never quite figured out packing a pipe. It turns out the smoke was wonderful. Just the perfect density to get a good draw and the right amount of smoke most of the way through, without any faffing around. Now, it is an otc tobacco that's supposed to be for the old lads smoking 10 pipes a day, so little messing around is needed. I'm just wondering if my involved routine for the past few years has been vastly over-complicating things.

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