Friday, October 24, 2014

Photo Finish or: Lots of Fun, Darling

You've probably noticed by now that the pictures of me on this blog are few and far between.* There's maybe one? I'm just not photogenic.  Apparently the animated faces I make throughout a conversation make me look like:
1. A crazy person
2. Someone who needs to be locked in a time machine and sent back to the time before George Eastman was born.

Or, when I'm trying to look pensive, thoughtful, dare I say enchanting, I allegedly look like I'm in pain. So yeah, there's that.

Sometimes I like to think of other things that LFD can stand for.
Loads of Fabulous Dancers? Let's Find Daisies?

Anyway, the other day, we headed to Broadway Cigars for a La Flor Dominicana (LFD) event, and of course we went, because:
1. Cigars
2. Broadway (Hi Bobby! Hi John! Hi John! Hi Sal! Hi other people whose names I've forgotten because school is in session and there's only so much room in my noggin for information!)
3. John Gallogly, the LFD Rep** who I realized I'd never actually met in person, although Valentino had the pleasure. But we are Facebook friends; that counts for something, right?
4. Sons of Liberty
5. LFD.

Let's freak out the people with OCD and look at these points out of order.***

#5. So we have a love-love-love-love relationship with LFD. Remember the Mysterioso shenanigans? The Mysterio adventure? The salamon situation? And the recent Litto Gomez games?

Is it insane that I'm a little bit in love with a cigar brand?****  I will admit to being brand loyal and charmed by the inner workings of a small business with a big reputation for creativity and excellence. Plus, as we've chatted about time and again, I love an interesting backstory. So, yeah, LFD.

"La Flor Dominicana burst on the scene in the middle of the 1990s cigar boom. Known first as Los Libertadores, the brand was met with the same skepticism that most of the other new brands encountered, both in the marketplace and among industry old-timers. But something changed very quickly," according to an article in Cigar Aficionado.

"The attitudes of the owners, the husband-and-wife team of Litto Gomez and Ines Lorenzo-Gomez, were clear from the start: they wanted to learn about the business and about cigars. Instead of copying the behavior of some of the newcomers, which might charitably be called arrogant, Gomez and Lorenzo-Gomez buckled down, spending time with some of the wisest people in the cigar business. They moved carefully, growing slowly and methodically as they acquired more expertise, better tobacco inventories and, finally, their own factory."

"'A lot of people thought that I was crazy to start in an industry that was typically in the hands of people that had done this for generations,' says Gomez, staring from beneath the brim of his trademark Montecristi Panama hat. 'If you were an outsider, you had to prove yourself. Twelve years later, we’re honored to be considered a part of the cigar industry.'" [source] As an obsessive researcher, I can appreciate the desire to know the world you're jumping into before lining up for that swan dive. I also respect the idea of finding a mentor or seeking the knowledge of those who have led the way; the newcomers who think they know better than their professional elders--and this can be in any industry: cigars, food, writing...*****

If you're not familiar with the story of Litto and Ines Gomez, you neeeeeed to learn more.

The whole place is like the coziest rec room you've ever been in,
with the coolest and most interesting people.

#2 Broadway Cigars in Providence, RI: This is kind of like our own personal Cheers,****** We're always welcomed and we always feel welcome. This makes us have a giant happy.

The Perfect Storm: Whiskey and cigars!

#4 Sons of Liberty Spirits: "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker." From the Rhode Island company's website: "We started with a couple questions: "Why is no one distilling single malt whiskies from the beers we love?" and "Why are there so many seasonal beers, but no seasonal whiskies?" With a spirit for innovation, we set out to create a line of whiskies the world had never seen." Anything that tastes alcoholy makes me make a face that causes Valentino to erupt into stomach-aching laughter convulsions. And then usually he begs me to take another sip so everyone else can see the face. Naturally, I do it because it brings everyone else So. Much. Joy. So, yeah, that happened. But everyone else seemed to really enjoy it. If you're in the area, pick some up!

#1. Cigars: Do I need to really say anything here? That's what we're here for!

Valentino started with this little darling, the LFD Reserva Especial El Jocko*******:

"This special 'Reserve' blend consists of a flawless, Ecuadorian Connecticut seed wrapper that surrounds Dominican Piloto Cubano longfiller and a rich-tasting Nicaraguan binder. The result is an exceptionally flavorful cigar that is full-bodied with an intriguing complexity. A 'must try' for more experienced cigar smokers." [source] The problem, although I am using that term incredibly loosely because it's really no problem at all, the problem with an event is that I can't get right up in Valentino's grill and bogart his second-hand smoke. Luckily he purchased a few of these so I'll get another chance. Wheee!
He also purchased a bunch more, and then I did, too, for... oh. Shhh. Nevermind!
#3: Our fab LFD rep, the one and only John Gallogly! Sure, he's super cool and fun and sure does know all the things about cigars. But the man has mad selfie skillz. I can even prove it. Look! A photo of me that doesn't make someone call 911!
And then there were two pictures!

*Of course there are many many many of Valentino, and that's fine.  He's the face of the blog. I'm the nutty scribe. I'm perfectly happy with that arrangement.

**Who, to clarify, is not my personal LFD representative, regardless of what I think.

***I can hear the screams of anguish and angst from here! Bwah hahahaha!

****Shush, you.

*****The only things I know about. Well, those and cupcakes. And rainbows and unicorns. But that's all I know.

******Without the alcohol unless you bring your own.

*******Crazy name? Yes. Story behind the crazy name? Of course! "[I]n the late 90’s a man by the name Jacko Headblade visited Litto Gomez’s farm and factory in the Dominican Republic to check out upcoming products and tobacco.  While on the farm Jacko attempted to ride a neighbor's donkey, Gomez commemorated the harsh event by naming both the donkey and the cigar El Jocko." [source]

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