Cigar Box Reserve 2009 Malbec Sunday, Jun 12 2011 

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I’m not a wine expert and have no plans to start regularly reviewing wine, but I ran across this wine in the grocery store and as a Cigar Guy, I had to buy it and give it a try.  Because of its name and the story behind the name I felt it was worthy of a short write-up here.  Unfortunately when I got up to the cigar shop and opened the bottle to share with my friends with some good cigars, I completely negelected to take another photo of the wine so I am using the same picture in this post that I used in my previous post I made when I found the wine.  I thought a nice picture of the wine in a glass would be good but alas I forgot to get the shot.

I was worried about what to expect.  The wine was $12 and had a screw on cap.  I know those are becoming more widely used even on some really good wines, but this was still cheap bottle of wine from the grocery store.  I didn’t know what to expect.  What I got was a pleasant surprise.  It is a very drinkable wine, well suited for any time and just about any situation.  It was fruitier than i was expecting with a distinct plum flavor.  A more refined wine taster might call it currant but plum works for me.  There was also a bit of pepper on the back end.  The finish was a little short and the body a little thin but for the price I thought it was quite good. It held up well to the Davidoff Short Perfecto Colorado Claro  I was smoking, and yet I don’t think it would over power any but the lightest and most delicate foods.  If you are a cigar guy like me and you enjoy the occasional glass of wine you should give this one a try some time.  It is pretty good and the name alone almost demands that you give it a try.

The Perfect Cigar Wine? Thursday, Jun 9 2011 

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I saw this on the shelf at the grocery store and couldn’t resist picking up a bottle.  According to the label:

When the first vintage of this wine was made, our wine maker noticed subtle hints of “Cigar Box” on the nose… the name stuck!

What cigar lover wouldn’t be intrigued.  I am taking the bottle up to the cigar shop this evening to share with the fellas.  I hope it can live up to expectations.  I’ll post my thoughts on the wine after I’ve tried it!

Box Purchase: The Face by Tatuaje Friday, Oct 29 2010 

Halloween time means it is time for the Tatuaje Monster series.  This years grizzly beast is The Face.  Number 3 in the limited edition series.  Early reports speak very highly of this cigar so when the opportunity to pick up one of the 10 count boxes presented itself, I jumped on it.

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Box Purchase: Tatuaje Black Tubos Saturday, Dec 12 2009 

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The much anticipated Tatuaje Tubos cigars hit the shelves this week.  The Tatuaje Blacks are a favorite of mine so I picked up a box of them and grabbed 2 of the Red Tubed Havana VI Verocus as well.  The presentation of these cigars is beautiful.  The boxes are huge (it didn’t fit in my converted wine fridge humidor)and the tubes are beautiful.  I am going to give these a few months to acclimate to my humidor and them I’ll be firing a couple of these up for some reviews.

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Here is one of each cigar outside the tubes.

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No Smoke, Just A Pic Thursday, Feb 5 2009 

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Didn’t have a chance to get smoke the Cuba Libre this week. Between being busy and it being to darn cold to even go out to my man cave (garage), I went cigar free this week. I didn’t want to let things float until I did get around to smoking the cigar for my next review so I have decided to share some pictures to heighten the anticipation for my review of the Tatuaje Reserva J21 that is coming up later this month.  Don’t they look delicious?  Click on them to see an enlarged view.

The Glenlivet Tasting Saturday, Dec 20 2008 

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I had the great pleasure of attending a scotch and cigar tasting recently featuring The Glenlivet scotches and cigars that were provided by my local cigar shop, Empire Cigars.  I have to say that this event was a blast.  I learned a ton about scotches and smoked some good cigars.  I even left the event with some pretty nice swag.  The scotches we were sampling were the 15 year old French Oak Reserve, the 16 year old Nadurra, and The Glenlivet 18yr old.  All three are single malts of course.  As for the cigars, featured were the Nub Cameroon 358, EO Series 601 Habano Rabito, and the Ashton VSG Illusion.

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First up was the 15 yr French Oak Reserve paired with the Nub Cameroon 358.  The Nub, well I’ll be honest.  It isn’t my favorite, however it performed better than the Nubs I have had in the past and turned out to be a pleasant enough smoke.  The scotch was fantastic.  The French Oak Reserve is aged for 15 years.  It spend the first twelve years of life in an American White Oak recycled bourbon cask with a light medium char.  The last three years are spent in a virgin French Limousin [lee-moo-ZAN] Oak casks.  Apparently the French Oak is a much softer wood than the American and if the whiskey spends too much time in the French Oak it would absorb too much from the cask and be ruined and probably almost black in color.  Finishing a whiskey in French Oak like this is almost as much art as science and is a difficult process to pull off.  Any amount of over aging can ruin an entire barrel.  We were told that the whiskey is babysat very closely in these final years of aging.  The French oak Reserve was my favorite of the night.  It is very creamy and smooth with a slightly sweet taste.  It has strong notes of Honey and Vanilla and a very smooth finish.

Next was the 16 year old Nadurra.  Nadurra is Gaelic for natural.  This is an unfiltered, cask strength whiskey.  It is very oaky with floral notes and a sharp aroma.  This scotch is a fireball.  Drinking it straight is not recommended.  I tried a sip straight and to be honest most of the flavors were lost to the alcohol burn for me.  I added a healthy dose of water which took of that edge and really allowed the floral perfume and oak flavors to come through.  It was very good, but honestly my least favorite of the three we tried.  This one was paired with the 601 Habano Rabito.  A nice full Nicaraguan cigar that went nicely with the strong and aggressive Nadurra.

We wrapped up the night with a very special whiskey paired with a very special cigar.  If you are a cigar smoker than nothing needs to be said about the Ashton VSG.  It is a top shelf cigar, full bodied, smooth and refined.  Well you can use that sentence to describe The Glenlivet 18 year old Scotch.  A drop of water helps to open up the aromas of this top shelf whiskey, release a wonderful floral bouquet.  A sip delivers a myriad of flavors, floral at first, the finish is more oak and vanilla.  This is very smooth and very refined.  The only reason I liked the French Oak more than the 18year is the creaminess that the French Oak gave the whiskey which I really enjoyed.  The 18 year is a fantastic scotch in its own right as well.

We were all given a very nice double guillotine cutter and a Chivas Regal torch lighter that burns with a green flame.  I also received a Glenlivet money clip, all pictured below…

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The Crown Jewel of night though was the personalized bottles of the 15 year old French Oak reserve.  This is just an incredible souvenier from what was truly an incredible night.

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Box Purchase: The Frank by Tatuaje Friday, Oct 24 2008 

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As many of you have probably heard, Tatuaje has a limited release cigar this Halloween and for several Halloweens going forward.  Of course, being the Tatuaje homer that I am, I had to have a box.  This year Pete Johnson brings us the first of his Tatuaje Monster Series of cigars.  The 2008 version is a Double Corona called The Frank.  From what I understand, this is the regular Brown Label Tatuaje Taino blend but with a Broadleaf Wrapper instead of the usual Corojo.  It sports a green band and comes in a Coffin box of 13 cigars.  Only 13 retailers each year will get these cigars and each year the retailers are chosen by a lottery.  This year my local, Empire Cigars was lucky enough to be chosen.  Here is the details regarding the Monster series from the Tatuaje website:

Today on the 13th of October we are announcing the “unlucky” 13 retailers that will be getting the first release of the Tatuaje Monster Series – The Frank (7 5/8 x 49 – Box Pressed).

Gloucester Street Cigar Co. – Boston, MA 617-424-1000
L.J. Peretti – Boston, MA – 617-482-0218
Sabor Havana Cigars – Miami, FL – 305-436-8860
W.Curits Draper – Washington DC – 202-638-2555
Empire Cigars – Raleigh, NC – 919-870-0081
J. Barbara Tobacconist – Garden City, NY – 516-284-7806
Cigar Shop & More – Addison, TX – 972-661-9136
Up Down Tobacco – Chicago, IL – 312-337-8505
Havana Manor – Longmont, CO – 303-776-2332
Ambassador Fine Cigars – Scottsdale, AZ – 480-905-1000
Azucar Cigar Lounge – Corona, CA – 951-734-9714
The Big Easy – Studio City, CA – 818-762-3279
Mission Pipe Shop – San Jose, CA – 408-293-5144

Suggested Retail is $13 per stick. 13 cigars to a box… $169 Suggested Retail before any state or local tobacco taxes.
Each retailer listed will get a small allocation of the first edition.
Customers should not call any other retailers inquiring. These will be the only stores to get them this year.

Cheers,

Tatuaje Monster Series releasing October 31st in 13 locations.
First size will be ‘The Frank’ – a Double Corona box press. 666 boxes will be created.
Thirteen of the top 100 retailers will be selected via a lottery to receive an allotment of 50 boxes each.

Here are a few more pictures of my latest acquisition. Click for enlarged views…

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Nike+ 10k Human Race Sunday, Aug 31 2008 

Well I did it. I ran the Nike+ 10k even though I failed miserably at my training program and hardly ran at all in the month of August. I got off my lazy but and did it. So how did I do? Well… Hell if I know!!! I am pissed with my Nike+. Not only did I run the full 10K, it turns out I ran an entire extra mile beyond 10k. Here is what my Nike+ says about my run..

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Nike+ says 3.89mi, Miles actually ran – 7.2 miles

That is complete bunk! I was running, and running, and running, and I started to think when will I ever get there. I couldn’t believe I wasn’t there yet so I diverted my route to run a loop that I knew was very close to a full mile. That is almost 2k. When I started the loop my Nike + said I was at 6k complete. At the end of the loop is said I was 6.25k complete. So I ran almost a full 2k and it said I ran .25k. Almost a full mile ran and it gave me credit for running an eighth of a mile!!! Holy cow!! So I turned for home and ended my workout when I got there. I then jumped in the car an drove the route I just ran. Turns out I actually ran 7.2 miles. A 10k is only 6.2 miles!!! I have no idea how long it actually took me to run the 10k. No idea at all, but by God I did it and then some!! So the hell with Nike+. I may not get credit on their site for running the full race, but I know I did.

A Special Night Saturday, Jun 7 2008 

Last night I attended an event at a local cigar shop. They were featuring the new Nub cigars. Jose Oliva was at the event with Sam Leccia. I took advantage of meeting Jose Oliva and brought my original Oliva Master Blends cigar box with me to have him sign it. The original Master Blends is my all time favorite Oliva cigar. Jose was a really nice guy and it was awesome to have a chance to meet an icon of the industry. You can check out my post which has pictures from back when I purchased the box.

Here is a picture of the signed box sans cigars…

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(click to enlarge)

Purchase: Tatuaje Black Ceramic Jar Wednesday, May 28 2008 

So here it is at long last. I have been obsessing over this thing for months now and I finally have it. The jar is beautiful and of course having already smoked the cigar before, the cigars will be a joy to smoke. I could clumsily try to describe it in words but instead I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Each can be clicked for a large version or click the picture above for a slide show.

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Oh my…

A couple notes about the above pictures. The Blacks have been in production for a while. They are not new cigars. They were up until this point Pete Johnson’s private line of Tatuajes made exclusively for him, and why not, he owns the brand after all. That is why you see the name Private Reserve in some of the pictures above. The bottom of the jar has Pete’s signature on it. The fourth picture down in the first column is the inside of the jar lid. I have to say this jar has lived up to the hype. It is one of the most beautiful presentations I have ever seen for cigars. It is truly special and I am one happy cigar smoker today.

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Happy Birthday to Me! Tuesday, Apr 29 2008 

Had a great Birthday today. My wife got me an Oasis XL Plus for my winecoolerdor and I finished off the day in style. Smoked a 2005 RASS and paired it with a glass of Remy Martin VSOP. I am amazed how every year these cigars get better and better. With 3 years on the beautiful Robustos, their youthful edge is completely gone allowing a lot of subtle flavors to come through. It is one of the most engaging smokes I have ever had. It started off with a slight sweetness and a very unique twang that I can’t put words to but was just great. As it progressed it kept changing, it was almost hard to keep up with it. I hadn’t planned on doing a writeup on it so I wasn’t taking notes, but it was such a great experience I felt compelled to write something to help me remember the occasion. Leathery, earthy, nutty and creamy… Just amazing.

Matt’s Top 5

Purchase: Tatuaje Blacks Sunday, Feb 10 2008 

Update[5/28/08]: I finally got the jar!!!

A couple weeks ago I was at the beach and visited one of my favorite B&M cigar shops. They have been a Tatuaje account almost since the beginning so they get all the good stuff. A major reason why I like them so much. I got lucky and just happened to stop by when they had just a few of the elusive and almost mythical Tatuaje Blacks in the humidor. I didn’t have enough money to buy all eight *snif* but I did grab these four. The Tatuaje Black is Pete Johnson’s personal cigar. Once upon a time the only way to get one of these was to meet the man and have him offer you some. He has decided this year to release a limited amount to the public. Select shops received one or two cabinets of 24 and later this year they will be released for sale in a collectible ceramic jar. I can’t wait. I’ve already started to save up for one. These are really cool looking cigars. They have a really unique nipple on the head and the foot is unfinished. They smell amazing but I am admittedly a little hesitant to spark one up before I get my hands on that jar. Maybe I’ll talk myself into smoking just one sometime soon. Here is a picture of my good fortune…

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My Prize has Arrived Friday, Feb 1 2008 

I won a ST Dupont X-tend lighter in CigarInspector.com’s cigar review contest and the lighter has arrived. It is a very sharp looking lighter. Click the picture for a better view.


A big thanks to CigarInspector.com for selecting me as the winner and to TopCubans.com for supplying the prize for the contest.

My Pride and Joy… well one of them anyway. Friday, Jan 25 2008 

A while back I posted picture of my poker table. I actually made a few posts of the progress of the table being built here, also here, and again here. I made this thing from scratch and as it was my first ever attempt at wood working. I am pretty proud of the results. I ran across a couple of pictures I snapped of it a while back before a game and decided I wanted to share them. You can see a little more detail in these pictures than you can in the one I originally posted. Click the pictures to see a large view.


At the risk of blowing my own horn, I have to say that this is a great table to play poker on…

 

I won!! Friday, Jan 18 2008 

It’s a good start to the day when you get an email informing you that you’ve just won a very nice, very expensive cigar lighter. I entered my review of the the Perdomo Edición de Silvio in a cigar review contest over at Cigar Inspector. There were several really great reviews submitted in to the contest and I was honored by having my review selected as the winner. I want to send my thanks once again to Cigar Inspector and his panel of judges for selecting my review as the winner. I also want to thank my fellow BOTL who I competed against in the contest. The reviews that were entered into the competition were very good so the competition was tough.

My Prize is an ST Dupont X-Tend torch lighter. I’ll post some pictures once I receive it.

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