Losing an hour of sleep, but smoking an extra cigar...or three, it's Blowin' Smoke #199!
With hopes that daylight savings time will begin to bring us more tolerable herfing weather, the Cretins gathered to celebrate the coming spring and a little St. Patrick's Day green with a new Cigar of the Day, and kickoff a little spring fling cigar three-way. Along with a new Smoke Buzz, a new Cosmo, and some new home brew, we also talked to Clint Aaron of 262 Cigars about their new cigar being released next month, and the results of the little name contest we recently held for it.
Plus, some of our listeners checked in with thoughts on how the time change effects their cigar smoking, and we announced a new contest centered around one of our Cretins competing in a 5K race. Yes...we had our doubts too.
So, check your clocks, grab a fine cigar, and join the herf! It's Blowin' Smoke #199!
What's this? A bump in the polar vortex? A wrinkle in the space-time continuum? Or just a case of laziness? Whatever you call it, it's still Blowin' Smoke #198!
For the first time ever, your El Freako has voluntarily stepped away from the host microphone and demoted himself to lowly Cretin status for an episode of Blowin' Smoke leaving master control in the hands of Cretin Kevin. So, what happened? How'd he do? Were there any injuries? Can you really dunk Samoa Girl Scout Cookie in Flor de Cana 12 yr rum? You be the judge.
We talked about surviving this harsh cold winter as a cigar smoker, and diverted into some fun craft beer talk with our resident home brewers, Cretin Dan and Cretin Ken. We also talked about coffee preferences and personalities, and even about tea. Hey, it's all about the pairings, right?
From the comfy confines of the Man Chair, your El Freako took on some Cretin duties like actually smoking and reviewing the latest Cigar of the Day, and handling the latest installment of what the chicks are reading. Plus, we checked in with Chris Kelly of Leaf Lovers for the latest Smoke Buzz, and reminded you about your last chance to enter a great contest with 262 Cigars and Commonwealth Cedar Spills.
And we said goodbye to a good friend.
So, sit back, and brace yourself...preferably with a fine cigar and some rum & cookies...for Blowin' Smoke #198!
Riding the Polar Vortex with a stuffed groundhog, it's Blowin' Smoke #197!
We're back after a weather-related delay and ready for some herfage. Armed with a new Cigar of the Day, some Buck Snort Stout from our local North Country Brewing, and a brand new Cosmo, the Cretins are rested and ready.
It's contest time! DING! 262 Cigars is about to release a new cigar and you could win a FULL BOX of them, PLUS a year's supply of Commonwealth Cedar Spills, PLUS some snacks from your El Freako! How? You've got to listen to find out, and do it fast because there is a deadline for entry.
We also checked in with Chris Kelly for the latest Smoke Buzz, talked about Olympic winter games that should be, and managed to tie that into our latest investigative report on what the chicks are reading.
All that and more is just a click away right here on Blowin' Smoke #197!
New year...same Cretins. Well, you work with what you've got, right? So, it's off and running with Blowin' Smoke #196!
With a list of failed resolutions already on the trash heap, the Cretins wanted to hear from listeners who might be holding on to theirs, or who just had some things they wanted to talk to the Cretins about. We sacrificed the first Cigar of the Day of the new year, continued a sweet winning streak in the Cigar Match, checked in with Chris Kelly for the latest Smoke Buzz, and enjoyed a break from the recent sub-zero temperatures.
Plus, an ancient question about dogs may have finally been answered, and our investigative series into what the chicks are reading continued with the arrival of a new Cosmo. Coincidentally, that tied into some of the other weird stuff we found to talk about. Brace yourself.
So, jump right in, the water is fine. The Cretins, on the other hand, are anybody's guess. Grab a fine cigar and join the herf. Blowin' Smoke #196
Check out some of the selfies below that were tweeted in during the show, plus a few from inside the Havana Room.
The Blowin' Smoke Podcast Cretins' Prime Nine 2013 - Our favorite new cigars from the past year. With all the end of the year lists out there, we like to think of the Cretin Prime Nine as a combination of the best, sexiest, favorite, and most memorable handmade lovelies we were lucky enough to get our hands on. There is no way for the lowly Cretins to have smoked, let alone even seen, every single new release last year. So, your results may vary, and you'll probably cheer and bitch as you immerse yourself our most sacred selections. Knock yourself out! More importantly, grab these highly regarded cigars, if you haven't already, and take them for a spin. Support their makers and the retailers that are fighting every day to continue providing us with this amazing indulgence that brings so many of us together every day.
The Cretins were asked to submit their top five favorite new cigars from the past year, in order, as well as some brief commentary on their selections. Positions were scored. Points were tallied and we came up with our 2013 Prime Nine...which included a couple ties too.
The Blowin' Smoke Cretins Prime Nine for 2013
#9 - TIE -- EPC Short Run 2013 & Padilla Vintage Reserve
EPC Short Run - Popping up every spring is a new E.P. Carrillo Short Run, each a limited release. This year, it caught the attention of the Cretins enough to break into the 2013 Prime Nine. Three sizes hit shelves...Corona Gorda, Double Robusto, and Robusto, with just 1,500 boxes each. For 2013, the EPC Short Run featured an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. Cretins said: "Balanced, complex, amazing." "An excellent example of an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. Sweet and nutty with a light spice." "A very well balanced cigar."
Padilla Vintage Reserve - After some restructuring and rebranding, Ernesto Padilla hit 2013 running with some exciting changes and offerings. His manufacturing and distribution relationship with Oliva Cigar Company had grown, new cigars were making waves, and his attitude and colorful character appeared to be in high gear. Announced in June, the Vintage Reserve features a rich Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper around aged Cuban seed Corojo and Nicaraguan Habano. Cretins said: "The levels of flavor build upon each other." "A wonderful profile of cedar and toast...a nice spice through the retrohale as notes of vanilla and a honey-like sweetness build." "Long finish, creamy with notes of bitter coffee toward the end."
#8 - TIE -- H. Upmann Legacy & Nomad Fugitive II
H. Upmann Legacy - When the H. Upmann Legacy Corona was featured as the Cigar of the Day on an episode of the Blowin' Smoke Podcast, the Cretins were very impressed with the flavor profile and even more impressed that it came from Altadis. The Legacy blend of an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and Nicaraguan and Dominican filler pushed through like it was a small batch boutique cigar with such a unique flavor profile that was a real departure from what many had come to expect from the great big boys...that being the perception of new bands on the same cigars. We hope to see and smoke more cigars like the H. Upmann Legacy from the big guys. Cretins said: "I made this little gem last almost 100 minutes!" "The price point just pushes it over the top." "I never thought I would put an Altadis product on my list, but it surprised me, and it will surprise you." "Mild to medium smoke...great flavor!"
Nomad Fugitive II - Born in 2012, Nomad Cigar Company, headed by Fred "@GodFadr" Rewey, is one of the fastest growing, most talked about boutique brands out there. Following the initial Nomad lineup of a mild Dominican blend, Fred started 2013 with the new Fugitive II...a kicked up reblending of his limited edition Fugitive LE. While the overall blend remains a secret, we do know the wrapper is Ecuadorian Habano and that little kick is a hit. Don't look now, but this isn't the only Nomad appearance in this Prime Nine. Cretins said: "Fred has found a slice of gold from the Dominican Republic." "The perfecto shape is a nice change-up. The flavor is slightly sweet and creamy...great with coffee." "Quality, flavorful cigar in a fantastic shape."
#7 - Nomad Rambler
Making its second brand appearance in the 2013 Prime Nine, it's the Nomad Rambler. Born by request, according to Fred Rewey. While traveling around the country promoting Nomad, folks kept asking for a traditional robusto in the line-up. He listened, and the Nomad blend in the 5 X 50 format really shines. Cretins said: "Very earthy taste with a nice spice and fresh leather on the retrohale." "The flavor is excellent and well balanced." "Smooth, consistent, and very creamy."
#6 - 262 Revere Lonsdale
Clint Aaron and the crew at 262 Cigars continue to impress with flavorful blends and consistency. While the 262 Revere scored the top spot last year on the Cretins Prime Nine, Clint released two line extensions of the Revere in 2013 and the Cretins were eager for their arrival. The Lonsdale was actually blended and released in May strictly for J. Shepherd Cigars in Kentucky in ten count boxes. Limited to only 100 boxes, the 262 Revere Lonsdale is a, perhaps, hard to find Nicaraguan puro treat with a cute little twisty cap in the Revere stable. Cretins said: "Each Revere size delivers a tasty, but unique flavor tweak from the next." "Good natural tobacco flavor." "Some coffee notes with slightly less pepper than the original Revere." "A delicious stop along the way to Lancero'ville."
#5 - Leaf & Bean by Oscar Maduro
There are stories about how the Leaf & Bean by Oscar was born, both the cigar and its unique packaging. We refer you to "Island" Jim Robinson of Leaf & Bean in the famous strip district of Pittsburgh to give you fine details. In short, Island Jim met Oscar while on cigar trips to Honduras over a number of years. A friendship grew. Oscar decided to start his own cigar factory, Island Jim was immediately on board asking Oscar to make a private blend for his Leaf & Bean. The first release of 1,500 were sold in less than a week! Soon, Island Jim had sold nearly 40,000 in just three months! Available initially in Connecticut, Corojo, and Maduro, and now in Sumatra, many folks have their favorite. The Leaf & Bean by Oscar Maduro scored enough Cretin points to land in this year's number five spot. Impressive! Cretins said: "One of the best maduros I've ever smoked." "A wonderful oily wrapper and an earthy flavor that paired great with a Mexican Coke." "Rich, bold flavors. Great construction. A real treat." "Best enjoyed on a barber chair."
#4 - Nomad S-307
Making its third brand appearance on this Prime Nine is the latest release from Nomad Cigar Company...the S-307. This is the first full production Nicaraguan cigar following the limited edition Esteli Lot 1386. Cut loose in November, the S-307 made waves and found fans very quickly. Manufactured at Tabacalera AJ Fernandez, it's box pressed, kicked up and magically delicious. Fred "@GodFadr" Rewey has certainly demonstrated the ability of Nomad Cigar Company to diversify its portfolio. The wrapper is Ecuadorian Sumatra around an Ecuadorian Habano binder, and Nicaraguan filler. You may be tempted to eat the S-307 as they look that good, but we suggest you smoke them instead. Cretins said: "THIS is a flavor bomb." "Easily my favorite of the Nomads...good tasty smoke." "A fantastic stick!" "A spicy retrohale with notes of black pepper, wood, and nuts with some cocoa thrown in...very enjoyable." "Try this for breakfast. Boom!"
#3 - 262 Revere Lancero
The second line extension release under the Revere badge, and the only one as a full production cigar, the 262 Revere Lancero sent both the lancero sluts and 262 fans into a frenzy to get their hands on them. Clint Aaron, perhaps, first mentioned plans for the Revere Lancero on the Blowin' Smoke Podcast episode 164 (48:00 mark) on September 8, 2012, at the time the Revere line was being rolled out in its initial three sizes. He also hinted at what likely became the Revere Lonsdale which is in our number 6 spot. The Revere Lancero hit some delays in its release and by the time the first shipment landed, they were already in short supply. Again, each size in the Nicaraguan puro Revere blend gives you a different flavor experience. Clint is a lancero fan and it shows. Cretins said: "This is how a cigar was meant to taste." "The most pepper of the line, but well balanced with notes of earth and coffee." "I love the wrapper flavor of this lancero, and the construction is great." Lancero sluts rejoice!" "It's like AeroPress(ing) your favorite coffee beans."
#2 - Leccia White
The return of Sam Leccia to the industry in 2013 was one of the most talked about and anticipated cigar happenings of the year. Sam came back with a renewed vigor and the results of a lot of time and hard work while away from the spotlight. To say his fans AND his competition were happy to see him back is a colossal understatement. His booth at IPCPR was jammed with retailers wanting the new Leccia Tobacco releases on their shelves yesterday. Yes, releases...as in plural. Maybe not satisfied to jump back in with a more simple single release, or maybe just too damned excited to have two delicious yet distinctly different blends in the pipeline, Sam reentered the cigar scene with the Leccia White and the Leccia Black. The Leccia White received very high marks from the Cretins with many specific mentions of the 4 X 46 Petit Rothschild, nicknamed "Little Buddy" by Leccia himself as one of his favorites in the lineup. The Leccia White is made in Nicaragua and has a sun grown African Cameroon wrapper around an Ecuador binder, and filler comprised of Nicaraguan Ligero, Dominican and Pennsylvania Seco. The result is fantastic and a solid #2 in our Cretin Prime Nine! Cretins said: "This cigar absolutely blows me away!" "The 'Little Buddy' is packed with flavor in a great size." "Complex and nuanced." "Something special with the 'Little Buddy'...a very unique flavor I'd never experienced before." "Tremendous flavor, complexity and just enough of a kick to keep you focused to the nub...oops, did I say that?""
#1 - Leccia Black
The Leccia Black is the hands down, runaway, numero uno, points winner in the 2013 Cretin Prime Nine! This line quickly jumped out in front and never looked back in the minds of the Cretins. The differences between the Leccia White and the Leccia Black couldn't be more...well.... It's all in the blend, baby, and according to Sam, he was turned on to some unique tobacco during his blending that's description was sort of lost in translation at the time. He knew he wanted to use it, but its distinct characteristics needed just the right blend of other tobaccos to bring out its flavor without it being too much. Leccia calls that tobacco "Dark Fire" and the result is a sweet and smoky profile that is reminiscent of barbecue, whiskey, or a campfire. The Leccia Black is made in the Dominican Republic and is wrapped in a dark Habano leaf with Nicaraguan binder and a flavor orgy of Nicaraguan and Dominican ligeros, Brazilian viso, and just the right amount of that dark fired tobacco rounding out the filler. There have been debates over White or Black...even rumors of fisticuffs outside the Blowin' Smoke Podcast world studios, but in the end, the Leccia Black is the indisputable winner of the Cretins' number one cigar of 2013! Cretins said: "An awesome blend of earthy flavors reminds me of summertime." "Pepper and natural tobacco nuances are prevalent, but that delicious fire cured leaf make this cigar special." "Om Nom!" "That smoky aroma takes it over the edge for me." "Only you can prevent forest fires!" "That BBQ uniqueness compliments the slight spice very well." "A perfect balance to the flavor profile." "The Leccia Black is easy to get lost in your thoughts with any time of day...very enjoyable." Congratulations, Sam Leccia & Leccia Tobacco!
So, there it is. The Cretins Prime Nine for 2013 in all its glory. Congratulations to all those who made the list! Let's do it again next year.
But wait! We would be remiss if we did not mention some of the great cigars that landed near the bubble. Check out these fantastic cigars too (Just pay additional shipping and processing): RoMa Craft Tobac Intemperance BA XXI A.W.S. IV -- Fratello -- Cubanacan Habano -- Herrera Esteli -- Cabal -- Leaf & Bean by Oscar Connecticut
Herf out the old, and herf in the new! It's Blowin' Smoke #195!
Hard to believe another year has come and gone...another twenty four Blowin' Smoke episodes...another year of the Cretins. My, how time flies. But as we gather our cigar and beer receipts for the accountant, there's plenty of time for another show.
To wrap up 2013, we brought up a new Cigar of the Day which created an interesting competition in the Cigar Match Rumble In The Bundle to kick-off 2014. Check it out! We also talked to Clint Aaron of 262 Cigars about what he is working on for our sticky fingers in the new year. We also talked about gift giving and the Cretins shared some of their best and worst Christmas gifts.
Plus, our investigative series "what the chicks are reading" featured a holiday theme as well to keep the spirit going. All this and plenty of weird news to stick in your ear...or nose...or wherever.
So, kick back. Fire up a fine holiday cigar, and join the herf. It's Blowin' Smoke #195! Happy New Year!
If you're like me, you love Christmas music...eventually. The songs and sounds of the season are usually what push me into the "mood" and ready for a few days of reflection and being a little kid a heart. (It also helps to have a 4 year old.) But that's eventually.
When the Christmas music starts while I am still picking my kids' Halloween sour gummi worm stash out of my teeth, I get annoyed. When multiple radio stations flip to an all Christmas music format weeks before I have face planted my mom's Thanksgiving pumpkin pie AND I spend an average of three hours a day in the car, I get bat shit crazy annoyed. When I get bat shit crazy annoyed in the car being bombarded with Christmas music for three hours a day, I make up my own words to entertain myself and prevent the innocent slaughter of nearby motorists. When I make up my own words to classic Christmas songs, they generally include layers of linguistic four letter delights, filthy flavor combinations, and extra helpings of "sack" references. Ball sacks, to be specific.
Earlier today, during one particularly colorful rendition of "Let It Snow," I paused to shoot a 5 Hour Energy (pink lemonade...thanks for asking), and considered recording some of my vocal interpretations to, perhaps, enhance your family's tree trimming or chestnut roasting activities this holiday season. Then, I had a better idea. Actually, my attorney had a better idea.
So, some texts went out with a simple request...and texts came back with simple (minded) replies.
Are you ready? Get the melody in your head...for I am pleased to present to you...
The Twelve Days of Cretins
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my Blowin' Smoke Podcast Cretins gave to me:
Oh, the weather outside is...freezing our Cretin junk off! A little Blowin' Smoke #194 should warm the cockles quite nicely!
With a new Cigar of the Day, some cedar spills, hot coffee, and three kerosene heaters it didn't feel quite as cold. That was until we got a surprise call from Fred " @GodFadr " Rewey of Nomad Cigar Company from Nicaragua where he is wishing for air conditioning while working on the next big things to hit the market from Nomad. Yeah, we feel for you, Fred. Wear sunscreen.
Since it 'tis the season, we offered up some Christmas gift ideas from a Cretin perspective, and this installment of what the chicks are reading was all about holidays. What a coinkydink! Cretin Dan, who was just a tiny bit moody, offered up a 5 Things about why. Plus, the Smoke Buzz with Chris Kelly, and some weird stories that will dislocate your...something.
So, grab a cup of cheer and a few good smokes and join us for Blowin' Smoke #194!
Another year older, but not much wiser! It's Blowin' Smoke #193 - The Big Ass Birthday Show!
While our annual birthday show is a great excuse for a herf, the absolute best part of this annual shindig is friendship. Without fail, I am humbled every year by the brothers and sisters of the leaf that travel near and far to be a part of it. This year, our friends Chubno and Andex came from Michigan. Shawn and Jason traveled from West Virginia. DaByrdMan and Co. drove from Washington D.C. Dennis and some of the Deborah Drive Delinquents ventured down from Cleveland, and many others came from near and far. Thank you very much! And thank YOU too for listening to Blowin' Smoke, participating in our contests, tweeting us, calling into the show, busting our balls and having fun with us.
“We are all honorable men here, we do not have to give each other assurances as if we were lawyers.” ― Mario Puzo, "The Godfather"
OK, so, the Cretins might need a little assurance from time to time, but we were all thrilled to be joined for the entire show by the very honorable, very funny, and, according to El Freako's mother, very attractive, Fred Rewey...@GodFadr of Nomad Cigar Company. Fred's young cigar company is growing with new releases, and a growing retail and fan base. His latest release is the S-307 which he talks about extensively, as well as how he got into cigars, the challenges of being a boutique brand, and what's next for him and Nomad Cigar Company.
Fred also joined us in reviewing the latest Cigar of the Day, and he handled our 5 Things duties flawlessly.
Why, yes! Yes, there is! Dr. Jochen Konrad, The Date Doctor, joined the Council of Cretins as the grande finale to his #DateDoctorOnTour through Washington D.C., Virginia, and western Pennsylvania to offer the Cretins and listeners answers to their relationship questions, and promote his new e-book The Cheater's Manual. The Cretins are often told they need help. It's about time they got some!
Since he had the biggest brain in the Havana Room, Dr. K offered an assist with our investigative series on what the chicks are reading, and gave us a very helpful 5 Things too. The Smoke Buzz with Chris Kelly came with a strong warning and wake-up call about what our government is trying to do to our precious cigar lifestyle, and there was plenty of weird news to go around.
So, fire up a fine cigar, and settle in with the Cretins and The Date Doctor for some much needed therapy. It's Blowin' Smoke 191 !!
So there I was sitting in a cigar bar, smoking away on a tasty Cuban stick, thinking about life, cigars and why this whole cigar thing is so damn special. Then it slowly dawned on me: Cigar smoking alone and especially with other people is a deeply spiritual experience. You might think "Come on now, we are just sitting together, talking BS and herfing away on our cigars, right?"
Yes and No. We are gathering together and practice something that could be classified as spiritual. We are not trailing endlessly on our worries, hopes and fears, not even our aspirations or desires. We are here, in the Now!
We enjoy each other’s company, the taste of a fine cigar, laughing, sharing and just being there!
We do something deeply spiritual that is good for the soul. Smoking cigars calms us down and enables us to communicate on a whole different level. We are welcoming people who we would otherwise never even talk to, who we would just walk by on the street or at work. We are including, rather than excluding, opening up to the fact that there is just the here and now, just a few good people and good cigars.
That, my friends, is the secret behind cigars and the community that seems to effortlessly build itself around some old leaves and a bit of smoke.
We are doing something that we as humans are supposed to do: Share and enjoy the human experience. Cigars put us into a place that connects us to ourselves and our social environment. We connect on a level that we rarely find somewhere else in our purpose driven lives. We just hang out, just exist.
We lose our roles that we usually play, forget about our stress and worries. We're just right there.
Cigars magically transport us to that place where it is not only necessary to just relax and enjoy, but where being in exactly that place is the only purpose, and where participating, even silently, is the only way of doing it.
We even travel beyond time and space. The proof: Who has not experienced the distortion of time that goes on when herfing away with friends? You're checking your watch and wooooow - you should be home for hours already! We travel long distances just to smoke a cigar with complete strangers. We overcome our fears and prejudices, and travel beyond borders and beyond ideas about race, politics, religion and society. We just get together and hang out together. We experience something rather than just waiting for stuff to happen.
With a cigar we don't ask "Is this good enough?", "Am I experiencing enough?" We deny any pressure entry into this experience. We don't care too much about tomorrow or yesterday. We’re just there. The cigar experience just doesn’t seem to allow us to trail off into other spaces and places.
Every cigar that we light is a doorway into the spiritual. It makes it easy for us to go right through. Since we are not alone, we get the courage to go right through and just stay in that place for while and just be. It takes us closer to our calm center of existence and we readily go there, because that is the place where we would like to hang out more. Because deep inside we know that this is the place where we actually should be ... And nowhere else.
So actually it is not the cigar, its taste or look or feel - it is where it is taking us in time and space.
It creates experience, friendship, openness, love. All the things that we as humans crave to experience - and experience more and more of it. It is not the cigar - it is what it does with us!
Maybe it is just the Mojito talking and/or the nicotine ... but there you are.
Dr. Jochen Konrad is a German dating and relationship specialist - seen on TV and in various magazines in Germany. He us currently touring the eastern US to promote his books - and of course: To smoke cigars and meet good people!
And the air was filled with exquisite cigar aroma, and talk of pumpkin beer... That could only mean Blowin' Smoke #190!
Yes, the Cretins gathered 'round the MXL 770s again to see where the conversation would lead and they were not disappointed. We talked the latest Smoke Buzz with Chris Kelly, and checked in with our good friend George Rodriguez of Rodrigo Cigars to talk about his recent unfortunate accident, how he is healing up, and what exciting stuff he is working on with his Club Leaf & Bean.
We also lit up a new Cigar of the Day and that means a new Cigar Match challenger too. We heard what the chicks are reading, and got some tips from our resident zombie exterminator on where not to die. Plus, stories about the (supposed) most expensive vibrator, what to keep on your bedside table, why Viagra comes with a warning, and more.
So, grab an Oktoberfest or pumpkin brew and a spicy cigar and join the herf on Blowin' Smoke #190!
There's just something about a nice fall day paired with cigars, friends...and coffee! We managed to score all three for Blowin' Smoke #189!
With a brand new Cigar of the Day, and a cool breeze through the Havana Room, the Cretins took a break from our usual Torcedor Coffee fix and welcomed the guys from Two Rivers Artisan Coffee Works along with some of their "Sweet Water" coffee for a superb coffee experience without being pretentious. We look forward to spending more time with them. Follow them on Twitter @TwoRiversNC
As the caffeine kicked in, we talked to Chris Kelly about the latest "Smoke Buzz," talked about reality television, the Big Ass 8th Birthday Show, the even bigger Date Doctor On Tour event, and the usual round of odd news found on the internet. Plus, we came up with a new 5 Things, and the arrival of the latest Cosmo meant a new segment of what the chicks are reading.
So, kick back with a fresh cup of coffee or an Oktoberfest brew, light up a hearty cigar, and join the herf. It's Blowin' Smoke #189!