It's kind of like when twice a year you visit Valentino's family in Pittsburgh, PA and make the trip to the Strip District to eat Primanti's magnificently monstrous sandwiches...
|You actually have to unhinge your jaw in order to eat these sandwiches.|
...and buy cheese at Pennsylvania Macaroni Company...
|This is just the line to buy cheese. |
I'm generally curled up in a corner weeping from sensory overload.
Valentino's people...they are a noisy bunch...
...and walk the mean streets of the Strip District.
|If the internet ever runs out of Steelers merchandise, |
you can get some here... [source]
I've been to the Strip District a boatload of times and somehow never walked by this place:
|It's enticing enough; I'm sure I would have begged to go in. [source]|
I mean, come ON! We were just there last month! And this month, we discover that place (above) is responsible for creating this:
|I know! Cool! [source]|
We picked up a couple of these gems at Broadway Cigars when we were on our Mysterioso search and rescue mission. Honestly, I liked the look of them and enticed Valentino.*
The Leaf by Oscar comes in four varieties: Connecticut, Corojo, Maduro, and Sumatra. We picked up the first two for no reason other than those were the two we literally picked up first.
So here's what you have to do:
|Step 1: Take the leaf off the Leaf.|
|Step 2: Light and gaze longingly at it when it's not in your mouth.|
|Step 3: Maintain a consistent level of awe as it burns smoothly and evenly (for the most part).|
“and the leaves were telling secrets to the wind.”
― Peter Mulvey
― Peter Mulvey
These leaves, the ones used to wrap the Leaf, are used to keep the cigar's secrets in. Thankfully, Jim Robinson, the Leaf's creator, shares the story on the Leaf and Bean website:
"Last year Jim goes on one of his usual jaunts to Central America cigar country and spends some time with Oscar [Valladares], who now makes some killer cigars in his own factory now in Danli.
"Legend has it that after a long day of doing whatever Jim does at a cigar factory, Jim decided to take a cigar for the road.
"He looked for something to put his cigar in to keep it fresh and protect it, like a plastic bag perhaps, but no such luck.
"So Jim looks around and then decides to do something that would later become known as a stroke of simple genius.
"Jim grabs a spare tobacco leaf and wraps his naked cigar with it." <--This is where the magic happens.
"Nobody really thought anything of it at the time, but when Jim took out his cigar to smoke it the next day he noticed something when he removed the cigar from its protective leaf - it had a particularly interesting oily patina on the cigar :)
"This is a good thing for a cigar... The cigar was not only protected but mother nature had provided some additional oils to the cigar."
You have got to see this coolness.
I should probably tell you about the smoke itself. Keep in mind enjoying this smoke was punctuated with this other version of heaven, but I will say that the Connecticut blended pepper and creaminess that would ordinarily make me throat-punch you for putting pepper in the cream, because that's ridiculous.** And yet when combined with a little bit of citrusiness (yes, that is a word in Penny World), the cigar was a great and consistent beginning and ending to our jaunt on Federal Hill the other night.
He smoked the corojo with Caballero #2 at Habanos the other night, but I wasn't sitting close enough to pick up any second-hand smoke. Honestly, I was more focused on my vanilla vodka and Diet Coke and chatting with Nathalie, the supercool bartender and all-around coolest gal so I missed the Leaf corojo burning.
|"I shall distract you from your second-hand smoke. Bwah hahahaha!"|
*Actually, that's how I got Valentino too. Liked his look and enticed him.
**I've just been informed that pepper and cream are what makes an Alfredo sauce delicious. Whatever, dude.