Saints, smokes, sweets

With Ross out of town, and Neil stuck at home dealing with bad weather, I alone made the trek to Habana Port to spend the afternoon having a cigar, making friends, and cheering/cursing at the Saints. One of the regulars brought in fudge and cookies to ruin the palate, but not before I tempted my taste buds.

Louis had a pot of Venezuelan coffee brewed up when I walked in, and I watered myself with one while enjoying a Tabak Especial Dolce. After an interlude, and a bowl of Peterson Gold Blend, I swapped to one of Louis’ recommendations and had a Viaje Honey Hand Grenade(review to follow).

Here we are going into the fourth quarter and the Saints are showing signs of life. Hopefully we’ll light up a victory smoke shortly.

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Last minute herf

Since this weekend isn’t going to work for all of us, we are pulling the trigger on a last minute herf tomorrow. We’re heading to Habana Port for a lunchtime smoke, followed by snacks, dinner, and BS at Chez Rabalais (my home, with Mrs. Rabalais’ blessing).

As usual, anyone interested in joining us should email me at philrabalais@bellsouth.net, and we’ll see you there.

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Old traditions and new experiences

This past weekend, myself and Ross took the plunge and followed Neil down the rabbit hole of pipe smoking. Both of us had been curious of it for a while, but never had that little encouragement we needed to make us dive in. With goody bags loaded, we merrily sauntered over to a table in the corner of Habana Port, and brother Neil gave us our first tutelage on how to pack a bowl. I have to say, I made a royal mess of that first time.

The smoke was hot, wet, gurgling, and I couldn’t keep it lit to save my life. I popped so many matches in that store, someone probably thought Lucifer was shopping in the walk in humidor from the scent of sulphur. After several days of practicing, I’ve finally managed to get most of the way through a bowl without making too much a mess of it, but not to the point I’d feel qualified to give someone else advice. In any case, so we embark on a new adventure, and continue to enjoy the experiences we share.

After we polished off our inaugural pipes, we swapped to cigars.

Like I told someone else; I wouldn’t give up cigars for pipe smoking. Pipe smoking is more of a singular activity in my mind, as it requires much more concentration. It encourages ‘quiet contemplation’ as Neil put it, whereas a cigar can be waved around while embroiled in a conversation. I suppose each has it’s place, much like the varied personalities that sit at this table.

Don Leoncio Cigar Lounge, New Orleans LA

Our most recent herf on June 30th took us to Canal St. in New Orleans to Don Leoncio Cigar Lounge. We sampled their house brand, PDR’s, and my old favorite the Java by Drew Estates. When I arrived with another new member of ours, Ross Cummings, we were casually greeted by the employees. A walk through the humidor showed it well appointed, and the staff was consistently knowledgeable about their products. The gentleman who assisted us in our purchases passed my litmus test for cigar establishments, he was smoking a cigar when we walked in. If you ever walk into a shop and everyone isn’t mid cigar, turn around and spend your money elsewhere.

With fresh purchases in hand, me with a Don Leoncio house brand and Ross with a PDR, we sat at the bar with a pair of Guinness and waited for Neil. Once the three amigos were assembled, we wasted the evening away smoking, talking club business, and getting to know each other. We wrapped up the evening with a walk down Decateur to Flanigan’s Pub for a bite to eat, and bid our farewells.

As I said before, while I enjoy visiting other areas for a herf, the inherent expense involved in New Orleans French Quarter shops (pay to park, 50% markup versus shops near my home, time to drive) mean we will not be making regular trips to The Quarter. We will investigate other shops off the beaten path closer to Neil’s home, and the other shop near my home further north of Habana Port. In the end, our plan is for one monthly visit to a shop, and one to a member’s home. we’re getting organized, but still a bit thin on the ground. If you’re lurking, whether cigar/pipe veteran or newbie, please come out and join us.

Repost from http://www.cigaraficionado.com : Winston Churchill

Click here for a short biography and interesting historical footnotes about this most famous brother of the leaf.

The below is an excerpt from the linked article.

As prime minister, he hosted a luncheon in February 1945 in honor of King Ibn Sa’ud of Saudi Arabia. Churchill wrote about one aspect of this luncheon in his war memoirs: “A number of social problems arose. I had been told that neither smoking nor alcoholic beverages were allowed in the Royal Presence. As I was the host at the luncheon I raised the matter at once, and said to the interpreter that if it was the religion of His Majesty to deprive himself of smoking and alcohol I must point out that my rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them. The King graciously accepted the position.

Mourn the passing of good cigars

Every man who owns his own humidor has that moment when they prematurely and unceremoniously lose a cigar. I had my moment yesterday when I found one of my Oliva Cains with a thoroughly split wrapper.

Apparently, the last time I tended my humidor, I got things a bit wetter than usual, and this poor thing paid the price. Fortunately, I caught my mistake and vented everything out for twenty four hours before ruining anything else. Consider this a cautionary tale for those of us that maintain our own stash of cigars to be careful lest we destroy perfectly good cigars

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An impromptu funeral attended by a Tabak Especial Short Shot and myself.

June 30th Herf

The plan for the moment is to meet up at Don Leoncio Cigars June 30th at 6PM. You can leave a reply here so we know to expect company, otherwise come on out. Expect to close the place down around 11PM.

Ya’ll missed the first event, but more are coming

The inaugural event of the New Orleans Cigar Club was low key, could have been better planned, but was nonetheless encouraging. Myself and Neil, the two founding members by default, met up at Habana Port in Covington with one of the owners who was exceedingly hospitable to us. We expressed our interest in forming a cigar club and meeting up at his place of business from time to time, and after a few minutes of that we broke into a two hour long discussion that ranged from politics to intellectualism. A half hour past closing time we finally wore out our welcome, but not after he thanked us for stopping by and cracked open the walk in humidor one last time so I could get one more for the road. We will certainly be visiting Habana Port more in the future.

At 8:30 PM, Neil and I hadn’t quite finished so we took my cigar and his pipe across the street to the local Starbucks, and spent three and a half hours just shooting the breeze and getting to know each other. I can honestly say I look forward to more varied company, but I left there at midnight thoroughly worn out and excited to grow this little club of ours.

Neil and I are looking for new recruits, and if enjoying a smoke and conversation with a few gentlemen sounds like a good afternoon, you really should consider coming out and being sociable.