Cigars, Cuba, Wife

Taking My Time…

A friend commented the other day that I have not blogged in a long time. Nothing can be further from the truth, as I have blogged nearly every day this calendar year. That I have not been blogging about cigars is a different story. I have indeed been ignoring this blog space, for which I am sorry.

Over the past year, I have greatly broadened my regular smoking habits. While previously I was mostly a smoker of Cuban cigars, I have vastly expanded my non-Cuban repertoire. Whether this is entirely due to the tremendous price increases of the Habanos cigars (in some cases jumping as high as 233%), or because of the increase in the sheer number of counterfeit cigars, as well as that those counterfeits have gotten so much more difficult for even experts to detect, I cannot say for sure.

I can say that my relationship with one woman did a lot to influence my smoking habits. The first time Leslie came to visit me in Canada, she took a trip to a local cigar store in her hometown of Dallas, and bought for me (among other things) a box of Davidoff Late Hour Churchill cigars. That visit would be her first introduction to smoking cigars, and the beginning of her love affair with the Davidoff brand.

Since that visit, Leslie has made several transitions. She has become a cigar smoker (and an afficionado in her own right). She has transitioned from being my girlfriend to being my wife. She has also earned the nickname La Maitresse de Davidoff – The Mistress of Davidoff. Because of her love of that line, I have been exposed to several of their lines that I was previously unfamiliar with. I was well and truly familiar with the Yamasa and Escurio lines, but became more familiar with several others, including their Winston Churchill lines, as well as several limited edition and small batch cigars of theirs. While it is hard to do with LE and SB, I have incorporated many of the others into my regular smoking rotation.

The Davidoff brand is not the only NC line that I have been smoking this year. One day in March, my phone rang with the wonderful news that Leslie had been offered a full-time role with Microsoft, and she wanted to get a special cigar for us to smoke together in celebration during her April visit. On my coffee table at that very moment lay the Cigar Aficionado Cigar of the Year edition, and I suggested she bring some Padron 1964 Anniversary cigars, which she did, and which we have been enjoying together since. We both prefer the 1964 over the 1926 line, which she considers unsmokeable. I am possibly a little more forgiving of the line, but there is no question as to which I prefer.

In anticipation of my latest trip to visit her in Dallas (yes, we are still living separately, but working to remedy that) she got all excited that the local Cigars International Superstore (in The Colony) had announced three events that interested both of us. While the highlight of the three is certainly the Davidoff event (where we will be the evening of October 14), there is also a Oliva event (I have always appreciated Oliva cigars, as Leslie knows). As well, last weekend there was a special Rocky Patel event, where Rocky himself was supposed to attend. I was already going to be in town for the Rocky event, and I extended my stay only in part because I wanted to go to the Davidoff event.

I am sure I will write about the Davidoff and Oliva events after they happen, but the Rocky event was a week ago Friday, and Leslie was not nearly as excited as I was. A few months ago, I had given her a flavoured RP cigar, which she was thoroughly unimpressed with. She is open-minded though, and I told her that Rocky makes hundreds of different vitolas, most of which were better than the flavoured ones. In conversation with Nish Patel (Rocky did not show up), I asked him to make a recommendation for her. He pointed me to the Old World Reserve, and sure enough it was a hit! What was also a hit with Leslie was the travel humidor that we were given for purchasing a couple of boxes. It was not quite to my liking, but my wife absolutely loves it. We asked Nish to autograph it, and she guards it from even my hands.

I should mention that I also picked up a selection of Rocky Patel sticks which I have been enjoying. While I do not love them all, there are some that are quite nice. As I mentioned, the company makes a tremendous amount of different cigars, and there is going to be something for every palate.

In anticipation of my eventual move there, and because of the amount of time I am spending there in advance of that, I have joined a private cigar lounge in Addison, Texas… about three miles from Leslie’s apartment. It is a cigar store with a private lounge in the back, and my membership dues entitle me not only to full access to the back room, but also good discounts from their excellent selection (which includes both Davidoff and Padron cigars) for both Leslie and me. Folks, if your local B&M has a private lounge, and you are wondering if the dues are worth it, ask them if there is a discount. My monthly fees have been more than covered every month by the discounts I have enjoyed!

As I have already alluded, I am in flux right now, spending time in Texas while still living in Canada. These last few months, that has not had a huge impact on my smoking habits. Over the next few months, I expect that to change. While I am equipped with a 40,000 btu heater on my balcony, I will not be smoking as much over the winter as I have during the summer… except for my visits south, which are always enjoyable. With that said, just like food and wine, my palate changes slightly with the seasons; I expect that over the winter I will smoke stronger (and spicier) cigars, which means that my collection of Cubans will be safe for the season… aside from the Davidoffs of which I will always have stock, I expect I will also be enjoying my Padrons, Rockys, Olivas, and many other Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Dominican cigars. As the seasons change, expect more CAO Brasilia in my lineup.

We are already planning our next trip to Cuba, but if my last couple of trips are any indication, the boxes I bring back will be sitting for a couple of years to age. Leslie wants to explore my Havana, and while most of my torceador friends are gone (some are in California, Mexico, and even China), there are still plenty of places to visit and friends to see. My greatest hope though is that they will have time to recover from the terrible storms that have pounded the island, destroying homes and farms and leaving a path of destruction and sadness in its wake.

I will always take time for myself, but I have not given up my passion for cigars… and have no plans to do so. While I have not been writing, I have still been enjoying my cigars, and will continue to do so. I promise to resume my writing though. It is a shame that life seems to always get in the way. It is more the shame that I am not pretty enough to quit my day job and be a full-time cigar influencer!

This article was written and published at 30,000 feet on AA 2886, from Dallas to Los Angeles. As such, there are no images, videos, or links. It has not been proof-read, and all mistakes, errors, and omissions are mine. -MDG

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