Friday, July 31, 2015

Words of Wisdom #92: Arthur Schopenhauer

Thought of the day by a German philosopher:

Cigar Lounge Manners: Gag me with a...much-too-liberal spraying of cologne

adjective: odoriferous
  1. having or giving off a smell, especially an unpleasant or distinctive one.
    "spicily concocted with odoriferous herbs"

There I sat in the cigar lounge, 90% anti-social, writing funny word arrangements for you.* As I snickered, because I think I'm hilarious, I took a deep breath, reoxygenating myself. I almost died from noxious fumes. Really! I almost DIED!

I looked around for new arrivals; that odoriferous slap to the senses did not exist 30 seconds before. At least not in the warm cigar lounge, where someone's idea of sexy, when contained, intensified the horror that is cheap cologne.

A mere five feet from me sat a chummy menagerie of mid-50s lotharios,** all bedecked in their best polyester finery. Turning in their direction to launch the what-is-that-stink stinkeye, I received a full-on blast that surely would have sunk a slighter soul.***


When you're 13 and bathe in Axe, you don't know any better. We thank your moms and girlfriends for telling you to knock it off when you've used an entire can in two days.

As you progress through life, living on your own, earning your own keep and cologne money, we ask you for two things:

1. Please please please do not bathe in cheap fragrance.
2. Remember that less is more, regardless of the cost.

We love when you wear your signature scent, but your cologne shouldn't overpower your manliness and the sweet, delicious comingling of smoking premium sticks as you enter the cigar lounge. Or kill the writer at the bar.

If every time you move, you instantly think, "Damn, I smell good," you're wearing too much. You want the ladies to move in close and whisper, "Wow. You smell delicious. Want to buy me a cigar?" not "What the fuck is that smell?" as you step from the car.

Here's how to ensure you're wearing exactly the right amount:

After showering, but before you've put on your shirt, spritz some cologne into the air and walk through the mist.  If you're already dressed, a bit on the back of your neck and your wrists will do just fine, keeping in mind you should spray from about ten inches away., not get up close like a perfumery power-washer.

And remember: During these hotter months, or when heading to a warm cigar lounge, use even less than usual. The warmer the environment, the more intense the smells become because of science.

Look, we want to hang out with you at the cigar lounge without threat of asphyxiation. We think you're fun and funny and witty and clever. Plus, those cigars you smoke are swoon-worthy.

So if during evening preparations you spray and then think, "Oh shit. Too much! I might kill Penny!" Don't worry; you may still leave the house.  But first, take a cotton ball. Add rubbing alcohol. Apply to the area on your skin where the cologne landed. Don't overspray again.

Or we'll tell your mom.

*You're welcome.

**At first I wrote "older men" and Not as I wave hello to 50 myself! Hi 50, you miserable, looming cow.

***You should all thank my obsessive love of cake; without it, you wouldn't be reading this!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

5 Things about... Cigar Rights of America (Star Wars Edition)

Full disclosure: I am the least political person on the planet. Okay, maybe it's a tie between me and a newborn, but I'm pretty sure I fall below that precious bundle.

I'm never going to get into a debate about which candidate (for anything) is better, why the [insert noun here] should be [verb], or chatter on about "Can you believe the..." At this point, I scroll on down the Facebook feed.

However! Even I, the most neutral of all sentient beings in the galaxy, see the necessity of Cigar Rights of America (CRA), as state and federal leaders ban cigar smokers* from buildings and parks and towns,** impose outrageous taxes, and attempt to crush an entire industry.

5. The Food and Drug Administration geniuses*** are creating the Death Star of legislation and regulations that "could cripple the premium cigar industry by banning walk-in humidors, defacing or covering cigar box artwork, and requiring manufacturers to submit their blends for “testing” before they can be sold." Consider them the tyrannical Galactic Empire and CRA the Rebel Alliance, sadly, without lightsabers.

I wish.
4. CRA (Cigar Rebel Alliance, if you will) is committed to protecting the rights of the growers, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers of premium cigars by serving as a voice at each level of government. I just wish they had droids.

3. Use the Force. (That's you, by the way.) Because the Cigar Rebel Alliance is a grassroots movement, the Luke Skywalkers (growers and rollers), Han Solos (retailers), and Princess Leias (owners and executives) need to come together to create a strong voice, with the goals of changing "the course of policy, perception, and elections."

2. We have our very own Obi-Wan Kenobi. Or Yoda. I couldn't settle on which metaphor worked better. But we have him: Glynn Loope, the Alliance's Executive Director.

1. We mustn't let them complete the Death Star. "Cigar Rights of America (CRA) is the first and only consumer-based public advocacy group fighting to protect the individual rights to enjoy premium cigars. Over the past twenty years, the anti-tobacco movement’s reach has broadened, and your ability to enjoy premium cigars and freely participate in a relaxing, social activity has been continually regulated and restricted."

All information about the CRA culled from the organization's official website.
All information about Star Wars retrieved from my massive Star Wars brain.

*And those squirrelly cigarette smokers who quickly puff for a fix rather than relaxation and contemplation.

**An exaggeration, but barely.

***I'm being facetious, obvs.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Words of Wisdom #91: Michael Douglas

"Cigar smoking by its very nature is much more reflective than interactive." 
- Michael Douglas

Cigar Lounge Manners (Dave Grohl edition): You never know who is around

The other day at the cigar lounge, sitting in the bar area were:

Valentino is
one of these people.
A bank vice president
Two policemen
A nanny
A sales manager of a huge car dealership
A cigar company owner
An owner of a popular restaurant and his wife
A financial-type guy required to wear a suit and tie. (I have difficulty retaining his job title.  Something about trading something.)
A master mechanic
A crazy writer girl (moi)
A Certified Executive Chef (one of 2,000 in the country)

If I gave you post-it notes with each job on them and asked you to match job to person, you'd surely eff it up royally.*  You just never know who someone is, who they know, and how they may influence your life right then or in the future.

So be on your best behavior.

Yes, you're at the cigar lounge to have fun, hang out with your friends, and smoke fantastic cigars.

So is everyone else. Two rules:

1. Don't embarrass yourself
2. Don't ruin everyone else's time

Sure, you may be having a rip-roaring time. But you're one of those people who gets louder with every adult beverage. That does not excuse your bad behavior.

The whole point of smoking a cigar is to relax. One friend (Hi Karl!) calls it a mini-vacation. He said the other day he had three vacations. One of the best days in a long time.

The cigar culture and community allows you to deal with your day, catch up with friends, relax, reflect.

If you want to drink to get drunk and yell to friends across the room, please go to a sports bar. No, you can't smoke there, but you can be an ass, and if your ultimate goal is to drink as much as possible, just shy of blackout drunk, go there. Please.

Be memorable for your cigar choice. Your interesting insight. Even for being the quiet guy in the corner. Don't be memorable for all the wrong reasons. You may wind up regretting it:

That bank where you're going to research mortgages? See the VP over there? You may not remember him, but he remembers you. You aren't getting the lowest interest rate possible.

Darn, you were speeding. The policemen who pulled you over? No, he may not seem familiar to you, but he remembers how belligerent you got last weekend at his favorite cigar lounge where he went to relax after a tough day.

The car sales manager? He gets the best deals for his cigar buddies, willing to take a cut in commission for a pal. You won't be getting any deals. Trust us.

The cigar company owner? He and the rep have been handing out cigars to friendly folks all night, folks who bought him a drink or showed him kindness in one way or another--a compliment, a funny story, whatever. You're jealous watching everyone else get some? You're an obvious pain-in-the-ass who's causing him to roll his eyes in disgust. No cigar for you.

The very generous restaurant owner and his wife frequently buy a round for the good-natured folks. Again, you'll get none of this goodwill. Nor will you get an extra appetizer on the house next time you go to the restaurant. (And you do go to the restaurant. Everyone does.)

The financial planner? He's at a friend's office where you're interviewing for a great job. He sees you, remembers you, and calls his friend later in the day. You don't get the job. Sorry, not sorry. And when your girlfriend tries to tell you everything happens for a reason, please remember that reason isn't always a good one.

The master mechanic fixes many of our cars on his days off, for a small labor cost and no upcharge on parts. Have fun taking yours to the dealership to get that rattle checked out.

No, you shouldn't be nice and un-obnoxious to people just so you can get stuff.  You should be a decent human being because...just because.  You're young. You don't see how repercussions from one small act can have a loooong-lasting reach. Trust us. You will. 

Hopefully, karma will not kick you in the balls because you deserve it. But if you do deserve it and we've had the pleasure of your loud mouth or intoxication ruining one of our evenings, we'll be more than happy to watch and record every #cigarloungedouchebag move. Hell, we'll even hold karma's hat and coat while that job gets done.

Just because it's funny.

*Except for the me part. I'm usually the only one with a laptop. And most often the only girl, except the bartender.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

You're going to love the Love of the Leaf loot!

Sometimes you just want a super comfy t-shirt, preferably emblazoned with your favorite blog's logo.

Supercool logo, yes?

We did too. So we created them.

We are by no means design or marketing geniuses; however, we feel pretty smug about our super cool logo so we’re splashing over anything and everything we can! Click on the pictures to travel through the internet and land squarely on the product shown! Women’s and men’s shirts available!

But then sometimes you're a bit chilly and you need something warmer. We're ready for that too!
You're welcome.
Go get yourself one! Or two! Get one for everyone you know! (Thank you!)

August Cigar of the Month: My Father Cigars!

First of all...
to Chase, our Perdomo giveaway winner!!


In honor of my dad's birthday in August, we're giving a way one cubic ton (as figured by an English major) of My Father Cigars, specifically the Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ! The top two winners* will receive this:

Surprisingly, photo by me!

A few other folks will receive a handful of the cigars (without the ashtray). You want to know how many? ::shrugs:: As many as the math will allow.

Let's think of them as a Herf in a Box. Invite a couple of pals over and share the bounty!

SuperFriend and My Father Cigars rep Jeremy Soares graciously offered us a bounty of awesome cigars to share with you! (And you know how I loooove sharing other people's stuff!**)

Have you had the Miami-made Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ?*** Dudes, you are going to loooove it if you haven't. And if you have, don't you love it, with its Nicaraguan binder and filler and the Corojo Rosado wrapper?****

Oh, and if you haven't had it, here's a great way for you to potentially lay your hands on some for you and your best cigar pals!*****

And also, Happy Birthday, Dad!
My dad and his BFF Baxter.
Someone is not napping like he is supposed to be.
*As figured by Rafflecopter, not me! I just say, "Oh mighty Rafflecopter, please choose me a winner..."
**But that's between us. Remember: We don't want Valentino to know we raid his humidors when he isn't around!
***The first J from the Series JJ? That would be Jose, Garcia family patriarch. The second? That would be his son Jaime.
****Rhetorical question. How can you NOT love it? (That's another rhetorical question.)
*****Technically, you're not required to share them, and we'll never know if you do or not, but wouldn't that be super fun?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dagnabbit! Also, Happy birthday!

If my birthday weren't on a major international/universal holiday,* I'd forget it.**

While we were at the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) trade show this past weekend,  I realized about a year had passed since I started  this blog. I vowed to check our start date. And then I forgot, because New Orleans is so hot your (my) brain turns (turned) to grits.***

So 305 posts later and 22 days late, happy birthday, little blog. 

Pretty much me, daily

*Christmas, bitches. I am quite the holiday treat. Best gift my parents ever received.****

**A lie, but also a great (and somewhat clichéd) lead line.

***Which are not delicious, by the way. Although at a breakfast during the show, we saw a sign that said "Artisinal Grits." This is NOT a thing. The very nature of grits--and the word "grits" for that matter--is the complete and total opposite of anything artisanal. This is your brain in New Orleans. Any questions?
****In other news, my newest obsession is what I'd like to do on my 50th birthday in 17 months--which is also 17 cigar giveaways from now. Things I know I won't be doing: getting a free meal at pretty much any restaurant that advertises free meals on your birthday and having everyone focus on me and nothing else. (Dammit, Jesus; it's my birthday too. Quit hogging the limelight.)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

LFD: In which Valentino uses most necessary swear words

I'll tell you straight up and proudly: The best classes I ever took? Latin.  I wish I could still take Latin and then I wish someone else in the world knew it as well as me and we'd be the smartest people in the room.
Unfortunately, no Latin in college or anywhere else. I do still have my Latin textbooks from high school though! ::sits back in cigar lounge and reminisces, silently conjugating the noun for farmer*::
Speaking of farmers, the La Flor Dominicana folks have kicked some serious ass with their newest offering: La Nox.
The La Nox box**
The deets, thanks to Cigar Aficionado:
"The most significant of the La Flor releases was the new La Nox cigar, which features a Brazilian Cubra maduro wrapper, Mexican San Andrés binder and a filler mix of Dominican Piloto and Pelo de Oro tobaccos. This dark smoke, which will ship in boxes of 10, was released in one size only, a 6 1/2 inch by 50 ring gauge Churchill."

At the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) expo/convention/thingamabob in New Orleans last week, SuperFriend LFD John (as opposed to LFD Jon, who is a completely different person) handed us this, the shiniest of all the shining stars the company showcased.
As we strolled into the show's LFDland, my heart giggled when I saw this tiny little bit of Latin: La Nox. (Look, I take nerdy pleasure where I can get it. I'm wicked captiosus.***)   So yes, here it is.
The night:
Its "smooth smoke and rich flavor were crafted for elegance and power," according to the company. "The result is a cigar that embodies its name and the serene experience that only the night can provide.” [source]

Valentino's exact-ish quotation:
"Hoc est fucking praestantes."
Really, nothing else worked. This cigar isn't just good. It isn't even great. Outstanding works, but that's not even enough.

So...As we proclaimed on Facebook, This cigar is fucking outstanding.

Thank you, agricolae and all the others who worked to make this cigar amazing! Er, I mean, fucking outstanding.


**Hahahaha and LOL

***Smaht, as we say here in New England


Friday, July 24, 2015

Where we will be: We're very social.

Well, one of us is very social.  The other one, meh, not so much.*

Hey, let's spend a summer Saturday night on a parking lot roof!

AND it's going to be a social, which harkens back to days of yore and generally prefixed by "church."

Generally, I'd be looking for excuses or even pulling the MS card--only used in extreme emergencies of not wanting to do something.


Throw in a couple of caballeros, a shit-ton of cigars, and adult beverages--plus fire pit!--and I'm willing to overlook any and all excuses, real or imagined.

So on Saturday, August 1, if you're looking for us, we'll be on the Mohegan Sun Riverview Garage rooftop from 7:00-10:00.

"You'll have a chance to mingle with representatives from 20 different cigar brands,** and take one of each of their cigars home with you - or enjoy one on the roof while listening to live music around one of the fire pit lounges."

As if that weren't awesome enough, the Shiny Lapel Trio will be doing the entertaining.

Join us! I'll introduce you to the caballeros!

*You already know Valentino is the former and I am the latter, but in case you're new, there you go.

**This made us LOL, since we are friends with most of them.

An explosion of awesome!

"I should buy those," I said, although I pretty much say that daily about a variety of cigars.


Sometimes I actually buy them. Sometimes I don't--for a variety of reasons, including I forgot about it or was distracted by something else. (Dust motes? Possibly. Ginger ale bubbles? Maybe. Another episode of Archer? Always.)

The world stops when this is on,
regardless of the time or prior commitments.

Thankfully, sometimes Facebook is an awesome secretary. Pal Barry Stein (Hi Barry!) of Two Guys SmokeShop in New Hampshire told us (okay, told the Facebook world) about the TatuajeM80.  Unless you're new to the blog,* you know Valentino and I love love love almost anything limited edition or hard-to-find. Plus...Tatuaje, so....

Barry's a wily bugger.  First, he said, "Hey, we have these. They're made for us and only us!"** and later, "Only xx boxes left!" And then "Really, they're almost gone!"
One morning, I was lying in bed, procrastinating getting up because mornings can be assholes. I flipped through Facebook and there was Barry again. His message pretty much said, "For reals. This is it. They're going to be gone in nanoseconds!"

I started filling out the info, squinting because my glasses were out of reach, and hoping the system held my credit card info from the last purchase.  Nope. Maybe they take PayPal? Nope.  I didn't want to get up. Nope. Not for anything.

Dammit. I could wait and finish the order when/if I got up. It's not like they'd sell out, right?

But what if they did and I missed out due to pure laziness? That would be sucktacular every time someone splashed a picture of the M80 mid-smoke.

I trounced, no shambled, no, stumbled down the stairs for my wallet and card, entered the requisite info, and hit Submit Order, all the while holding my breath.

Shortly afterwards, Barry posted Two Guys had sold out. I happily wrote "I got mine!" while feeling a little giddy, as if I'd just been accepted into the cool kids club. He told me I got the next-to-last box.

I headed back to bed, but that ship had pretty much sailed. You can't and shouldn't interrupt laziness with productivity. That's just stupid and I know better, but I did it, all for the love of the leaf. (See what I did there? Said the name of the blog in the blog?)

I kind of forgot about them as I scurried around in preparation*** of Valentino's return from a week-long golf trip.
Then, the day of his return, a package arrived. 

"What did you buy?" he asked.

I crinkled my forehead  with perplexitude. "I have no idea."

He opened it and...

We decided to save them for a 4th of July party at newly-minted Caballero #3's house, which seemed apropos.

And so this happened.

L-R My boy, our hero, Caballero #3, and Caballero #2

"This is fucking good," Valentino said on the third puff of this 4 x 50 with an Ecuador Habano Oscuro wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and filler. He waited that long to tell me because I was noticeably absent during the first two.****
Some guy at the party said, "I'm going to have to have to get some of those."
None for you!
(Unless you already have them, of course.)
"No," our hero said, a wee bit smugly. "You can only get those at one place and they're sold out. Penny got one of the last boxes."

I'll admit a bit of smugness as well. Yay me! Yay American Express!

Of course this means he's going to ration these to the point where he won't actually smoke them. And now I'm mad I didn't get the last two boxes. When am I ever going to learn?

As I'm sitting here writing this, I remembered that I currently have a box of LFD Firecrackers, also only available at Two Guys, in that shop's online shopping basket. Letting those go because of cupcakes and words would be a shame, so I hit SAVE on this very blog post, and ordered them. What are the chances I'm going to remember that I ordered them? Not very good, if you must know.*****

But when they do arrive, you'll be the first to know. Well, not first. But as far as you know, you'll be the first.

Will misunderstood our M80 discussion.


*In which case, HELLO! how are you? You look very pretty today.


***Cleaning, but not that "everything is messy and he's going to flip if I don't do it," but instead, "Crap, I have seven pieces of paper randomly strewn on the counter and the vacuum lines have disappeared from the carpet" clean. But still, it was making me crazy.

****there were CUPCAKES that needed to be eaten and I take that job seriously.

*****However, I CAN remember that John Lennon died in 1980, even though I never really paid much attention to him or his music at that point. Also, Sammy Davis Jr. and Jim Henson died on the same day. (There are people sitting near me talking about celebrities and when they died. These two fun facts popped into my head during their convo.  Because I am socially awkward, I kept these thoughts to myself and my nose in my iPad.)


Thursday, July 23, 2015

5 things about... Smoking multiple cigars in one outing

Maybe you're a cigar-a-day kind of smoker. Or cigar-a-week fella. Or a whenever-I-get-a-damn-moment-to-myself smoker. But remember that time you herfed all day and wanted to barf your guts up afterwards? Or some of your faves weren't so fave during the run. Check out these five things that may make those situations better:

You say "Eff you and your stupid rules, Penny." That's totally fine and when you return to admit defeat, we'll try not to look too smug.  Try. 
5. Start your day's smoking feast with a light cigar to awaken your palette. If you prefer starting with a metaphorical gut punch, that's fine, but when you shift to that milder cigar, your taste buds will shrug and say, "That's cute, but I'm getting nothing from it."
4. Unless! Yes, there's an "unless." If you have a new-to-you cigar you've been coveting and finally today's the day to light that sucker up, start with this new one.
Imagine: A new adult beverage comes into your life. You fall instantly in love, proclaiming this your forever and always drink.
 Around the tail end of the second or the beginning of the third drink or cigar (or date, if you got the implied metaphor), you decide, Meh, maybe not that great after all. With the first drink or the new cigar, your taste buds are all, "Hey sailor, come here often?" But if they've already spent time in another taste-damaging relationship, save the new cigar for another time.
3. Have some food or snacks nearby--even a couple pieces of chocolate will help to kick nicotine's ass.
While at IPCPR (International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers convention) earlier this week, Valentino returned to the room clammy and shaky. The first we attribute to New Orleans' humidity index of one zillion, the second from a deceptively strong cigar he'd taken for a “quick” smoke. Upon returning, he upended the Reese's Pieces bag into his mouth. Moments later, he returned to the captivating and charming man we all know and love. Before the Reese's though? Not so much.
2. Don't quickly puff through premium cigars to get to the next! It's not a race, so don't do what a certain person might do (or did today) with perfectly-cooked sweet potato fries. Please don't nom-nom-nom your cigar. Remember the very essence of cigar smoking--the relaxation, reflection, and community. Don't puff like Thomas the Tank Engine.
Probably too many for one day.
1. Don't be surprised if for a few days after a cigar binge, even thinking about cigar smoking makes you throw up in your mouth. On our drive home from CigarFest this year, as Caballeros #2 and #3 continued chain-smoking, our hero abstained and (temporarily) regretted our 520 new cigars, the mention of which turned his skin a nice puce.
The others openly mocked him, but during a soon-after Gathering of Merry Men, one caballero casually mentioned his inability to smoke for the week following the MegaHerf. (The other is inhuman and didn't have any problems continuing his pace.)

BONUS: Some signs you've probably done too much cigar smoking in a short period of time:
  • Nausea
  • Sweatiness*
  • Lightheadedness
Please note, these are also the signs of falling in love, so double check the number of cigars you've smoked during the day. Less than three over the course of a day but with the same feelings? You may be enmeshed in the L-word.**
Or you have the flu.
*Unless you're in New Orleans, where I'm writing this.  If you're sweating here, chances are you're human. New Orleans is motherfucking hot.
**The other L-word. Love, for heaven's sake.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Words of Wisdom #90: Joan Collins


"Only fine cigars are worth smoking, and only men who smoke fine cigars are worth kissing."

Where we'll be:, BarnSmokering

First of all, I can NOT get the name of this correct, so if you would all start calling this event the Barnstormer, I'd really appreciate it. K? Thanx.
So one day, while we hung at Twins Smoke Shop, an email popped up, announcing these Drew Estate tickets going on sale. Well, this isn't my first rodeo, or barn raising, or cigar event, whatever, and I knew immediate action was needed. No--required. I didn't ask Valentino if he wanted to go and sent a text to Caballero #2 but didn't wait for his response. I just bought the damn tickets, which sold out in no time.
So we'll be here, the three caballeros and me, hanging with the Drew Estate folk. (Apparently there will be 300+ other folks here at the barnstormer too. What? Dammit. Barn Smoker.)

If you didn't know, "[b]arnstormers were pilots who flew throughout the country selling airplane rides and performing stunts; Charles Lindbergh first began flying in this capacity." [source]

An actual barnstormer:
A Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" in flight over Central Ontario c. 1918

While we won't be getting plane rides, we will be getting:
  • (1) Liga Privada "A"
  • (1) Liga Privada Ratzilla
  • (1) Liga Privada Velvet Rat
  • (1) Liga Privada No. 9
  • (1) Liga Privada T52
  • (1) Nica Rustica “El Brujito”
  • (1) Undercrown Belicoso
  • (1) ACID Toast
Apparently, the sampler pack also includes "custom Barn Smoker swag, Drew Estate matches, and more goodies."
Plus! A BBQ dinner! Beverages!
And a portion of ticket sales will be donated to Cigars For Warriors, so that's an added bonus for everyone!
Visit the Cigars for Warriors webpage!

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