View Full Version : Hemingway and BT.
Yesterday the cold spell broke and we were in the mid fifties. I had my mind on a cigar all day, but couldn't get around to it until about 8:30, after dark and colder http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif So, I bundled up and headed out back. Because of time and temperature I decided on a Hemingway "Short Story", the smallest cigar in the Fuente Hemingway series. I paired it with a particular BT single barrel expression that was purchased by me and several members of straightbourbon.com.
The Short Story lit easily and burned evenly. It lasted me about 25 minutes, or just long enough to get the pork tenderloin seared and to a nice medium-rare http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif Lots of classic cedar and pepper from the cigar paired quite nicely with the sweet vanilla and caramel of the BT. I was also picking up some candied fruit flavors that I hadn't experienced before, but were probably brought on by the cigar. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bandit.gif
Well, as I took my last draw I looked back on the last half hour and smiled. Although colder weather is sure to follow, this was a sign of good things to come. I hope you all had as enjoyable an evening! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
So... I am very, very new to cigars. A few months ago I went to the local cigar shop and asked what they recommended, the woman sold me two short stubby little cigars with, for lack of a better term, a lightable "nipple" on the end.
The cigar absolutely blew me away. Far better than anything else I'd tried before, and my wife loved hers as well. I smoke cigars rarely, so it was just this past week that I went in to pick up a few more... only to find out that the cigars I bought were Arturo Fuente Hemingay "Short Stories", and they are now unavailable any where in my area.
I found a box of 25 for $140 on the web, but I don't own a humidor, so I really can't store that many cigars... I liked them enough to pay that price, though. How much would a good humidor run me (I don't need a large one), and where would you folks recommend buying one?
I've been into cigars for only about 2 yrs myself and the Arturo Fuente Hemingway series is one of my favorites.
As far as a humidor, check out several sites on the net about using an Igloo cooler for a humidor. I've got cigars in mine over 1 1/2 yrs old and they are as good as new. For well under $50 you can buy the cooler , a small hygrometer and a small humidifier. If image and appearance are a concern, this is not the humidor for you ,but the efficiency of these units beats that of all but the most expensive humidors. Check out Google and search under "cigar humidors/ coolerdors" for directions and advise. Good luck
Does your igloo cooler seal well enough to keep in the humidity? If so I think that you could improve it a bit with the simple addition of some thin veneers of Spanish Cedar to help keep the moisture in. Plus I love the mixed smell of good cigars and just a whiff of cedar. My first humidor was a tupperware container with a piece of sponge. Hardly elegant but functional over short periods of time. However I recently uncovered my old humidor full of old cigars that I was infusing with Bookers and they pretty much crumbled in less than a year. I also feel personally that the plastic container was able to keep my cigars at the proper humidity but they didn't seem to mellow as well without the cedar. At least that's my observation.
Well, since asking my question, I've bought a cheap humidor on sale ($40) at my local tobacco shop. It seems to seal nicely, and is lined with Spanish cedar. The stupid hygrometer is a cheap plastic piece of cr*p. The first one refused to properly calibrate, and the store owner replaced it... This one seems a little better so far, but time will tell. Since breaking it in, the humidor appears to be sitting at around 73% humidity, which I believe is fine (I've been told anywhere between 70-75% is acceptable).
After buying cigars from the only (or so I thought) tobacco store in the area (in the local mall), I happened to see a dirty, mostly-hidden sign that said "Coins & Cigars" yesterday. Figuring it couldn't hurt to look, I pulled in and found a for more (in my eyes) "authentic" tobacconist. This guy was definitely the real deal, and I know where I'll be going from now on. This guy sold me what was good, and not necessarily what was expensive. The mall store has mainly college kids working in it who don't actually smoke cigars, they just work there for the discount on cigarettes.
I have another question though - I currently have a very cheap guillotine-style cutter that the mall store sold me. The cigars I cut with it kind of smush together, and then little bits flake off the end into my mouth while I smoke... not really all that pleasant. Is the cutter to blame, or are the cigars I was sold dried out? I'm a complete noob, and I feel lost (like when I started getting into bourbon), but there's also a certain excitement about getting into a new hobby (I guess you could call it that) which I am enjoying...
I store my cigars in my coolerdor inside of cedar-lined boxes, saving me the trouble of lining the walls. I also made a cheap humidifier using florist foam (the wet kind, for live flowers), one of those semi-disposable rubbermaid containers and a 50:50 mix of water and propylene glycol. Just poke a bunch of holes in the container lid, put in the foam and saturate it with the solution. I did that about 2 years ago and haven't had to recharge it yet. The PG helps to maintain a 70% RH.
I generally use a punch cutter. This removes a small plug of tobacco from the end of the cigar, leving the roundness intact. If you like the guillotine-style cutter, try finding one double-bladed. This style of cutter requires less force, so less smashing occurs when cutting. If all else fails a sharp kitchen knife works every time. Then there's always your teeth http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bandit.gif
Will, it sounds like it might be a bit of both. A good cutter is very sharp and I haven't figured out a very good way of sharpening a dull one. I usually only use guillotines for torpedoes and other cigars with a pointed foot. For the rounded ones like toros, churchills and other large ring guage cigars I prefer a punch cutter but that's a personal preference. I sometimes cut too much or too little on these with a guillotine and have much the same trouble you are experiencing with the small flakes. Sometimes with too much they even start to unravel a bit. I haven't had a bit of problem with the punch in that area. The one I bought looks like a 44 magnum bullet and hangs on my keyring which is very handy for me. If the cigars are dry though, the sharpest cutter will still cause the flaking. That's why most "veterans" prefer to let their cigars sit a while in the humidor. Even dried cigars can be somewhat brought back to life in the proper humidity.
Seems like Jeff had told me before of his coolerdor and the florist's clay. Sounds like a good system. I'm just a bit old fashioned I guess and as I said I love the slight hint of cedar when I open mine.
I've about given up on hygrometers though as I've tried both digital and analog and both seem to have very short lifespans in my humidor. As my box holds 250, I bought two of the gel jars and have only had to recharge them once in six or seven months. They seem to keep my cigars in good shape and allow them to mellow a bit. The Gurkhas I took to the Sampler were much better from the initial lighting than they were back in September. Before they had a harsh taste at first and then mellowed out and were better toward the end. At least the one I had Saturday night was consistantly good all the way through. I can't wait for the cigars Julian gave me (thanks again Julian) to sit for a week or two out of celophane and give them a try.
I do use a lot of Spanish cedar blocks or veneers (collected from various cigar boxes)within the cooler. Using distilled water and varying amounts of pg,it's not hard to keep the temp and humidty around 70 in a 28 qt cooler. Never had any luck with the analog hydrometers,so now I use 2 digital units ,just to make sure. As far as a cutter I usually use the double bladed gullotine,unless the cap of the cigar is small and then go with a punch cutter. Must be the overbite ,but I could never get a decent cut with the teeth.
As others have said ,if the cigar has dried, there's going to be some tobacco crumbs.
Just curious, but what kind of cigars was Julian passing out?
Just curious, but what kind of cigars was Julian passing out?
I'm assuming he was passing out the Pappy cigars... I may order some from the website one of these days. Dane will have to let us know if they're worth it!
Well, guys it was more of a trade. I had contacted Julian prior to the September BF about buying some and then didn't get back to him whether I wanted a couple or a box. I have made a scrapbook out of my bands and told him of it. The other night I offered him his choice of what I brought, some La Perla Habana Maduros that had been in my humidor for over a year or Gurkha Master Selects that had been mellowing for about 8 months. He reciprocated with a Pappy cigar and offered a couple more being a very generous fellow. I accepted one more from him but felt that more would have seemed greedy. I haven't checked my travel humidor yet to see what his generous gift was yet as I put it in the bottom when it was kind of dark and I had had, well, maybe a couple of small sips of bourbon at that time. Whatever it was, I'm sure it will be a pleasant surprise and will be a cherished smoke for a special occasion.
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