Tuesday, August 12, 2014

In which Valentino Gets his Silk(y) Wish

I'm quite a tactile person. If we meet and you're wearing a soft-looking shirt, I may ask to pet it. Don't pull away in horror. Pretty please? The irony of this is that I have very little feeling in my hands,* so I probably can't actually get the full sensation of your soft shirt. Is that silk by the way?

Speaking of silk, or more specifically the J Grotto Silk Series...

Ooooh.  Pretty. Shiny.
And one of Valentino's Top 3 Cigars of all Time!

As you may remember, from me telling you a hundred million times, we love to visit Mr. J's Havana in West Warwick, RI and give Paul and Mark and Tom and Rob all our monies. If we could give them all your monies too, we would.

Located front and center, right where you would go to exchange cash or credit for cigars,** sit the J Grotto Series, J Grotto Series Reserve, and J Grotto Silk Series. (And stay tuned for the Anniversary Series--it's so close I can almost taste it.)

Valentino has always*** been partial to the Silk Series, an Ecuadorian Connecticut blend, usually purchasing the Gordo 6 x 60. "Partial" is too slight of a descriptor. How about whole-heartedly adores? How about it's one of his top three favorites? How about LUUURRRVES? What is the foundation of this adoration? The cigar has a million tons of flavor, he says (my paraphrase, of course). "It's like a full-bodied mild cigar. A full flavor for the Connecticut wrapper folks." In fact, he hearts it soooooo much that it made the cut and got to travel to Bermuda with us. Sadly (happily?), it did not make the return trip.

Horseshoe Bay.
Pinky swear, one of the most gorgeous places I've ever been in my whole life.
And with one of his favorite cigars? Heaven on Earth.

Paul Joyal said upon its release in 2012, "I was test-smoking samples for our new J. Grotto Connecticut boutique cigar, the latest addition to our previous cigars in the line. Suddenly, the word 'Silk' came to mind. I realized it was the perfect name to describe this cigar...the wrapper's silky smooth feel and appearance, along with its flavor...fragrant and delicate, but with a surprise fullness of lush flavor nuances." [source]

But don't just take our word (or Paul's, although he may be a bit biased) about its awesomeness (even though we're wondering why you wouldn't be hanging on our every syllable).  Our friend Jake Healey from Hanley's Ale House in Providence said, "Being a medium to full smoker, Connecticut wrappers are often similar to smoking air for me. I also prefer lancero and smaller ring gauge cigars since the binder and wrapper contain most of the flavor in a cigar. There are some smokes that I will only smoke in smaller rings because the larger versions of the same blend don't have the same amount of flavor. The J Grotto silk has always been one of my favorite Connecticut smokes because it lives up to the name silk. You get a lot of thick, flavorful smoke with each puff."

Since falling in love with the creamy earthiness, with some pepperiness, Valentino has frequently begged Paul for a lancero Silk. "How about now?" he'd ask every time we went into the store.****


Every. Time. Kind of like this:


And then behold, the angels sang.

""...and the angels said unto them,
'Fear not, for behold I bring you tidings of great joy...
the J Grotto Silk Series Lancero.'"

And the Silk Lancero was born.

Hello, friends...  [source]

We may have done a happy dance, but it wasn't nearly as fun to watch as a cute couple in a romantic comedy doing a happy dance. Or Snoopy doing a happy dance--although ours ended about this same way as this:

So we bought some--okay a box--of the 7 1/2 x 40, plus a couple to smoke so we wouldn't have to break the box open, because... It's kind of like buying a candle you like and never burning it because then it will be gone. So, yeah, we still have a full box of ten. Okay, not exactly like that because he's gone in and bought more singles to refill the box, if you must know. I guess we could just buy another box--but as you know, we're having a humidor issue.

Here's Jake again: "[W]hen Paul told me he was coming out with a lancero and I would be one of the first to try it, I was over the moon. The lancero lives up to the silk name by still providing the thick smoke it always does, but with even more flavor than the other sizes. It had an excellent nutty flavor that is far superior to most of the Ecuadorean Connecticut cigars on the market, and its Indonesian binder gives it a ton of thick smoke synonymous with the name. I highly recommend the Silk to anyone who usually goes for a heavier smoke but wants something a little lighter in addition to anyone who is a mild smoker but wants a thicker smoke. If you haven't yet tried it, make sure to get your hands on one!"

Or, you know, way more than one.

"The lancero is a heavier gauge silk than the others in the line," Valentino says. "More concentrated. More silky. It's a heavier silk.  It's a winter silk..." It's a Silk he's going to be smoking regardless of the season.

A dream come true.

The other day when we were leaving the shop, Valentino said to Paul, "Now you need a salomon."

Paul shook his head. "You're killing me, Val."

*Some people say I don't have any feelings at all. I call them students. And I say your grade stands.

**If cigars had a hard instead of soft C-sound, this would be one hell of an awesome phrase.

***Always since they were born and he discovered them.

****I will not reveal how many times this may have been. That's between us and American Express.

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