Sunday, April 22, 2012

Val and Cigars

Hello all! Val here - thought I would tell my readers about my journey smoking cigars.  I am not a fancy cigar snob, nor am I one of the "tee hee look at me a sexy girl with a cigar" types.  I am a pretty woman who enjoys a good cigar, and will tell you about it in plain English.  Does that work for you?

The point of this post is to give you an idea what goes into my choices of cigar, what my particular biases are when it comes to types of cigars, so you know how much to rely on my opinion.  If you like more bitter cigars and I hate them all, you can probably discount a review in which I say a cigar is too bitter.  Similarly, if you don't like leather notes in your cigar, me telling you "OMG best cigar evar!!!" should be taken with a bucket of salt because I love leather notes in my cigars.

I am still fairly new to cigar smoking.  It is something I have grown to enjoy over the course of my time with Thomas.  He loves cigars and will merrily chat away about leaf types, regions, brands, and flavors.  Not in a snobby way, but in that helpful, informative way he discusses everything he loves.

I started off reluctantly trying them, having never been fond of the smell of cigars.  Early on he would ask me to meet him at Finck's. I wasn't sure if I would be welcome at the lounge - it is very tastefully decorated, but feels neutral to masculine in gender.  The lounge is usually frequented by men, and women are relatively rare.  You will see women in the store, but not many sit in the lounge, and even less smoke.

I walked in hesitantly, and asked if I was interrupting a meeting of the "He-man woman haters' club" to which the older men looked confused for an instant protesting that they LOVE women... up until I gave them the hand under the chin wave from Little Rascals, and they all laughed and decided I was cool.  They just didn't expect such a vintage joke out of a woman who is barely into her 30's.  They always make me feel very welcome, and are always willing to give me recommendations on which cigar to choose.

Thomas started me of with some "girly flavored" cigars such as Irish creme and others. He highly recommended the Caramelo Joe by CAO.  If I recall correctly, this was the first cigar I really liked.  I then tried Acid's Kuba Kuba, and liked those for a while, until I stumbled into types of unflavored cigars I liked much better.  Now I can't smoke Kuba Kuba's anymore, and generally stick to unflavored cigars most of the time, with the exception of the occasional Caramelo Joe.

The first cigar that wasn't flavored I remember liking is the Hoya De Monterrey En Cedros.  It has a nice cedar scent to the tobacco and rich earth and coffee notes that blend well with my morning coffee.  Thomas and I like to get away to Finck's on Saturday mornings and have a smoke, and this one is one of my usual cigars.

Since then, from all the times sitting in the lounge and listening to the guys talking, I have gathered up some knowledge of cigars, started learning to recognize different flavors, and transition from the girl who would ask her boyfriend to pick out something she would like to either knowing exactly what I want, or at least being able to walk up to Rosemary or Alex (two of my favorite people at Finck's due to their helpfulness) and say - "I am looking for a cigar with a good draw that has earth, leather, or coffee notes in the flavor...what do you recommend?" and get some outstanding recommendations.  Since then, I don't think a cigar selection has ever been "off".  I also went from keeping a humidor at my apartment for his convenience to having two humidors of my own - one for everyday smokes and the other one for aging my premium cigars.

Over all the flavor profile I prefer is a medium to full flavored cigar, decently strong, but not knock you out. I like medium to dark wrappers - corojo - maduro wrappers - Connecticut shades are a bit too mild for me, though Finck's AN7 are rather nice for a mild cigar.  I prefer certain flavors - in order of preference are: coffee, leather, earth, and am not overly fond of bitter or overly spicy cigars.

I don't always have patience to smoke a long cigar, and many short cigars are too narrow in ring gauge and I end up disliking them because the wrapper flavor is too strong. Over time I have discovered that the best type of cigar for me is the Robusto size. Just the right balance between wrapper and filler, and time spent smoking it.

I like Hoya De Monterrey En Cedros, Excalibur Dark Knight, Perdomo Habano Corojo,  also La Sirena.  There are more, and as I discover them, I record notes about them in my little cigar book.

So one of the uses for this blog will be for me to share my thoughts about various cigars I try.  I am not a fancy pants super taster, so don't expect super high brow reviews on cigar flavor profiles, but I will do my best in lay man (or woman's) terms to explain what flavors I do taste and how much I enjoy each cigar. Please feel free to comment with your own thoughts if you have tried the cigar.  I love hearing other people's thoughts and recommendations.

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