Saturday, January 26, 2008

John B's January: Wow What A Ride So Far

This month has really shaped up to being quite the undertaking. This kind of explains my delay in posting anything this week. I think my family has decided to pack all the year’s health issues, job changes, and any other dramatic situation into the first month of this New Year. However my motto stands firm, adversity builds character, so here is the bad as well as the good for this month.

The month began with my wife changing realty companies. This brought about our first set of new changes. Our schedules shifted to compensate for the extra work that is involved with joining a new company. We all pitched in and the days began to return to routine, until my job became the next hurdle.

Before the new of the lovely wife’s change could wear off, I too switched companies. I returned to the company I had started with in the lumber industry. I had always figured I would end up back there but did not plan on changing this month. I have to say that it was an odd feeling at first, but I soon found that old familiar comfort zone. Oh, I may have forgotten to mention that my younger sister had a baby in the middle of all this.

Yes I am an uncle, a very proud uncle, but my sister has been in the hospital ever since the delivery. She gave birth on the same day I left my old job and has been faced with numerous problems. The baby is at home and doing very well and at the present time she is doing somewhat better. My parents have been in Pennsylvania with my sister for most of the month, so we have been keeping an eye on the home front while they are away. Her situation has made things tense and worrisome, and we will be glad when everyone gets to go home.
I did manage to find the time between alarm clocks and bedtimes to sit down the other night and enjoy a smoke. I could not believe it when I reflected back on the short year so far. I am a Cancer and very reluctant to change any routine, but so far nothing has been routine. I have a great new addition to our family, both my wife and I are happy with our new working adventures and The Boy, well he is always happy. I guess if it doesn’t kill you, it really does make you enjoy that cigar more when you get to smoke it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Oxmoor Smoke Shoppe Louisville Ky: Fine Cigars And Great Conversation

While in Louisville this weekend the lovely wife and I decided to stop at Oxmoor Mall for some shopping. Laura headed over to a cosmetics super store, and I set my sites on the Oxmoor Smoke Shoppe. I had read about this store on the internet and was very interested in checking it out.

Immediately when I walked in the door the unmistakable “great smoke shop” atmosphere hit me. The aroma of cedar and cigars filled the air. I took a quick look around the shop and was impressed with the large selection of humidors, lighters and cutters. Next, I made my way into the walk in humidor to pick out my cigars. The humidor was very well stocked. They had Montecristos, Rocky Patels, and Camachos along with quite a few other premium cigars to choose from. I personally wanted to buy them all but I settled on few Padrons and a Romeo Y Juliet Reserve. I thought that the prices on their cigars were excellent.

Reluctantly, I left the humidor, but soon found myself back at the accessories counter. I had been eyeing a Xikar cutter, and a nice green one had hit my radar. I looked at few different models of Xikars , but the green one was the choice. I already have a couple of cutters, but the spring action of the Xikar when you open it, is just too cool. Again I was well pleased with their prices, everything was very comparable. While at the counter I couldn’t help but notice the large selection of pipes and pipe tobacco. These folks are definitely equipped to handle any tobacco coinsurer’s needs.

The one thing that I can’t stress enough about Oxmoor Smoke Shoppe is the fantastic customer service. These guys were awesome. I hung around for a good while and spoke to the manager Jason Shepard. We talked mainly about the recent smoking ban that was just re-passed in Louisville on Friday and its impact on businesses and people who smoke. I have yet to write an article on smoking bans, but I will in the near future. Before I left, Jason suggested the Camacho El Legend Ario Natural and I am looking forward to giving it a try. This is one of the reasons I prefer the local tobacco shops, it is nice to have that kind of input on cigar selection. So I would say that the selection and prices were great, but the experience and conversation was priceless.

I asked Jason about a website / website sales and he told me that the site is being developed but until then, Oxmoor does offer mail order sales. I will put the contact info up and I highly recommend giving the guys at Oxmoor Smoke Shoppe a call. However if you are going to be in the Louisville area stop by and see these guys. You will be glad you did!

J. Paul Tucker
Oxmoor Smoke Shoppe
Oxmoor Center
Louisville, Ky 40222

Phone: (502) 426-4706

Friday, January 11, 2008

Louisville Trip: A Night At The Brown Hotel

We walked into the Brown Hotel this afternoon and I was immediately speechless. I am a fan of old buildings and architecture so I was in heaven. I have to admit that I had not done my homework about this hotel. I was familiar with the name and the famous Hot Brown dish invented at the hotel, but really did not know a lot about the building itself. Here is a brief excerpt from The Brown Hotel's website.

About The Brown The Brown Hotel, Louisville, KY: "Welcome to The Brown Hotel
Located at the corners of Fourth and Broadway in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, The Brown Hotel is one of Louisville's most treasured landmarks. Built in 1923 at a cost of $4 million by J. Graham Brown, the hotel was a magnet for many prominent guests and celebrities during the 1920s through the 1950s. In 1971, two years after the founder passed away, The Brown closed as a hotel and later reopened as the Board of Education building.
In the early 1980s the building was renovated and reopened as The Brown Hotel and today this stunning 16-story property with a distinctive English Renaissance design is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Brown Hotel's ornate hand-painted plaster relief ceilings, intricately carved railings, decorative crown molding, and other classic architectural details make her one of the finest hotels in the South.

Visitors to The Brown Hotel will find 293 elegantly appointed guest rooms and suites, over 18,000 square feet of meeting space, a business center, 24-hour fitness center, three restaurants, and the renowned Lobby Bar. The Brown's fine dining restaurant, The English Grill, has been voted 'Louisville's Best Restaurant.' For over 80 years, The Brown has figured prominently into the social life of Louisville and its opulent ballroom is the site of many of the city's most elegant and gracious social functions."

If you want to see some pictures of the hotel here is a link to their photo gallery.

The theatre where we will be watching the comedy show is also an architectural show stopper. The Louisville Palace was opened in 1928, and is lavish Spanish Baroque Revival style design. The building contains fountains, statues,tapestries, and a foyer that boasts a "Ceiling of Celebrities". The ceiling contains 141 medallion faces of famous men, including the Palace's architect John Eberson.
Fourth Street Live, also offers plenty of entertainment for visitors here in Louisville. We are centrally located, only two blocks from the action. There is shopping, live entertainment and restaurants just to name a few things available. I have to say that it is a pretty nice setup for people who want to visit the city. Park your car, check in to your room, and take a short walk to the fun and excitement.
Stay tune for more details on the Louisville Trip

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Perdomo Reserve Cameroon Robusto: A Nice Way To Spend The Afternoon

The weather here in Kentucky this winter has proven to be a mystery. The temperature swings are a welcomed event to us cigar smokers, especially those of us who call the back porch our primary smoking haven. The last three days the sun has been shining and the weather was perfect for getting outside. Today, I found myself with some time to kill and I decided to take advantage of the unseasonably warmth outside with a cigar. What to smoke, I pondered that question for sometime, finally settling on a Perdomo Reserve Cameroon Robusto. I came by this smoke through a robusto sampler I purchased from Famous Smoke Shop. I was immediately impressed by the construction of the cigar. The band, the wrapper, along with the feel already had me racing for the back door. The size of this Perdomo checked in at 5 inches by 54 ring gauge, just the right size for a quick afternoon smoke.

My first thoughts on the Perdomo were on target with what I had expected, a hint of spiciness. You should not be fooled by the robusto, they are quite capable of delivering a lot of taste, despite their size. This cigar was no exception. I also decided that now would be a great time to compile my shopping list for my upcoming trip to Louisville this weekend. The lovely wife and I are going up to catch Rodney Carrington Friday night, and while we are there, we plan to visit a smoke shop or two. Armed with the December issue of Cigar Aficionado, I thought I would look over their current ratings to maybe get an idea for a couple selections. The boy quickly took interest in the cigar pictures so we had to talk about all of them. I admit that this was probably the best cigar conversation I have had with anyone thus far. The Perdomo was in full swing by the time my son’s focus had shifted back to what his dog was up to. The cigar is a full body smoke, with a rich coffee and a sweet taste.

I finished my research for my list and my smoke was winding down as well. The finish of the Perdomo was a nice balance of coffee and spice. The subtle sweetness throughout the smoke tied the flavors together perfectly. The cigar was full but not over powering to the palate. I would recommend this cigar as must try, even to those who prefer a milder cigar. It provided me with a nice change of pace and a perfect way to spend an hour on a warm winter’s day.

Stay tuned for my Louisville Trip Details.

Monday, January 7, 2008

John B's Barware Pictures

Here are a few pictures of the new glassware I mentioned in the last post. I have to say that the lovely wife did an excellent job on this Christmas present. You have to love a woman that buys you cigars and classy glasses to enjoy your spirits. The feel and the weight of these glasses are perfect. I am confident that these glasses will provide many years of faithful service.

The set that I received consisted of four glasses and a decanter each monogrammed.

The Decanter

The Glass
(Hand not included, unless glass is full)

The Set, Welcome to Club B.

I apologize that I do not have the information on the manufacturer, but the girls at The Pink Bee can give you the scoop. Their phone number is (606) 676-9144.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The New Year

As a parent you learn to take advantage of opportunity when it knocks. My opportunity came in the form of the grandparents who wanted to spoil the boy rotten this weekend. With the boy being off to the land of fun and the wife relaxing with her newspaper, I decided that tonight would be a good time to smoke a cigar and have a drink. After the week I had, I felt that both were well deserved.

I headed over to the humidor to select my smoke for the evening, quickly settling on one the Cohiba Coronas that Santa had left for me under the tree. My focus was now centered on what drink to pair with my cigar. I have to admit that I am a beer man, and lately I have been enjoying my smokes with a Land Shark Lager made by Margaritaville Brewing Company. The maduros I smoked had matched up quite nicely with the beer. However, tonight I felt the best choice for my cigar and perhaps my mood would be bourbon and coke. I poured myself a Maker’s Mark and Coke in one of my new monogrammed bourbon glasses, the lovely wife gave me for Christmas. The temperature outside was warm enough to open the door in the cigar lounge (my garage) so I settled in to unwind. The Cohiba and the bourbon coupled with the rain soon had me thinking about the beach. The sound of the rain on the pavement soon had the smell of salt in the air. The tastes of the cigar and the bourbon complimented each other perfectly, affirming that I had made the proper selection. With each draw and sip I could feel my anxiety slowly disappearing. Laura joined me in the lounge and we were engaged again in the conversation that had dominated my week. Change, a fitting topic for the start of any new year, this year had already started with change being a large part of the game plan. Until now, our conversation had a stress filled overtones, but now a sense of excitement was in the air.

The Cohiba and Maker’s combination were so smooth that both were over rather quickly. Just like the last year.

Tonight Glassware was supplied by The Pink Bee.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Cigars and Zippos

I wrote in an earlier post about using a Zippo lighter to light the occasional cigar. I had read this Question and Answer a while back and I felt that the guys at Cigar Aficionado gave a great explanation of what to use to light your cigar and how to use that trusty Zippo when you light up.

Cigar Aficionado Special Feature: "Q. Can I use my Zippo lighter to light a cigar?

A. It's probably not your best option. We suggest using wooden matches or, better yet, strips of cedar called spills. These will light your cigar without imparting to it the taste or odor of the oil found in lighter fluid. If you wish to use a lighter for your cigars, we recommend one that uses butane as its fuel, as these types of lighters are odorless. However, some smokers insist on using their old Zippo lighters, which may have sentimental value. If you're one of these people, just make sure that when lighting your cigar, the flame of the Zippo does not touch the cigar's foot. Once the cigar is lit, you may also choose to give the cigar one \(and only one\) outward puff, to clear it of any impurities caused by the lighter fluid."

If you are a Zippo fan and are looking for a way to incorparate the Zippo into your cigar smoking arsenal, the folks at Zippo have a product that fills the need, The Zippo Blu. This Zippo is a butane gas model that will light cigars without the odor or taste from the lighter's fluid. If you are intrested in the lighter, here's the link, Zippo Blu.

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