Cigars. One of My Life's Simple Pleasures

stack of cigars

Here I am, early 40's, and I've transitioned from the uncultured beers of my 20's (ahem Mickeys and Budweiser) to drinking boutique craft IPAs and indulging with Scotchs that will hurt your wallet and make grown men wince from the aromatic earthiness. I've evolved from jankie boxed wines to submitting to Silver Oak, D.R. Stephens, and my personal favorite, Ridge Vineyards. One day, perhaps five years ago, woke up, and some semblance of sophistication took over my life. I've loved smoking pipes and cigars for the majority of my adult life, but it wasn't until five years ago that I had a truly magnificent cigar. The flavors were spice yet sweet, smooth and velvety; my first Cuban cigar was enjoyed over a campfire on a fishing trip in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, I haven't looked back since. But alas, buying Cuban cigars is difficult (still) and expensive; while helping a friend find decent cigars, I found myself curating a decent list of my goto smokes.

A box of Arturo Fuenty Hemingway Short Story Cigars

Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story Cigars. This cigar is my goto short quick smoke; I call the dog walker because I walk the dog and smoke it. It is a 25 to 30-minute smoke, medium-bodied, and pairs with all kinds of brown liquids. It will leave a taste in your mouth, wanting more. They are about $9 individually, but sometimes you can pick up a case that makes them a lot cheaper.

Arturo Fuente Hemingway Signature Cigar. This cigar is the big brother to the Short Story above. If you have an hour to kill around a fire pit or want to savor the flavor in a back yard hammock, this is your boy. At about $13 a smoke, this is my weekend goto smokeā€”a little history. "Following the 1960 United States embargo of Cuba, the Fuente brand began a period of slow and steady growth, emerging as one of the most critically acclaimed makers of hand-rolled premium cigars outside of Cuba. As of 2010, the company was producing 30 million cigars per annum from its factory in the Dominican Republic." ~ Wikipedia.

CAO Flathead V770 Big Block. The next brand that I adore is CAO. CAO puts out a "man's" cigar that is full-bodied and slightly spicy, and it will make you look like a boss when you smoke them. My weapon of choice in the CAO line is the CAO Flathead V770 Big Block. This cigar isn't your daddy's; it will give you a long, flavorful smoke with a light finish. If you have an hour to 90 minutes to kill while drinking an old fashioned and listing to some classic rock, this should be at the top of your list. At around $11 per smoke, you're not going to have buyers' remorse.

CAO Flathead V554 Camshaft. If you're looking for a stellar cigar that will take you on a flavor journey, this is the one for you. It's like eating sweet and sour pork, a little sweet, a little spicy; it will leave you wanting the last bits from the container. (I may be the first chump to ever use Chinese food to describe a cigar, ever!) The V554 Camshaft is aromatic and a smooth 45-minute cigar worth smoking while your favorite football team wins in the second half of the game. Each smoke will cost around $10.