Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Island Jim's Big Johnny (heh heh)

You already know how much we love all things Island Jim. But there's a new fella to his cigar lineup--Big Johnny.

Named for a regular at Jim's Leaf and Bean in Pittsburgh's Strip District, the 8 x 66 is a monster--a very, very friendly monster, and described as "Only slighter smaller than a Louisville Slugger..." by Rich Myberg on Jim's Facebook page.

"Heeerrreeee's Johnny!"
So there we were, hanging out at Broadway Cigars in April, this time because Jim would be in the house. Well, in the shop. We stocked up on Leaf by Oscar and Island Jim cigars and then Valentino came back to my nest (where I'd cozily set up laptop and snacks and friends) with one of these:

As far as I know, these are (as the picture states) still only available at Jim's shop, the Leaf & Bean in Pittsburgh's Strip District. But he was nice enough to bring these for sampling purposes (plus he's really nice).

Valentino's is still in the humidor and Caballero #2 hasn't revved his up yet either. Sigh. They want to smoke them together, but can't seem to find enough time to partake--because the Big Johnny is a commitment of time. A forced relaxation, if you will.

Because both Caballeros let me down, I went off the reservation and hunted down our Big Johnny-smoking pals.

Jim and Karl at the Broadway Cigars event.

Karl Pease and I spent a year in the same vicinity, always sitting two tables away from each other at cigar dinners or in different clusters of chairs in the same lounge. At this event, I demanded attention. Okay, actually, I introduced myself. We're BFFs now, of course.

So I asked him what he thought of the newest Island Jim and Oscar Valladares collaboration. "The Big Johnny is kind of like that big teddy bear. Gives you that big friendly flavor, but doesn't knock you out. It delivers great taste for a long time. Instead of being scary big, it's teddy bear big."


Then, on the Leaf & Bean Facebook page, I saw our pal Will McPhaul sitting back and smoking one of these new sticks as part of a testing group.

We met Will at Leaf & Bean in December. Jim actually said we needed to know each other, which was incredibly flattering for someone who thinks she's invisible most of the time. (That's me, by the way.) Of the cigar, he said, "The Big Johnny is more than enough bang for your buck! It's the rebellious big sister of the Leaf Maduro and doesn't play by anyone's rules."

If you get the chance to lay your hands (and mouth) on a Big Johnny--the CIGAR--do it! Doitdoitdoit!

And if the caballeros finally get around to their Big Johnnys... (Dear god is there any way to talk about this cigar without double entendres?) Anyway, I'll definitely let you know. Pinky swear.

P.S. (If there is such a thing on a blog), here's an interesting fact, from Jim's Facebook page:

"The paper for the 'Leaf by Oscar' Cigar bands are made one sheet at a time. The stems from the tobacco leaf are ground up made into a mulch and then painstakingly made into tobacco paper. This small factory makes for us 1300 sheets per week. All this is done in Danli, keeping as much of our cigar making process in our community as possible. We are proud that we give back as much as possible to our friends and neighbors."

1 comment:

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