Saturday, November 27, 2021

A Better Black Friday

The day after Thanksgiving, while the family binged on football and computer games, I headed over to the cigar lounge for a relaxing smoke and beer. The newly expanded humidor and lounge at Olde Town Tobacconist (at the farm) was open and I was anxious to peruse the selection. (More on this in a future post.) 

I selected an Oliva Serie V Special V Figurado. The extensive Serie V line is one I've enjoyed frequently, but this doubly-named variety is one I've not had previously. The 6 x 60 figurado features a nipple foot and tapered head. The Habano Sun Grown wrapper is oily and smooth, with a rich chocolate color. The binder and fillers are Nicaraguan with Jalapa Valley Ligero tobacco in the mix. The tiny foot lit quickly and the burn evenly took hold. The flavor profile quickly progressed to a full-bodied blend of coffee, chocolate, and cedar. The smoke was thick and flavorful.

The accompanying beverage was 1781 Brewing Wilderness Porter. This is a new (I believe) porter version from the brewery. It's a full flavored beer with a dark chocolate, caramel, and nutty profile. I detected a hint of roasted mail and smoke. I'm a fan of the 1781 Washington's Hare Porter but this one takes the flavors up a notch and is quite tasty. It's truly a fitting cigar-pairing libation.

The Oliva cigar gave about a 90 minute smoke and offered the opportunity for a second mug of the porter. It was a satisfying pairing and made for an exceptionally enjoyable afternoon. 

Friday, November 26, 2021

Thursday, November 25, 2021

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation

George Washington said it best . . .

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation. 
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington


Although President Washington proclaimed this day of thanksgiving and prayer in 1789, the Thanksgiving Day we celebrate today didn't become a national holiday until 1863 when President Lincoln established the last Thursday in November as a day of thanksgiving.

Have A Happy Thanksgiving! I wish you a day filled with family, friends, and fond memories. May God bless your life with His gifts today and everyday.

Thanksgiving Classic

Yeah, I know I post this every year. And you've seen it on other sites this week as well. But, admit it, this never gets old.

It just wouldn't feel like Thanksgiving if I didn't laugh at this again.

"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Remembering Blessed Miguel Pro

[Reposted from November 23, 2013.]

November 23 is the Feast Day of Blessed Miguel Pro. Born on January 13, 1891, in Guadalupe, Mexico, Miguel Pro was ordained a Jesuit priest in Belgium in 1925. He returned to his home country in 1926, in the midst of that country's Cristeros War. After being falsely accused of an attempted bombing, Father Pro was executed by government forces without trial.

Blessed Miguel Pro's final request was to be allowed to pray to his heavenly Father.

After which he refused a blindfold and faced the firing squad bravely, proclaiming ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Father Pro's executioners initially failed at their task, and the deed was finished at point blank range.

I am saddened, but hardly surprised, at the ignorance of the American public regarding the persecution of Catholics, and of the Cristero War that took place in Mexico in 1926 through 1929. Some 250,000 people lost their lives in the Mexican government's persecution that was supported by the government of the United States with both funds and air support. Given the ever-growing intolerance towards Christians, especially Catholics, in the United States, we would do well to remember.

Christ the King, by the intercession of Blessed Miguel Pro, I beg you to answer my prayers. Give me the grace and the strength necessary to follow your heroic example and to live my Catholic faith in spite of all temptations and adversities. Amen.

Images from Wikipedia.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Tatuaje Wolf at the Fire Pit

After spending the morning clearing the yard of leaves, which included all the leaves accumulated in the fire pit, I built the first fire — at home — this season. While I've enjoyed time fireside while on trips, and even at the cigar lounge, our home pit has been sadly idle. Until this weekend.

By mid-afternoon Saturday I was anxiously preparing the kindling and stacking logs nearby. After a short time I had the start of a nice fire, and could pour a beer, light a cigar, and take my seat in a comfortable chair. The cigar chosen was the Tatuaje Monster Mash Wolf, and the beverage was Highland Brewing Black Mocha Stout.

I was expecting this to be a flavorful pairing, and was not disappointed. The Black Mocha Stout pours nearly black, just showing some dark red hints at the edges. A thin, tan head quickly diminishes. I can detect aromas of dark chocolate and coffee. Dark cocoa and roasted malt lingers in the aftertaste.

Tatuaje Monster Mash Wolf is the fourth cigar I've smoked from the 2021 Monster Mash assortment. The 6 x 52 Torpedo has a toothy, oily Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper leaf, with Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. The initial flavors from the smoke combine a medium woodiness with bitter dark coffee. There's some mild pepper initially. The pepper faded as I smoked, perhaps being "cooled" by the flavorful beer.

As the sun began to set, much too early, the temperature likewise dropped, but the fire was putting off a nice heat. The neighbors' intermittent garden equipment also ceased operation as darkness arrived. The flavor of the Wolf was holding strong, with more intense spicy notes of black pepper making an appearance. In the last third of the stick, the spice coated my palate and lips with that little bit of extra kick. The transition was notable, and wholly enjoyable. 

Too soon, the cigar was finished, and the short nub tossed into the waning fire. The several hours spent listening to the crackling of the fire, and unseen creatures rustling in the woods, while enjoying an excellent cigar made for a wholly enjoyable afternoon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Scenes From the Weekend

We treated ourselves to a long, four day weekend and headed off to our (current) favorite spot near Buchanan, VA. What had earlier been predicted to be a wet, cold weekend, turned out to be a fairly dry, but still cool weekend. For most of the weekend it was perfect for afternoon and evenings spent outside enjoying the view, good drink, and of course, cigars.

The roads were crowded on the drive to southwest Virginia Thursday, and the trip a little longer than usual, but before the sunset I was on the porch enjoying a refreshing beer and smoke. The cigar was Black Label Trading Company Viaticum, paired with Blue Mountain Lights Out Winter Ale.

The scenery of the surrounding pastures and mountains in the distance added to the blissful feeling. 

After lunch on Friday, the winds heralding an approaching cold front diminished significantly and we were able to enjoy some time by the fire pit. Over the course of the next five hours or so, we burned a lot of wood, while I sipped some whiskey, and enjoyed a couple fine cigars.

The first pairing included Few Bourbon and the Crowned Heads Las Calaveras 2021

Watching the stars come out by the glow of the fire is an experience that never fails to set a man's heart at ease. 

After a quick dinner inside, it was time to return to the fire and enjoy another good cigar. I closed the evening with the 2021 Black Label Trading Company Bishops Blend. And naturally, a few more sips of the Few bourbon were in order. 

Saturday afternoon brought us to the "main event" of the weekend, the VA Tech Hokies football game against Duke. The cold front arrived in force, with brisk winds and rapidly falling temps — classic football weather I suppose. Due to the high winds, I opted to skip my customary tailgate cigar before the game.

Well-bundled against the cold, although the efficacy of the multiple layers diminished as the evening wore on, we enjoyed an exiting game and a Hokies win.

I really could not have hoped for a more relaxing and enjoyable weekend.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Oktoberfest-themed Beer & Cigar Pairing

After a week of unseasonably cold temperatures, we were treated to a comparatively warmer days last week. I'd been wanting to try the new Quesada Oktoberfest 10th Anniversary cigar, and do so while I still had some Oktoberfest beers on hand. The "less-cold" temps offered the opportunity to do so.

Quesada Oktoberfest 10th Anniversary 'Das Boot' vitola is a 6 x 52 torpedo featuring an oily Mexican San Andrés wrapper, a Dominican binder as well as Dominican fillers. Quesada's annual Oktoberfest release is said to be designed to be paired with a Märzen-style beer, traditionally served during Oktoberfest celebrations. This year's release marks the 10th such annual offering.

The fridge getting low on Märzen selections, I opted for a domestic, but well done, Sam Adams Oktoberfest. In my opinion, one of the best readily available, though non-local options if you're looking for an Oktoberfest beer.

After admiring the classy looking label, and the shiny maduro wrapper, I fired up the porch heaters, and then the cigar.  (It was "warmer" outside, not warm.) Throughout the smoke, the flavor profile was consistent with woody and earthly notes. An underlying sweetness was present as well. As the stick progressed, I noted an increased roasted espresso component but it stayed well-muted. 

While I smoked a bit of the cigar before really diving into the beer, I found the blend to be quite well done. However, the beer and cigar pairing, was somewhat unremarkable. The sweetness of the beer and the underlying sweetness of the cigar combined to be somewhat dull. Standing alone, I found each to be very flavorful. When I break out another Quesada Oktoberfest, I might try a beer with more roasted notes. I think such a combination might be more enjoyable. In any event, I don't mind trying. 

Friday, November 12, 2021

Five O'Clock Friday: Time to Drink

[Thought I'd have a go at resurrecting the "Five O'Clock Friday" regular series featuring humorous (to me) memes and other time wasters found online.]


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Whistlepig Farmstock Rye & Rocky Patel Disciple

During a recent shopping trip, whilst I had an armful of bottles on the way to the checkout,  I spied a couple bottles of Whistlepig Farmstock Rye on a shelf. Ah well, what's one more bottle?

Farmstock Rye is a newly stocked label in our state-controlled liquor stores. In their best imitation of Socialist countries where a government monopoly controls supply, VA ABC makes it hard for us in the Old Dominion to obtain rarer spirits. I grabbed my one allowed bottle and was thankful to have been in the store at that moment. (Previous posts on this Prohibition-inspired rule of government can be found here and here.)

I had also recently picked up some of the Rocky Patel Disciple. This is a newly released blend that I have been looking forward to trying since it was announced. This past weekend offered the opportunity to pair the two new additions.


The Disciple Robusto is a 5x50 stick featuring a very dark San Andrés wrapper that's hidden behind two bands which cover nearly the entire cigar. Maybe that serves to add a level of protection to the stick, which was also packaged in cellophane, but it's probably just meant to be an attention grabber in deference to the marketing folks. In any event, the large foot band slid right off. (Sadly, the other band had so much glue it came off in several pieces, fortunately without damaging the cigar.) But I digress.

The dark wrapper encases binder and fillers tobaccos from Nicaragua. The cigar is full bodied and richly flavored. The predominate notes are espresso and cocoa. There are the occasional hints of black pepper and raisons. This is a cigar I truly enjoyed. It produced copious smoke and maintained a sharp burn line, all the way to a tiny, hard to hold nub. This is a cigar which fulfilled my favorite flavor notes to a tee.

But what about the whiskey you say? I am glad you asked. Per the label, the Farmstock Rye features a "triple terroir" blend of which 52% is Whiskeypig's 3-year rye using their own grains, 31% from a 6-year rye, and 17% being a 10-year aged rye. The resulting whiskey a well-balanced, somewhat mild, tasty blend of rye spiciness, leather and oak. There was only a slight burn hitting the tongue, and the finish is clean and short. Overall this is a mellow but flavorful sipper. The cigar and whiskey pairing was a quite decent match.

Oft times I find cigar flavors coming up on the short side of the distilled beverage flavors. In this case, the cigar was definitely the winner of the battle, but not by a knockout. It's definitely a combination I'd repeat. (And I have the supplies to do so.)


Sunday, November 7, 2021

Sources of Warmth

As noted recently, there's been no time for a fire this fall. So far. But that doesn't mean we're not keeping warm. On a recent cool evening it was finally time to break out the propane floor heater on the screen porch. That, along with a pour Jack Daniel's Gentleman Jack and a vintage 2018 Fratello DMV Virginia cigar, provided all the heat that was needed.

I think Gentleman Jack might be an undersung treat. I've had this bottle for quite some time, and it slowly got shifted deep in the cabinet until I pulled it out recently. At 90 proof, the whiskey is smooth and easily sipped. It's got a nice bite initially but mellows on the palate quickly. Interestingly, I've brought this one up in conversation recently with other bourbon fans and the reply is always of the same sort, "Oh yea, that's a nice one." It went quite well with the cigar, that after three years in my humidor has mellowed just a notch.


Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Saturday Morning. Saturday Night.

I was left to my own devices this past weekend; Colleen was spending time with her sisters, and the yard was too wet to get any chores done there. My Saturday started out with driving around town running errands, but by mid-morning I was able to finally sit and relax after a busy week. 

I ground some of the house coffee from my local tobacconist and grabbed a smoke out of the Tatuaje Monster Mash box. 

The coffee is slightly less bold than my usual preference, but it's got a great flavor with a low acid level and we enjoy it here frequently. The chosen cigar was the Tatuaje Monster Mash Face. The 4 7/8 x 56 stick has a San Andres wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and fillers.

I've now smoked three from the Monster Mash box and this is my favorite of the varieties so far. The cigar has a sweet leather flavor that adds a touch of spice as it progresses. I find it very hard to match back coffee with cigars, and often get tired of the combination early in a smoke. Not so with this pairing, it was very complimentary pairing. Fortunately the french press brewed two full cups for my enjoyment.

Earlier in the week I made a run to the ABC store to pick a few more bottles of whiskey for the cabinet. On a whim, I grabbed a bottle from the local A. Smith Bowman distillery. As with our local tourist attractions, it's easy to overlook the stuff right in your own town. I looked forward to revisiting this John J. Bowman Single Barrel.

With no plans for Saturday evening either, I fired up the propane heater on the screen porch, poured a wee bit of the Bowman, and lit a Davidoff Winston Churchill Late Hour. 

The bourbon gave off strong, pleasant aromas of honey, vanilla, and fruit. It was tempting me even as I staged the picture. Succumbing to a sip or two before heading outside, I detected oak, vanilla, and dark fruit flavors, with a hint of citrus. There was a significant but not overpowering spice note to the finish. 

I can't explain why I chose the Davidoff when perusing my humidor. Despite being ranked as one of the bolder sticks in the Davidoff lineup, it still seems a moderately mild cigar to me, especially when smoked with whiskey. The notes of almond, milky coffee, cocoa given off are pleasant but somewhat muted by the bolder flavors in the drink. Still it was an enjoyable smoke, and the two hour burn time offered ample opportunity to enjoy the whiskey.

Good beverage and good cigars were fitting bookends to a pleasant and relaxing Saturday.