Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Sunday Cocktails and Smoke

Midway through the Memorial Day weekend, found us in our usual place -- on the deck enjoying the weather. After Mass and a late breakfast, I brewed a pot of French press coffee, and headed outside to enjoy the limited sunshine and spend some time with a good book. Rain threatened and the temperature cooled, while the breeze picked up, and we soon moved into the screened porch. And then it was time for cocktails. 

The libation of choice was a Bufala Negra cocktail. There are several variations of this flavorful bourbon cocktail online, but the one I've saved is simple. 

- 4 basil leaves               
- 1 teaspoon aged balsamic vinegar               
- 1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
- Ice for mixing, serving                
- 1 1/2 ounces bourbon               
- 1 1/2 ounces chilled ginger ale

In a cocktail shaker, muddle 3 of the basil leaves with the balsamic vinegar and simple syrup. Add ice and the bourbon and shake well. Strain the drink into an ice-filled rocks glass, stir in the ginger ale and garnish with the remaining basil leaf. Enjoy.

For the bourbon portion I used John J. Bowman Single Barrel from the A. Smith Bowman Distillery right here in Fredericksburg, VA. And naturally, a single large cube of ice in the glass.

I chose a Casa Magna Colorado Robusto to enjoy with the drink. The deep red Nicaraguan maduro wrapper holds Nicaraguan binder and filler. The cigar was listed as the 2008 Cigar Afficianado Cigar of the Year though I had never had it prior. The reddish-brown wrapper and gold label make an attractive presentation.

Sadly, I found the smoke to be fairly bland. There was no richness of flavors. I remarked to Colleen that I just wasn't getting a whole lot out of it. Even well after my drink was finished and I was sipping water, the flavor profile never really broke out. Mild leather, wood, and some sweetness, not much more. I did find a few online reviews that confirmed my experience with the Casa Magna Colorado being a one dimensional smoke. 

Despite the relatively uninteresting cigar, the afternoon was quite pleasant and time well-spent enjoying the outdoors.


Monday, May 29, 2023

More Range Time

I love the Spring days when it's warm but not yet humid, and the sun is bright but it's not scorching. On such afternoons the range beckons. And I try to answer, as I did right before the holiday weekend.

For this particular range trip, I brought along two different target options to create some variety in the "stand and shoot." In addition to the usual paper IDPA practice target, I used the "colors and shapes" target that offers mixed shapes in different sizes to varying exercises. All shooting was done with the Full Size SIG P320. I expect to focus on practice and match shooting with this gun for the upcoming months.

My outing started out shooting at both 10 and 15 yards to the IDPA target. I mostly focused on getting the gun on target from the draw quickly and consistently, shooting body shot or head shot pairs, or pairs with transitions between both. This was followed by 7 and 10 yards shot to different parts of the color target. Besides followups to the same target spot, I chose many different two shot transitions between different size shapes. The session finished up by shooting from one target to the other. Sometimes moving from large to small, other times from a smaller target area to a larger, all the while keeping in mind the range's two-shot string limit.

The 90 minute outing was a nice diversion from the work day. I also felt it was beneficial trigger time, even if limited in options. 


Memorial Day

On this last Monday in May, Americans stop to remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation. It is their sacrifices that helped to preserve the freedoms we value and enjoy today. Sadly, there are too many people in our country who take freedom for granted, or even naively despise the blessings of liberty. As we pause to remember our lost heroes, may we also vow to be steadfast in our opposition of those who wish to destroy that which has been so hard won.

As you enjoy time with family and friends on this Memorial Day, take a moment to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Their sacrifice keeps this Nation great.

"The purpose of all war is ultimately peace."
--Saint Augustine

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Saturday, Chores Then A Relaxing Smoke and Drink

We've been trying to make the most of this 3-day holiday weekend -- at least before the expected rain kicks in Sunday evening and Monday. This is a weekend we avoid shopping, taking trips, and even the calls from work will slow. Side thought, why is rain on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends such standard fare in Virginia? 

Saturday morning we spent some time grooming the 20+ year old Japanese Maple tree in front of our house. We planted the then small ornamental not too long after we moved in. At the time it seemed an extravagant purchase (it was) but it's provided a lot of enjoyment and aesthetics for a couple of decades now. It had accumulated a lot of dead branches and was looking a little dull as a result. The grooming brightened the display.

Next it was time to do some dreaded window outside cleaning. The front windows were done, with a noticeable brightening of the front yard. The rest will wait for a whole house wash to remove the winter grime and spring pollen.

We then moved on to the more pleasurable activities of the day, starting with some delicious ground chuck and brisket patties from the grill. I tried something new and cooked them using indirect heat until near done, then moved over high heat to finish and sear. It took longer than the typical grilling over high heat, but they were moist with a delightful light char. 

And at last, the feature event, a cigar and bourbon on the deck. I selected Horse Soldier Reserve Bourbon and a Southern Draw Manzanita

Horse Soldier bourbon seemed like an appropriate choice for the day. The story behind the bourbon is fascinating as it was founded by part of the original team of "horse soldiers," the Green Beret team that was the first to enter Afghanistan after the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States. Their start is summarized in this article, "The Green Berets Who Went From Elite Warriors to Elite Bourbon Makers." 

"The Green Berets Who Went From Elite Warriors to Elite Bourbon MakersDays after 9/11, while many Americans were watching the news in a state of shock and horror, a team of 12 Green Berets took action. They covertly entered Afghanistan and began to wage war against the Taliban … on horseback.

"It wasn’t until 48 hours before their insertion that the men were informed they would have to traverse the steep and treacherous landscape of Afghanistan on horses. It was the first of many aspects of this mission, code-named Task Force Dagger, that they would have to figure out as they went along. 

"Despite being often cut off from communications with command headquarters and outnumbered forty to one, these men, The Horse Soldiers, fought in a series of intense battles side-by-side with militia allies and successfully captured the city of Mazar-i-Sharif from the Taliban, a strategic stronghold.

"The Horse Soldier’s story inspired a book, a movie and a monument that can be seen at the 9/11 Memorial in New York. Nearly 20 years after Task Force Dagger’s success, retired Special Operators Scott Neil, Rob Schaefer, Mark Nutsch, Bob Pennington, Tyler Garner and John Koko, along with Elizabeth Pritchard-Koko, found a new mission: they founded American Freedom Distillery. The all-American company’s signature offering is the award-winning Horse Soldier Bourbon, which is sold in bottles pressed in molds made from steel salvaged from the World Trade Center site."

The Horse Soldier Reserve is the distillery's Barrel Strength expression. The proof varies between batches, the bottle I have is labeled 124 proof. The nose has dark caramel, sweet maple, along with hint of vanilla and fruit. When sipping I get charred wood, dark fruit, molasses, and a cinnamon like spice. In the finish an interesting fruit note comes up, reminiscent of dark cherries and plums. The 124 proof imparts some heat to mouthfeel, but it is very balanced by the flavor notes, and not overwhelming in the least. Summarize all that to say it's right on target for my flavor preferences.

Horse Soldier isn't just a "celebrity bourbon" using a name for marketing. With so many name-only marketing projects in the market it's easy to be cynical. These are award winning, well crafted and flavorful whiskies. While I naturally gravitated to the barrel strength version, I will make an effort to pick up their other expressions as well. 

The Manzanita from Southern Draw is one I've mused on a couple times previously. It's a smoke that stays at the top of my list, and consistently pairs well with bourbon. The cigar sports an attractive reddish-brown Habano wrapper over a Habano binder, and Corojo and Ligero fillers. The smoke has an earthy base with bold dark chocolate and cedar notes. The note of pepper helps it keep up with the demands of the bourbon.

The cigar, the bourbon, along with some good blues coming from the speaker, made for an extremely pleasant evening. As an added attraction our local fox momma made an appearance trotting through the yard on the way to the woods. We see her frequently bringing home food and hope she'll show us the kits someday soon.


Saturday, May 27, 2023

Kicking Off The Long Weekend

It seems the longest weeks are the ones leading up to a long weekend. But finally Friday arrived and preparations for the evening got underway. I finished the lawn maintenance chores early, and prepped the fire pit before dinner. 

I was looking forward trying out the Calumet Farm 10 Year Bourbon I had picked up a few weeks ago. That, along with a Padrón 1926 Serie 9 Natural were set in place, so once the fire got going the sipping and smoking commenced. 

This is my first exploration of Calumet Farm bourbon. When I was shopping out of state a few weeks ago, the store had the 8, 10, and 16 year expressions. I've read mixed reviews of the Calumet line but have been interested, so opted to go with the 10. The ten year was of average price for the age, and ten year bourbon is often a sweet spot. I was pleasantly surprised. I found moderately bold notes of charred wood, caramel, and some honey sweetness. The finish was a little spicy bit not overwhelming. My impression was of an enjoyable "classic" bourbon. Now the 16 year expression is tempting me.

Colleen inquired if I'd make a Mint Julep for her to sip while we enjoyed the fire. Of course! She had picked up a few fresh herbs for cocktails this weekend. It's a simple drink, so even when it was time for a refill, setting the cigar down to go inside and mix another didn't even require touch up to the smoke. (Even if I did accidentally use some whole ice cubes instead of chipped.)

The Padrón was a fine smoke as always. I don't smoke them frequently enough, still there are often a few in my humidor. The 1926 Serie 9 Natural is a Nicaraguan puro in a 5 1/4" x 56 box press format. It's a well-constructed cigar with a moderately firm pack. The 1926 is medium to bold smoke with creamy notes of coffee, nuts, and chocolate. The burn is razor sharp throughout with a persistent ash.

It's was a beautiful evening, and since we had an early dinner and were outside in the very early evening, we got to enjoy a lot of bird activity at the edge of the wood. It also meant there was time for another smoke and a bit more sipping. The second smoke for the evening was the Liga Undercrown 10 by Drew Estate

The Undercrown 10 features a Mexican San Andrés Maduro wrapper, Habano Connecticut binder, with Brazil Mata Fina and Nicaraguan Habano leaves as fillers. The creamy smoke features rich espresso, some cocoa sweetness, and a hint of dark fruit. As a medium-bodied smoke, the cigar paired well with the bourbon also.

I don't think I could have asked for a more enjoyable evening. The weather was great, as were the cigars and drinks. Of course the company could not have been better. And there are still a few more days to do more of the same.


Friday, May 26, 2023

Five O'Clock Friday: Planning for the Long Weekend

I think we'll be okay.

Have a safe and fun holiday. Remember the reason.


A Lancero and Larceny

I don't believe lancero shaped cigars are appreciated enough. The slender cigars average 7 - 7.5 inches in length, and a 38 ring gauge is typical. They do require a bit of extra attention when smoking to keep the burn going, at the same time striving to not heat up the cigar by puffing too frequently. They also require skilled rollers to produce a balanced and well-constructed cigar. As such, they are typically more expensive than their more standard sized counterparts. 

One of my favorites smokes in the classy vitola, is the Artesano del Tobacco Viva La Vida. The Nicaraguan puro is rolled in the AJ Fernando factory. It features a Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro 2000 wrapper, a Nicaraguan Corojo 99 binder, and a  Nicaraguan Criollo 98 filler. The full bodied cigar features notes of pepper, leather, chocolate and cream. It's truly an enjoyable smoke. The lancero vitola of Viva La Vida is a Luxury Cigar Club exclusive. 

This cigar was paired with Larceny Barrel Proof bourbon Larceny Barrel. This bottle is Batch B522, released May 2022. It is an "allocated" bourbon in Virginia but I was fortunate enough to hit a store at the right time to purchase it in September 2022. The bourbon comes in at 123.8 proof. This sipper brings notes of brown sugar, cinnamon, with some readiness. It's a moderately warm finish as the pepper and spice comes to the forefront in the finish.

This stick was the last of a five pack I purchased in May 2022. I'll be looking to order more soon.


Thursday, May 25, 2023

VA ABC Ineptitude - Update

I first mused about the shenanigans or incompetence, take your pick, at the Virginia ABC here. Now it seems VA ABC is also quite adept at digging itself into a hole. On May 23, this was posted on the Virginia ABC Twitter feed.

Their tweet referenced the April 2022 lottery that was mentioned in my previous post regarding a drawing when all the winners had last names starting with the letter A, or the entrant has inserted a space before their last name.

The social media claim they reference originated due to data provided by VA ABC itself in response to a FOIA request from a concerned citizen. When the winner list oddness become public, VA ABC posted the "Oops, our bad" response. They try to make the case the first list they provided was incorrect, and they've now generated an accurate response to the FOIA request. Essentially, they released false data that made them look incompetent, and are hoping to mitigate the criticism by saying they were incompetent in responding instead.

I couldn't make this stuff up.


It Was a Good Coffee Mug

On a recent afternoon I enjoyed time on the deck with a cigar, a book, and a cup of black coffee. Most of my cigar smoking is accompanied by a good bourbon or beer. While not always perfect, these beverages as a general rule pair well. Yes, water does always, but where's the fun in that? Frankly, I don't find too many cigars that find a good match with black coffee. Creamy "dessert" style coffees are a different matter, but I rarely drink them, and even less frequently make them at home

The afternoon's selection was an Oliva Serie V Melanio. This box pressed robusta is one that I enjoy frequently with a cup of coffee. The cigar produces creamy notes of chocolate, coffee, a subtle earthiness, all with just a hint of spice. I enjoyed the smoke and french press brewed coffee while starting the classic read. In a bit I went to pick up my empty much to fetch a refill when it slipped from my hands, breaking into several pieces. 

This is a coffee mug I've had for many years. The writing was starting to fade, but it felt good in the hand. It will be missed. However, coffee mugs seem to accumulate over the years, so there are plenty more waiting in the wings.


Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Range Time - A Sight Not Seen In Far Too Long

Other than the occasional local IDPA match, recent experience at the MD State Championship notwithstanding, I've been sorely lacking in my time spent at the range simply practicing. The matches, while fun, provide just 50 - 60 rounds downrange, and nothing in the way of repeated drills. Shooting is a perishable skill and I've lamented the lack of consistency I've developed. Reviewing my journal, it revealed I have not been to the range to practice since May of 2021. Shame on me.

As warmer weather settles in, I have vowed to change that. I've blocked time on my calendar to hopefully allow more trips to the local range. That activity kicked off this week. Loading the car took extra time due to cleaning the spider webs and nests from the range supply box that had sat untouched for so long. I took both the Full Size and Compact SIG P320 guns to work with. I've shot the Compact exclusively in matches since early 2021. 

A Long Missed View

I started with the Compact gun, but switched to the Full Size early. I really wanted to work with it again. For this first outing I stuck with shooting at 7 and 10 yards. It was mostly drawing from the holster to shoot 1 or 2 shots at the body or head zones, or a mix with each draw. Very quickly an issue with sight placement I have been experiencing in matches revealed itself and I worked to correct it.

This facility has extremely restrictive and unusual rules for shooting, which limits the shooting drills that can be done. These have contributed to my absence for so long, though we have maintained our membership. Without expounding too much on the frustrations over the years, the basics are this. Drawing from the holster is permitted, movement is not. Shooters are limited to only two shots in a string. There must be an "audible pause of at least one second between shots." The stated exception is what the club defines as a "double tap," two rapid shots on one target. The published rules state, "Any director, Officer of the Chapter or range safety officer (RSO) has the final say in rapid fire matters." Addendums to published rules over the years actually contradict themselves on rapid fire definitions and exceptions within the same paragraph. The final say in what is allowed is, and has been, subject to a broad and variable interpretation. 

Adding to the confusion is a concept the Head RSO created called "perceived rapid fire." This is defined as "A group shooting in unison so as to convey the perceived existence of rapid fire at a range." This applies even if both shooters are following the two shot rule. And yes, I have been threatened with expulsion for being with two people who pulled the trigger at the same time. This puts a damper on the fun of going to the range with a friend.

But restricted shooting is better than no shooting. This range is nearby, with the closest other option, indoors or out, requiring over an hour's drive. I will strive to make the best of it. Even with the limits, it will be beneficial, and even enjoyable. Needs must, as the saying goes.


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

An Old Fashioned Sunday Afternoon

I prefer my bourbon neat. However I do put together the occasional cocktail, especially when my wife wants to join me. After several days and evenings with very busy, and late, schedules we looked forward to a relaxing Sunday afternoon. The Virginia weather cooperated with those desires. 

If I do say so myself, I make a decent Old Fashioned. I've tuned in the bitters to suit our tastes and typically use Rye instead of Bourbon. However, recently I've been making a few using a packaged cocktail syrup. One of the places we like to visit when we're in the Blacksburg area is the J.H. Bards Spirit Company. I enjoy their offerings, especially the Rye. They make a mean smoked old fashioned using their Virginia Rye and their in-house Blackstrap Old Fashioned syrup. We picked up a bottle of the syrup last visit, and I used their Toasted High Rye Whiskey for the drinks we enjoyed. Yes, more than one.

The drink was worthy of a fine cigar. My selection was the Sixty by Rocky Patel, one of my favorite blends. This is a box-pressed 6 1/2 x 52 Toro is a medium to full bodied stick. The notes of espresso, caramel, and pepper were complimentary to the sweetened of the drink.

This pleasant afternoon also served to point out that I have no more Rocky Patel Sixty's nor BackStrap mix on hand. Of course, both situations are easily correctable.


Monday, May 22, 2023

VA ABC: Incompetence or Shenanigans?

The search for hard-to-find bourbon in Virginia is a challenge. The State controls the sale of distilled beverages through their own distribution system and retail stores, known as the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (VA ABC). It's a huge money making scheme, that at the same time creates a manipulated supply and demand for sought after spirits. It's a system any Marxist government would be proud of. For more than a decade there have been pushes to privatize sales of alcohol, which are met with strong resistance from the "revenuers." 

About a year ago, Virginia began supposedly randomizing the distribution of certain spirits, mostly bourbon, to its stores. The stores sit on the stock of "allocated" beverages until, supposedly without any advance notice, until the State decrees certain stores are "authorized to sell any limited availability products in stock." Emails and social media posts are sent out and enthusiasts rush to the listed stores. (Example notification here.) Most of the spirits are limited to three or six bottles of a variety in any given store, and the specific products made available is varied and unknown until one arrives at the store.

The system is not without issues. There have been incidents when an included store actually had no allocated stock to sell. I've arrived at my nearby store in as little as 17 minutes after the announcement, only to see lines out the door and the shelves picked bare of the most sought after spirits. Even if there is a selection left, purchases are limited to one bottle per customer per day from all the limited availability products offered in any location.

It has long been rumored that despite the supposed secrecy, "friends" of the right people are given advance notice of a "drop." It's not uncommon to see folks waiting in their cars, or even wandering a store, before a drop is announced. 

The State also runs periodic lotteries for the allocated bourbons. A selection of the allocated beverages is made available through a lottery, in which the winners are given the opportunity to purchased the selected bottle. The listed items may have available quantities from two to several hundred. Entries received for each product are typically upward of 25,000. Not great odds. 

It as been rumored that in April 2022 lottery, ALL of the winners had last names starting with the letter A, or the entrant has inserted a space before their last name. That leads one to believe that the lotteries have long been handled incompetently and unprofessionally. Suspicions around the lottery were heightened this week, in what VA ABC described as a "statistically abnormal" occurrence when a few lucky folks won multiple bottles.

I was surprised last week to read in a Virginia bourbon enthusiasts Facebook group a post from someone claiming to show his lottery winnings of three of the four bottles. I was naturally skeptical, until I saw more discussions on Facebook and Reddit, and subsequent media release by the agency.

The "statistically abnormal results" are revealed by VA ABC here

"Two entrants won all four products; 50 entrants won three products; and 229 entrants won two products. There were 978 total winners for 1,313 available products. The lottery was conducted April 19-23. Winners and non-winners of the lottery were notified on May 12. Virginia ABC is honoring the results and selling the products in line with the lottery terms and conditions."

 . . . 

"George T. Stagg Bourbon – 37,485 entries and awarded 770 bottles = 1 in 48.68 chance of winning

"Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye – 35,828 entries and awarded 286 bottles = 1 in 125.27 chance of winning

"William Larue Weller Bourbon – 37,416 entries and awarded 209 bottles = 1 in 179.02 chance of winning

"Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old – 35,492 entries and awarded 48 bottles = 1 in 739.41 chance of winning"

To describe one person winning all four as "statistically abnormal" is a stretch. Two people winning all four is goes beyond that. VA ABC says "Everyone who enters during the 3-day period has an equal chance of being selected. Odds depend on the number of entries received and the number of bottles available." Obviously that statement is blatantly false, without apology. The VA ABC statement says the normal process was used for the drawing. If that was the case, this would be a normal occurrence. Social media posts described the selection process to be one of manual sorting, review, and lots of cutting and pasting in Excel. Not something one would expect from a well-funded state agency. Or maybe, exactly what one would expect.

I do not doubt that advance word of the random store drops is made available in some cases to friends and family, maybe even for profit. The unusual lottery results in May could be a matter of incompetence and lack of oversight, or some as yet undiscovered corruption. In any event, the Virginia ABC is struggling to prove both competence and integrity. The state should stop issuing noncommittal and meaningless statements, and replace the system and the people behind it. Or better yet, respect private enterprise and get out of the alcohol distribution business.


There's an update with more head shaking absurdity here.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Saturday Word: Quafftide

 Quafftide: Noun. Time for a drink, especially an alcoholic one. Circa 1582. 

Source: Words and Phrases from the Past.


Friday, May 19, 2023

Five O'Clock Friday: Shut Up and Take My Money

It's the weekend. Enjoy.


A Day at the MD State IDPA Championship

This is not the story I had planned to tell. Instead, I have a different story to relate. Pull up a chair. 

I have not attempted to shoot any sanctioned IDPA matches since 2019, limiting my time to the occasional local match. In the year following the "cardiac event" in January 2019, I did shoot a few big matches. From a health point of view, all was well, but I never seemed to get back in the groove. My shooting has since been limited to 50-60 rounds at local monthly matches.

This year I decided to shoot the MD State IDPA Championship, which was held in Lexington Park, MD last Saturday. This is always an enjoyable match, with interesting stages and fun people. I've even had a modicum of success at it. I was looking forward to the day spent with friends.

Despite pleasant weather the week leading up to the match, the weather for Saturday was predicted to include no small amount of rain. As it turned out, the rain was limited until the shooting day was over. The intermittent showers had no effect on the waterproof targets employed by the match organizers.

Shooters waiting to start

I started the match shooting poorly. Was I rushing, not paying enough attention to my sights, or just succumbing to pressure? Maybe all of that. But, there was still a lot of match to go. On our fourth stage, I left the point of cover and moved to back around the end of a wall. Then I heard "Stop!" I obeyed and looked at the timer SO to my right, thinking there was a prop malfunction on the stage. He turned to the score pad SO who said I had broken the 180. I was stunned. I quickly asked him if I had muzzled him, and he replied the gun had not broken the line by much. I obviously was unaware, but a small infraction is an infraction nonetheless. After, "unload and show clear" I thanked the SO, hung my head, and began packing my gear. Thirteen years of competing in IDPA and I had never experienced a DQ. I've always heard, "There are those who have DQ'd, and those who will." I've never subscribed to that, and believe it to be a defeatist attitude. And, now here I am.

Looking at a bright side, lunch was now being served. I retrieved car keys from our driver for the day, stowed my gear, and headed to lunch. At least it was a tasty Mission BBQ spread.

Now there was nothing left to do but watch and enjoy the show. Fortunately, I had packed a few cigars, intending to enjoy a wind down smoke at the end of the match. That was now a consolation smoke. 

Since I wasn't able to leave, I also opted to help paste with my squad to pass the time. Even that was limited as the squad was efficient and quickly swarmed to reset the stage between shooters; there was a lot of incentive as the rain was quickly approaching. Conversations with the SOs on each subsequent stage was also quite humbling. Each roll call still included my name, with which I answered, "Dave's not here," followed by an explanation from my squad mates, which could also include a friendly dig, at my expense of course. I'd expect no less from my friends. Despite not shooting, I still logged 3.7 miles of walking that day.

After the match, I was able to enjoy another smoke with some other shooters as we waited for the award presentations. Then it was time for my second favorite activity when traveling to Maryland for IDPA — shopping for bourbon. I picked up something new, and a replacement for an empty. 

There was no time for a smoke after returning home. An after dinner drink was comforting after a day spent on the range, watching.


Thursday, May 18, 2023

Even Tuesday Deserves a Treat

What seems to be the never-ending streak of a wet and cool spring offered a small reprieve Tuesday evening. The sun was not totally clouded over so I grabbed a cigar and bourbon to enjoy after dinner on the porch. 

That evening's smoke was a long-time favorite, the Southern Draw Manzanita. This stick has been resting in my humidor since last October so was ripe for lighting up. I truly enjoy the earthy smoke accented with bold dark chocolate and cedar notes. There is kick of pepper to help it match the simple demands of the bourbon.

The Blanton's Single Barrel is one that is considered allocated in Virginia's state-run distribution scam scheme. Since it's not often easy to get, I'll drink it on limited occasions. Not only special occasions, even Tuesday evening will do.

Of course, before the cigar was finished, the next batch of rain was moving through.


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Will This Thing Start?

I've been trying to get back to posting with some regularity. Obviously, that has not been successful. It's not that I haven't been penning posts. I have been drafting Musings fairly regularly. I never committed to publishing them, and soon they seemed too "in the past," or were deemed to be thoughts or opinions best kept to myself.

Yet, I've missed it. I frequently note that this blog is primarily for my own enjoyment. It's a way of reliving interesting occurrences in my average life. Yet, it seemed that there was little variety in the content. These days, that reminiscing purpose has somewhat been supplanted by Instagram. Just about all my cigar, bourbon, and beer experiences get logged there. Check it out.

Surprisingly, over the past month I've had three folks mention to me in person that they noted the absence of content. Frankly I was shocked. First, I rarely talk about this blog to friends, yet some knew. Second, I didn't think there were that many readers!

I've got a few posts in draft, and some ideas for others in mind. It felt odd to just jump back in without some intro though. I don't know to whom it will be interesting, but it will be to me. That's what matters.