Tag Archive for romeo y julieta

Smoke Blog: Kicking Off the Season

It took until April, but I finally got out to the porch with a cigar.

Breaking the porch chair back in with a RyJ Lonsdale #cigar

Just a short one to kick things off

It’s finally the season where I’ll be able to sit outside with a cigar and the laptop or iPad and get some real work done. I find it’s a lot less distracting that way, and I stay more focused.┬áIn my office, it’s far too easy to get distracted by web surfing and finding other things to read.

As for the cigar, the Romeo y Julieta 1875 lonsdale is a decent little smoke. It’s a Sumatra wrapper, near as I can tell from a quick Google search, and I think the small size and tight draw made it burn a little hotter and harsher than I normally prefer. Its larger cousins from the Reserva Real line tend to be a lot smoother and more enjoyable, but I didn’t have an hour to kill smoking a toro or corona tonight.

That’s not unusual for a lonsdale, in my opinion. The size is designed for a quick smoke, something for when I’m in a hurry, or for when I’m working in the yard or washing the motorcycle. A good friend preferred them while on duty as an EMT because he had a much better chance of finishing between calls and didn’t feel bad if he had to chuck it when a call came in.

There are storms on the horizon for this week. After that, we have some nice weather again. Here’s looking forward to a productive Spring and Summer.

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: Rocky Patel American Market

I felt like I shouldn’t have another cigar this week, but last night I needed to get some work done so I grabbed one anyway. It’s a sacrifice I’m prepared to make to ensure I get some quiet time and get some writing done.

The Rocky Patel American Market has a smooth texture and a dusty blonde Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, promising a milder smoke. In fact, the wrapper combined with the Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers reminded me a bit of my go-to favorite, the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real. The American Market’s flavor is a little more peppery than the creamy Reserva Real, but it, too, is one I think could easily be passed around to rookie smokers.

The cigar lit with ease and burned clean with an easy draw. I liked that the ash held fast until I tapped it off, a good bonus when I’m working over a laptop and am focused on the screen rather than the cigar. The American Market stayed consistent right down to my fingers, and while I could feel it heating up, the flavor did not sour.

A quick price check online suggests this wouldn’t be a bad option for filling out the humidor for visitors or for a quick and casual smoke. There’s enough there to keep a cigar smoker interested, but it’s not going to knock that friend who insists on smoking Swisher Sweets on his ass. Unless one has a strong preference for a lighter smoke, however, I don’t see it displacing anything else in the humidor.

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: A Special Romeo y Julieta

It’s getting to be that time of year where I can start talking about two of my favorite things again: cigars and motorcycles.

The Little Bird and I get most Wednesday evenings alone during the school year, so we headed outside to enjoy the warm weather while waiting for the rest of the family to get home. I decided to bring a cigar along, a certain Romeo y Julieta of a limited origin that my publisher gave me back in November. I chose this one because I knew I would at last have the time to finish it, not bail halfway through due to the weather.

My first reaction? Wow. It boasted a bolder flavor than its cousin the Reserva Real, and it included faint, peppery notes on the finish at times. Typical winter headaches with my humidor left the wrapper a bit dry, but that did not harm the burn, flavor, or construction of the smoke. A small hole and then crack appeared in the wrapper, but to my surprise, it didn’t affect the draw at all. The draw itself remained smooth and consistent all the way to the end, and I took this one down to the knuckles.

I’ve got to get more of these. Unfortunately they’re a bit difficult to come by.

Meanwhile I got Lenore out, dusted her off, and fired her up. I knew I wouldn’t have time to take her for a ride, but I at least wanted to make sure the battery was still charged and to get the oil moving around again. This is only the second time I’ve even started her in 2011, and I’ve been itching to get her back on the road. The few other days we’ve had where the weather may have been nice enough to ride, I didn’t have the opportunity to take advantage.

Little Bird & Lenore

Careful! She'll cut you.

It looks like we’ve got a little more cold and rainy weather ahead of us, but after that it’s going to start calming down again. I’ve been asked many, many times if I’ve been riding the bike yet, and pretty soon I’ll be able to say yes.

About frickin’ time.

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: RyJ Reserva Real and Cigar Spike

This is my first cigar in weeks.

I bit the inside of my lip and had a nasty sore, so I’ve held off on the celebratory cigar for my Evileye Books announcement until I could be sure the smoke wouldn’t irritate or infect the wound. Now that it’s smoothed over again, I got my ass back out on the front porch and lit up a Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real. It only took a few puffs to remember why it’s one of my go-to smokes for casual smoking.

I’ve ranted about the joys of the RyJ plenty of times in the past, though, so this time I thought I’d concentrate on the Cigar Spike I used to pierce the end cap for smoking. I’m normally a punch guy, but in my experience, most of them don’t hold an edge and I sometimes feel like I’m about to break the cigar or I’ll compress the tobacco near the foot as I’m punching the hole. This is especially a problem when a cigar is a little too moist and the cap doesn’t cut as easily.

On those occasions I’ll turn to a cutter. I can’t say I’ve got much of a preference between the cutter and the punch other than a punch is more convenient to carry (I tend to use the coin pocket in my jeans for my lighter and cutting gear), so it’s not a big deal to switch back and forth. However, if the cap isn’t fixed properly, they may fall apart. I’ve also had problems with some cigars crushing before cutting, and often times I’ll get bits of tobacco in my mouth.

The Cigar Spike promised to solve all of these problems: they’re tiny and portable, there’s no knife edge to lose sharpness, and because they’re pushing a hole into the cap there are no bits of tobacco falling out. I was a bit skeptical, but for three bucks shipped, I decided to give it a shot. A few days later my three Cigar Spikes arrived.

They delivered on being tiny and portable. The small piece of smooth plastic fit into my pocket with ease, right up against my lighter. Because it’s not metal, there’s no danger of it scratching or scuffing my trusty Xikar lighter, either. The point is slightly rounded, so it won’t poke anything and there are no worries about it going dull. Time to put it to work.

It took no effort to push the Spike through the Reserva Real’s cap, which made me happy. No compression or excessive pushing to endanger the draw is a good thing. I took a test draw on the unlit cigar and it felt a little tough, so I pushed the Spike in again to widen the hole (just push in farther and the hole gets wider), then turned it ninety degrees and poked again. I didn’t get a plus sign some of the reviews mentioned, just a small, roundish hole a bit smaller than a punch would have made. The next test draw proved smoother and easier.

Satisfied that far, I left the punch and cutter inside and went out to light up. I will say the draw with a punch or cutter is a bit looser, but the spiked draw worked just fine. An hour into the cigar I had zero problems with the draw. I tend to bite the end from time to time, though, and a half hour later the draw got tougher. Another quick and effortless poke, though, and the draw was right back to the way it started.

All in all, I’m happy with the little guys. I look forward to trying them again with a few more smokes, and I’m going to give one to a local friend, a rookie smoker who just purchased his first box of Avos (after sampling a couple I gave him, natch). I’ll let you know how it goes in my next Smoke Blog entry.

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: Hoosierland

How to Spot a Good Cigar
Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.

This new batch of Romeo y Julieta Reserva Reals I purchased is killing me.

Not because they taste bad or anything like that, but because they take so damn long to smoke. The sticks in this box have averaged two hours a piece, which keeps me on the porch far longer than I expected. It’s a good thing my wireless is still in reach.

As you can see from the picture, I stick through to the end. How do you know when a Reserva Real is done? When it goes out and it’s so short you risk burn your face off relighting it. Mild flavor, good ash, heady smoke, a clean draw… it’s hard to find anything to complain about with these bad boys. My only mistake may have been opting for the Double Corona size, but I’ll live.

I had this one out on my folks’ porch Friday night, and I thought they lived in a sleepy little town until this weekend. The Fourth of July weekend brings out the crazy in rural Indiana.

For starters, two of their immediate neighbors lit off so much ordnance I thought I was sitting in the middle of the Hatfield/McCoy feud. Judging by the frequent cries of “Oops!” and “Oh shit, run!” they were more a danger to themselves than one another, however. After the rest of the town joined in, the place sounded like a war zone. I was tempted to grab a rifle and start painting “Wolverines!” on the sides of trucks.

I watched the largest raccoon I’ve ever seen walk down the sidewalk across the street. That struck me as odd until a kid shouted “Raccoon!” and burst out of the front door. His thick goggle glasses reflected the street lamps, and as he sprinted after the raccoon it struck me that this may well have been the inspiration for the karate kid in Smokin’ Aces. His sister shouted after him and he stopped short at the curb, then slunk back to the house. He emerged twice more, each to do little more than run in a circle or to sneak around Bluto Blutarsky-style in his front yard. I’m not sure what he’d have done with the raccoon had he caught it, but I imagine getting his face torn off was high on the list.

Then came Scooter Man, who doesn’t know it but he came within inches of the end of his life. The motor on his little turdmobile sounded like a swarm of angry gnats all digging into your ear canal at once. And he rode up the street and back several times, sometimes on our street, sometimes on the next block north or south. One time someone else rode by on the scooter and returned, and then he reappeared. I thought he might have been making a beer run from a party, but he must have gotten really, really lost along the way. That or he decided it would be more fun to shuttle the case home one can at a time. After the fifth or sixth pass of his whiny little engine, even the Wife wanted to end him.

There were other instances of minor strangeness: the large woman on a bicycle belting out “Angie” by the Stones; the SUV with tinted windows and thumping bass that rolled to a sloooow stop in front of the house, then drove on a moment later; the giant, unidentified bug that I stomped flat and burned to a crisp with my butane lighter, just to be sure it was dead, dead, dead; the trio of children who were obsessed with a six-inch square of asphalt for over ten minutes.

Normally these nights on my folks’ porch are completely uneventful. It was like I fell into some redneck version of the Twilight Zone. Meanwhile, tonight’s main fireworks display was postponed due to rain, so the neighborhood idiots have filled in. A third neighbor put on a nice display, but then three window-rattling booms shook the neighborhood, so we took cover.

There’s a fire extinguisher in the next room. I’ll let you know if I have to put out any pinheads tonight.

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: RyJ Habana Reserve Take 2

It’s getting chilly as I sit outside smoking a Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve, but I have no desire to put it out.

I tried the robusto from my Habana Reserve sampler pack a few weeks ago, and this time opted for the torpedo. I’ve been puffing on it for over an hour now, and I’m just over halfway through it. I’ve been puffing steadily, mind, and I’ve had no need to relight it nor have I experienced the tunneling problems I had with the robusto.

I’m impressed.

Again, the Habana Reserve is a bit stronger than the Reserva Real, and the Habana’s flavor is more toward the spicy side versus the Real’s creamy notes. I’m also getting the same finish, a peculiar blend of pepper and leather that I’ve not experienced in any other cigar. It produces quite a bit of smoke, which looks rather cool in the glow of my MacBook Pro’s LCD monitor. My neighbors must think my head is on fire.

This smoke could easily creep up into my top five, right up there with their sister Reserva Reals and the Avos I’ve tried.

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: RyJ Habana Reserve

It wasn’t quite warm enough for a cigar, but I went ahead and took a robusto out for a quick one anyway.

Tonight’s smoke of choice: the Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve. I stumbled across a sampler offer in a magazine a few months ago, ordered it, and then forgot about them. I was quite pleased when I nearly tripped over the UPS box the other day.

Not a half bad smoke. It was heavier than I expected, but had a very pleasant, consistent flavor. The light went easy, but I did have a hard time keeping it lit and had a few problems with tunneling. It was cold and breezy out and I was multitasking as usual, though, so I’m not going to hold the burn issues against it until I try a couple of the others from the sampler. (It’s also hard to say how long they were sitting around before shipping.)

Though they’re a little stronger than the RyJ Reserva Real, I look forward to trying the next one. I suspect these would go well with a good lager, something I’ll have to test when grilling season returns.

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: Romeo y MacBook Pro

The Only Way to Write

Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.

I’ve often thought about taking a laptop out with me when I smoke, but the battery in my old Dell laptop is down to about 10 minutes of juice and I’ve gotten out of the habit. Yesterday it dawned on me I’ve got a shiny new MacBook Pro in my bag and I get over three hours on a charge, so I thought it might be worth trying again. I grabbed the laptop, my new Xikar lighter, and a Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real and headed out to the patio.

For starters, the cigar was excellent. I’m down to three Reals from last year’s box, and this cigar reassured me I made the right choice in purchasing another box of them on Friday. The creamy wrapper and full (yet smooth) flavor was a genuine pleasure, and I had no problem sitting with it for damn near two hours, smoking well past sundown. The finish on the Reals is very gentle, and this one left me with a heady buzz.

Even better, I got several hundred new words written on Top Secret Novella. I rewrote the opening yet again, and I think the story will be stronger for it. The cigar didn’t get in the way at all as I punched the keys, and I trusted the sturdy Real not to drop premature ash onto my keyboard.

I don’t feel the need to smoke a cigar every time I write, but it sure doesn’t seem to hurt me any. I’ll be trying it again in the future, I’m sure.

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: Don Tomas Cameroon Collection

Cigars with a Cameroon wrapper are very popular, but I tend to find their taste a little harsh, especially in the finish. I’ve been told maybe I just had bad luck with cigars or brands, or perhaps I just don’t like the blends certain brands use. I much prefer the Connecticut shade wrappers like my go-to smoke, the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real, but I’ll continue to try Cameroon-wrapped smokes and see if I can’t narrow down the problem.

It’s with this in mind I lit up the Don Tomas Cameroon last week. It came as part of a robusto sampler pack I ordered a while back, and I wanted to give it some time in the humidor so there would be no lingering dryness from shipping that may affect the flavor. It lit easily, and the draw was fine. My luck with sturdy cigars in the face of spring breezes continued with the Don Tomas, as I had no trouble even as the cold started to numb my fingers. The cigar had a fine ash and produced thick smoke.

But there was that odd tang to the finish again. Not altogether unpleasant, but I found myself pining for one of my Reservas instead. Perhaps next time I’ll have to try a Cameroon with a beer or a glass of whiskey and see if that doesn’t level things out. I’m almost certain some good smokes I’ve sampled in the past have been wrapped in Cameroon tobacco, but it seems like when this flavor appears, it’s in a smoke with a Cameroon wrapper.

This week I’ll be visiting New Trends with John. I’ll have to chat up the owner, Mark, and see if he can offer some insight or tell me I’m just nuts. While we discuss it, I think I’ll have a nice Avo Classic.

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.