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About Philc2001

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  • Birthday December 29

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    Cone of Death
  • Interests
    Family, Investing, Stock Picking, Fine Cigars, Scotch, Computers, Blogging, Travel, Cars... too many vises!

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  1. That is a very interesting question. I have found cigar flavors tend to go through generations, where a particular family from a particular era have certain pronounced flavor characteristics, which are consistently present for a number of years (3-7 years), and then they change character and a new generation of flavors emerges. Sometimes the change is subtle, sometimes more noticeable. For example, the Punch brand, and particularly the Super Selection (both 1 and 2) of the timeframe from 1998 to about 2003 had a very pungent Cuban twang, with a zesty citrusy tang to them, and very elegant cedary flavor profile. They seemed to shift into a more woodsy, toasted tobacco flavor during the late 2000s era, and then the brand was decimated. The few that remain are very different - much less pungent, more toasted tobacco core, slightly peppery - which is very uncharacteristic of previous Punch. The Partagas brand of that same era seemed to have a split personality; the PSD4, ELs, piramides and a handful of others seemed to exhibit a pronounced pepper, coffee and rich earth (loamy) character, whereas the Lusitanias, Lonsdale, 8-9-8 and PCs were more subdued on the pepper but were more flowery, aromatic and refreshing, sometimes exhibiting tea, cumin and fennel elements. I don't dabble much in the Partagas brand any more, but PSD4s and 8-9-8s from the past decade seem to be similar, somewhat aromatic and far more subdued on the pepper and earth. Montecristo from the late 90s and early 2000s era where stronger but often had a very smooth chocolate, leather and creamy character, whereas in the last decade they have mellowed a bit and shifted significantly more towards coffee, citrus, cedar and unsweetened cocoa, and they are more aromatic than I remember. I like the newer Montes, they share some similarities with the older Punch brand. Bolivar is another that went through a very significant generational makeover to the point where I can't recognize them anymore. The Bolivars of the past as I recall were standouts for their strength and evocative flavor profiles, rich luxurious wood, somewhat fruity. I didn't have much experience with the earlier generations save for a few BBFs, Inmensas and PCs. The current PCs are nothing like the old PCs, their flavors seem far more ephemeral and subdued. I haven't tried younger BBFs, and the Inmensas and Lonsdales are gone. I think our own tastes shift over time too, so some aspects of these observations may be a bit of personal preferences (and leathering of my tonsils) and a bit of production/blending changes. I still cherish the few remaining standout cigars I have from the late 90s-2003 era on rare occasions, but I am also finding some very good cigars in recent productions, which is a journey we all seem to be on.
  2. I may sound like a broken record, but I find many of the descriptions we use in describing cigar flavors are really describing the aroma and the mouth feel rather than actual flavor. For example, I sometimes smell cumin, cloves, cedar, damp oak on a fire, and various baking scents like bread and cakes. I like spending time in the kitchen cooking because I love food, so it often serves me as a frame of reference when a cigar reminds me of an herb or spice I use in cooking. My grandfather, who I got my name from, was a great chef and my parents were great cooks who cooked very elaborate and wonderful feasts for several events every year right through to their late years before they passed. Thus I have very fond memories of the aromas and flavors I enjoyed growing up in that environment, and therefore those sensory impulses are relatable for me. Also, I probably get more of the aroma because I tend to inhale a little wisp of smoke trail rising from the cigar as I take a drag. Specifically to the aspect of tasting, I have had some mouth taste or feeling that reminds me of various coffees, teas, deserts, creams, etc. I've had that exhibit specific and unique after taste or sensations, which I also find distinct and easy to relate to. Similarly, the mouth feel from cocoa, cinnamon and certain types of spices strike a cord for me. It is especially enjoyable when a combination of aromas and senses combine in a harmonious balance that grabs your attention and lifts you to a higher plane as you relax and drift at a subconscious level that makes time stand still. The best cigars that have given me such moving experiences in the past couple of years are the ERDM Tainos, Partagas Lonsdale, Partagas Lusitanias, Punch SS2, and Montecristo No. 1. Although all are different, they all exhibit a unique and special balance that capture my sensory reflexes, lift my spirit, and make me feel lucid and euphoric. I can only assume that these reflexes must act on me like dopamine, eliciting pleasure.
  3. There's been all sorts of infusion conspiracies over the years, so why not a mojito... I sure enjoy those Many have speculated about the cocktail used to hydrate/spray on tobacco while it is curing, and some speculate it could be anything from sugar water to distilled water to tobacco resins to gosh... anyone's guess. I think Fuente at one point did say they use some sugary water on wrapper tobacco at some point in the process and I would not be surprised because I used to get a slightly sweet taste on the tongue from the wrappers on their sungrown and short story cigars. I haven't had any of those for a long time, so I don't know if they still do it.
  4. I hear you, but I've lost lighters and I know folks who have lost lighters... in fact I think we had someone recently on this forum that had their FOH lighter taken. I've personally lost two lighters... one was a cheapo torch lighter, which I had emptied of fluid, the other was a basic soft flame lighter. I complained in both cases, but I was not going to win that argument. Cigar cutters are supposed to be permitted in checked bags too, but... I won't risk it any more, I already lost two of those too. Again, I pushed back, but they wouldn't give. Some overzealous agent also took my son's souvenir bullet keychain from Normandy. It was clearly not a live round, it had a hoop through the igniter, but that didn't sway them. The moral of the story is, if they decide to take it, what can you do about it?
  5. Umm, I think you may want to check the TSA list of prohibited items: As far as I can tell, lighters are prohibited. Here is the fine print: * All lighters are prohibited as carry-on items. Lighters without fuel are permitted in checked baggage. Lighters with fuel are prohibited in checked baggage, unless they adhere to the DOT exemption, which allows up to two fueled lighters if properly enclosed in a DOT approved case. If you are uncertain as to whether your lighter is prohibited, please refrain from bringing it to the airport.** One book of safety (non-strike anywhere) matches are permitted as carry-on items, but all matches are prohibited in checked baggage.
  6. Sticks, no problem. Cutters or anything flammable, no bueno.
  7. WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW! Congrats to all the winners and thanks to all the reviewers, I enjoyed reading all the great reviews. Thank you FOH... I've never won anything before. I'm excited and looking forward to trying the La Trovas. Cheers to all!
  8. The only certainty in a habano's production run is that it could end at any moment. As smokers, we cannot banish the dangers, but we can banish fears. We mustn't demean their production run by standing in awe of HSA deletion. Deletion is no more than a turning of them over from time to eternity. Eternity... such a small word to describe such a haunting vastness. And so we ask ourselves: will their ashes echo across the centuries? Will smokers remember their names long after they're gone and know what they were? The habanos that expired in honorable smoke will not soon be forgotten. Those of us who knew of them will tell stories of their flavor, their subtlety, their sacrifice. We will talk of how they pleased our palates through thick and thin, and how we stocked up as the end drew near. We will carry the memory of those habanos, our beloved cigars, in our hearts forever, we will celebrate their production, and we will cherish the memories of their blazing glory, unwavering burn, and deep, gratifying blue smoke. Those habanos are gone from the production list, but they are not forgotten; they will live on within our humidors. Deletion is not the end of their story, merely the next chapter. They have taken their place in the great holy humidor, and will spend eternity with cigars whose flavors are good, just like their own. Knowing these habanos has made us better people, and for that we should be grateful. Their memory will live on through us, and it is our privilege and responsibility to ensure they are remembered forever for how honorably they smoked, how delightful they tasted, and how complex their character was. For the fallen, a moment of silence please... 1- Punch (the marca - effectively decimated) 2- The Tainos (cousins from ERDM and LGC) 3- Partagas Serie Du Connaisseur (three brothers), Lonsdale, PC R.I.P.
  9. It all depends on specific taste, so the responses will be all over the place. For me, I find that youngish PLMC, PLP, Monte #1, Cazadores and Fonseca #1 are all decent enough to smoke and enjoy.
  10. I’ve had similar experiences... same vitola but different code don’t taste the same. Coincidentally, I find different vitolas from same factory code taste very similar. To that point; just about any ECA code vitola from 2000-2002 that I’ve had have all been excellent... Lusitania, Tainos, SS2 all etched in my mind forever. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  11. CNY- 2003 DES DIEUX

    Nicely done all around. I've developed a liking for these this past year, and I am cherishing the few remaining sticks I have from '03. It's an elegant cigar, a little on the mild side, and probably one of the reasons why I find them so tasty and complex. I don't anticipate waiting much longer to smoke these 15-yo cigars.
  12. Yes, quite aware of the change in dew point relative to temperature. However, what seems to be happening here is more than the average RH swing. In fact, lately I've been seeing RH rise 30-35% (from high 50% to near 90%) in just 2 hours and ~8 degree shift in temperature. I never really noticed this before I put a gauge out there, now I watch it every time I go outside to smoke. We didn't have these kinds of swings in RH until about the past 6-8 weeks or so.
  13. I put fresh batteries in, but it had little effect; about +1% (batteries were only 4 months old), so the drift is still quite significant. Since these are not adjustable gauges I've relegated them to external duty. Ironically, the RH in the house is normally around 45-50%, but lately it has been fairly steady in the mid 60s, which surprised me a bit. With the cool weather I was expecting the air to dry out, but the opposite appears to be happening. I guess with the cool temperature our AC is not kicking in and taking the humidity out of the air so the RH is equalizing and creeping up. You can really notice the effect in the early evening as soon as the sun sets, the temperature starts to fall from mid-high 70s down into high 50s or low 60s, and very quickly you can observe the damp air pushing the RH well into the 80s. I guess until it warms up a bit the RH will likely stay a little elevated, so I can't even dry out the humidor my simply leaving the door ajar. Fortunately 68% RH should not be detrimental to cigars, so I'm not worried about it, but it's interesting that most times we're trying to add humidity to our cigars, whereas now the natural RH in the house is higher than my target RH. Weird. I'm going to set a reminder now to test my gauges at least once per year.
  14. I changed batteries about 4 months ago, but I'll put in some fresh batteries and test again. Thanks.
  15. I've had multiple humidity gauges over the years and over time a few have stopped working so for Christmas I asked Santa for a couple of new adjustable gauges. I still have a pair of non-adjustable gauges I bought about 15 years ago, which have served me well and have been remarkably consistent between each other. When I first got them I did the salt test, and they were within 1%-2% below the esteemed 75% reference mark, so I always aimed for 1%-2% below my target for my humidors. With the new arrivals, as I've done in the past, I did the salt test. No surprise, the three new gauges came in 1%-2% below reference. This time, I tested again using my two old gauges along with the new ones to determine the range of drift between gauges. To my surprise I found the two old gauges to be 4%+ below reference. The temperature across all 5 gauges was within 1DF of each other, very nearly identical (< 1DF) to my reference La Crosse weather station, but the RH was all over the place. If this new reading is correct, my RH in my humidors has been around 65%-66%, well above my 61%-62% I was aiming for. This begs the question; Do humidity gauges drift lower and lower over time? Do you all check your gauges regularly, and if so, what are your observations? Based on this experience I will test my gauges annually from here onward. Should you also?

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