Valentino had already given two unknown cigars a try that night and his unwillingness to go for a hat trick filled the bar.*
"You have to," I said, in that low whisper with unmoving lips partners use to communicate when in a group, as if trying to use ventriloquism to slip directly into their beloved's brain.
He looked defeated. He just wanted an old friend to smoke. In his travel humidor sat a La Flor Dominicana Mystery Cigar (the event-only cigar) (by the way, Hi Johns--Gallogly and Carney!), a CAO Amazon Basin, and the ever-present Padron 64, because...Padron. The first two jumped up and down, shouting "Pick me!" while the Padron lay there calmly, saying, "I will always be here for you, friend. Until you need me, I'll be playing dominos."
|The eldest Mr. Padron playing dominos, |
setting a good example for the cigars--
appropriate since he is their creator.
He toasted the foot, giving the cigar the stink-eye and then took a couple of inaugural puffs. His eyes lit up like they did when we first arrived at the Padron factory in October.
"This is fucking good!" he said, unable to hide the surprise from his voice.
"I told you!" Bassam said, with his big, hearty laugh.
|"Stuck in the middle with you..."|
The dang thing was creamy and nutty and I would have nom-nom-nommed on it if I weren't positive I would have regretted the action once I had a mouth full of tobacco and fire.
According to Stogie Geeks, "Even Cigar Aficionado praised this cigar with a rating of 90, which is not an everyday occurrence for a Churchill-size cigar that costs less than $5 per stick."
Wait. Whaaa? The Churchill (7 x 50) was less that $5? Then what did the robusto (5 x 50) cost? (The cigar also comes in toro [6 x 54] and gigantor [6 x 60], as well as corojo and maduro.) Maybe we are a little too big for our britches (we do love the snacks--oh, different kind of "too big for your britches"), but there's no way on heaven and earth Valentino would willingly smoke a low-priced cigar. And yet...
|Yes, there is a cigar in this picture.|
I just asked Valentino whether Habanos was now selling these, since I saw CI was clean out of them. "No. They were samples."
Oh sheesh. I suspected I was going to have to roll up my sleeves and do that crazy-lady researching thing, whereby I can find just about any cigar, even if they are "impossible" to lay hands on. As a matter of fact, on New Year's Eve, we were chatting with a couple about how they love that Amazon Basin, but getting them was impossible. I laughed and searched. Within five minutes, I'd sent them a link for ordering. Even during the Great Opus X Lost City Lancero Drought, I had a box and a half wrapped up and under the Christmas tree. Was I going to have to dig into the internet to find these C&C Connecticuts now?
That entire thought process occurred during the pause between sentences. I should lay off the Diet Coke. My brain. She is a fast runner.*** "But he said he's going to get them in," Valentino finished.
As I finish writing and rewriting this, Valentino just said, "I hate to smoke the corojo" (that Bassam had given him). "Then I won't have any more."****
"You said they're coming," I reminded him, opening the humidor door (haha) to let the delicious scent waft over him, reminding him of other lovely sticks of pleasure.
Bassam, be fair-warned: We're going to pester you until they come in.
In the meantime, I handed him an LFD Mystery Cigar to smoke later and cranked up the C+C Music Factory:*****
*Of course, no one else could see his unwillingness but me. I'm a trained professional.
**Man, that would have been embarrassing.
***Unlike my actual self, which cannot understand the concept of running for fun.
****Keep in mind, he has umpity-gajillion cigars--so many that we just bought a second 2,000-count humidor.
*****C+C: Which stands for "cookies and cream"--the group's producers' favorite ice cream******
******How can you not love that??