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Cigars on a very long drive....

clearlysuspectclearlysuspect Jacksonville, FloridaPosts: 2,124 ✭✭✭✭

I had to take a really long drive this weekend.  I got a phone call at work on Wednesday around 4pm from my mother to let me know that my grandmother had a massive stroke in her home in Max Meadows, VA and had been helevac'd up to Roanoke, VA.  She had to undergo brain surgery and is still in the ICU.  I'm sad, but not surprised.  She's lived a very long and wonderful life.  So, I quickly packed a bag and got on the road from Jacksonville, FL up to Virginia where I grew up.  I made sure to grab a handful of cigars before I left, and that's mostly what this post is about.

I didn't leave until early Thursday morning.  After grabbing a couple bisquits at McD's and a coffee and having the truck to myself for a change, no wife or 3 daughters in the back seat for this trip, I lit my first cigar.  It was early yet so I started simple, a Don Rafael Nicaragua Robosto.  This was my first ever Don Rafael.  I've heard some good things from friends about this particular one so I picked up a box of them recently.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It doesn't look like much.  It's a simple cigar with a simple band.  What I thought was a Connecticut wrapper turned out to be a very light shade habano.  It had a nice even burn throughout, a mellow smoke, and a toasty, almost nutty, milder than expected flavor that turned into a bit of spice and pepper toward the finish.  I'm glad I have an entire box of these.  There's no elegance here, but it certainly gets the job done!

Next up was a freebie the shop owner of Alphabet Cigars & Tobacco in the Orange Park, FL mall gave me a few weeks ago.  Frankie was the guys name, a real pleasant fellow, energetic, glad to be of service.  I bought a really nice table-top, three flame butane torch from him and he threw in a "Cartel" Churchill.  I'd never heard of it and I still can't find any information on the cigar.  Maybe it's his shop brand.  It didn't seem like much and, after having smoked it, still doesn't seem like much.  The Maduro wrapper was thin and dry to the touch, took several touch ups and it didn't take long to discover it was short filler, but the flavor was actually pleasant and sweet.  I'm glad for the free cigar, it took my mind off of the fact I was driving on South Carolina interstates 95 & 26 (which are terrible by the way) but I doubt I'll go asking Frankie for any more.

After a nice plate of sushi I picked up on the north side of Columbia, SC in a very nice, new looking Kroger grocery store off I-77, and having travelled up through Charlotte, I couldn't help but stop in the new JR Cigar store they recently built there.  There's a really nice lounge there and one of these days I'm going to actually treat this place as more than a quick interstate pit stop, but today was not this day; I needed to be quick.  I wanted to grab something I'd never tried before but had seen pop up once or twice in conversation or in text.  I purchased a La Palina Red Label Toro, Quesada Oktoberfest Das Boot (torpedo), and a Caldwell Blind Man's Bluff Robusto.

Before getting back on the road I got the cigar started I was mot excited about, the La Palina Red Label robosto.  It had a great aroma from the foot, a silky smooth Ecuador Habano wrapper, and a nice weight in the hand.  Once lit, it was a cool slow burn that lasted from Charlotte, NC to nearly Wythville, VA.  I'm going to need to enjoy another one or two of these to provide a better flavor profile.  Honestly, I was getting into the mountains and was paying more attention to the views of the valley below and trying to stay on the road but I do remember a great sense of enjoyment from it.  The only problem I noted was a difficulty trying to keep this cigar lit, perhaps attributed to the oily wrapper.  Small price to pay I suppose, one I'll gladly pay again.

That evening, night, and the next day were spent in a small, uncomfortable waiting room outside of the ICU in the Carillion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.  On Thursday she woke up and progressed.  Friday, she slept.


Comments

  • clearlysuspectclearlysuspect Jacksonville, FloridaPosts: 2,124 ✭✭✭✭

    It wasn't until late in the evening on Friday that I got a chance to enjoy another cigar, a Cuba Libre "The Brute."  I've always been a fan of the "nub-esque" vitola and recently acquired several different cigars in this size to include a five pack of these, a 16 cigar Nub sampler, and a bundle of the Cuba Libre One of the same shape.  The original Cuba Libre has a rich, smooth, oily Corojo wrapper.  I was so impressed by the pre-light smell of the foot with aromas of cocoa, almost sweet chocolate.  I handed it to my brother, who was riding in the passenger seat, for him to smell also; I just had to share it with someone!  Not a cigar guy, he also agreed it was quite pleasant.  Once lit, it was the cool, slow, even burn I've come to expect of a Nestor Plasencia product. Looking at the Cigar.com overview of this cigar, I don't think I could describe it any better, "...earthy, leathery flavor that has an almost chewy texture..."  It was the perfect cigar to sooth my mind of the past 24 hours events and the conversation with my brother, one that delved deep into politics, philosophy and religion, a well thought out civilized discourse between a Liberal Atheist and a Conservative Evangelical.  I think it should be written into law, or at least highly advised, that anyone who engages in such a conversation must first strike up a Cuba Libre!

    That night, after a quick trip to a life-long favorite diner, The Texas Inn, in my hometown of Lynchburg, VA, I was afforded a room at my older brother's house to sleep in.  I was exhausted, physically, mentally, emotionally and glad to have a comfortable bed to sleep in, a very pink, very little-girly, very much my niece's bedroom!  I half woke confused at least twice, staring at shear, pink, bejeweled curtains wondering just where in the hell I was! 

    Early the next morning, after eating a bowl of chili to appease my mother, she had made it the night before and no one had the energy to eat, I set back out for Florida.  It was certainly the best chili I'd ever eaten for breakfast.  I did not light my first cigar until I'd reached Greensboro, NC. 

    The Ave Maria Divinia Toro may have been the highlight of the entire trip.  The pre-light experience wasn't that impressive but once it was going, I was thoroughly impressed.  Notes of cedar, baking spices, pepper, and a creamy finish were present on every puff with a near picture perfect burn and an ash I eventually had to knock off to be sure it didn't fall in my lap.  I think I have only one more of these from an AJ Fernandez sampler I received for Christmas and that simply will not suffice.  More of these will certainly find their way into my humidor!

    Not smoking in South Carolina was a mistake I will not make again!!!  I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but I absolutely cannot stand South Carolina.  Nothing good, aside from finding some surprisingly good sushi in that Kroger has ever happened to me there while I have a list a mile long of bad things that I have experienced. 

    Finally into Georgia where the roads were smooth enough that I felt safe taking one hand off the wheel to enjoy another cigar, I decided to light up the Blind Man' Bluff I had purchased two days prior.  Light as air, fast burning, dry, with an uneventful flavor profile, the level of disappointment I had in this cigar came only second to the news I received from Virginia.  She had stopped breathing on her own and there was no activity in the right side of her brain.  I hit a large bump, the cigar, which as resting in the arm of the cup holder cigar ashtray I had bought years prior, flew up into the air and straight down into the hole in the center of the cup where the ash falls into.  It was a fitting end; I was not sorry to see it go.

    Fifteen hundred miles and several cigars later I'm back in Jacksonville.  Exhausted, I managed to pull myself out of bed for work this morning but all I've done since 6 am is type this story.  It's been therapeutic writing this.  I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as it has helped me to write it, and if you find yourself searching the forums for a particular cigar review and happen to stumble on this thread, I apologize for it's length and hope you find the reviews helpful.

    Miriam McKay, my grandmother, is still in the ICU with no projection on when or if she'll leave.  I'm not a religious man at all, but she is, as are the rest of the members of my family in Virginia.  I know it would be a wonderful comfort to my entire family if you included her in your thoughts and prayers.

  • twistedstemtwistedstem jacksonville floridaPosts: 3,853 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Prayers for you and your family brother. Stay strong.  Maybe sometime soon we can get together and share a smoke and a drink.
    For a moment i dont even care.. Until i feel its hand on my neck

  • Bob_LukenBob_Luken already sucked before joining forum,.....just sayin'.Posts: 7,673 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Prayers for you and your family in this dificult time. I haven't been able to read all of your posts here yet but at least the drive better because you could enjoy some cigars.
  • Gray4linesGray4lines KentuckyPosts: 4,503 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I am sorry to hear the news about your grandmother.  I'll say a prayer for her and the family.

    I grew up in Wytheville; driving in VA, WV, and NC there is some beautiful scenery. It sounds like you found a great way to spend all that driving time! 
    LLA - Lancero Lovers of America
  • YaksterYakster I'm on a Buying FreezePosts: 11,666 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Enjoyed reading of your journey, but sorry to hear the news, my prayers are with you, your grandma, and your family.
    I'll gladly bomb you Tuesday for an Opus today.

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  • Diver43Diver43 South FloridaPosts: 1,483 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thank You for sharing your experience and opinion on the cigars. Wishing peace for you and your family.
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • dirtdudedirtdude Green ValleyPosts: 5,040 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Great reviews although you are @clearlysuspect, prayers out for grandma and the family
    A little dirt never hurt
  • Amos_UmwhatAmos_Umwhat West TNPosts: 5,171 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Very sorry to hear about your grandmother.  It's hard to let them go.

    Also sorry to hear about your Blind Man's Bluff experience.  I've only had a couple, but they were better than that one, I think maybe you got one that wasn't ready, or had been badly handled at some point?

    Glad you're back posting, though.  The place wasn't the same without you.
    WARNING:  The above post may contain thoughts or ideas known to the State of Caliphornia to cause seething rage, confusion, distemper, nausea, perspiration, sphincter release, or cranial implosion to persons who implicitly trust only one news source, or find themselves at either the left or right political extreme.  Proceed at your own risk.  

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  • NOGILLS2NOGILLS2 Near New OrleansPosts: 156 ✭✭✭
    Great reviews, I was disappointed with your experience with the Blind's Mans Bluff. I have found Caldwell's to be quite enjoyable, very well made, with great flavors. I hope you give it another try! My prayers for your Grandmother are going up! I know that I am still on this planet because of prayers. It will soon be 10 years since my heart attack, not man people survive the type of attack I had. Blood clot passes through the heart. Was in a coma for three days, ICU for a week. My doctors can't believe I am still here. So, I will definitely be praying!  
    I am a happy man. You have made me very grateful. For this is the very first time that the Crown Jewels have ever been adequately & deliriously praised by an unprejudiced person. Still it is the cigars' own fault that this is so for it is a cigar which excites envy & jealousy in the smoker because he knows & feels the truth of which you have said; that there is no other cigar that is just like it. There are cigars which resemble it but only in appearance, not in spirit & not in the ability to dare & do. There is no other cigar that can make a person want to go away & get by himself & think this life over & wonder if it is altogether worth while. I will send you some more when you get out. Let me know. Any man of fine intelligence who is acquainted with Crown Jewels prizes them above any other gems & saves them & hoards them. I gave Harry Rogers a box two years ago & he has them yet. Let me know when you are out.
  • clearlysuspectclearlysuspect Jacksonville, FloridaPosts: 2,124 ✭✭✭✭
    Prayers for you and your family brother. Stay strong.  Maybe sometime soon we can get together and share a smoke and a drink.
    That would be awesome.  What side of town are you on???  I actually live in the most northern side of Middleburg, just south of Oak Leaf.  I expect I may be back up in Virginia again this weekend.
  • clearlysuspectclearlysuspect Jacksonville, FloridaPosts: 2,124 ✭✭✭✭
    I am sorry to hear the news about your grandmother.  I'll say a prayer for her and the family.

    I grew up in Wytheville; driving in VA, WV, and NC there is some beautiful scenery. It sounds like you found a great way to spend all that driving time! 


    I definitely agree.  I love that part of the country.  I wish I could have all the scenery and outdoor activity to go along with all the fair weather and beaches I have here in Florida. 

    I'm really glad I was able to take my 3 daughters up to see her this past summer.  Mostly I wanted them to have a memorable meeting with their Great Grandmother before she passed away and get a good sense of where I grew up and experience the same things I was able to experience.  Words can't express how grateful I am they were able to meet her. 

    She has a small plot of land with an small, old house on the country side there in Max Meadows.  My siblings and I have such fond memories of hiking across cow fields to the old watch tower, standing tall above the New River or playing in the ice cold creek that runs along the road.  I'm actually thinking of purchasing the property after she passes just to keep it in the family so all our children will be able to experience the same joys.

  • TNBigfoot68TNBigfoot68 Where Bigfoots live, in the woodsPosts: 1,919 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Sorry about your Grandmother, and praying for your family. I enjoyed reading your reviews.
    I was born a fool, and just got bigger!
  • clearlysuspectclearlysuspect Jacksonville, FloridaPosts: 2,124 ✭✭✭✭
    NOGILLS2 said:
    Great reviews, I was disappointed with your experience with the Blind's Mans Bluff. I have found Caldwell's to be quite enjoyable, very well made, with great flavors. I hope you give it another try! My prayers for your Grandmother are going up! I know that I am still on this planet because of prayers. It will soon be 10 years since my heart attack, not man people survive the type of attack I had. Blood clot passes through the heart. Was in a coma for three days, ICU for a week. My doctors can't believe I am still here. So, I will definitely be praying!  

    I think this is why I was so disappointed in it.  I bought it because I had read really good reviews on this cigar.  Perhaps it was just a bad stick.  I will say that the draw was effortless and the smoke that poured out of it was a thick, silver-blue billowing cloud.  That aspect was nice. 

    And to be fair I was absolutely exhausted at this point.  I imagine I will try another at some point to get a better read on the flavor, but I don't believe my perceptions of much else would be skewed.  

    Have your wrappers been that dry on these?  This one was bone dry, very light in weight, and burned rapidly.  I agree with @Amos_Umwhat that it may have just been a mishandled cigar.

  • NOGILLS2NOGILLS2 Near New OrleansPosts: 156 ✭✭✭
    No mine have been very pliable and slightly oily, I suspect yours had some bad handling at some point.
    I am a happy man. You have made me very grateful. For this is the very first time that the Crown Jewels have ever been adequately & deliriously praised by an unprejudiced person. Still it is the cigars' own fault that this is so for it is a cigar which excites envy & jealousy in the smoker because he knows & feels the truth of which you have said; that there is no other cigar that is just like it. There are cigars which resemble it but only in appearance, not in spirit & not in the ability to dare & do. There is no other cigar that can make a person want to go away & get by himself & think this life over & wonder if it is altogether worth while. I will send you some more when you get out. Let me know. Any man of fine intelligence who is acquainted with Crown Jewels prizes them above any other gems & saves them & hoards them. I gave Harry Rogers a box two years ago & he has them yet. Let me know when you are out.
  • TX98Z28TX98Z28 TexasPosts: 1,690 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @clearlysuspect, I am very sorry to hear the news on your grandmother. I lost mine this year 1/14/17 from the flu of all things. There is still hope yours can and will recover! 
    If you quote me do the @TX98Z28 in your text or I won't be notified of your quote, Thanks.
  • twistedstemtwistedstem jacksonville floridaPosts: 3,853 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Prayers for you and your family brother. Stay strong.  Maybe sometime soon we can get together and share a smoke and a drink.
    That would be awesome.  What side of town are you on???  I actually live in the most northern side of Middleburg, just south of Oak Leaf.  I expect I may be back up in Virginia again this weekend.
    Okay I live in the south side of town . Near St John's Town Center. . So I'm sure we could find someplace in the middle lol.
    For a moment i dont even care.. Until i feel its hand on my neck

  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Really sorry to hear about your grandmother but this was a great post and I really enjoyed reading it, thanks for sharing and will be keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers!
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • clearlysuspectclearlysuspect Jacksonville, FloridaPosts: 2,124 ✭✭✭✭
    Prayers for you and your family brother. Stay strong.  Maybe sometime soon we can get together and share a smoke and a drink.
    That would be awesome.  What side of town are you on???  I actually live in the most northern side of Middleburg, just south of Oak Leaf.  I expect I may be back up in Virginia again this weekend.
    Okay I live in the south side of town . Near St John's Town Center. . So I'm sure we could find someplace in the middle lol.
    I have to drive over that way from time to time for doctors appointments at Belfort Oaks. Perhaps we could meet up then, or just plan an evening at one of the shops over that way.  The only one I know of is Aromas. 
  • clearlysuspectclearlysuspect Jacksonville, FloridaPosts: 2,124 ✭✭✭✭
    Really sorry to hear about your grandmother but this was a great post and I really enjoyed reading it, thanks for sharing and will be keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers!
    Thanks man.  I really need to back into this style of writing. It may sound weird but I read this every day, sometimes twice. It's a strange sort of therapy. 
  • clearlysuspectclearlysuspect Jacksonville, FloridaPosts: 2,124 ✭✭✭✭
    It was a bitter-sweet Valentine's Day today. And it looks like I will be making this long drive to my grandmother's home one last time.  

    Miriam Pearl McKay passed away this morning one month shy of her 88th birthday.  It was only fitting that the most loving woman I ever knew died on a day dedicated to Love.  I'm so grateful that my daughters were able to meet her this past summer, once, before she was gone. 

    She will missed by countless many.
  • TX98Z28TX98Z28 TexasPosts: 1,690 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Man very hard for me to hear this, I lost mine a month ago today. I feel your pain. My condolences. 
    If you quote me do the @TX98Z28 in your text or I won't be notified of your quote, Thanks.
  • silvermousesilvermouse Cape CodPosts: 8,558 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Adding my condolences to you and your family.
  • YankeeManYankeeMan Posts: 2,244 ✭✭✭✭
    Our condolences, she looked like a wonderful woman.
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Very sorry to hear that, glad they got to meet her at least!
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
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