Tag Archive for beer

Smoke Blog: A Couple of Big Ones

The humidor’s environment is finally under control. Hells yes. Last check, 77 degrees and 74% humidity. It took a couple of reseasonings, but the results were worth the minimal effort. \m/

(Is “reseasoning” a word? It is now.)

I burned through two sticks this week while getting some work done, and both times I opted for some of the larger smokes in the humidor. The main motivation was to stay busy longer, but I also felt they were less likely to be affected by the period of time the humidor was out of whack.

First up was the Macanudo Cru Royale. When I first lit it up, I was not impressed. It was very harsh and hot. However, this is possibly due to the dry environment in the humidor before I got it fixed, as it quickly mellowed into a fine smoke. Loaded with hints of leather, it smoked clean and easy. Not a remarkable smoke for my palate, but it paired well with the Boulevard Smokestack Series IPA (Double-Wide IPA, in fact) I was drinking. If you’re a Macanudo fan and prefer a medium- or full-bodied cigar, pick one up.

Last night I opted for a CAO Gold series maduro. This Churchill (I believe) stayed with me a good two hours. Very impressive. Not my go-to flavor preference, but I enjoyed it. Sturdy, easy to hold, lots of smoke to play with. A hint of cocoa in the beginning, then that hefty maduro profile took over. Near the end it picked up in heat and needed to be touched up with the lighter a few times, but not enough to kill the cigar. Alongside some Four Roses Yellow bourbon, it made for a very pleasant experience as I punched the keyboard.

For those wondering how I’ve managed to get so much variety in these Smoke Blog entries, I have two explanations: 1) my wallet; 2) my cousin Mark.

I like to experiment, and because I don’t always have the cash to drop on a full box, I pick up a stick or two at a time. The rotating stock in the limited cigar selections in Peoria then makes it easy to try different things. Sometimes this bites me in the ass, but more often than not I’m able to pick out reputable brands and some pleasant surprises.

Most of my stock right now, though, is courtesy of my cousin. Twice now he’s sent me a variety of cigars to try, typically to celebrate finishing a project. He also once rounded up a bunch of guys on a forum to restock my my humidor when it ran dry. It’s been great for the blog, for the productivity, and for the general enjoyment of the smoke. Thanks again, Mark! I hope to return the favor sometime soon.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Smoke Blog: Revolution

Gotta love it when the cigar guy at a store doesn’t know a thing about the cigars he sells.

I went to a Friar Tuck, a large liquor store which carries a wide variety of spirits and related offerings. They don’t have a proper walk-in humidor, but they do have a humidified display cabinet with a modest selection. The Peoria location usually has Punch, Macanudo, Romeo y Julieta, and a rotating selection of other brands, so in a pinch I’m happy to shop there.

This time I spotted the Revolution, a brand I hadn’t heard of before. I like trying new brands and the price was right, so when the cigar guy came over with his key, I asked him, “What can you tell me about the Revolution?”

Revolution

The flattened face of the Revolution cigar

“It’s good!” he said.

I gave him a moment, he said nothing more. “Do you know what kind of tobacco it’s made with?”

“Uhhhh…”

Swell.

Then he says, “It’s got a medium body?”

Argh. The wrapper looked a bit dark for that, but he clearly had no idea.

There’s another chain liquor store in the Chicago area called Binny’s. They have full, walk-in humidors and they hire people who actually know cigars to manage them. If Friar Tuck can’t do all that, fine, but why not at least post similar display tags as Binny’s? Something with a description, the blend, maybe even cigar ratings from popular review sources like Cigar Aficionado?

So I bought four anyway. I’m an adventurous guy, and two of the three friends I was shopping for aren’t all that concerned about brand and blend.

Tonight's writing setup

How to make the magic happen

I’ve since learned the Revolution is part of the Altadis Te-Amo brand from Mexico, and it’s made with a blend of Nicaraguan and San Andres tobaccos, primarily Corojo. It’s box-pressed, but it’s more of an flattened oval than square, and is labeled “Ovalado.” It has a sturdy feel and a slight coarseness to the wrapper.

I smoked two before writing this review: one while hanging out with friends and one while doing some writing. I used a simple punch cutter on the first and had a difficult draw. With the second I did two overlapping punches to create a wider hole, and this worked much better. (I didn’t know if it would hold together after a scissor cut, and I don’t have a V cutter right now.) Both lost their oval shape as I smoked, which I thought was odd, but it didn’t affect the smoking experience.

The Revolution is stronger than medium, but I wouldn’t call it a full-bodied smoke like a maduro. It had a bold, spicy flavor without being harsh or peppery. Both sticks burned clean and even despite the draw of the first cigar, producing plenty of rich smoke and leaving a fine, sturdy ash.

All in all a good smoke, and because my friends selected something else out of another humidor, I still have two more. They’ll pair nicely with the remaining Boulevard craft beers in my fridge as I write this weekend.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.