As I sit here on my patio, enjoying an Intemperance EC, enjoying the cooler fall-like weather, I realize the next few weeks are going to be enjoyable, but not. Enjoyable due to the fact that in a week and some days, we (friends & I) depart on a week long hunting/camping trip. But not so much fun due to the fact that our buddy “Uncle Bob” won’t be with us this year. His condition has gone from bad to worse. Congestive Heart Failure has sat in. They have moved him out of the care facility to his daughter’s home to pass. We spent a good bit of time with Bob last night in New Orleans, possibly the last time we get to see him alive. No other way to put it, but the whole situation “Sucks!”
Enough bad news, I made it to the Ortega event on Friday held by The Cigar Shop in Biloxi, MS. It was a great time! The event was fairly low-key but, Eddie and rep Jeff are two great guys who were very hospitable to everyone who stopped buy. They gave away lots of free cigars, ashtrays & shirts as well as the food & drink brought in by “The Shop”. If you ever have the chance to meet either of these men, do so.
I had asked Eddie a few questions while there:
Shawn: Do you plan on keeping the Wild Bunch series going in 2014?
Eddie: Yes, those lines of cigars have done well for themselves. Everybody has their own favorite.
Shawn: Besides your own blends, what other cigars do you smoke?
Eddie: Everybody’s! (with a big smile) I like to keep my options open and like to see what everybody comes up with.
Viaje Late Harvest 646: When these first came out, I was in a full blown Vuaje kick. A week didn’t go by where I didn’t have a Late Harvest. But, supplies dwindled, new cigars came out & I eventually got away from them. I found this 646 (original release) about halfway in the humidity. I toasted it up and it brought back pretty good memories from years prior. Those memories didn’t last long as the burn got way off, had to delight & touch it up so many times that the flavors didn’t sink in to my head as I was fighting to keep it going. None the less, it was a good smoke considering the issues I had with it. I got a few left to smoke, next time I will dry box them before I smoke another one.
Black Crown: A new (to me) cigar that I have heard mixed results of. I figured why not try it as the price was reasonable. The draw was fairly thick, wavy burn & some soft spots in the cigar. Had flavors that reminded me of what burning pine straw smells like. A but of a salted caramel added to the flavors & was a nice flavor, yet it wasn’t strong enough for my likings. Thus cigar didn’t do much for me as I was not impressed with it at all. It was a bit overpriced, but with some age it may be worth the price. But for now, not something I will smoke fresh.
Ortega Serie D No8 Maduro: Ever since the Serie D Maduro came out, I have absolutely loved the line. I prefer it in a smaller ring gauge, but the 50rg of the No.8 is no slouch. I bought a box of these at the Ortega Event I went to Friday and was not disappointed. I like the fact that Eddie does both 10 and 20ct boxes. The Cigar Shop was giving 20% during the event on both 10&20ct boxes. I do prefer the maduro over the natural; as I smoke a lot more maduro Serie D. But Eddie handed me a natural and said “lets give you some change”. This cigar goes great with a cup of coffee in the morning. I also enjoyed some of those “Dutch Caramel Wafers” with the coffee and Serie D. That made a great pairing. The wafers brought out a slight sweetness in the smoke and the coffe brought out the coffee and espresso notes as well. The coffee, cigar & Dutch Caramel Wafers is starting to be a weekend morning ritual for me it seems!
Blanco Criollo: I have tried all of the Blanco “core lines” and came to the conclusion, the Criollo is my favorite. I have smoked probably close to a half box of these goodies. The $7-8 price point for these toro sized cigars is a great price for the flavor and amount of smoke time arrived from them. Grass like and straw flavors abound in the smoke. As well as some light vanilla notes as well on the back half of the smoke. I am now on the fence of weather I like the NINE Lancero or Criollo more. Both are on opposite sides of the flavor spectrum, but both are great cigars. The NINE lancer is a dollar or so higher priced, but a fuller smoke in the end.
Viaje Friends and Family Original Release: I had originally had this cigar when Armando Ortiz of Crescent City Cigar had gotten a box of these. Instead of selling them, he gave them out to his friends and family. I thought that was a great idea, not to mention he sent me one. I let it rest a month or three and lit it up one evening and thoroughly enjoyed it! I came across a few more (somewhere) and snagged them up. The $15 cost is hard to swallow, but this is one of Viaje’s finest cigars ever produced. I have not tried the latest release of the F&F, so I can’t speak for them. That is something that got my goose; the F&F was “supposed to be a one time release”. Well, I guess Viaje showed us all wrong!
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