Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Session Cigars? Go on...try it!

We’re happily mired in a beer renaissance.  It seems as though never before were we presented with this many options of excellent beers, from start-up brew pubs and small brands that are brewing awesome beers, to even the big commercial breweries realizing that if they are going to compete for our adult beverage dollars they’re going to have to earn it with better beer.  This isn't all that different from the cigar renaissance that started to heat up in the mid-1990's.

You may have noticed that for quite some time now there has been a trend towards brewing craft beers that are intensely strong in flavor as well as pretty stout in terms of alcohol content.  Again this has happened in the cigar industry with the craze for trying to cram as much potent Ligero tobacco into a blend that it can sometimes seem like you’re smoking a habanero pepper instead of a Habano wrapper.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How to Resurrect that old Zippo

So, you remembered that somewhere in an old cigar box is your granddad’s trusty old Zippo lighter.  You know the one, engraved with that secondary passion of his besides smoking, whether it was mallards headed towards cattails, the Harley Davidson logo, or his branch of the military.  Odds are it is burnished from years of being daily tucked into his pants pocket or into his Carhartt.  What more fitting of a tribute could you have than to use that lighter, his lighter, each time you get to light up a great cigar.

STOP!  Before you do so, and heaven help you if you flick open a Zippo-style lighter in front of any stuffy purist cigar smokers, pay close attention to a few bits of background and an awesome solution that you've been searching for.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What’s in a Name? CIGAR

CIGAR - 1995-96 Horse of the Year
(source: Wikimedia http://tinyurl.com/kaozctv)
What would another $187 get you?  If it was the 1990s and you were Allen E. Paulson, owner of the superhorse named Cigar, you would be the owner of a horse that won $10 million.  Instead Cigar retired with having locked in lifetime purses worth $9,999,813, which still stands as the top earnings for a Thoroughbred.

You may not know that I love horse racing but you have probably gathered that I love cigars.  So, it came as some slight disappointment to learn that this magnificent horse was not named after the object of my true favorite pastime.  Instead, this horse, which had blood of 1977 Triple Crown winning grandfather Seattle Slew coursing through his veins, was named after the aeronautical navigation fix “CIGAR”.  This nav fix happens to be out in the Gulf of Mexico about 147 miles West Southwest of Ybor City.

Paulson named many of his horses after these five letter waypoints and for good reason as he owned Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, which is still the manufacturer of perhaps the finest business jets in the world.  While Cigar had a bit of a slow start in his career, when he began to come into his own under the exceptional guidance of Bill Mott he hit his stride and never had to look back.

While Paulson didn’t directly name his horse after the highest form of the art of tobacco, that waypoint was named as a nod to Ybor City and that horse was named for that waypoint.  In the end Cigar can truly be our favorite horse, or at least one of them.  Great cigars and horse racing is a pair beyond compare.  The Sport of Kings lends itself perfectly to the enjoyment of a great cigar.   I frequently smoke a toast to both.