Sunday, November 9, 2014

Helpy McHelperson, Part the Second

When last we left our hero, he'd been helping Brad choose some new (to him) cigars. If you haven't figured out by now, Valentino is 1. Incredibly outgoing; 2. Incredibly helpful; 3. Incredibly understanding.  I am, maybe, one and a half of these things, and neither the one, nor the half, is #1. That's why we're such a great team. I'm happy to stay in the background while he makes things happen.

Recently, we were at an undisclosed location* and a very nice man asked for recommendations, saying he liked medium-to-full strength and flavor. He didn't care for infused; instead, he liked a hint of creaminess. Valentino was about to offer help but then backed off, not wanting to step on the proprietor/Bossman's toes/ego/whatever, since he happened to be standing right near us. There's helpful and there's annoyingly take-chargy; Valentino knows the difference, understanding that Bossman likes to be in charge, and so he happily stood back and let the Bossman make suggestions.

Not the Bossman, although, now that I think of it, kinda...

The two men went into the humidor and, when they came out, Bossman headed to points unknown.  Of course, because we are nosy interested, we asked what our new friend would soon be smoking.

He held up a MUWAT** Kentucky Fire Cured. We wondered why Bossman would have suggested that.  He and I looked at each other and communicated with a series of eye rolls, questioning looks, and shrugs, the way people who spend a lot of time together do. Finally, after unfurrowing our brows, Valentino asked if he'd ever had that cigar before. Now don't get us wrong. We like the KFC just fine, but we were worried because based on what he'd said previously, this didn't seem like the best choice for him.

According to the Drew Estate website, "Kentucky Fire Cured is not something new to the world of tobacco, as it has been grown for over 200 years. Easily compared to the smokey taste attributed to a peaty scotch, the KFC picks up nuances of the roasted hickory, oak or maple wood."

Valentino told him about the deliciously rich, smoky, slightly-sweet flavor. The man furrowed his own brow and shook his head. He said he didn't care for any kind of smoky flavors, in his ham or anywhere else. Then he and Valentino returned to the humidor and found him something much more in line with what he was used to smoking: Herrera Esteli, "a medium plus blend that is exceptionally creamy with great balance of spice and sweet." This is the first in the Willy Herrera line; we chatted about the second here--and we're giving some away, so make sure you sign up!!

We came across this quotation the other day and it stuck with us, like gum on shoe--or a clue on a gumshoe. Whatever.

There is no perfect cigar--just the perfect cigar for you and your tastes.

A good proprietor will try to match you with your perfect cigar rather than one that is popular. If the person making the recommendation doesn't seem confident in their cigar discussion, by all means, ask for a second opinion. After all, a good cigar can cost as much as a co-pay; it should bring you an hour or more of pleasure. Smoking a cigar you don't care for can turn you off cigars for a while or, at the very least,  ruin what should have been a relaxing and enjoyable time.

Occasionally Valentino will start smoking something that he winds up not caring for. He'll make his way through the whole dang thing, not enjoying it, but feeling as though he made the commitment and should see it to the end, er, nub.

I, however, am an advocate of "If you don't like it, stop it!" and frequently (practically) jump up and down, saying "You don't have to finish it! I'll get you another! Stop the madness!" Sometimes he's right to press on for a bit, as he winds up liking the cigar after an inch or so, and you should totally give some time to the stick before writing it off. But come on, nubbing a cigar that you bitched about the entire time?*** That is 100% counterproductive to the cigar culture.

So enjoy that cigar and your time smoking it. Please. We're begging you!!

*And I'm not going to tell you where because we are very nice and have no intention of calling anyone out on anything. And it's a place we've never mentioned here, so don't go speculating.

**My Uzi Weighs a Ton--But if you're in the know, and of course we are (hahahaha)--you just call it Moo-wat.

***Hypothetically. Valentino doesn't do this. Not through the whole thing anyway!

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