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Everything posted by yhomas

  1. US to Romania through Germany and Switzerland. No real problems, but there are random long lines checking Covid documents either at check in, or at gate, or some random point between; so get to airport early (assume 1 hour extra Covid line somewhere) and get all the way to gate and ask if you are OK to board flight. Different countries have different mask rules. The rules may change; after a week in Romania they started asking for Vaccination proof to enter restaurants or hotels.
  2. My father in law will generally lick most of the wrapper of his cigar (keep in mind his humidor did not have anything to raise the humidity) prior to lighting. Now I understand why.
  3. For CC, one of my top recommendations would be the Upmann Half Corona. That was my first Cuban and it was a memorable experience. For NC, 5Vegas Classic can be a very good value--along with Punch Punch London Club. Not necessarily as special as some of the better Cubans, but still very good.
  4. I am OK with larger ring gauges much more so with tapered ends, but I don't personally see a lot of point going above ~48 RG in general. Is a Churchill not good enough? For CC, where we mostly pay for the weight of tobacco, the smaller gauges seem to generally bring more bang for the buck (hours smoke per dollar). What makes the most sense IMO is more corona and CG--though I am pretty happy with PC in general. All I ask for is a Upmann Half Corona in a 4.5" (or dare I ask 5") length. "Half Corona Plus"? (Maybe I am biased by a couple of exceptional boxes of half coronas.)
  5. I have a coolidor that averages ~75F. It was up to ~64% for a while, and the cigars were underperforming, so I deliberately dried it out to ~61% and things got distinctly better. Tried a fee cigars at ~55% (sitting in AC) and that seemed no good (bitter).
  6. Since relative humidity is relative to temperature, but cigar moisture (a more absolute quantity) is what most of us are interested in, it makes more sense to talk about pairs of humidity and temperature rather than a single humidity number. For example, 65F and 65% relative humidity is a common pair. My coolidor is closer to ~60% and 75F at the moment. When it was ~64% and ~75F I had the impression that some cigars were over-humidified.
  7. The studies need to count cigars per week rather than cigars per day as (per recent threads), a large fraction (if not a majority) of cigar smokers consume less than one cigar per day.
  8. It depends on what one does with the smoke exactly. If I take a puff and hold it in the mouth for a while before blowing it out, and do that every puff, a nicotine buzz will happen fairly quickly for any cigar--immediately puffing out the smoke will reduce the nicotine dose. Retrohaling is similar--more retrohale will deliver more nicotine. Similarly, I believe spitting periodically is prone to reduce nicotine consumption relative to regularly swallowing saliva which will naturally have absorbed nicotine. Etc. Etc.
  9. For a good low cost NC, consider the (Honduran) Punch Punch "London Club (Corona) (5.0"x40)". I am no expert, but IMO, these would fit in plausibly well with more full bodied CC. Some people may have never smoked a cigar, so they might want something smaller and cheaper (so they don't feel guilty about wasting it). A box of something like these could substantially reduce the amortized cost per cigar, thus allowing a CC selection of something more expensive (perhaps larger) for those who might better appreciate it.
  10. Bolivar Coronas Junior. Not a bad way to start, but at this point, I think SC El Principe is a better value.
  11. Intuitively, heat rises, so a single fan at the bottom blowing up may not be getting air to circulate. It may be more useful to think about this in terms of simply trying to balance the temperature with air circulation. Placing one fan at the top blowing down may do better, but getting air going in a circle is more easily done with two fans. On the other hand, having two different conditions in the humidor may be a useful thing to experiment with. Blind testing opportunity?
  12. I have used the WS-10 for the last ~6 months. Good price/performance.
  13. Congrats! Enjoyed reading the WRC reviews! Do these get moved to the reviews section for posterity?
  14. Thanks everyone. I was a bit surprised at the 66 minute duration, for such a small cigar. I feel like I probably get less time out of most of the PC sized offerings I have tried (but admittedly I don't usually record the smoke time). I was going pretty leisurely--pausing to record review notes--but I didn't feel like I was really trying to stretch it out (maybe I was doing so subconsciously though).
  15. This is my first review on FOH. I am fairly new to cigars in general, but very new to CC this year, having only tried an assortment of ~10x of the smaller sized CC offerings, but I thought I would give it a shot anyway at my "cigar of 2015"--which I happened to enjoy yesterday. Purchased a PSP box from our host--these have the darker (more reddish) colored wrappers as mentioned in El President's post "A Tale of Two Principes". They have been sitting at 61% and ~75f for only ~2 weeks after delivery, but I couldn't wait any longer to try one. The handsome aroma from the box and cold draw suggested promise. After a few puffs, I had to smile. This was what I was hoping for. We have the sophistication and nuanced depth of flavor that I remember from the Upmann Half Corona--but a better flavor profile (for my palate). Less woody/earthy than the HC, and more cocoa, with some molasses and every once in a while vanilla? The flavor is pretty robust and seems to undulate somewhat from puff to puff--just a nip of pepper/spice from time to time. In the second third, I am getting more baking spice/cloves (as is the case for me toward the end in a lot of cigars that I have tried). The last third continued along the lines of the 2nd third. As I got near the end, I did have to relight as I was puffing at too leisurely of a pace. The flavor remained pleasant and consistent; but right near the nub, I started to pick up a new presence of flavor (spice?) that I haven't ever tasted before--not an aeromatic/cloves flavor, but something else entirely. Not sure what it is but I like it--really interesting finish. Overall, great creamy/velvety smoke output, and no burn issues--clearly good construction. The ash would hang on longer than what seemed reasonable. Perfect draw--so perfect, I just didn't notice it. Just delightful overall experience--even a nice aftertaste. Smoke time: 66 minutes. The only fault I could point toward is that the flavor didn't really "progress" in the sense that the cigar was hitting with full flavor from the first few minutes (and pretty much kept going). Arguably, that is the inherent nature of this size format, but I was so wowed from the start, the fact that it merely kept going seemed almost disappointing (almost). This is definitely my favorite small Cuban so far. These are a bit more expensive than some of the other small CC's I have tried--yet a great overall value IMO. I am reluctant to put a point score on this since I have my own 1-10 scoring system that is not really applicable to anyone but me; basically a score above 5.0 is a cigar that I like--and the majority of my scores have been in the 6-7 range--good, but not thrilling. I gave this Principe an 8.5, which is the highest score I have given. (The second highest score was a Half Corona, which I gave an 8.0. FYI, several weeks back, I had another lighter colored Principe single of unknown vintage, which I was happy with, and scored at a 7.5.)
  16. I have a low tolerance for black pepper and bitterness, but the worst I have experienced is funky burnt rubber flavor--which I found a very prominent feature in the (NC) C.I. Obsidian (with the big black band).
  17. What a great thread. A couple of comments to add: #1. The problem with "USDA Prime" beef is that usually it comes aged. (Obviously, it is possible to get non-aged Prime, but this is generally difficult to find in my experience.) Although aged beef is more tender, I prefer the flavor of fresh beef. So I really like the concept of getting fresh beef and "cheating" on the aging process (as described in this thread) rather than actual aging. #2. I haven't been to a lot of great steak houses, but the best one I have been to cooked over a wood fire (orange and pecan wood mix). I personally love cooking over a wood fire (most often pecan wood)--yes, I like the smoke flavor. I have never had a piece of prime grade meat which was freshly cut off the cow, so I can't comment on that, but for the steak that I have realistic access to, IMO, cooked over a wood fire is always better than other options. #3. Without using a lot of wood, and spending a lot of time and care on fire preparation, it is difficult to achieve a wood fire with sufficiently even heat that one can easily cook over at reasonably high heat without the need for lots of rotation and care of the meat. So if you want to set the meat onto the grill, wait, then turn once, wait, then remove from grill without any additional contact, the wood fire is probably not a realistic option. #4. In my experience, there is no direct penalty for touching the steak--moving it etc. This is not a religious ceremony. Contact between steak and a spatula or tongs is not going to ruin the meat. What actually does have an effect is opening the grill lid. If you want to cook a steak with uniform high heat in a short amount of time, opening the grill lid is plausibly going to interrupt the cooking (more so on the top side of the meat), and have an effect. Reasonably, it may take a few minutes for the grill to fully warm up inside after you close the lid, so if you are cooking a steak in ~8 minutes with one guaranteed open/turn/close in the middle, any additional grill opening will pretty much guarantee that the grill will never reach the full temperature inside. #5. I used to have a goal of a high heat, and short duration grill session. But here is what I have discovered in cooking over small wood fires over the last few years: For reasonably thick steaks, you do not need to cook at high heat--at least not as high as is traditionally advocated. #6. Now for my tastes, browning/charring of the meat is required, so the laws of physics require some time at high temperature, but imagine that one makes a typical small wood fire on one side of a typical small grill. There is an extremely uneven heat--and this is difficult to cook on. However, there is an enormous advantage here: Set the meat off to the side, and it will warm up slowly while gathering flavor from the smoke. Set the meat onto the hot spot of the wood fire, and it can be browned in a matter of ~1 minute. This is a different concept of grilling, and it takes a bit of skill to move the meat around appropriately, but the nice advantage from my point of view is that in general, one has a longer cooking time where the meat is at more moderate temperatures, then the meat is briefly finished over the intense heat of the hotter portion of the wood fire. Most importantly for people with finite resources of wood, this type of fire can be pretty efficient in terms of wood use. #7. Extending the concept further, we can add sugar to a (wet) rub in order to get browning to occur quicker and at lower temperatures. Personally, I really enjoy a soy sauce/brown-sugar/lemon-juice/garlic/pepper marinade. I love ribeye, but (depending on the quantity used) the soy marinade can be too strong for overnight marinading--a couple of hours is usually plenty. For sirloin or NY strip, overnight is good. Obviously, the somewhat sugary marinade is an entirely different vibe from the concept discussed here, but I thought I would mention it since it is one of my favorites. #8. I am sure that this will void the warranty of any gas grill, but I like to just add a few pieces of pecan right on top of the typical cheap gas grill burner. If the wood fire doesn't have quite enough heat, the propane can be turned on, but I prefer to have the wood be the primary source of heat for cooking. It is preferable to put a small grate over the top of the gas to prevent wood coals from getting underneath the burners. In some cases, if hot coals are under the burners it can ruin the burners in one fire. With care, the burners are still ruined on a periodic basis, so don't try this on an expensive grill!
  18. I like variety in this area, but Mexican beer serves this purpose well--Cerveza Pacífico Clara, Victoria, etc.).
  19. I use gas to catch the wood (usually Pecan) on fire. Sometimes I just use the wood, or if I am conserving wood, I might use a bit of gas flame in addition to the wood. I like to cook before the wood has all turned into coals so that I get good smoke output. But the heat can be very uneven, so it takes more care to do this--and it tends to destroy the grill innards. For me, it is worth the trouble.
  20. IMO, it is worthwhile doing research on humidity vs. temperature if you have not already. Unfortunately, these two are very related. I am not the expert on this topic, but basically, air can hold a total certain amount of water, and this amount varies with temperature. At high temperature, air can hold a lot more water than at low temperature. Relative humidity is always relative to a certain temperature. So basically 65% RH at 75F represents a much higher water content than 65% RH at 65F. Arguably, you want your cigars to have a certain amount of water in them, and you don't really care about relative humidity of air or temperature--you want to maintain constant absolute humidity or water content. It is common to see recommendations like ~65% @ 65F, or 61% @68F--both of which correspond to ~4.5 grams of water per cubic foot of air. However, if you maintain 65% humidity at 75F, that corresponds to ~6.1 grams/ft^3, which is reasonably over-humidified by the standards of many here. This is not intuitive, but to arrive at 4.5g/ft^3 water content at 75F, one needs a relative humidity of ~48%. I am not saying that 48%@75F is necessarily the right number though! I don't have much experience with CC, but even with NC, I feel like ~65% and ~75F is over-humidified based on my limited experience over the last year. So, the bottom line is that if your storage temperature is higher, consider a lower target humidity, or at least experiment with various humidity levels. Conceptually, this is an advantage of HCM beads because you can let them adjust them to different humidity levels.
  21. A couple months ago, I picked up the Ambient Weather WS-10 which comes with 3x temperature/humidity sensors for ~$60. No WiFi or logging, and long term accuracy spec is not the best (all sensors arrived within 1% or maybe 2% of the 65% Bodeva calibration). Not perfect, but I am happy with the price/performance ratio. In any case, having multiple wireless sensors is nice.
  22. I just had a similar experience from a GEO Feb 14, but the unusual flavor (in the last 1/3) tasted more like licorice to me. It seems that the licorice type flavor is reasonably in the same category as menthol. There may be another spice type flavor that fits better. This was my first Mag 46 BTW.

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