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Everything posted by shortsqueeze

  1. Nice post. Where Liem is also very much on point is in regards to the recent/current movement of no-dose or "Brut Nature" champagnes. Some champagnes, in some years don't require dosage. The next year, the same champagne might, to achieve the proper balance. The point being one shouldn't adopt an inflexible approach to dosage just because of a trend to lower dose champagnes.
  2. Liem’s book is terrific! I especially like his thoughts on dosage.
  3. I agree! They’re, rich and earthy and strong! Nothing like SPB of old. So THAT’S where the BBF tobacco went 😀. On this point, I recently smoked a newer Dip 2 and a newer (tubed) PSP2 and they were remarkably similar. In the past, these two would be remarkably different. Both of these newer versions were excellent cigars mind you, but nothing like they used to be. Rich and flavorful, but lacking power. Dip 2s used to take at least 5 years to shed their tannins and PSP2s were strong, earthy and spicy, like Partagas should be. What does all of this mean? Who knows!
  4. To your first point, this is exactly what the Cuban ligadors are supposedly doing in Cuba. Some brands, like Punch for example, have been amazingly consistent to me over the last 20 years, most notably maintaining its woody characteristics. Others, like Bolivar, have seemingly lost their way (where has the ligero intensity gone, and the deep earth and espresso characteristics). Some may disagree on which brands have remained true to their historical profiles or even what those profiles are, but I hope we all can agree there have been changes. Are those changes intentional to attend to perceived trends and markets, or is it a lack of, or change in the raw materials? To your second point, as mentioned, I share your desire to know more fully. Some ligadors have gone on record (I reference a 2013 interview with Arnold Bichot by Cigar Journal) and it seems both factors you reference (origin and characteristics) are in play when selecting tobaccos for the blends within their purview. Let me raise another issue, albeit tangential. I’ve noticed reduced availability of some vitolas, ERdM Choix Supreme and Sancho Panza Belicosos as two examples. What are the possible reasons for this? One, there just isn’t the demand for these vitolas at this time. Two, there is more of an emphasis on tobacco origin than characteristics in the blending and the particular vegas needed are offline or have diminished yields. Three and perhaps most controversial, some of the tobaccos with the most desirable characteristics required for these vitolas are being reallocated to brands with higher margins (Cohiba, REs).
  5. Terroir is everything, just look at Burgundy. I would think it’s no different for tobacco. I don’t discount Ken’s point, but it would seem to me farming and the processing of tobacco are more homogeneous in Cuba than Burgundy. Very hard for anyone to say because of the lack of transparency with regard to where components of the blends are sourced and what attributes are important to the ligadors. For me, this is the most interesting of all topics related to Cuban cigar production, but I don’t hold out hope we’ll ever get greater insight.
  6. Ralfy is terrific. He doesn't appear to be owned by anyone and he's got nothing for lousy casks and those that cut corners.
  7. I was using USD (at “official” USD:CUC rates) at all shops last July. Maybe things have changed since then.
  8. Appreciate the response and agree, as verified first hand over many years, ultimately it’s up to the duty officer’s discretion regardless of what’s written and there is language that supports this. However, I’m curious on people’s interpretation of the above language specifically, which was pulled directly from the CBP website.
  9. This is from the same FAQ many of you have cited. Does this read as the maximum number of cigars allowed to be imported for personal use is limited to 100 per person? In other words, there is no option to pay additional tax, duty, etc and import more? That’s how I read it, but I’m hoping to be wrong. Also, anyone have experience going through JFK on return from Cuba? Tobacco Products Returning resident travelers may import tobacco products only in quantities not exceeding the amounts specified in the personal exemptions for which the traveler qualifies (not more than 200 cigarettes and 100 cigars if arriving from other than a beneficiary country and insular possession). Any quantities of tobacco products not permitted by a personal exemption are subject to detention, seizure, penalties, abandonment, and destruction.
  10. I fly for fun. Curious how the accelerated training goes for you. You must be in an area with perfect weather all the time. If I could do it all over again, I’d have done my primary training in a tailwheel airplane. Tips? Stick with it, try not to get frustrated if you get hung up on some concept/skill area that’s a challenge for you. Unless you’re Chuck Yeager or something, expect to hit a few bumps in the road that may blow out your accelerated timeline/expectations. Also, get set up with an experienced CFI who loves to teach (not just building hours) and someone you gel with, cut bait and reestablish quickly with a different one if you’re not feeling it because primary training is so important as it establishes a knowledge set and foundational habits (hopefully good ones), the most important being how you deal with emergency situations and aeronautical decision making in general. Good luck, keep us posted.
  11. Smoking an Epi 2 Reserva right now and it’s an awesome cigar. Dark chocolate, coffee, peanut butter, cedar, cream ... so complex and rich. Sublime, yeah that’s the word.
  12. Very important point. It may take a while, but there is no doubt in my mind this is the future of premium cigars.
  13. A generous man who shared from his collection with people he barely knew. Fond memories of his “daily” posts about cigar and drink pairings, as well as his attention to detail. Overall, I miss what he added to the cigar community and how he made us think more critically. All the best to MRN.
  14. Interesting discussion. My perspective differs a bit. I thought some of the early releases, Montecristo Robustos, Partagas Serie D No. 3 and HdM Piramides for example, were terrific cigars whereas I have been less enamored since. Coincidentally, or not, I liked the re-releases of both the Monte and the Partgas and some others (Cohiba Piramades for example). I have also always found the ELs more like each other than the brand they purport to represent, a not too uncommon criticism. All that said, I'm looking forward to try the Dantes when it hits the mainstream. Back to the topic of earlier discussion, the state of wrapper today and going forward, I went back a number of years and looked at some of the LFTHs that I participated in and the aesthetics were just no comparison to, generally speaking, what I've been seeing today (in favor of the former) and what I fear we will be seeing for the next year.
  15. Perhaps I need to re-read the article, but my interpretatation was not that the wrapper was deemed inferior or second-rate, but difficult to work with and "too dark" for export production, something entirely different than "less attractive" and "seconds." I understand where you are coming from, however. The whole premise is silly, as there were plenty of "dark" cigars during the heydays of the late 80s and 90s. I agree I've seen plenty of rough looking wrapper on ELs from the very beginning of the program right through to today, but I've also seen lots of exquisite wrapper and I'm quite picky. No more or less than regular production, to be honest. In fact, some of the worst wrapper in general I've seen in 15 years has come about in the last couple years and is surely to come given the challenges facing the agricultural side of the house, which is to the point of the OP.
  16. Interesting statement. Kindly provide the source of information?
  17. It's not you. The last few years have been lousy harvests. But, production must go on!
  18. Yes. Good quality Montecristo No. 2s are really something starting at 10 years. They used to be sledge hammers when young, but I think they can be highly approachable nowadays. To anyone with the inclination to do so, buy two boxes at the same time. One to smoke through periodically and one to lay down for a decade. Over time, you'll find that you build an arc of experience where you can not only tell at what point through the aging cycle you prefer your cigars, but also common denominators that will give you cues as to how certain cigars will turn out in the longer run. Of course, it's not an exact science. Some years ago I bought a beautiful cabinet of Punch Punch from Rob, let them chill for a little while and then smoked one. Absolutely dead on arrival. Like smoking rolled newspaper. No flavor whatsoever. Zip, zero, zilch. Then I smoked another one a year or so later, ditto. I would have bet my last dollar these cigars would NEVER improve. Besides cursing Rob on occasion every few years I happen to come across that cabinet, I ignored them. I wouldn't even give them away. But they were pretty, so I kept them as opposed to tossing them in the rubbish. Well, about a year ago enough time had passed where I decided to give them another whirl. I'll be damned, was this cigar insanely good! Strong, rich, with the classic Punch woodiness that you'll get in a superb example. So good, I pulled two out next time and shared with a good friend. Carbon copy experience. So you never know, but it works more than it doesn't. And remember, the casinos all over the world have made billions of dollars on the backs of punters like me based on that simple precept of being more right than wrong.
  19. The Cubans call the blotches "banderas" and I've been seeking out and buying boxes that look like this for years. Good stuff.
  20. She's a hard nut, but the resident bad asses in my book are no less than the Ladies of Dorne, the "Sand Snakes." Not much airtime this season, but still tops in my book.
  21. That's what you get for using a v-cut
  22. I don't love most of their beers, so I only go on occasion. I'm really not a hophead.
  23. What did you think of it? Me, I thought it was fine. I wished I could have bought more Haze in lieu of it when I bought it on Wednesday.
  24. Haze is my personal favorite and unique. The rest is overpriced, IMO. Many cans are $1+ more than Heady Topper! HT may not be the favorite of the hipsters anymore, but it's still world class hops.

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