Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cain Habano

Origin : Esteli, Nicaragua

Format: Belicoso/Torpedo
Size : 5 x 50
Ring : 50
Composition: Esteli Ligero, Condega Ligero, Jalapa Ligero with "other tobaccos"

Price : Unknown


At this year's IPCPR show in New Orleans, cigars smokers will be treated to another wave of exciting and new cigar releases.  Some may be dog-rockets and others are sure to be gems.  One of these highly anticipated and sure successes will be Cain by Oliva Cigar Co.  Cain is the creation of Sam Leccia creator of NUb cigars.  It was designed to be a "Straight Ligero" cigar but contains "other tobaccos for a true burn.  The[se] other tobaccos make no significant contribution to flavor."  From what we all know of ligero it comes from the top of the tobacco plant and yields the thickest and smallest leaves of the plant, yet also the most flavorful.  Because of these traits, special care must be taken from harvest to blending to bring balance in use of these tobaccos.  And especially so in creating a straight ligero cigar.  Well after having a chance to sample a pre-release Cain thanks to Sam, I would have to say he has another successful creation on his hands.

Here are my thoughts and impressions:

Appearance : ★★★★½

The Cain Habano sports a beautiful dark brown habano wrapper.  It had a nice sheen from the oils and was fairly smooth with minimal tooth and veining.  The band is simple and yet distinct.  Placed at the foot it has a black background with dual gold bands at the top & bottom and 'Cain Straight Ligero' text.  

Construction : ★★★★☆
The cigar was well constructed from head to foot.  No hard or soft spots and a very even wrapper color.  The cap was well placed and came off effortlessly with my trusty cutter.  The cigar took the flame from my lighter very well and lit without any issues.  The burn stayed fairly straight except during the final third.  This surprised me since ligero is the slowest tobacco to burn and I wouldn't have been surprised by more burn issues.  The ash was white and some what flakey but again I think this is due to all the ligero.  The draw was a bit loose in the beginning but did come around to a more medium draw as I progressed through it.


Flavor : ★★★★☆
Cain was a bit of a flavor enigma for me.  I was so taken aback by the power and intensity of the smoke, yet surprised at how very smooth and enjoyable the taste was.  Mostly there is a rich tobacco flavor with smoky wood.  As the cigar progressed it had an intense burst of spice which was on the front of the tongue.  The retrohale was anything but smooth.  Like the resting smoke, the retrohale was intense and almost brought me to tears.  The body seemed mostly medium to medium-full at the end.


Value : ? (probably ★★★★½)

Not yet knowing the MSRP I can't speak to their value, but in all honesty if the price point follows other Oliva Cigar Co. cigars, Cain will be a tremendous value.  It will certainly pack the punch if that's what your seeking.


Overall Rating★★★★½

I thoroughly enjoyed this cigar.  I started the day with it, so when I was done I could feel it in my gut.  Next time it will follow a meal.  Cain is a definite powerhouse and probably shouldn't be tried by anyone with a weak stomach.  It grabs you and takes charge.  It is a unique smoking experience and I will be anxiously waiting for the full release so I can grab a box.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lately I've been so lucky...

So if you follow me on Twitter, you've seen just how lucky I've been lately.

Earlier this year I blogged about some of the cigar contests I had won. After winning about three of them, people started telling my that I had used up all of my luck in one brief stint.

Oh how they were wrong.

Earlier this week I received a package from Jon Huber at
CAO International. I was expecting this package after talking to him on Twitter about a ring that he had shown a couple of months ago.

Since the day he posted this pic, it has been my wallpaper at work. I've looked at them everyday and have spent hours pining for the day that I could wear one of them. Well three weeks ago I met the regional sales rep for CAO, Jeff Tinnell. He was wearing the Mx2 from above and told a story of how Jon had told him he could have the America when I got back to Nashville. The light in my head went off and I figured as long as he was handing them out, I better get in line and ask for one.

So I sent Jon a DM (Direct Message on Twitter) asking what I could do to get one of the remaining rings. I didn't hear back from him for a week or so because he was busy kicking of the Rock-n-Rolled Tour in MI & FL. He did get back to me once things calmed down for him. He said the ONLY one left was the Gold (far left) and that it was a 10-1/2. I told him that I would have to wear it like the pic, on my right pinkie, but that I would love to have it. Again I asked what I could do to get it. He came back and asked for my address and said it was mine. At this point I almost freaked out because how lucky I was and how nice Jon was to me.

So that is the back-story of the package that I was waiting for this week. So then Tuesday night comes around and we get home to the package waiting at the door. I was so excited that I immediately opened the box. Millie then thought something was terribly wrong because I was gasping and freaking out more than when I knew I was getting the ring. Jon had surprised me by including with the ring, a Rock N Rolled Bandanna, a sampler of Lx2's (a Beli, Toro & Rob) and a poker-chip/business card. I could barely contain my excitement. I tweeted with the pic that this felt like a top-10 life moment. I could not believe my luck.

Thanks again Jon.

Then the very next day, Wednesday, we were going to the Rockies-Astros games with phenomenal seats 16 rows up behind third base. These are tickets that Ruthie was given by a work-friend. That morning I told her that I was going to try to win tickets to Game 5 of the Nuggets-Mavericks Playoff Series. At that point the Nugs lead the series 3-1, so this could be the series dagger. In order to win tickets from Qwest, you had to be following @TicketQwest on twitter to get clues to a code word. Then show up at their location, give the code word and draw out a shirt from the table. If the shirt had 'Qwest' written on the inside of the shirt you would win 2 court side tickets to the game that night.

Well lunch came around and after discovering that the code word was "Qwest Wi-Fi", Chris and I went to the Qwest store to take a shot at winning the tickets. We walked into the store shortly after 12:00 when the contest started and there was already winner of one of the two pair of tickets. So from the get-go our chances of winning were less. I walked up and gave the code word.
Andrea Zediker with Qwest recognized me because this was the third time I had tried to win tickets in their contest. We said the obligatory 'The third time is a charm' mantra and I reached into the pile to grab an XL large t-shirt [because we all know how great a size or two too small of a t-shirt looks on me. ;) ]. Andrea took the shirt to inspect for the winning writing. She gave that look of you haven't won but I want to tease you by making you think that you have. Others in the room said that she had be doing that to everyone. She jumped back and said she wasn't kidding and revealed the writing on the inside of the shirt.

Once again I was completely freaked out. I was completely blown away.

Needless to say we chose to go the Nuggets game vs. the Rockies game. We had a great time. I knew this would be the case and Ruthie confirmed it, that she'd never be able to attend a regular game in regular seats again. This experience was the true pinnacle of basketball games for both of us.

Thanks Qwest.

Here is some of the video that I shot while at the game.

Here's the YouTube link for a bigger picture.

Not only have I been lucky with contests and gifts lately, but I've been even more lucky to have great friends all across the country, a beautiful daughter Millie, my mini-me Ryan and my super-sexy wife Ruthie.

Monday, April 20, 2009

On April 22, Celebrate Exploit-the-Earth Day

This week as much as Wednesday, we will be inundated with reminders of how horrible and destructive the human race is. (How we've survived this long is beyond me.) We will be talked to about recycling, solar power, canvas totes instead of paper or plastic, CFL bulbs and a slew of other "green" ideas. Now don't get me wrong, conservation has it's place. Conservation is my mind is equal to common sense and balance.

A few years back we were faced with a poor winter and subsequent drought. As a result our city water company put restrictions on the day of the week, time of day and minutes per zone for watering our lawns. This made sense because there was an immediate limit to the water supply. Most everyone complied and got by with using less water. We were told this was not only necessary but that it would save us all money. Makes sense right? In the short term it did. But then cities started raising their rates to compensate for the reduction in use. So in the end, people use less and still pay the same. (Way to go, Guys!)

Now, about natural resources. (Cue the sky-is-falling people) Oil, Coal, Natural Gas, Trees, etc... We already use everyone of these resources more efficiently than we did 10 years ago or 50 years ago or 100 years ago. Now I'll admit that we consume more, but that's more in part to population than it is wasteful use. And I'm willing to bet all that I have or will ever have on the fact that we will continue to become more efficient with our use of these resources. But not because we are going to run out tomorrow, but because that's what we do. We find a way to do something better, we always have and always will. So in the short-term I think it's ludicrous to place outrageous restrictions on the collection and use of these resources. Again, common sense and balance.

Anyway, I started writing this post after reading an Op-ed from The Objective Standard by Craig Biddle. I thought Mr. Biddle was spot-on. Here is the Op-ed.

On April 22, Celebrate Exploit-the-Earth Day
by Craig Biddle

Because Earth Day is intended to further the cause of environmentalism—and because environmentalism is an anti-human ideology—on April 22, those who care about human life should not celebrate Earth Day; they should celebrate Exploit-the-Earth Day.

Exploiting the Earth—using the raw materials of nature for one’s life-serving purposes—is a basic requirement of human life. Either man takes the Earth’s raw materials—such as trees, petroleum, aluminum, and atoms—and transforms them into the requirements of his life, or he dies. To live, man must produce the goods on which his life depends; he must produce homes, automobiles, computers, electricity, and the like; he must seize nature and use it to his advantage. There is no escaping this fact. Even the allegedly “noble” savage must pick or perish. Indeed, even if a person produces nothing, insofar as he remains alive he indirectly exploits the Earth by parasitically surviving off the exploitative efforts of others.

According to environmentalism, however, man should not use nature for his needs; he should keep his hands off “the goods”; he should leave nature alone, come what may. Environmentalism is not concerned with human health and well being—neither ours nor that of generations to come. If it were, it would advocate the one social system that ensures that the Earth and its elements are used in the most productive, life-serving manner possible: capitalism.

Capitalism is the only social system that recognizes and protects each individual’s right to act in accordance with his basic means of living: the judgment of his mind. Environmentalism, of course, does not and cannot advocate capitalism, because if people are free to act on their judgment, they will strive to produce and prosper; they will transform the raw materials of nature into the requirements of human life; they will exploit the Earth and live.

Environmentalism rejects the basic moral premise of capitalism—the idea that people should be free to act on their judgment—because it rejects a more fundamental idea on which capitalism rests: the idea that the requirements of human life constitute the standard of moral value. While the standard of value underlying capitalism is human life (meaning, that which is necessary for human beings to live and prosper), the standard of value underlying environmentalism is nature untouched by man.

The basic principle of environmentalism is that nature (i.e., “the environment”) has
intrinsic value—value in and of itself, value apart from and irrespective of the requirements of human life—and that this value must be protected from its only adversary: man. Rivers must be left free to flow unimpeded by human dams, which
divert natural flows, alter natural landscapes, and disrupt wildlife habitats. Glaciers must be left free to grow or shrink according to natural causes, but any human activity that might affect their size must be prohibited. Naturally generated carbon dioxide (such as that emitted by oceans and volcanoes) and naturally generated methane (such as that emitted by swamps and termites) may contribute to the greenhouse effect, but such gasses must not be produced by man. The globe may warm or cool naturally (e.g., via increases or decreases in sunspot activity), but man must not do anything to affect its temperature. And so on.

In short, according to environmentalism, if nature affects nature, the effect is good; if man affects nature, the effect is evil.

Stating the essence of environmentalism in such stark terms raises some illuminating questions: If the good is nature untouched by man, how is man to live? What is he to eat? What is he to wear? Where is he to reside? How can man do anything his life requires without altering, harming, or destroying some aspect of nature? In order to nourish himself, man must consume meats, fruits, and vegetables. In order to make clothing, he must skin animals, pick cotton, manufacture polyester, and the like. In order to build a house—or even a hut—he must cut down trees, dig up clay, make fires, bake bricks, and so forth. Each and every action man takes to support or sustain his life entails the exploitation of nature. Thus, on the premise of environmentalism, man has no right to exist.

It comes down to this: Each of us has a choice to make. Will I recognize that man’s life is the standard of moral value—that the good is that which sustains and furthers human life—and thus that people have a moral right to use the Earth and its elements for their life-serving needs? Or will I accept that nature has “intrinsic” value—value in and of itself, value apart from and irrespective of human needs—and thus that people have no right to exist?

There is no middle ground here. Either human life is the standard of moral value, or it is not. Either nature has intrinsic value, or it does not.

On April 22, make clear where you stand. Don’t celebrate Earth Day; celebrate Exploit-the-Earth Day—and let your friends, family, and associates know why.

So please join with me as I celebrate Exploit-the-Earth Day. We're overdue for some common sense and balance.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Our Adventure to SkyVenture

We just got back from taking the kids to SkyVenture.  At SkyVenture you get to go indoor skydiving in a vertical wind tunnel.  After a short training video, the kids got suited up in elbow and knee pads, jumpsuit, earplugs, goggles and helmet.  (By this time Ryan was pretty freaked out and was no longer interested in flying.)  Everyone files into a chamber just off the vertical wind tunnel.  One by one each person gets taken into the VWT by the instructor, who provides guidance and support (mostly so you don't end up on your back or crashing into the wall).

Here is a quick clip of Millie and Ryan second one-minute flights:

Although Ryan was freaked out, he did say he had fun when it was all done, but he didn't want to do it again.  (At least for today) 

Millie did awesome and only got scared when she looked down.  (Can really blame her,when you are walking on/floating above a wire mesh which is 40'-50' above the turbines.)

At the end they ended up with certificates to mark the day.  This will truly be a memorable weekend for a long time to come.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lx2 Photo Contest

A couple of weeks ago I entered the CAO LX2 Photo Contest by Stogie Fresh. After coming up with a few ideas I settled on these two ideas/pics.

For the first pic I created a background of the Lx2 ring with a kaleidoscope effect using Pixlr (an online image/photo editor). Then added a cropped photo of my brother Chris and I enjoying our first Lx2's

For the second pic I wanted to be a little more imaginative. I ended up placing the Lx2 in a Jedi tunic I borrowed from Qui-Gon Jinn. And giving him bailing wire arms to hold his lightsaber. Then I setup Ryan's Galactic Heroes Cantina scene and placed him in it. I put up a small caption and voila.

So later that weekend I received an email from Doc at Stogie Fresh informing me that I had been selected as a winner but that I'd have to wait a few more days to found out which place. Then finally on Wednesday, Stogie Fresh posted the winners. I found out that I'd come in 2nd place and that I have won a box of Lx2 cigars. I can't even tell you how excited I was. I could have won just one cigar and I would have been excited. But a whole box of excellent cigars. WOW!

And then last night around 7:00 we saw the FedEx truck stop in front of the house. Although I was expecting my cigars, I hadn't heard if they had shipped yet. So we assumed the delivery was something else. That was until the box was sealed with CAO packing tape. My nearly jumped out of my chest when I saw that. I knew right away what it was and couldn't wait to open it.

I opened the package to reveal a beautiful black/grey velvet box of 20 Lx2 Toros. The packaging reminds me of the high quality that goes into to all CAO cigars/products. I opened the box and the aroma was exquisite. It's something everyone should get to experience.

Thanks again to CAO Cigars and Stogie Fresh for the awesome contest and prizes. I will enjoy every bit of these.

More requested.

It was politely brought to my attention, (thanks Andrea), that I hadn't posted any additional pics of Atom (We chose to change the spelling of the name vs. changing the name). So, here are a few that Ruthie has taken.

We've taken many more, I just need to go through them and get them uploaded for your viewing pleasure.

BTW, Atom is the best dog that we've ever had. Even though he is still a puppy and trying to test the waters at his new home, he is by far the most obediant, playful & lovable dog.