AFGL: CRA, AB, Avo & Breaking In

March 9, 2012 · Posted in AFGL, Assault on Cigars, Cigar Industry, Entertainment · Comment 

A Few Good Links for this week covers some good news from Cigar Rights of America, Alec Bradley’s Red Badge Report, a new Avo and a show that returned from the grave.

1. From CRA is this:

In a significant advancement for the effort to keep the U.S. Food & Drug Administration out of your home and local tobacconist’s humidor, S. 1461 and H.R. 1639 has acquired two major new co-sponsors from the House and Senate.

Representative Fred Upton (R, Michigan) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R, South Carolina) are the politicians who have signed on to fight the FDA. That’s good news and I’m glad we have some more people fighting those who would stomp out our cigars. And a big thanks to CRA for their activism and for keeping us up-to-date on what is going on.

2. Alec Bradley just published the first edition of the Red Badge Report. Here’s a little video (jump ahead to about 0:40):

 3. Then there is the special (can a 100,000 production run be termed “special”) run of the Avo La Trompeta. Here’s the stuff:

Through the subtle balanced Ligero tobaccos and the add-on of Peruvian Seco from exquisite tobacco fields, this special vintage is a medium to full- bodied cigar with complex notes in the aftertaste. The beautiful, slightly oily Ecuador Special Sun Grown wrapper “Seleccion 702” awards this cigar an indescribable spicy and balanced, multi-faceted experience. This cigar converts our thoughts in dreams.

“This cigar converts our thoughts in dreams” – wow. Somebody ate their Wheaties before writing that! More info:

“La Trompeta” presents itself in a majestic and charming cigar format – a brilliant 6 ½ x 54 “Piramide”– the addition of a special feature to pay homage to the jazz trumpet, three small circular cigar leaf cut-outs are placed on the wrapper leaf to resemble “trumpet keys” – limited to 100,000 cigars worldwide with 50,000 cigars for the US market.

“La Trompeta” will be available on March 26th at Select Merchants with a retail price of $15.50 taxes not included.

4. Breaking In is not a great show but it’s fun. At least, it was. With the addition of Megan Mullally and the subtraction of a couple of guys (the kind of up tight one and that other one, you know, the zany guy) the premiere episode wasn’t good. Hopefully it will get better but, well, let’s hope. Here’s a video that I think shows one of the funnier moments from the first season:

AFGL: Viaje, Snoop & Chuck

January 22, 2012 · Posted in AFGL, Cigar Industry, Entertainment · Comment 

A Few Good Links for this week includes a cigar company that’s transitioning into limited edition cigars only, a rapper (Or is he a hip hop artist? I’m too white to know for sure.) and the end of a favorite TV show of mine.

1. Viaje has announced that they’re only going to do limited editions of their cigars from this point on. From Cigar Aficionado: “Viaje recently announced that, from this point on, the company will only be producing small-batch production runs. Lines like the Oro and Platino that were previously regular-production brands will now be made in limited quantities only.” Honestly, I think this is a dangerous move for the company. If you don’t have regular production lines then you aren’t going to have regular customers.

Take Tatuaje as an example. They have a number of production lines that people like and smoke regularly, thus keeping the brand on their customers’ minds. With this entrenched customer base they have the ability to do a lot of limited edition cigars and, since there are already a good number of people smoking their production line cigars, there are more people who will take a chance on a limited edition cigar that costs more than twice as much as a decent premium cigar.

On the other hand, producing a handful of limited edition cigar brands is an exciting proposition. For starters, Viaje will have more control over the taste of their cigars. Instead of having to worry about producing a ton of cigars they can use what little leaf is available to make exactly what they want. Another plus about this approach is that the fact that every cigar is a “limited edition” may end up creating more demand than otherwise would be there just because of the customers’ perceived quality of these cigars. “Well, it’s a limited edition cigar so that means it’s rare and that must mean that it is better than this tawdry regular production cigar that I was going to smoke so I’m going to buy the Viaje,” or something like that line of reasoning may go on in a number of BOTL’s heads when buying their cigars.

Anyways, it’s an interesting gambit and I hope it works out for them.

2. Snoop Dogg (I remember when I was younger, probably over a decade ago, my local sports guy, Fred Roggin, tried to say Snoop’s name and it came out “Snoopy Dog Doggy.” Just a funny anecdote, that’s all.) has decided to take the cigar industry by storm! He’s created a cigar brand (read this if you want to waste a minute of your time) that will sell for about $0.50 a cigar… and he claims they’ll taste great. Sure.

Seriously, I just don’t get it. There have to be hordes of liquor companies, clothing companies, alternative lifestyle concerns and others clamoring to get him to affix his name onto their product; so why cheap cigars? Cheap flavored cigars at that. Well, I guess if Congress or the socialists in CA decide to ban flavored cigars the fact that Snoop will no longer be the new dogg in the cigar industry would be a slight silver lining.

3. Chuck, which I’ll admit isn’t an amazing show, is a show that I love to watch. It’s hokey and has some awfully dumb story lines but it also has this irresistible quality to it that isn’t hard to explain. Lots of action, a couple of pretty girls, bad guys that have to be defeated (and always are) and the geeky, down-on-his-luck lead character, Chuck, has blossomed into the hero with the girl of his dreams. I guess the main reason I like this show so much is because it is escapism at its nerdy best. I usually gravitate to shows that have a darkness about them (Dexter, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Nip/Tuck, Deadwood, Hell on Wheels and, holy crap, I watch too much television) but Chuck has carved out a position on my personal favorite TV show list of all time. I’ll miss it when it’s gone in a week.

AFGL: List of Lists, King, Fielder

January 13, 2012 · Posted in AFGL, Cigar Community, Cigar Industry, Entertainment, Sports · 2 Comments 

A Few Good Links this week is going to focus on a list of the lists of top cigars, some news about Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and an update on the (so far) sad tail of a slugging first baseman without a bag.

  • The Consensus: 2011 Awards via halfwheel: Ever wanted a Metacritic-esque survey of the cigar world? (Incidentally, I think that would be a good idea. It would need constant updating and there would have to be some kind of resolution as far as scoring goes, should certain sites be weighted more heavily, what about vitola… I digress.) Well, halfwheel has come out with a survey of what the cigar blogging world thought were their favorite cigars of 2011. I will only tell you that Undercrown was the consensus top pick according to them. If you want to see the rest of this amazing post (like top brand, factory, country and some trends) you’re going to have to click on through.
  • Stephen King wrote one of my favorite fantasy series of all time in The Dark Tower. In late April there will be a new addition to this series with The Wind Through the Keyhole, which will basically shed some light on the main character’s past. I think it’s kind of like Godfather 2 in that there are some elements that take place during the natural progression of the story and there are some prequel elements as well. This will be mostly prequel though. With the movie/tv-ification of this series in peril the new book is at least something to look forward to.
  • While Prince Fielder’s normal pace is slower than most his current pace is maddeningly slow. I’m guessing his agent, Scott Boras, is playing a game of chicken with all of his client’s potential suitors but there comes a time when you have to wonder whether or not this was a bad move. And then I see a little piece of news like this and I’m thinking the AL West is where the real arms race is.

AFGL: Orange, Krauss and Lists

January 6, 2012 · Posted in AFGL, Assault on Cigars, Cigar Community, Entertainment · Comment 

A Few Good Links this week will cover how Camacho/Davidoff got screwed out of a sponsorship deal with the Orange Bowl, Alison Kruass and Union Station’s new album and a few of the top cigars of the year lists I saw.

  • Patrick S. over at Stogie Review has a really good post about how the Orange Bowl reneged on their sponsorship deal with Camacho Cigars. It’s a travesty, for sure. What I’m really hoping for is that one of these days when the smoke Nazis (or whatever pejorative for these national hall monitors you prefer) have beaten us in a battle we will turn around and use that loss as our Alamo. I would be ecstatic if the Orange Bowl were our Alamo but it probably isn’t. One of these days though….
  • This last week I’ve been blaring the newest album from Alison Krauss and Union Station: Paper Airplane in my car and at home. I don’t know how to describe why it is that I like her music so much, whether it is with Union Station or with Robert Plant or whoever, other than to say that she is an amazing talent. And so are all the musicians in Union Station. They’re the whole package. If you can pick up the special CD from Target with the extra tracks.

Some observations regarding those lists: 1. I didn’t smoke nearly enough cigars last year, 2. I have to find that Grimalkin I have somewhere and 3. I still have to do my list (yeah!). I figure that as long as I get a list out before Cigar Aficionado is done unveiling theirs then I am okay.

Smoking and Gambling

August 11, 2011 · Posted in Entertainment · 3 Comments 

Smoking and gambling, it use to go together like love and marriage, but probably not for much longer. In order to smoke one of your favorite cigars and go to a casino you will probably have to go to a casino online. Now, if you are like me, that actually might be preferable. You sit comfortably at home with a drink that is much cheaper than it would be at a blackjack table and you can smoke a cigar.

Another benefit of gambling at home is that you do not have all those other pesky distractions. There isn’t that guy sitting next to you at the slot machines cursing God for his misfortune, which is ironic because I don’t think God is all that accommodating when it comes to gambling. Maybe things would be different if God saw that you were playing something cooler than slots: maybe roulette. Could God curse you for playing a game that James Bond played?

Ah, but that doesn’t really matter anymore. The thrill of gambling is the gambling part and not all the chaff that Las Vegas casinos throw at you whenever you darken their doorstep – “Oh, I know you are here to gamble but wouldn’t you just love to see a Cher concert?” Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not for me.

Playing cards is fun, I use to do it all the time with my friends before I started smoking cigars. Then I started smoking cigars and they didn’t, which led to an illicit gaming impasse. If I’m going to sit around for three hours at night playing a game I’m going to want to smoke a cigar. Even if that game is slots, I’m going to want to smoke a cigar.

If you are like me and you like your gambling to be about gambling and not about superfluous crap then you might as well stay at home and strike up a cigar. At least that is will still be legal, for a while at least.

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