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  1. Greetings again dear friends! Below are a number of video reviews of cigars which I've termed 'uncommon' due to their discontinuation (or hiatus), premium exclusivity or simply for the fact that as cigar enthusiasts we're more unlikely to reach for them from our humidors! Again, like the 2017 Xmas Sampler Series, I'd like to say that speaking 'on-the-fly' about cigars is certainly a challenge and I will need to acknowledge errors throughout this series (so bare with me). Also, please feel free to share your thoughts on these cigars in this thread. If you have views or opinions contrary to what has been stated, please feel welcome to express your thoughts and say so, after all, my own views here is intended to serve as a guide.
  2. The transition of a friendship and thinking about my grandpa (long gone)... It was a dark and stormy night.. ...actually it wasn't, it was just dark, and bitter cold. Which sucked. Fortunately, I have access to a local Cigar Bar with terrible ventilation such that my hand still reeks of smoke for days after I'm done and my wife has me strip in the garage before I enter the house (Sorry ladies, no photos). I dont visit often, but my buddy does. My friend Tom is in his mid 60's and an interesting man who has lived more lives than I ever will. My wife and his really clicked too so the friendship works well. The very first cigar we had together was chronicled here: Tom and I enjoyed the last smoke we'll have for a while. I live in Kentucky and Tom is moving to Florida in a week.. (which is what many US East Coaster's tend to do when they get older) We began the night with a double date at a local restaurant (Louies Wine Dive). Food was good, not great, company was better. We laughed our asses off which is usually how it goes when we're together. At the end of dinner, the ladies retired to Toms place for some girl-talk (yuck), Tom and I hit up the Cigar Bar. Tom ordered a Michters Bourbon neat for the both of us and opened a tab, we sat down and clipped the cigars. Good ole faithful HDM Des Dieux from 03. Due to the smokey environment aroma at cold and all that blah blah blah was skipped. We lit right up. Tom (if you read the Bolivar Review above) is a Sommelier so we do enjoy discussing the flavors as the cigar progresses. Here she is.. Opening and 1st Third - Cream (as expected) meringue right out of the oven vacillating between a burnt marshmallow. Very nice. Impressive actually. Deeper down into the first third almost second third the flavor changed to toasted tobacco with light cloves, Ethiopian Yirga, burnt pecan shells strength starting to build. Into the Second Third The Des Dieux has begun to devolve regrettably. It's beginning to focus, less complexity. Strong coffee, toasted tobacco, and leather notes. Strength builds a bit more (as it often does). There is suddenly much less to talk about with it and we begin talking about life. (one of my favorite subjects frankly) We finish the Michters and Tom sends me to the bar to pick the second drink. I go to the bar and begin chatting to a gent next to me whilst I wait on the bar tender. Turns out the gent loves bourbon and runs a private bourbon focused FB page with 1,500 members. He adds me to his group and invites me to his home to sample one of his 250ish open bottles of bourbon (that's quite a lot). I deeply appreciate that hospitality. Those of you that know me, know I'm exactly the same way. I order the bourbon I picked, 2 fingers neat x 2 for Tom and I then sit down. I offer Tom the bourbon and dont tell him what it is. He immediately notices the dark rich color and takes a drink. Kind of lets out a wow and asks what it is. I say, "it'll surprise you." and tease him a little. He gives me a look like, "hurry up and tell me!". I LOL a bit and share that it's Knob Creek 120 proof. Regular production, available everyday, right on the shelf. He shakes his head in disbelief. He's quite the bourbon guy too but sometimes it's easy to get trapped in a certain corner of that universe and not venture out into some of the more common releases. We wrap up the second third. Final Third I must say I was hoping for better things with this cigar. Of the 2 cabs I owned I have about 20 left. I think they are slightly past their prime but still a great experience. Final third begins and the cigar is smoking very clean. Class act tobacco but not the complexity I expect. Toms is behaving the same way, we lose interest and let ole Dieux'y go mid final third before waving g'bye. You can see the '03 Des Dieux graveyard in the background on the ashtray a couple photos down. Enjoyable smoke but sometimes the myth of a cigar is greater than the cigar itself. At least for those two sticks. I had a few over the summer that were on point. If you've ever wondered why some cigars in a box are great and other aren't. Take a look at "The Noob Thread I Never Read" in my sig and it'll make perfect sense. I chalk these two up to the sorting and the age. FIN - (of the Des Dieux) I sort of sprung the next trick on Tom. Turned out he'd never smoked a Tobacco Pipe in his life. With all of his travels I couldn't believe it but saw it as an opportunity to try something new and make a new memory with my friend. I broke out my Pipe and Tobacco pouch and promptly produced an elegant Savinelli Dry System Billiard/Pot and a J. Boswell Freehand sitter (two of my favorites). Tom literally knew nothing of how to load the pipe so I loaded both with good ole Carter Hall and had Tom adjust his pack level for the draw he likes. .....Now many of you that smoke Pipe and Cigar may find it quite the step away from an HDM DD to Carter Hall. Truth is, I like Carter Hall. Easy to smoke, great viscous smoke and pleasant room note. Furthermore the nostalgia of Carter Hall is one I'll have till the end of my days. My Grandpa Bill smoked Carter Hall and the aroma produces rich memories of him, his stories, his laugh, family time together and my youth like some old-world catalyst for a time machine. We fire up the pipes and Tom begins to smoke, says he enjoys the experience as I advise him on the rhythm. We are both smoking 1/2 packed bowls and continue to talk. We lean back in the leather chairs. I found I missed the elegance to the pipe. Time slows between rhythmic puffs, sips of the Knob Creek 120 and conversation. We finish the bowls. I tamp them out into the ashtray and we head back to his place to link up with the Ladies reeking of cigar bar and smiling like cheshire cats. I thought I'd share a photo of my Grandpa Bill. I think this was taken in the 70's or early 80's. Seems like yesterday. Seems like a hundred years ago. The man could tell a story like no other. Most of it was BS but enjoyable nonetheless. I think he's smoking either a drinkless pipe or a cheap drugstore pipe like a Dr. Grabow. He never really smoked expensive ones. I can still remember those huge tins of Carter Hall. He let me pack his pipe for him when I was around 6 or 7. I packed it so tight he couldn't draw through it. I remember his grin and his kind look as he unpacked it with a weathered old pocket knife. Said it was packed like concrete. I thought I was doing an extra good job for him and the best of it all, he didn't make me feel the least bit bad about overdoing it. That's a good grandpa..

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