Welcome to Matt’s Cigar Journal. Thanks for stopping by. I have been smoking quality, handmade cigars for quite some time now, but it didn’t become the obsession it is to today for me until sometime in late 2003. It was then that I started to keep enough cigars around to justify an actual humidor. My first humidor was actually my fathers. He had stopped using it so I asked him if he minded if I took it for a while to keep some smokes in it. I re-seasoned it and began working on filling it right away. I still use that humidor today…
It was also around this time that I started taking notes on the cigars I smoked. I had a leather bound journal that I taped my cigar bands in and I jotted down some thoughts about the cigar. This was the start of my “Cigar Journal”.I did this to help me remember what I had tried and if I liked it or not. At this point I was still a newbie and the huge variety of cigars out there was a kind of hard to keep track of. I found that I enjoyed keeping this journal. What I wrote in it could never be mistaken for an actual cigar review. I think it would barely pass as tasting notes for that matter. As I got further into the hobby and was learning more and more about cigars, I started writing a bit more about the cigars, using more detail to describe the experience. These later entries would pass as tasting notes and were starting to resemble reviews. Now, I am a computer geek by trade. A Network Administrator now, I started off as a simple PC tech and worked my way up to full geekdom over the years. Well, the computer geek in me started to think that my pen and paper journal was decidedly low tech. In 2005 I started to think about how I could use computers to enhance my cigar hobby and in particular my Journal. Enter blogging. The Blog phenomenon was getting into full swing then and I decided it would be fun to use a blog to write about the cigars I smoked and share my opinions with fellow cigar smokers. I found blogger.com and the first electronic incarnation of Matt’s Cigar Journal was born.
My original intentions for the site was to simply bee an electronic version of my old pen and paper journal with a little extra content thrown in here and there. If you look at the very early posts on my blog, it will quickly become obvious that I was a below average writer(I am only slightly better now). Again, my “reviews” weren’t really reviews. I’m not sure what you’d call them. I generally call them bad writing. Also back then what I was smoking and why I was smoking them is very different from the whats and whys of the cigar smoker I am today. Back then I liked cheap cigars, and mild smokes. I was new to cigars and was still learning. Today I am a much different cigar smoker. Although I like a good bargain cigar as much as then next guy, I have a better appreciation for why some cigars cost as much as they do and I am now more concerned with the quality of my smoking experience and less concerned about how much the cigar costs. Cost has become a tertiary concern for me. My primary concern is how much I enjoyed the smoke. I also am no longer enamored with mild cigars. Although there are some I enjoy, generally speaking I enjoy robust powerful cigars with good depth to their flavor profile. I like a cigar that can hold my attention and suprise me as its flavors change and evolve during the course of the smoke. Some of my favorite smokes today are Tatuaje and Illusione Cigars. I tend to gravitate to the Nicaraguan smokes.
The blog was coming along nicely but after a little more than a year into it I was starting to get frustrated with Blogger. This was before the blogger upgrade a couple years ago and working in the CSS template to do anything on the site was a bit tedious and my frustration was compounded by the fact that I really didn’t know much of anything about HTML or CSS style sheets. I know I said I was a computer geek, but I am a network and systems guy, not a programmer or web developer. I decided to start looking around at some of the other blogging options out there and I found WordPress. I played around with it a bit and decided I really liked WordPress. It made a lot of the things I was trying to do a lot easier than it was on Blogger, so I moved the site to WordPress. It turns out that it was a really good move. My blog has thrived since I made the move and I am very please with the look, feel, and overall layout of the site and I really like the administrative tools used to manage the site. My only complaint about WordPress would be some of the code they prohibit. It limits you to only being able to use their pre-approved widgets so I am unable to bring in other widgets I might want to enhance my sites content. I have learned to live with this though and I realize should I ever decide it is a problem, I can move the site off the free hosting and get more control of the site that way. But I digress…
Over the years, my writing has gotten better, my reviews have improved and become more insightful and useful (I hope), and my tastes and opinions about cigars has changed dramatically. The blog has really enhanced my enjoyment of cigars and of the hobby aspect of cigars immensely. My collection of cigars has grown steadily and I now have a whole slew of gear to house and transport my cigars.
I really enjoy the site and hope you like it as well. Surf around, read the reviews, and please feel free to leave your comments here or on any of the reviews. I really enjoy feedback from my fellow Brothers and Sisters of the Leaf.