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About ChampagneInHand

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  • Birthday 12/10/1969

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  1. My thoughts after smoking a fine box of the Maduro 5, are that these are more monolithic as a response to all of the non-Cuban Maduro wrapped cigars. They are a fine milk chocolate not too dissimilar from an Oliva V Melanio Maduro, but the Cohiba is just wee so smooth, and while not as complex as the Siglo lineup over time, the Maduro 5 line up are predictable and sumptuous as a very high end smoke that offers the smoothness, the hog ed elegance of a cigar that always provides that Godiva-esque experience, without the harshness or the unrefined manners you get from both Nica and Dominican based Maduro wrapped cigars. The Maduro 5 line up really shouldn't be seen as a competitor to the Siglo smokes, but for people that prefer the cocoa wrapped NCs, showing that Cuba can make a stick that is more smooth and completely reliable in taste, class and refinement. I love many good Maduro sticks from various NC marques, but none are as smooth as dye-free and as elegant repressed over and over again. It's not about the espresso or nicotine but than fine chocolate in your beautiful Cuban cigar. Just One man's opinion. I know a lot of purists that hate the Maduro 5 line up. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  2. Welcome. I'm not a frequent poster but this is a great place to read and learn. Rob, the Prez, and the moderator group make FOH a good place to sit back and take in a lot of information and experiences with different CCs. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  3. That was really funny. I've been down to quite a few islands and tobacco growing regions. Hell I even went to Nica, although I didn't get as far through that as I had wanted... These are just my thoughts. Much tobacco is grown. Islands are so much closer than those of us in the states that drive hours and hours and are still in the same state. Boats are plentiful. Many docks exist on every bit of coastline. Neither Cuba, the DR, Jamaica, Nica, Honduras or smaller islands that may have small tobacco farms, not to mention out going boats from the USA get frisked at every dock, small town... Lies are the norm in most of the islands, be it d*ck size, what you earn, who you know, what you do legit and what you don't. In Nica it seems as if everybody is more concerned about boxes and pretty stickers as much as some cigars especially in the loads of small tabacaleras that dot the different cities and I haven't been out amongst the rural farms with loads of barns at farms. Getting decent printing from Asia or Europe is pretty easy. I wouldn't for the slightest moment think that it would be above anybody trying to make a few bucks to cash in on a poor tobacco crop in Cuba, to import/smuggle in larger leaf tobacco that reasonably could be cured in a barn somewhere on a farm and pass it off as Cuban tobacco. Let's not be too gullible as they have sold fake iPhones, Watches that run in the tens of thousands of dollars, wine that was mixed from different sources and then crafted with old paper, print machines and custom corks gone through the aging process, then tasted by reputable experts and connoisseurs and then sold at auction houses for hundreds of thousands and the only reason they get caught is that they crossed the wrong billionaire. This certainly could happen with premium cigars. There's a great book called billionaires vinegar out there. You can read the basics of Rudy K selling Jeffersonian Bordeaux to one of the Koch bros and having tat same guy go berserk after finding out he was scamned. It happens all over the islands. If you go to YouTube you can find blind tastings in wines to whisky, where even the best palates can be way off on the origins and these people aren't basic but considered experts in their field. In the end if you like the product and the price then you shouldn't freak out if you find you were scammed. Anything not bought at an Authorized Dealer needs heavy scrutiny. Even some shady stuff makes it into famous auctions and of course throughout the internet. I'm just settings bit of world reality in here. Illicit drugs get watered down all the time and that's a world where life and death of everybody you love is on the line. It's nothing to try and scam the average guy. Just my humble $0.02. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  4. Some of the poor campesino housing. Almost tragic. The problem is like anywhere in Mexico southward and the Caribbean islands as that they view almost all Westerners as filthy rich. This lady I bought groceries for, fixed up the sides of her house and was hoping to crowd fund more has emailed me wanting me to pay 2000 córdobas for new wood, too which I don't have. It never ends and you can't help everybody. I do feel bad but I don't hand out cash as you never know where it's going. I'm not a contractor and bumping Nica workers who need the employment isn't what I do either. Many panhandling young men who refuse to come and learn from the older men as an unpaid intern even though they get fed and experience and maybe some of their own tools. Sadly the men are much less industrious as a whole and the single moms are everywhere trying to raise enough funds to get there kids better healthcare and into school. It's heartbreaking but I'm only one man. I'm not a bank and getting that point across is something that is just isn't in translation. I do recommend giving to a good charity that helps all regardless of whether they join some flock. There are tons of evangelicals that want the last penny from the poor and sick, promising an opening to heaven's door. I hate seeing this in any impoverished country. Trying to teach self-empowerment is a tough sell but you do what you can. Again it's a beautiful country with beautiful people that do need help. You just have to watch yourself and not step on any toes. Enjoy the place, respect tradition and help where you can without just doling out cash. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  6. I just got back a couple of weeks ago after spending 4 weeks in Nica. What a wonderful country filled with so many great people and not yet on the Gringo Trail for the most part. While places like Granada, San Juan del Sur and even Ometepe Iskand get visitors from all over, they aren't over run yet with idiotic tourists. While I stayed 3 days in Granada and visited Volcán Masaya I chose to stay in Leon as a base of operations and I was able to get up to Esteli and out to the Pacific beach towns of Las Penitas and Poneloye via the chicken buses which made for great conversation with locals and some travelers alike. If you get to Granada, visit the Mombacho cigar tabacalera as they are open for tours and are very friendly as well as producing some fine cigars. I loved the Liga Maestro selections that are Nica Puros. I did a lot of volunteer work helping locals with plumbing, riding out to the areas where houses are made with basic lumber and corrugated tin, without running water and just free hanging electric wire. I'm quite tall and the Nica people are fairly short. I was able to help paint over laminata which is what they call the corrugated tin using a thick sealant to prepare for the upcoming rainy season. The people are very appreciative of any help and it gives you a chance to give back while enjoying such a beautiful country. Great cigars that rarely make it to foreign shores are available in Esteli and even in Granada but most locals don't smoke cigars. The few I found were guards protecting the various tabacaleras over the weekend and they are always eager to have a conversation as you mix learning the Nicanol dialects as they learn English. I found plenty of ex-Pats, mostly from Canada and one in Poneloye who smoked Casa Magna while preparing smoked meats for the sake of tacos during the evening. Cigars are valued Pudos there and while people know they are made in their country, most are poverty bound and have other places needing funding. I found it odd how many people smoke cigarettes as they are quite inexpensive. There just aren't a lot of places to buy pudos outside some luxury goods shops in the bigger towns but the ex-Pat, Carlos had a humidor and was selling to those who inquired. If you can speak semi-decent Spanish or are willing to try, have an open mind and want an adventure where you can actually learn as well as enjoy serving some needy people, you should add Nicaragua to your bucket list. Just be respectful of their culture and do your homework. Every place is so different as it's the biggest country in Central America and every department is very diverse, many using their own indigenous languages over Spanish/Nicanol. I will try to post a few pictures later. I loved it so much that I am heading backwards at the end of May. Thanks for reading. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  7. I do like that they have come back to Matt Damon. I think Jason Bourne will run its course. I hope it ends well. From reading and or following Tom Clancy's character Jack Ryan, I have been disappointed many times as I remember Harrison Ford doing a great job with this character. Maybe it's not so much who plays the character but that the character seems to get younger as the time sequence us more modern. I guess Ben Affleck did an okay job in "The Sum of all Fears," though Morgan Freeman helped as did his Russian counterpart. Forgive me for not knowing the actors name. The most recent Jack Ryan film set mist,y in Russia and Manhattan was interesting but Kiera Knightley was the one who held that film together. I have loved James Bind films but as you watch the you also laugh alongside the films. Yes, I also love the animated "Archer," as well. Jason Bourne seem to break out a bit from the action hero movie as Damon appeared more normal, at first, while unaware of his killer instincts. I think pushing to many movies into the Bourne series would be a mistake. As with the saga of Jack Ryan, who has seen everything from Columbian drug smugglers and the IRA, to a reinvention of Cold War tensions though the films definitely seem many decades apart. I guess one can hope. "What should we start with?" "An '82 Margaux." "Is it good?" "Good? It will make you believe in God!"
  8. It's all about the oak that the rums are aged in when discussing flavor profiles. As to residual sugars that is purposefully added during blending and bottling. Two interesting examples are Plantation Grand Reserve. Aged 5 years in old cognac barrels. Very flavorful and not too much residual sugars. Then Cruzan which seems drier with different oak flavors. Plantation GR is made from molasses in Barbados and Cruzan also from light molasses in St. Croix, USVI. Most rums are made from molasses but the grades of molasses vary from light sweet table grade, to deep black, thick molasses which us the most imopure by-product of the sugar refining process. Just different flavors. Think Myers Jamaican or Gosling Black strap fir the later. Other runs are being made straight from pressed sugar cane juice. Most have Agricola added to their names and tend to be lighter in color if not white. Zacata is the exception as it sits in that high altitude Solera system going through gentle heating and pulling plenty of flavors from the oak. It also has some cane juice added during blending. Zacata, is much like its Trinidad cousin Angostura which is derived from a darker molasses and picks up a lot if tropical notes while aging in the oak. Both are quite delightful. Rum really has a huge spectrum of flavors, weight in the mouth and viscosity. Some rums are even made from brown sugar and honey. Very different from the earliest days of Rum making in the New World America's and Caribbean. "What should we start with?" "An '82 Margaux." "Is it good?" "Good? It will make you believe in God!"
  9. DRC and d'Yquem can be mind blowing. I've only had one '96 la Tache and one 1990 Richebourg courtesy of somebody else's generosity. I love Tokaji Essencia and Z-H SGNs are mind blowing at a reasonable cost. Of course it's all relative. I've had stellar 5 puttonyos Tokaji for $20 as well. What shall we have? An '82 Margaux! Is it any good? Good....?, It will make you believe in God!
  10. I have to try the petite edmundo. I didn't even think of those. Nice call. "What should we start with?" "An '82 Margaux." "Is it good?" "Good? It will make you believe in God!"
  11. I tend to lean to Bolivar Coronar Junior is quality and value is measured with the amount you get in that pound. Same is true with Partagas shorts but slightly less. Many great petite coronas Bolivar is my favorite. No with great all out smoke then we go to the Belicoso size and then the 7" with Lusitania, Bolivar Corona Gigantes, RA Gigantes. Then we go to exquisite stuff like Esplendido, Bolivar Libertador. I really like the Sublime size. Yet for now I don't own any boxes of them. Their value just isn't there as I can buy boxes of 7" 25 for just a bit more in cost. That pulls me back to the reality of the shorts, juniors, petites and even Mille Fleurs. "What should we start with?" "An '82 Margaux." "Is it good?" "Good? It will make you believe in God!"
  12. Appleton 20 years aged is getting pricy as is Clarke's 7 or 12 years aged. However I am stocking up different aged rum/ron/rheum as it is very reasonable when compared with bourbon, scotch or cognac. I have a good sized wine cellar. Why not try grabbing a different bottle that you have enjoyed and sock them away with the cognac for enjoyment down the road when prices skyrocket with boutique rum coming out every other day. I reread the thread and it was nice to see the Hawaiian mentioned. Agricola from sugar cane juice, is similar to Brazilian liquor from refined sugar but the Brazilian isn't rum and can be very harsh without juice in it. Every island in the Caribbean and country in SA has different styles. Before prohibition hit the United States, the continental United States was the biggest producer of Rum as it was the 3rd leg of the original slave trade. Sugar and molasses came up from the West Indies and Atlantic Island plantations to be made into Rum, which was shipped back to Europe along with textiles of cotton, and the cycle went unchanged up until the civil war. Still Texas makes some great boutique rum off Galveston as does small batch stuff in NYC and even in upstate NY, where I live. However small town from Rochester, is made from Brown Sugar and honey which is an unusual method. I've even distilled from Molasses and Brown Sugar and aged the proceeds in toasted French oak chips and a few vanilla beans. Just in the name of research. Buy good rum now, before the prices double, then double again. Like small batch gin is once again hip with the younger hipster crowd, many have already begun stockpiling and going on distillery tours as well as tasting in flights paired with food and cigars. It really is the native distilled spirit of the Americas, from North, Central and South with all of the islands n between. Tequila is fading X pet in Mexico and the SW, but Sotol is taking hold with mescal in Texas and New Mexico. Rum is very inexpensive comparatively. Small batch gin, tequila, mescal mad Sotol will run you a fortune. Rum is ripe now. Like Habanos. "What should we start with?" "An '82 Margaux." "Is it good?" "Good? It will make you believe in God!"
  13. I'm a big aged rum fan. I think Cruzan Single Cask and Santa Teresa are some of the driest. I usually have Plantation Grand Reserve from Barbados open at all times. It is made by a parent company that makes cognac do it sits in used cognac barrels for 5 years. Very inexpensive in the states. Others that are very good to great. Mount *** XO 1703. I have toured through this distillery though almost 18 years ago. It is the oldest continuously operating rum distillery in the world. It in Barbados as well and makes many different variations. The XO is really nice. El Dorado from Guyana. The 12 years aged is more of a dessert rum where as the 15 years aged is more dry and smooth. Good stuff. While not a huge fan of Zaya, I did buy another Trinidad made Rum, Agnostra better known for their bitters. Very tropical with some vanilla and coconut coming through the aging process. I just opened Zacapa Ron(Rum) from Guatemala. It's there 23 year sistema Solera. It is made from cane juice rather than molasses and they put barrels from 6-23years of age into a large Slera system up in the higher elevated mountains and this makes for a very smooth sipping rum. Very dark. About $50US and one of the better rums up with Mt. *** and Plantation Grand Reserve. Captain Morgan's Private Stick is decent too as is Nicaraguan Flor de Cana 7 anos. As far as Bacardi I'm not a fan, though in mixed drinks it's acceptable. Plenty of craft rum/ron/Rhum on every Caribbean island as well as Coastal South America and in the United States, with some especially good stuff out of Whiskey country. Pritchard's that uses only table grade molasses in the mix. The rum diaries and several other great blogs on this spirit. I've had several Cuban rums but nothing that stuck out. These were while traveling in the Caribbean. Jamaica has some great aged stuff. Appleton's, Blackwell. Myer's is large but again heavy black strap type molasses. Gosling's Black Seal rum from Bermuda is heavy with Vanilla. They make a very good Ginger Beer as well. These are in my stash as well as a large 1.75L of Sailor Jerry's in the liquor cabinet as some Pyrat, which I like on the rocks. I keep the aged stuff in my room because it's more pricy and meant for sipping. Rum is good stuff. I like it more than Bourbon, Scotch or most Cognac these days. In Miami it is the new Bourbon. It's nice to be far away and yet have such good selections here in NY. What shall we have? An '82 Margaux! Is it any good? Good....?, It will make you believe in God!
  14. Torch or multiple wood matches that are free at the B&M. What shall we have? An '82 Margaux! Is it any good? Good....?, It will make you believe in God!
  15. Nice. I. Lopez No. 01 box of 2(

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