Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Tale of Two Cigar Shops/Lounges, Part the Second (but about Nos. 4 and 5) (Numbers are confusing.)

When we last left you, we'd visited Broadway Cigars and kept Will from licking the cigars. Check out Part the First and Part the First and a Half.

Then we hopped in the car and headed to a place we'd been meaning to go for ages: The Humidor in Cranston, RI. As you may remember, we visited their East Greenwich shop not too long ago.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Humidor-Smoke-Shop/176133273319

The Cranston store is their flagship and, while not as big as our earlier jaunt destination, man oh man do they have a ton of cool stuff! In fact, we had a really hard time deciding what to get. Apprently, for the fiscally responsible (Valentino), "Let's get all the things!" is not a reasonable alternative.

But first! We want to tell you this interesting fact: The Humidor was one of Drew Estate's first five accounts and the first in New England.

http://drewestate.com/

Now I wish I could say, for continuity's sake, that we bought a ton of Drew Estate cigars, but we already have a ton ton ton in the humidor, so we went in a different direction and got these:

I know!
We've been looking for the My Father Cigars lancero, also known as the My Father No. 4, for just ages! And here they were! We suspect we're going to love them, and when we got home, we were all d'oh! Why did we only get one of the 7 1/2 x 38 cigars, with their Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrappers and Nicaraguan binders and fillers? We never do that! We always get at least two, usually three--one to smoke right away, one for the humidor, and one for a second smoke. The humidor looked angry* when we only fed one of these lovelies into its maw.

We'll tell you more when we set it on fire, which will probably happen soon-ish.


Then! the lovely Jana, owner extraordinaire, brought this box from the back room:
...and Will jumped right in. Sigh.
This lovely box is half-filled with the Fuente Fuente Opus X (FFOX) Perfecxion No. 5, which may seem owl-sized at 40 x 4 7/8, but we triple-dog-dared him to light one up. We stared him down--or tried to but were seriously losing--so we walked away and passive-aggressively said, "You do what you want." 

We should probably tell Will that our friends at Famous Smoke** say the "cigars are stunning little fireplugs handcrafted by Carlito Fuente's most talented rollers using vintage, all-Dominican, Cuban-seed fillers capped in mouthwateringly oily wrappers. The smoke is full-bodied, heady and spicy, laced with a deep dark tobacco flavors." Yeah, we should probably tell him.

This is another instance where we say, "What were we thinking? Why didn't we just grab the box and run?"***

Jana, we're going to be back soon, because we really should hav ebought all the things. Is there an opposite of "buyer's remorse"? Like, "Didn't buy it remorse"? Because if that's a thing, we have it. Big time.


*It truly is a living beast, with wants and needs that must be fulfilled.  And you should never, ever feed it after midnight.

**Of course, our friends at Famous Smoke also say "Hahaha, good luck finding these!"

***Probably because we aren't really runners. Plus, we're pretty law-abiding and we'd feel really badly before we ever reached the car. Plus plus, Jana is wicked nice.

A Tale of Two Cigar Shops/Lounges, Part the First and a half*

Of course we couldn't leave Broadway Cigars empty-handed--even though we really weren't anyway, since we'd purchased dinner tickets.

So in order to fill a metaphoric hole** in our humidor, we picked up these:



You've probably somewhere along the line seen these 7 x 70s and their partners in your local shops and online:
[source--although it's kind of obvious]

From the CAO website: "Inspired by hot rods and pin-up girls, CAO Flathead is a box pressed collection that hits on all cylinders. Hand-shaped to deliver a striking flat top, the cigar features a brawny Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and a blend that’s heavy on Nicaraguan leaf. Its frontmarks are named for engine parts, but the tribute to muscle cars doesn’t end there. Flathead gives a nod to the muscle car engine, with a lid that’s easily removed and used as wall art. There’s also a collectible, pin-up girl flysheet that’s enclosed in the box."

I'd sent a set to my boy some time ago when these folks had a special. (He lives in West Virginia and awesome premium cigar shops are few and far-between in the land of camouflage.) He loved them all, and I guess that means I should send more, although after this Christmas, his humidor is pretty darned full. Let me know when you have room!

While this size isn't a go-to for Valentino, the bounty of Nicaraguan filler makes it a winner!


So this was the complete haul for the day--quite small for us, if I do say so--although we'd vowed not to purchase anything, so...

To find out The Rest of the Story,*** you should go here for part two. (And here for the first part, in case you have amnesia.)

Check out Parts the First and Second of this blog post!

* Shush you. I had already committed Part the Second to another post, when I realized another part lurked in the middle, and really shouldn't be told out of turn. So I mathed it and made this 1.5.

**Because the thing is jam-packed and there is barely room for anything else.

***I miss Paul Harvey. Good DAY!

A Tale of Two Cigar Shops/Lounges, Part the First

Valentino and I had a couple of errands to run, one of which was actually paying for the tickets we'd reserved for the Broadway Cigars' February dinner at Ciara Restaurant  on February 9. (For details, give the shop a call* (401) 272-9600 or visit the event Facebook page.)

We took Will the Travelling Owl because sometimes it's just easier to bring him than it is to listen to him bitch because we didn't.

We landed at Broadway first, whereby Will demanded a photoshoot:

Oh, we'll do what you want, little owl,
but we're going to photobomb you.

You know we love the La Flor Dominicana Myster...oh, we mean TCFKAM (The Cigar Formerly Known As Mysterio). Will's also a fan.


Will would like to own this box. Just sayin'...
This Alec Bradley Nica Puro Diamond Rough Cut is on our to-do list. I guess it would be a to-smoke list. We don't want to call it a Cigar Bucket List, as we'd like to have more than one before we do any bucket-kicking. The limited-release (which you know makes us swoon) 6 1/2 x 54 toro is a line extension of the already beloved Nico Puro. As the name states, this cigar screams heaven for our Nicaraguan-loving Valentino.

Yep. These AB babies. Where the Nica Puro line all began...
way back in 2012.

This is a super favorite of the entire household!
This is the super-limited, 75th Anniversary release Joel Sherman, from our friends at Nat Sherman. The double corona (7 1/2 x 46) is a perfect blend of an Ecuadorean Connecticut wrapper and Dominican binder and filler. Every once in a while, we'll gift one to a friend and as his** face lights up with delight, we mention that (hahaha) they're hard to find.*** 

We were super surprised to find that Broadway had them, as few other folks do. So, if this is your great white whale that you relentlessly seek, run and get them!

P.S. We cropped the photo so you couldn't have your heart broken, as we did when we saw someone wrote the price on this gorgeous box in permanent marker.

Will is saying, Ah, I remember when
I was first to have one of these...
Broadway also has the J Grotto perfecto P-555 (5 x 55--get it?), which sold so quickly that they, too, are difficult to find. Will wanted to hoard them all. We told him if he wanted to get a job and pay for them, we'd be happy to carry the bag for him.

But we can also understand his desire to have them. We've loved them since Paul Joyle shared them with us pre-release. The Connecticut broadleaf wrapper and Dominican Habano binder work lovingly together to hold the Dominican and other Central American super secret fillers. Want to know more? You should go here!

We turned away for one second and found Will
rolling around in the box of another favorite cigar. Sigh.
We've told you a hundred gazillion times**** about our love of the Leaf.***** It's another we tell folks about all the time. We could probably hand-sell them throughout the land if we were so inclined. But then we'd feel like we were playing favorites, and that wouldn't be right. After all, we are staunch reporters, committed to true journalism. (Hard to say without laughing, so we can imagine how hard it is to read.)

If you haven't had a Leaf by Oscar, from our friend Island Jim Robinson, then let us know and we'll point you in the right direction. Wrapped in a tobacco leaf, this cigar is as awesome as it looks.


Arrrrgh!
Very few cigars can be both awesome and annoying. There's another all-Nicaraguan cigar (awesome) we dig and every time we see it, whether at Broadway, another shop, or in the humidor when we're looking for something delicious,****** that damn Commodores song pops into our heads (annoying). (You're welcome, by the way, for the earworm.)




We have been remiss in telling you about our Brick House love, and promise to get to that soon, but in the meantime, here's an interesting story from their website: "In 1937, J.C. Newman launched Brick House; a true Cuban puro cigar made with the finest Havana tobaccos. To honor his family and heritage, J.C. modeled the Brick House label after his childhood home – the only brick house in their small, Hungarian village. Locals and visitors would gather at the house nightly to eat, drink, smoke and enjoy each other’s company. But with the Cuban embargo came the end of the Brick House." But you can't blow a brick house down, and they are back and waiting for you!

Yes, Will likes the name of this cigar. Sigh. Again.
Mr. J's Havana introduced us to the Crux Cigar family at one of their monthly dinners, waaay back in October, and we've been fans ever since! Crux is relative new to the marketplace, and this Ninfamaniac pays homage to the classic Cuban Ninfa, at 7 x 33, although the tapered cap and foot makes it uniquely Crux. With a Habano Jalapa wrapper, Indonesian binder, and Nicaraguan filler, one of the most interesting things about the Ninfamaniac, besides the fantastic taste, is that the cigars are handcrafted by only two rollers.

Oh, we do go on, don't we? Check out Part the First and a Half here, and Part the Second here.


 
 
*But not today, Tuesday 1/27, because they are closed--as is the rest of Penny World because of, um...all the snow in the world being dumped on us!
 
**Always "he." We know very few local lady cigar smokers.
 
***We are horrible people. We know this. We know you love us anyway.
 
****Go to the right-hand side of the blog, scroll down, and click on Leaf. Then you'll see all the times we brought it up in casual conversation. Blogging conversation, that is. 
 
*****Hey! We said the name of the blog!
 
******Everything in the humidor is delicious, so the search isn't a difficult one.

Words of Wisdom #55: Yep


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

February Cigar (and more!) of the Month: Joya Red! or: "I see famous people."

UPDATE! We upped the ante! Not just two cigars--at least FOUR! And who knows that else, besides the book. It's a Joya de Nicaragua Cigars Bonanza!!! Keep reading for all the deets!!! What are you still doing here? Go!


First of all,
CONGRATULATIONS
to Lancero Arsonist (@Wm2slc on twitter), also known as Bill Williams!
He won the Kristoff prize pack for the January Cigar of the Month giveaway!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"A cigar for the modern smoker. It offers a vibrant and extremely pleasant experience you will enjoy anytime, anywhere. Classy, as always, but a lot more fun."



That's how the Joya de Nicaragua website describes the Joya Red, and I have to say, they're right.* Having been a advertisement copywriter, I can say that the words used to describe a product or service are generally hyperbole wrapped in the slightest bit of truth, with a dash of WTF. So while a lot of ad copy "reads pretty," it generally lacks substance.**

Here's what we're talking about: Launched at the 2014 IPCPR, the Joya Red is a Nicaraguan puro, which brought it near and dear to Valentino's heart before he ever took the cutter from his pocket. More specifically, the wrapper is Nicaraguan Habana, Nicaraguan binder, and Nicaraguan (Jalapa, Condega, Esteli) filler.

In this case, though, no hyperbole or WTF were used in creating this ad copy. Just a lot of truth. According to an article on the Cigar Coop website, "[T]he company said they moved away from their abundant use of ligeros and thick wrappers and made use of more viso leaves." Less strength than Joyas generally have, apparently led to much more flavor, according to our hero, who gave me details later.
I was away at a writing conference, while Valentino whooped it up at a Drew Estate event at Habanos.*** (Honestly, every time a Drew Estate event happens, I'm somewhere else. Dagnabbit!) Apparently, our friendly, neighborhood Drew Estate rep (Hi John Hart!) pushed the Red in Valentino's direction.

About three puffs in, our hero called me and said, "This cigar is fucking good"--before even uttering "Hello." That's pretty high praise, considering he is one classy dude who holds etiquette in high regard. I could almost see the red hearts rising from the cigar smoke as I heard him enjoy the Red.

I was kind of in the same overly-focused mindset during his call and started telling him about how I was hanging with my new BFF, New York Times best-selling author Craig Johnson, the writer of the Longmire books, upon which the now-Netflix, once-A&E, series is based. Valentino was not suitably impressed, as he should have--and usually would have--been. That's how good the Joya Red is. I would like to say I hung on his every word, but, um, no. That's how good a storyteller Craig is--his Wyoming drawl lingered in my brain just as the Joya RED committed itself to Valentino's sensory memory.

For this month's giveaway, we thought we'd marry the subjects of this ill-fated conversation and offer you the opportunity to win this:


I've been holding onto this book for a couple of months because Craig and I promised each other we'd talk on the phone and call it an interview and we'd chat about cigars and books and other things we love.  But since then, so many things have happened, both good and bad, and now Craig's in France. As much as I love you guys, I'm not calling France for you.

Did I mention he signed it for you? Because he totally did.
But I also had these cigars in the queue to give away for February, with the whole Valentine's Day, red hearts, tie-in and all.

So you can enjoy this book of short stories while enjoying the cigars. Oh! I guess I should tell you about the book. That would help. Let's start with this: "Twelve Longmire short stories available for the first time in a single volume—featuring an introduction by Lou Diamond Phillips of A&E’s Longmire." [source]****<--[Follow the sparkles for an additional description.]

Don't forget to also watch the series if you haven't already. And read all the Longmire books, because they are really really good--and even better if you listen to them.  The audiobooks are available on iTunes. Any and all of those are perfect activities to accompany a Joya Red, which also offers you a variety of opportunities--four vitolas, that is: Short Churchill (4 3/4 x 48), Robusto (5 1/4 x 50), Toro (6 x 52), CaƱonazo (5 1/2 x 54).

This is Craig in the airport on his way to France,
as part of his European book tour.
Many opportunities. Many awesome combinations, and any one (or all) of them sure to be a winner.  Trust us. We know things. And we're as trustworthy as a Wyoming small town sheriff--although we can't pull off that hat nearly as well as Craig or Longmire does.  



Here's how to enter:

So here's what we need you to do--one or two or three of the following:*****

1. Follow us on twitter! We are @cigargal <--obviously Valentino had no say in the making of that twitter handle. Sometimes we're even funny.

 Be sure to leave your twitter handle in the comments below--otherwise we won't know you're following us to be in the running for the Joya loot!

This is us--just so you know you're following the right folks!

2. Like Will the Travelling Owl's Facebook page.

Be sure to tell us your name in the comments below, especially if you post anonymously, so we can be sure you're vying for the loot <--(rhymes with hoot!) and not one of his already awesome friends.

Yep. That's Will. He's checking his Facebook page.
3. Sign up to receive our blog posts right smack dab in your inboxes! The sign-up box is right below the giveaway picture on the right hand side.

No special directions here--we can consult the list of subscribers!

The winner  is chosen on the 25th (ish) of each month--because my birthday is on the 25th, and what better way to count down to the blessed event than to give something away?




*A couple of years ago I would have said "spot on," but now that everyone says it because of some reality TV show or another, I've banished it from my vocabulary.

**Insert your own metaphor, simile, or blonde joke here.

***Drew Estate has the exclusive US distribution rights to all the Joya de Nicaragua cigars sold in this country, which is why that brand demanded attention at the DE event.

****From amazon: "Ten years ago, Craig Johnson wrote his first short story, the Hillerman Award–winning “Old Indian Trick.” This was one of the earliest appearances of the sheriff who would go on to star in Johnson’s bestselling, award-winning novels and the A&E hit series Longmire. Each Christmas Eve thereafter, fans rejoiced when Johnson sent out a new short story featuring an episode in Walt’s life that doesn’t appear in the novels; over the years, many have asked why they can’t buy the stories in book form.
"Wait for Signs collects those beloved stories—and one entirely new story, “Petunia, Bandit Queen of the Bighorns”—for the very first time in a single volume, regular trade hardcover. With glimpses of Walt’s past from the incident in “Ministerial Aide,” when the sheriff is mistaken for a deity, to the hilarious “Messenger,” where the majority of the action takes place in a Port-A-Potty, Wait for Signs is a necessary addition to any Longmire fan’s shelf and a wonderful way to introduce new readers to the fictional world of Absaroka County, Wyoming."

*****Or all three! That's three chances to win! Wahoo!

Words of wisdom #54: A poem by Thomas Hood

The Cigar
by Thomas Hood

Some sigh for this and that,
My wishes don't go far;
The world may wag at will,
So I have my cigar.

Some fret themselves to death
With Whig and Tory jar;
I don't care which is in,
So I have my cigar.

Sir John requests my vote,
And so does Mr. Marr;
I don't care how it goes,
So I have my cigar.

Some want a German row,
Some wish a Russian war;
I care not. I'm at peace
So I have my cigar.

I never see the 'Post,'
I seldom read the 'Star;'
The 'Globe' I scarcely heed,
So I have my cigar.

Honors have come to men
My juniors at the Bar;
No matter - I can wait,
So I have my cigar.

Ambition frets me not;
A cab or glory's car
Are just the same to me,
So I have my cigar.

I worship no vain gods,
But serve the household Lar;
I'm sure to be at home,
So I have my cigar.

I do not seek for fame,
A general with a scar;
A private let me be,
So I have my cigar.

To have my choice among
The toys of life's bazaar,
The deuce may take them all
So I have my cigar.

Some minds are often tost
By tempests like a tar;
I always seem in port,
So I have my cigar.

The ardent flame of love,
My bosom cannot char,
I smoke but do not burn,
So I have my cigar.

They tell me Nancy Low
Has married Mr. R.;
The jilt! but I can live,
So I have my cigar.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Black Label Trading--We came; we smoked; we loved; we bought the t-shirt*

When I am Editor of the World--and this WILL happen someday--cigars I love will be readily available. I guess we're kind of working on that, with the continuing Saga of the Overfilled Humidor.  In this tale, a certain couple purchases a 2,000-count humidor from 1st Class Humidors in late August.  It looks like this:
 
By mid-December, this mofo was so filled that when our hero opened the door, certain cigars abandoned ship. I knew this happened when I heard, "Dammit!" from the living room, and then about five seconds later, heard "Dammit" again as the second wave of loose cigars dove into the great abyss.**

After Christmas, a second phone call was made, prices negotiated, and we currently and anxiously await this sight:
Yay! Two!

Here's why this humidor wound up so full so fast: Elves.
Your friendly, neighborhood
cigar elf. [source]

Hahaha. No. Because when Valentino had a cigar he really liked, we determined whether or not it was Boxworthy. Many were. So I guess I'm kind of Editor of the World. Penny World.

The other day, we received this fantastic package from the lovely and talented Stephanie Harris, she of Black Label Trading cigars:

The bands are so cool. And scary a little bit. (I'm a delicate flower.)
First up for smoking?  This sweetie pie:

The Royalty--a perfect start since I am a beautiful princess.***
Because I know this made Valentino giddy with delight, I'll share it with you: The filler is Nicaraguan.**** The binder is Honduran and the wrapper Ecuadorian corojo.

Keep in mind I am easily distracted. As I chatted with the lovely bartender at Habanos (because we were the only two females in the cigar bar), he lit it up. I may have been mid-sentence as the smoke wafted in my direction before being sucked up by the place's new smoke eaters.

I know the joke is majorly overused, but...
"Hey! Nice Ash!"
Dagnabbit, the pepperiness woke me up. I shake my fist at you corojo! But that's okay because that first blast was a tap on the shoulder telling me I should pay attention; this promises fantabulousness and I shouldn't miss a moment. You must always listen to the corojo, for the corojo is wise.

Of the Royalty, the Cigar Federation said, "Rich. Elegant. Unique. Royalty by Black Label Trading Company shows the world the quality of tobacco and blend masters BLTC work exclusively with. BLTC’s blender, who has over 30 years’ experience, brings a medium strength cigar and flavors you don’t see every day. Floral notes dominate, with notes of cinnamon and nutmeg and a mild spice finish make it truly a unique smoke."

By the way, Cigar Federation is your only online option for the Black Label Trading brand, although maybe your local B&M has them? Ours don't (hint, hint, hint), so it's Cigar Federation for us.
http://www.blacklabeltrading.com/#/page/home


In case you didn't know, Black Label Trading punched its way into the cigar world in 2013 with not one or two, but six unique offerings, according to founder James Brown.*****

When asked what makes his company different from the other cigar companies, Brown said, "First and foremost, our blends. We have focused on defining very unique flavor profiles that you don’t see in cigars everyday. Also, our philosophy is simple – make a great cigar. If a cigar is perfect in a [r]obusto then why make it in five other sizes. We keep it simple with usually 1 or 2 sizes per blend. This also goes along with our small batch mind-set. We keep production very limited to ensure quality every time." [source]

We have many more Black Label Trading cigars to try, but this one, as our first foray into the brand means as soon as that new humidor gets itself in the door, we're getting ourselves a box. Yes, it's boxworthy.

Dammit. If the rest of them are as good as this, we're going to need to order a third humidor.

Hello, new friend.
 
*We really did buy the t-shirt. They're available here.
 
**I'm not sure what they thought was out there in the big, unhumidified world for them, but they were easily captured and returned to their rightful place.
 
***
****Valentino lurvvveeeees Nicaraguan tobacco. If you're tobacco and you say you're from Nicaragua, he has already fallen in love with you.
 
*****Not who you're thinking.  Another one.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Words you should know: Herf or: A grammar lesson

You've seen the word on blogs and event posters, and even on the travel humidor your buddy brings to hang at the lounge.
[source]
It sounds like it should be a muppet.
Or a squishy ball. (Shush, you.)
Or something you do after too much drinking.

But it isn't. (Although I wouldn't mind seeing a muppet named Herf, if you must know.)

Aforementioned grammar lesson:

As a collective noun:
A gaggle of geese. [source]
A train of camels. [source]
A murder of crows. [source]
A herf of cigar smokers.
(This is us with some of Valentino's childhood friends
and Island Jim himself at Island Jim's place in Pittsburgh PA.)
So a herf is a gathering of cigar smokers coming together to share airspace.

Unless you want to use it as a verb:

Are you up for herfing this weekend? I just got the new 50th Anniversary Padron. Feel like second-hand smoking it?

Seems a shame to smoke it! But that will happen. Soon.
As an adjective:

I've been at the cigar lounge every night this week. I'm a herfing fool!

As a made-up word:

We're getting psyched for a herfariffic experience at Cigarfest in May.

In multiple ways altogether:

If you're going, let us know and we can herf during the herf, which seems a little meta.

https://secure.cigarfest.org/register/

Words of Wisdom #49


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Paper leaves of tobacco leaves: Tobacco Sheds, Vanishing Treasures of the Connecticut River Valley


I love books.

Hell, I love them so much, I write books.*

When I moved into Valentino's swanky bachelor pad**, lo those many years ago, I brought with me no less than one zillion books. Then I bought many many bookshelves to hold aforementioned books, thinking I'd have plenty of room.  I filled them.

He asked at one point, "What do you need all those books for?"***

"They're my friends," I said, without thinking about the thousand and thousands of paper leaves filling the books.

Speaking of leaves, (this is all going to come together in a second, so stay with us) this fall, we had a chance to tour a tobacco shed and hear about the drying and aging process.

The tour was part of an event put on by Connecticut Valley Tobacco Museum in conjunction with the lovely Karin Mills Tranghese and Cigar Room II in Agawam, MA.

Tino and tobacco
(Here's the connection we promised!) The other day we received this friend, Tobacco Sheds, Vanishing Treasures of the Connecticut River Valley, in the mail:

Paper leaves of tobacco leaves!
Hey book, could you be any more gorgeous?
This is the book's description (Thanks, amazon.com!):

"In recent years, over one thousand tobacco sheds have disappeared from the Tobacco Valley. This important book systematically catalogues tobacco sheds from Putney, Vermont, to Portland, Connecticut, a span of just over one hundred miles. The photographs capture the beauty of these unique farm buildings and serve as a valuable record for these endangered barns. The text offers the agricultural history of each town, helping to connect sheds to their own unique region of New England. In addition, the book reinforces the need for preserving one of New England s most unusual farm structures.

"Many sheds in the Connecticut River Valley are still used to dry tobacco leaves that will wrap some of the world's most expensive cigars, but, sadly, some are being left to slowly deteriorate over time or are being torn down to make way for development. This book will be treasured by cigar smokers and architectural historians and preservationists alike."

I totally treasure this book. It's filled with gorgeous photographs and well-written text that tells the story behind these tobacco titans scattered across the Connecticut River Valley, both of which are gorgeous in their own right.

In case you're not sure where we're talking about. [source]
One of the book's pages!
And one of the region's tobacco sheds. Gorgeous, no?

 
Can I be honest here? Since we're BFFs and all? I've seen these buildings my whole life as my family road-tripped around New England. "Pretty," I'd think and then my thoughts would move along with the car.**** I honestly had no idea tobacco was not only a New England industry but a necessary and successful one.  In fact, the shed we toured produced the wrapper for a little cigar called Liga Privada, according to owner Steve Jarmoc; ever heard of it? (Hahaha!)
 
Ceiling of tobacco leaves during our tour.
The authors of Tobacco Sheds, Vanishing Treasures of the Connecticut River Valley, an eclectic husband and wife team, have created a visual masterpiece as gorgeous as the sheds themselves.
The Cahills! [source]
 
"Dale Cahill has been a sailor, farmhand, electronic technician, equipment maintenance technician, a life guard, has run an aquatics facility, and is both a father and a grandfather. He has worked at resorts and in factories, favors the outdoors and he loves skiing, mountain biking and photographing beautiful things. He plays mandolin and guitar and owns a ski bar in Vermont.
 
"Darcy Cahill has been a teacher, school counselor, reporter, and sheep dog breeder. She is a mother and grandmother. She plays fiddle and owns a ski bar with her husband. She also spends time writing, gardening, mountain biking, and skiing." [source]            
 
 
 
According to an article in Cigar Aficionado, "The new book Tobacco Sheds, Vanishing Treasures of the Connecticut River Valley, takes the reader on a journey through the Connecticut River Valley and goes behind-the-scenes to show what these majestic barns really are. Authors Dale and Darcy Cahill, who have made these barns their passion for many years now, traveled the length of the 400-mile valley, which touches four U.S. states. More than 1,000 have been lost to time, disrepair and changing fortunes over recent years, but they found sheds remaining in Vermont, Massachusetts and (of course) Connecticut. None remain, they said, in New Hampshire."

Keep an eye out next time you're driving around the Connecticut Valley. They aren't just cool barns off in the distance, as I'd imagined. Well, they kind of are, but they're way more than that. They're SUPER cool barns! And you might even be smoking that shed's wares.

By the way, if you do get a chance to visit a tobacco shed this coming season (and you totally should!), be sure to pick up a nice hat for yourself.
Cabellero #2 and his fab chapeau.
In the meantime, get Tobacco Sheds, Vanishing Treasures of the Connecticut River Valley and enjoy the world around you--or the world your cigar may have come from--while in your cozy, warm house.


*You should buy them all here.

**Read: Beautifully-decorated, huge house

***Obviously, he's not a book person.

****Back in the day when kids' minds wandered during road trips, as opposed to now when they don't even look out the windows because they're watching a video. These kids probably don't even know the joy of fighting with a sibling, unhindered by a seat-belt, during a road trip--or getting a weak slap from a parent on whatever part of your body they can reach as they're driving--or calling "Way back!" so you could sit in the back of the station wagon staring at the drivers behind you and annoying the crap out of said drivers. Annoying two cars of people was a special bonus. Poor kids these days, watching TV during the ride.

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