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Equinoxe du Printemps

August 20th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel, Cigars, Country: Canada, Grade: B plus, Style: Scottish Ale

8.5% ABV bottled

What Makes Sammy Strip?

I was at a networking event which is interesting because I absolutely loathe “networking” and can’t think of a typically less interesting answer in the world than that to the question:  “So, what do you do for a living?’

Alas, the event had cigars, booze, splendid food, and a world-class skyscraper roof deck view to keep me sated.  Alack, the event was sans women in a “old boys club” kinda way, so I had no choice but to get loaded and talk to dudes.  How unseemly!

In fairness, it was a nice crew of upwardly mobile urban professionals dressed in nice clothes and living nice lives.  Most all with nice wives back at their nice (and owned) homes and apartments which meant the chicanery was at a lower–more “respectable” you might say–level than I’m accustomed to.

I was quiet and behaved, unable to speak much as the majority of conversation topics dealt with things I’ve never dealt with in my life nor may ever deal with:  seventy hour work weeks, nest egg creation, sweater vests, marriages, honeymoons, intended pregnancy.  I just sat back sucking down a Rocky Patel Ocean Club, a Holt’s Cigar company exclusive and a mini-masterpiece of a smoke, while tippling my second career beer from Canada’s brilliant Dieu du Ciel brewery, makers of the legendary Peche Mortel.  A “wee heavy” made with Quebec maple syrup, this brew has an unbelievable nose.  I expected greatness.  However, the taste is a little more muted.  Caramel malty and complex, but not an overwhelming explosion of flavors.  Nevertheless, an interesting and beautifully crafted winner.

I enjoyed my beer and smoke while enjoying the company, trying to learn a thing or two, decipher fancy business terms, acronyms, and unnecessary argot, vicariously living through these other men.  “Hmmmm…could I live this man’s life?” I wondered each time a I met a new, swell gent.

I didn’t think I could, but oh how quickly the sands go through the hourglass.  You never know.  Then, Sammy approached me.  A diminutive but jacked Indian, he was so aggressive in running up to me that I thought I was either being hit on, or that, more likely, Sammy was one of those hardcore networkers.  The kind of guy with a perpetual smile painted on his face, an overly happy demeanor oozing with artifice, an abundance of faux-enthusiasm that manifested itself in a lot of head nodding, “uh huh”-ing, and question asking.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.  What do you do?  What can I do for you?  Oh, how do you know him?  Do you know her?  Gimme a card.  Shoot me an e-mail on Monday.  Let’s grab coffee.  Let’s get lunch.  Let’s do business together.  let’s facilitate a relationship.  Let’s make things happen.”

But, Sammy wasn’t like that.  Sammy had just entered the world of suits and ties, cubicles and offices, meetings and conference calls and coffee breaks.  He found the world of business quite boring.  But that was great for Sammy.  Sammy liked that.  For you see, Sammy’s previous job, career, occupation, vocation was a little more…interesting.

Sammy had been a male stripper.

I don’t know how the topic came up, I don’t know how we began discussing it, but as you can imagine, a besotted transgressive like me had plenty of questions to ask the man, it was almost as if I was interviewing Sammy.  And lucky for us, he was quite forthcoming in the sort of blase way that shows you he is so unimpressed with himself that he is surely being 100% honest.

“It’s a standard rule amongst male strippers:  no coming.  For some reason, these women have no problems with rubbing a strange man up and down, fondling him, touching him, pleasuring him, but the second he ejaculates, it’s like the record scratching at a party in old TV shows.  Now all of the sudden, the women are quickly sober and disgusted.  Not with themselves.  But with me!”

So you just have an erection for hours on end?

“No, a man has his needs.  And I could only take so much.  So I just decided to break the industry rules and let it fly.  But never in the face.  Never in the face.”

How did you get into this…field?

“I was poor.  Poor as dirt.  Working a shitty job at a shitty restaurant.  I became friends with one of the bus boys and one day he’s kinda staring me up and down.  What the fuck?  ‘You have a pretty nice body, dude.  Muscular.’  Is he hitting on me?!  No, he’s recruiting me!  Invites me to join him that night for a bachelorette party.  I couldn’t believe the bank.  How much cash I left with that night.  I was hooked!”

How much were you making?

“This is Ontario mind you, not New York City, but I was pulling $600, $1000 even a night.”

WHAT?!  Then why the fuck aren’t you still doing it?

“It was far too humiliating.  Embarrassing.  All these gross old ladies slobbering over me.”

You gotta be drunk, right?

“I’d drink a whole bottle of Patron before I went out there.  The naked part wasn’t the worst part it was all the dancing to cheesy music.  So fucking embarrassing.”

But all these women want you.  Doesn’t that make you feel good about yourself?

“I tell you bro, it’s hard for me to respect women after all the shit I’ve seen.  Women blowing me mere seconds after meeting me.  Grandmas, mothers, wives.  Fucking fiancees sucking my dick one day before their wedding.  It’s disgusting.  I can’t trust any women after that.”

None?

“None.  I guarantee you, most all the women you meet have done the same shit before.  Think of how nasty us men are.  Well women are worse!  They are all disgusting whores.”

Did they ever have sex with you?

“They all want to.  But I never did.”

Why?  Morals?

“Economics.  You never have sex with a client because once you pop, then you’re done.  How you gonna keep making money dancing with a deflated balloon hanging from your groin?  Not to mention all the women you don’t fuck are going to be jealous of the one woman you did fuck and are going to want to spite you.  So you tease all of the women, make each and every women think that she is the one you most want to fuck.  You tease them, milk the money, let them milk you, but never have sex with them.  Unless they are mindblowingly hot.  And then, only at the last second before you leave, after you’ve maxed out your earnings.”

“Pretty fucked up, huh?”

Absolutely.  I’m kinda disgusted with the human race myself.  Did you ever feel bad the next day?

“No.”

No?

“I felt rich.”

Uh, so you want to go another bar and try to pick up some girls?

“No.  I don’t have one night stands.”

B+

Trappistes Rochefort 10

February 11th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brasserie de Rochefort, Cigars, Country: Belgium, Grade: A plus, Style: Quadrupel

11.3% ABV along with a Casa Magna Colorado Gran Toro cigar

I’d already celebrated my 30th birthday with a party at Blind Tiger, a decadent last weekend in Philadelphia, and with further plans this upcoming weekend in Syracuse, so I decided to spend my actual birth date in solitude, completely enjoying a deluge of some of my favorite vices all by my lonesome.  Kinda like Chris Farley’s final day but with no drugs, no hookers, and/or no chance of death.  OK, minimal chance of death.  And hookers.

In the early morning and afternoon, I overloaded with good coffee and some of my favorite movies (”Hoop Dreams,” “2001:  A Space Odyssey,” “Aguirre, the Wrath of God”) before switching to beer and cigars in the early afternoon.  The cigar of the day was Casa Magna’s Gran Toro, the same cigar that in the Robusto size was rated 2008’s #1 cigar of the year by Cigar Aficionado.  A stupendously economical stogey for around $5-$6 a stick, I’d had my first the previous weekend at the legendary Holt’s.   I was on an empty stomach then and found the cigar incredibly spicy and a bit of an asskicker and, thus, somewhat not deserving of its lofty status.  This time around though, with my innards settled and some stout to nicely pair with the smoke, I found it more smooth and palatable.  Quite good.  PASS

Interlude rant that proves I’m a dickhead: As communication becomes more and more ubiquitous and all people achieve more and more relationships (or, er, “relationships”) in their lives, birthdays start to, well…kinda suck.  No, they don’t suck, per se, I’m being overly dramatic, but lately, on my actual birthdays, I’ve started to feel like a motherfucking secretary.  For a guy who hates phone calls, looooooooathes phone calls, one’s birthday becomes a never-ending string of my cell vibrating more than a sexual toy owned by a lonely fat girl.  It was kinda impossible yesterday for me to completely relax and fall into a slumber of my vices when I was answering my phone like a switchboard operator every few minutes to have awkward don’t-know-what-to-say conversations with relatives, friends, and exes I never even think about on the other 364 days of the year.

Even worse, is when you miss a phone call on your birthday, and you of course know why the person just called you, but not wanting to be rude and ignore correspondence, you call the person back to essentially say, “Hi, it’s Aaron–uh, you wanted to wish me a happy birthday?”

Finally, my birthday taught me one very interesting thing.  I have a TON of Facebook friends who I not only don’t remember being “friends” with, not only don’t even know, but don’t even recognize their names!  And, oddly enough, my Facebook friends that I don’t really know were many of the first to wish me a Happy Birthday on my Wall.  I guess the kind of person that would Facebook friend a human being they absolutely don’t know are also the kind of lonely persons that would e-wish that same human being they don’t a Happy Birthday as fast as humanly possible.  Yeah, I should probably unfriend some people and thin out the waste.  Seriously, stop clogging my News Feed with lame status updates, John Rathmuller.

Yeah, I know I’m a dickhead.  I’m lucky to have any friends.  And how sad would I be if I truly got no calls, e-mails, texts, or Facebookings yesterday?!  OK, so ignore my rant I guess.

In the early evening I switched to more higher octane beers to couple with some rare steak.  The beer highlight of the entire day was my first foray into Rochefort 10, the #12 beer in the world according to Beer Advocate and the #1 widely distributed beer in the world according to Rate Beer.  In fact, it’s that very piece of cake accessibility that has led to me ignoring it for so long, but I’m so glad I finally grabbed it.  You should grab it too and, assuming you don’t live in the kind of city that gets excited when a new Olive Garden or Cheesecake Factory opens in town, I’m certain your local beermonger will stock the Rochefort line, one of the seven trappist monasteries making frat sodas.  This quad has a very boozy smell.   The taste is rich and silky almost like a wine or port.  Banana, toffee maltiness, and a little spice.  This beer came with high expectations and met them as it is probably the best quad I’ve ever had–admittedly a style category with not a lot of contenders–a bit ahead of La Trappe’s and St. Bernardus 12.   One further note, I had this beer right off the shelf and thus not much aged at all.  I would love to try it not so young when the hot booziness would probably be a little smoother.

Finally, I saw another human nearing midnight and bday + 1 when a girl brought me several cakes she had made for me–coconut cream, carrot cake, and straight up yellow birthday cake.  I don’t much like cake in normal circumstances, but drunk I dove my hands in sans utensils and ate like a wolfboy.  I found crusty icing in bed this morning.  At least that’s what I think it was.  Gross.

A terrific 30th.  I may start spending them all alone until I die of a heart attack at age 35.

A+

Mahogany on Walnut

November 17th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Cigars

Arturo Fuente Cubanitos (Mini)
Padron Anniversary 1964 Maduro (Exclusivo)
Carlos Torano Exodus Silver (Corona Grande)

VICE RESUME

Submitted for your approval, a few entries from my vice resume:

The first person amongst my friends to turn 21, we decided to throw a party for me and to make it a “classy” affair at that, a wine party, strictly vino to be drunk. Early in the afternoon we went to the liquor store and, not knowing much about wine but knowing a lot about movies, we purchased several bottles from Francis Ford Coppola’s winery. Likewise, I didn’t know the correct method to drink wine, having only drunk the Manischewitz at Jewish ceremonies, and thus threw it back with the same gusto and pace as one would drink beer. After two-and-a-half bottles, I was projectile vomiting* throughout the entire apartment, clearing out my own party before the midnight hour and the calendar roll-over to age 21.

My first year out of college my roommate and I were, let’s just say, “underemployed.” To get drunk we were forced to find the best deals in town regardless the circumstance, that town being Hoboken, New Jersey. One such deal was a Tuesday night 2-for-1 martini offer. Presumably this was a de facto Ladies Night as the twelve martinis on the list had such names as the Yummy Gummy Bear, the Key Limetini, the DePeach Mode, etc. And, indeed the bar was packed on Tuesdays with Jersey’s finest female quasi-sophistacates who swilled the colorful concoctions — and two schlubbily-dressed on-Unemployment losers who quietly sat in the corner getting loaded. Though the martinis may have had gummy bears in the bottom of the glass, may have been fluorescent green, may have used Amaretto as an ingredient, they packed a wallop, causing one to be reminded of the famous Dorothy Parker poem (”I’ll have one martini/Two at the most/Three and I’m under the table/Four and I’m under the host.”) We had never had more than four each in a single sitting, but on one particularly self-loathing night, we tried to conquer the whole menu. I’ll admit that I gave up after 9, but my friend made it through all 12. He didn’t recall anything after martini 7 which is probably good because that night he literally smoked crack in an alley.

That same year my three roommates and I were invited to a friend’s rooftop party at his phat pad right on Bleeker Street. I was feeling great as I donned for the first time a gorgeous white linen shirt I had just bought. En route we stopped at a liquor store to pick up the customary party-entry ticket, a six-pack. Always an outside-the-box thinker, I told my roommates that we would be party legends if we got a bottle of Jaegermeister instead. I painted a picture of us walking through the shindig, Jaegar in hand, suavely dispensing straight-from-the-bottle shots to willing women. We would be a hit! They agreed to play along but once at the party, neither my friends nor any other guests wanted to drink from my syrupy bottle and I was left alone to be the creepy guy in the corner swigging a German digestif. The next day I awoke at the crack of 4 PM. I was confused. I didn’t feel hungover but I totally could not recall how the party progressed, certainly how it ended, and without question how we had gotten home. I walked into the living room and immediately my roommates burst into hearty laughter. They quickly spun a repellent tale of the Jaeger-drunk guy who had made a fool of himself at the party before passing out on the roof and then having to be carried from Manhattan to Hoboken by his friends. Tasting my surprisingly clean breath I remarked, “Well, at least I didn’t throw up.” Again, laughter. “Go check your shirt.” I went to my room to find my precious shirt balled up in the corner, now completely purple.**

I recall playing beer pong with my friends, a game I am quite skilled at due to my Reggie Miller dead-eye and the icewater in my veins. I had dominated an impromptu tournament, going so far as to “prove” my championship against the #2 seed in a few additional exhibition matches. With my typical brashness I challenged him to one final game: he getting to use Miller Lite in his Solo cups, while I would be playing with 7.5% Arrogant Bastard. I won that game, but I would awaken the next day to a hangover that lasted for the rest of the week, far and away the worst of my life.

Then there was the bachelor party in Boston where my friend Derek first introduced me to the glory that is Old Grand-Dad 100 proof “bonded” bourbon. Whiskey connoisseurs the both of us, he had discovered the amazing secret that this plastic-capped $19-a-bottle bourbon was surprisingly world-class. Pre-barring in the hotel room before heading out to dinner, as the other guys drank beers, Derek and I decided to see how fast we could doubles-team chug a bottle of OGD. Shockingly, we killed the entire fifth in about five minutes. Later that evening, seeing a tuxedoed thirtysomething man in the lobby, I smirkingly asked him how the prom had been. Not the cleverest joke but my besotted friends laughed. The man followed me into the bathroom and attacked, pinning me to a urinal, telling me he was a Green Beret who was attending a wedding in the ballroom and if he wanted to he could easily kill me. “And what did I have to say for myself, smartass?” he wondered. My life in his hands, my jugular pinched between his forefinger and thumb, all I could think to say was to quote my favorite television show at the time “Extras” and its lead character Andy Millman (Ricky Gervais): “Are you havin’ a laff?

Several years ago, with no other choice, I moved in with some strangers I met on Craig’s List, two women to be exact. The Sunday I moved in we tersely interacted, both nervous and feeling each other out, wondering how our futures together would “work.” By evening, the girls suggested we have a nice “Getting to Know Each Other” dinner and I agreed. I went so far as to suggest we go to a Mexican restaurant I’d noticed around the corner that had $2 margaritas on Sundays. Upon getting there and seeing that they had 12 different flavors, I suggested we drink them all, making a scorecard we could compare afterward. By the end of the evening, pineapple had pulled the upset over strawberry and lime, the three of us were in Rudy’s throwing up all over the place*** leading to us getting 86ed, and we had become instant besties. Alcohol always speeds up a relationship to its intended point of stasis.

Finally, I can’t forgot the night of Super Bowl XXXVIII. This was back during that weird period where I literally had no friends. Actually, at this point, I still had one friend, a deviant of the highest order who I had invited over to “quietly” watch the game with me, order some pizza, perhaps have a beer or two. I hadn’t even showered that Sunday as JT knocked on my door. I opened it to find him snickering like a little kid, a case of Rolling Rock bottles under each of his arms. “You ready? We’re putting down all of these.” And, indeed we did both polish off our allotted twenty-four bottles, only stopping to order 100 chicken wings of which we forgot to even touch. I was so shit-faced by halftime that though I did see Janet’s breast during live-action, I was certain that I was just hallucinating and didn’t even offer a comment to JT. Once the game was over JT wanted to move the drinking to the bars. There was not a single good reason to head to the bar and countless bad ones: it was 11:00 PM on a Sunday, we had each drank twenty-four beers, I was unshowered and wearing a dirty sweatsuit, oh, and worst of all, at the time I was in a beard-growing contest which was now at a scraggly day 35. Of course, mere seconds after getting to the bar, JT Irish Goodbyes me and I’m left to my own devices. I met a girl who despite my despicable appearance really seemed to dig me in a most carnal way. Not wanting to waste any time, I invited her back to my apartment. Though she claimed to want to, she had to decline because “I can’t leave my friend.” I looked toward the end of the bar and noticed her more-attractive pal shyly drinking by herself. The world became clear to me, a lucidity flooded my brain that had never occurred before, I had one of those rare Eureka moments that we so rarely experience, and a stratagem was learned that would serve me well for the rest of my life. “Fine with me, she came come too,” I said as I grabbed the girls’ hands and marched them out of the bar. After my first ever threesome, the three of us sat in my bed and finished off the 100 untouched buffalo wings. The next day I shaved.

This weekend I added a new entry to my vice resume: I smoked three cigars in one evening.

Now I know that may not seem like a lot to you. On the otherhand it may seem like a ton to you. I’m a regular cigar smoker–let’s say on average one per week in the summer, perhaps one per month during the cold weather season when nanny states law prevent me from smoking indoors and my pussiness prevents me from smoking in the chilliness–but I’m no George Burns. I’ve smoked less than ten cigarettes in my life and rarely smoke on the drugs, so even nowadays, just a single cigar stones the heck out of me, often knocking me down and forcing me into a ball wailing for my teddy bear.

I was in Philadelphia where my friend was hosting a swank party at one of the better cigar bars I’ve ever been to, Mahogany on Walnut. Brian and I arrived earlier than the rest of the party and took a seat at the bar, slugging Manhattans and flirting with the perfect 10 of a bartender who was either genuinely charmed by us or was remarkable at feigning being beguiled for a potentially bloated gratuity.

Brian was getting antsy to smoke as we waited for the party to begin. He suggested we have a little starter smoke to begin the festivities. Already planning on sucking down two cigars during the party, I didn’t think I could or should bump that number to three. So he said the magic words: “It’s on me.”

I jokingly asked the waitress to pick us out a good “appetizer” of a cigar. “You know, like a plate of jalapeno poppers.”

Not getting my food analogy she asked if I meant I wanted a spicy cigar.

“Yeah, and a bowl of ranch dressing to dip it in please.”

After the daft drink slinger had conquered our sarcasm, she brought us a couple of mini Arturo Fuente Cubanitos. A splendid suggestion, it was the perfect way to start off the evening, both in taste and in the fact that it’s small size made me feel like I had the hands of Wilt Chamberlain.

The other fellas began to arrive and the party broke into full swing. For my next smoke, I went with the Padron Anniversary 1964 Maduro. An absolutely flawless smoke, this box-pressed squared-off cigar is one of the best I’ve ever had. Its tastes of coffee and chocolate paired perfect with the Brooklyn Black I drank. I can’t recommend the Anniversary more wholeheartedly and was just about weeping as I came to the final inch of my smoke.

Remarkably, I still felt amazing after the two cigars, which were in addition to the ten hours of drinking I’d already done during the day, and thought myself well capable of completely the trifecta. Earlier that day, Brian and I had stumbled upon a most fascinating documentary on Sir Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond series. I had known he was one bad motherfucker, but I didn’t quite know the extent of his awesomeness, his life essentially that of James Bond when it came to intrigue, women, luxury, drinking, and smoking. What Brian and I most marveled at though, was how cool Fleming looked in literally every single picture seemingly ever snapped of him, always a tipped cigarette rakishly held between his fingers as a plume of smoke billowed around him. We decided, yes!, we too needed cool smoking pictures for when documentaries would eventually be made of us.

Thus, as I lit up my final cigar of the evening, Carlos Torano Exodus Silver, Brian and I said nuts to hitting on women and screw mingling with the other party guests as we tried to get a perfect “Ian Fleming” picture of ourselves. With people in earshot clearly mocking us, we tested the limits of Brian’s digital camera’s memory card, trying pose after pose to out-cool Fleming.

Unfortunately, we were soon to learn that no one, certainly not us, is as cool as Fleming, and the Torano I found to be a lackluster end to my smoking evening. Decent, but it paled in comparison to the preceding Padron.

Luckily, the evening was not to end here and much more excitement was to follow…

(TO BE CONTINUED…)

So what’s the best entry from your vice resume? I want to know.

*I never throw up. Like never. It is more a curse than a blessing. I’ve only yakked probably 5 times in my life. And never from drinking beer or spirits. All my emesis incidents have been related to tropical drinks, wine, or other weird-flavored concoctions.

**Ibid.

***Ibid.

La Gloria Cubana Tainos

September 28th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Cigars

I like that 1950s-esque tradition of passing out cigars and lighting them up when your wife gives birth.  Then again, I never need an excuse to vice on something.  I’m not sure if people do that any more, but I kinda doubt it being that the world is becoming more and more sanitized, less and less…well, fun.  In fact, when one of my friends’ wife recently gave birth to their son, he passed out candy cigars.  Uh…thanks, I’ll try to enjoy your Mazel Tov moment with this giant spiral chunk of crappy baby blue gum.  Shit, back in 1979, when I was born, the fucking moyel was no doubt chomping on a fat-ass stogy as he sliced off a piece of my manhood.

Now, I’ve never created a child that came to term–nor do I intend on doing so at least until Barry’s eight years in office are up–so I’ve never gotten an opportunity to restart this new-daddy-cigar-distributing trend.  But, with a little help from my sister, I have just given birth to the newest incarnation of The Vice Blog.

And after a hard weekend of labor, I went out to find a cigar to puff on in celebration.  Unfortunately, it was late on Sunday and even in the real city that never sleeps, I could only locate a worthless bodega with a “Smoke Shoppe” in the back.  I picked up a poorly stored and overpriced La Gloria Cubana, a typically adequate PASSING cigar, and indeed it was again this time.  You got to be damn careful about counterfeit cigars when you are buying from shady sellers, but I think this one was the real deal.

Smoking on it as the sun began to go down over the horizon, getting a tad stoned, I reflected on the future of the Vice Blog, excited where it might be headed.  I hope you will enjoy The Vice Blog 2.0 too.

De La Concha Grand Reserve

August 4th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Cigars

Tips for a successful first date: show up two hours late, your calves caked in mud and blades of grass, skin pruned and dank from being hit with a deluge of rain earlier in the day, smelling of a smoked cigar and stinking drunk, completely underdressed and, oh yeah, wearing a pair of your friend’s underwear.

Despite having an 8:30 AM tee time out on Long Island Saturday morning, I agreed to go on a first date with a girl back in Manhattan in the early evening. Not smart, especially considering weekend rounds on tristate public courses seem to take anywhere from six to even eight fucking hours. But I do like to live by the skin of my Crest Whitestripped teeth.

I so rarely get to golf and I so dearly love the game that I could barely contain myself on Friday night. I chose to try and get to bed early, polishing of a few strong brews in order to aid the process, but I still wasn’t asleep til 1 or so. Bursting with exciting I was back awake at 5:30, shocked to learn that the sun comes up that early. Who knew? I was also shocked to see people under the age of 70 actually out and about at the 7 AM hour in Manhattan. Why would any one wake up that early on the weekends unless they were going to golf or catch a poorly scheduled flight? I often returned home from epic drinking sessions at that hour in my younger days.

The golf went splendid and I shot a very pleasurable 87–hey, thanks for asking–soundly defeating my two friends whose names I will not mention as they do not wish to be associated with my blog. I don’t love to drink when I golf because it makes me quickly lose motor skills and not give a damn. Not good for such a fiery competitor as myself. However, a cigar is perfect for the course. It doesn’t affect one’s suppleness one iota yet it still relaxes the mind and body, an absolute necessity on the links. In Timothy Gallwey’s seminal “The Inner Game of Tennis” he espouses how significant it is to one’s performance in tennis to approach it in a zen manner, allowing the mind to get out of the fucking way as the body takes over in playing. So you don’t think about hitting a topspin forehand, you just do it. Sounds simple, but it’s incredibly difficult. The same works for golf. In fact, there’s few things in life where you wouldn’t find it better to be able to shut off your mind while trying to go about the task: tennis, golf, driving, fucking, writing, it’s always better to act uninhibited and just “be.” A cigar is like a quick dose of uninhibitedness, relaxing my mind and letting my body do all the work. It also allowed me to handle the lame punning and excruciating “jokes” of the teetotaling Pole wearing a Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil golf polo who had been most unfortunately paired with us as he was a single. Both on the golf course and throughout most of his life I’m imagining. I would have probably been more scathing toward him had I not been stoned by my cigar.

After last week’s Nat Sherman debacle, I hit up another respectable store in my hood, De La Concha on Sixth Avenue, to find the perfect golf smoke. After goofing on their competitors’ horrible suggestion, I told the salesman exactly what I was looking for: a cigar with some bite and one–I half-joked–which would last me all eighteen. He complied by recommending the house cigar in a massive seven-inch, 50-ring gauge Churchill form, noting that it’s so popular they sell 3,000 of them a day. I didn’t exactly want to be pointed toward another house cigar but I gave the guy the benefit of the doubt and snagged one. Right he was on his rec, as this smoke lasted me from the 3rd hole par three all the way to the 16th when I snubbed out the two smokeable inches of it still remaining. And it had bite too, a nice one at that with a great draw. I give it a PASSing grade.

The cart girl was apparently blowing her grounds crew boyfriend in the clubhouse so there was no food or drink on the course for the front nine, leaving me a bit wobbly as the tobacco hit my empty stomach. It was no better at the turn as the nonogenarian working the clubhouse grill told me it would take him thirty to forty minutes to whip up the cheeseburger I so yearned for. I mean seriously, I take my burgers medium rare, that should take no longer than a few minutes. Was this guy going to kill the cow and ground the beef? Thus, I was forced to order what appeared to be–though I can’t confirm that it was rabbinically approved–a kosher hot dog. It was tasty, but even slathered in kraut and relish, barely enough to fill my belly. I also got my only beer of the round, a horrendously skunky Becks (no review forthcoming but a D- beer at the least.)

For the entire day the sky was ominous and by eighteen it opened and sheets of rain began to fall as we started to sprint to the clubhouse, our shoes sloshing around like leaky galoshes. Under an awning, waiting for the downpour to subside, we drank a plastic sack full of $3 canned Buds, trying to dry off. Our shoes were filled with rainwater, our khaki shorts so drenched they had almost become translucent, causing us to worry about potential lewdness charges. By the time the rains had ended it was about 3:00. A smart person would have jetted for Manhattan to relax and freshen up for their impending date. Not I, however. I was convinced to return to my friends’ neighborhood in Astoria, Queens for some quaffs. We needed them.

First though, we would need some dry clothes as I’ve never been so drenched in my life. I didn’t think that level of wetness was even scientifically possible. In fact, my golf clothes currently sit in the corner of my bathroom, still sopping wet some 36 hours after getting rained on. Unbelievable. Even more unbelievable will be how long I leave them in the bathroom, no doubt not taking them to the laundromat until mold spores have formed and God has created some new life on my duds.

My friend lent me a pair of cargo shorts, a baby blue H&M t-shirt, and a pair of slightly small Adidas soccer slide sandals with massaging nub soles. However, not willing to go sans underpants, I had to hint at a most inevitable but still unfortunate question. “You know, my underwear are drenched too, dot, dot, dot, ellipses…” I literally spoke aloud.

Maybe it was because we were buzzed, perhaps it is because we are jaded deviants, but, not surprisingly my friend didn’t bat an eye, tossing me an old pair of Hanes boxer briefs he told me he had been planning on tossing for months any how. Even less surprisingly, and with no qualms, I put on the underwear which had some dead elastic and a piss flap that refused to stay closed.

Completely dressed, I looked like Vincent Vega and Jules Winfield did when Jimmie gave them some spare clean clothes after their cheap suits got dirty whilst cleaning up Jules’s blood and bone fragment-riddled 1974 Chevrolet Nova.

The Wolf: You guys look like… What do they look like, Jimmie?
Jimmie: Dorks. They look like a couple of dorks.
Jules: Ha-ha-ha. They’re your clothes, motherfucker.

With my friend’s underwear on we headed off to the bars to get loaded, T-minus 3 hours until my date. If you don’t know much about drinking in Astoria, it is very much a “locals” scene. It’s a big enough town with plenty of bars yet everyone there seems to know every one else.

My friend is a quality drunkard, hunkering down on a bar stool several days a week, so though he is not friends with most of the “regulars,” he knows all their stories. We laughed at tipplers such as the drunkard Columbia nuclear physics professor, so brilliant he needs alcohol to make his mind slow down. Or the Jeffrey Dahmer looking perv that sidled up next to us, wanting to know if we had any sublet opportunities available for him. But, my favorite regular I spied on from across the room was Dr. Ron. My pal told me this sixtyish year old Buck Henry lookalike was a fairly successful dentist out in Long Island with an incredibly perverted sexual fetish. Though he drags his retarded looking slug of a wife behind him at all times, he nevertheless goes from bar to bar throughout Astoria somehow successfully propositioning twenty-something women to return to his pad where he asks them to strip naked, sit on his face, and rip a fart. And indeed, we watched him procure the best looking girl at the bar within minutes upon her arrival, quickly departing arm-in-arm with her.

I’d already texted the girl twice to postpone our date, each time lying that my golf round was taking longer than normal (”Damn that group of slow-playing Koreans in front of us!”), but after a half-dozen beers I finally had to fight through the “Come on, just one more” peer pressure and head back to Hell’s Kitchen. Even though I made remarkable time, I still had no chance to do anything aside from dropping my clubs off in my apartment. Thus, with my calves caked in dry mud and blades of grass, my skin pruned and dank from being hit with a deluge of rain earlier in the day, my breath smelling of a smoked cigar and stinking drunk, my rained-on hair still matted to my skull, completely underdressed and, oh yeah, wearing a pair of my friend’s underwear, I arrived to my date two hours late.

I don’t believe in going on dates for dinner. Especially on the weekend. Too much…everything. Too long of time commitment should things go wrong, too unnecessarily expensive, too uptight, too boring, and too tension-filled. I barely even go to sit-down restaurant dinners with my best friends, why would I go with a complete stranger who may not have any raconteurial skills?! Instead, I always go to a place to get wasted. This accomplishes several things. Firstly, it lets me know the girl is cool if she is willing to immediately get smashed on pitchers of beer at Rudy’s or Jameson neats at some Irish pub with me. Also, as we all know “in vino veritas,” alcohol quickly pulls down the defenses and forces two strangers to learn tons about each other. Go to dinner with someone and you might not learn anything more than her favorite “Sex and the City” character and whether she prefers fries or onion rings as a side. Go get shitcanned with her and you’ll know her life story and every emotion she’s every felt by night’s end. Also, if you go get wasted, seduction becomes a lot easier. They say stuff like oysters and chocolate are aphrodisiacs, but I’ve always felt that 25 beers is a pretty good one.

For our first date, I picked one of my favorite places in the city, The Russian Vodka Room. Any place with a kind of alcohol literally in its name is clearly awesome, and indeed they do serve some terrific infused vodkas, big ass Russian beers, and delicious…uh…whatever the Russian word for tapas is. My date was surprisingly not angered at my tardy arrival, she didn’t act that turned-off or surprised by my ridiculous and filthy dress though I did notice an awkward double-take, however, she did seem a bit surprised, if not scared upon entering the Vodka Room. And, true, it can be a new and interesting experience. A dark, windowless bar with sexy/slutty Soviet bloc bartenders and patrons that look like they’re former spies for the KGB. And everyone is drinking hard. I’ll certainly offer a more thorough review of the place in time.

My date was dressed nicely, as were most everyone out at the establishment on that night. An entire crowd of people in subtle black outfits with one goofball in a bright blue shirt, shorts, and sandals. Luckily, my charisma is immense so I was able to keep my date amused and into me for the first 45 minutes or so. However, after several glasses of vodka chased by bottles of Baltikas I began feeling my lucidity quickly disappearing and concern developed. Then, paranoia arrived and I began realizing my date was no longer impressed with me, wondering why I had arrived in such a ridiculous manner and thinking she should probably leave. The only way to salvage the date would be by revealing the hilarious truth. And so I decided to press my luck, play the gambit, and probably add a degree of difficulty to my already thin chances of hooking up, by telling her how I came to be so drunk and wearing my friend’s underwear.

She must have found my candor enviable and my story ridiculously sublime as the tension was quickly cut. With hearty laughter I even began to sober up a bit. This was definitely a world-class icebreaker and the rest of the date went swimmingly.

Ultimately, she was so impressed by me that we headed back to her place where we stripped naked and farted on each other’s faces, her favorite sexual proclivity.

No, that’s not true, just kidding. That sure would have been a funny full-circle plot twist though, wouldn’t it?

I’ll just say we have a second date later this week. I’ve promised to shower and wear my own undies.

Nat Sherman Suave

July 29th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 3 Comments | Filed in Cigars

This weekend I realized that cigars aren’t just something that makes you look awesome, leads to the onset of cancers, makes others question what you are overcompensating for, gets you shunned from most establishments, and guarantees you won’t be kissed by any girls post-smoke.  They’re also terrific for getting fat-assed tourists to move out of your fucking way.  Let me explain.

I needed to run an errand crosstown on Saturday.  A thirty to forty minute walk with no real mass transit opportunities.  No big deal because I prefer walking anywhere and everywhere anyways.  The only problem with the walk is that it would pass through the most reprehensible part of Manhattan, midtown, home of Times Square and Rock Center, the absolute mecca for tourist rubes looking to get in my fucking way as they take retarded pictures of things that if you google image searched you’d get millions of entries returned, get caricatures sketched of themselves by Pakistan immigrants (are there not caricaturists or Pakistanis in any of the other 49 states?), and intensely study the outside posted menu in front of Bubba Gump’s  (”Mmmmm…the coconut pina colada-battered jumbo shrimp cocktail sounds delightful, honey.”)  I needed a plan.

The afternoon was pleasant so I thought a cigar would be a nice companion for my stroll.  I hopped into the newly redesigned Nat Sherman’s on 42nd.  Of course I got the cold shoulder from the pretentious fucks working there.  Perhaps I deserved it.  I was dressed in my typical slobby weekend attire:  hangover shades, backwards Syracuse cap, dirty t-shirt, dirty khaki shorts, dirty flip flops, dirty smells wafting from me, and dirty words coming from my mouth.  I hate when the old geezers working at high-brow establishments act like I don’t belong there, as if they do.  Bro, you get paid near minimum wage stocking the Hugo Boss suits, you don’t actually fucking own them.  Likewise, these jolly old white fucks at Nat Sherman were behaving like I had dared barge into their own private humidors, bringing my bad vibes and bad smells with me like Pigpen from “Peanuts.”  I’m gonna let you in on a secret, guys, no matter how shabby I look, I can probably scrounge up enough loot to buy an $8 cigar.  Not much of a drop in the bucket for me.

Eventually, a younger chap assisted me out.  As with most vices, I like to go for the hardcore, the extreme.  I like high ABV beers, foods so spicy they’re nuclear, and bourbons and Scotches that singe your throat.  Likewise, I typically enjoy pretty formidable smokes, though not too formidable as I’ve never been a cigarette or weed smoker and don’t have that hardened of lungs just yet.  Having said that, I hadn’t eaten all day and didn’t want to smoke anything too violent on an empty stomach, thinking I should have something light lest the nicotine would cause me to pass out on Broadway and the insatiable tourists to start eating me, vultures ripping my limbs off and chomping on them like they were turkey legs.

I’m always loathe to tell a cigar salesman I want something light cause then they immediately think you a pussy and start recommending pussy shit.  I told the gentleman that was helping me to not give me any pussy shit, and he assured me he wouldn’t.  He also asked that I refrain from loudly saying the neologism “pussy shit” in his classy establishment.  He immediately recommended something from the store’s own line.  He said the Nat Sherman Suave would smoke easily, smoothly, and for the full duration of my gallivant to the east side, the most important selling point for me.  I jokingly told him that if I didn’t like the cigar I’d come back and kick his pussy shit ass.

As I was walking out the store into the humid air and the throngs of pachyderm-sized sightseers cracking my city’s sidewalks, the brilliant idea hit me.  It wasn’t just going to be tasty to smoke the cigar, it was also going to be quite pragmatic as I walked through the slow moving tourist area.  I clipped my cigar with the elan of a moyel circumcising a Jew baby, sparked a taper up and lit my 8 inch torch.

I immediately learned I was right.  Walking through Times Square and then across 59th street exhaling cigar smoke like a fire breathing dragon, this Jew parted the sea of fatsos better than Moses parted the Red.  I used my cigar like a classic Sunset Limited train used its cattle catcher to get cows out of it path.  When the cigar wasn’t in my piehole, it was held out in front of me like a fencing epee.

“Impede my way fanny-packed-dad-from-Omaha and I may just poke you in the eye with my tobacco stick!”

“Plop down in front of me Mormon-family-of-fifteen and I’ll burn you all to the fuckin’ ground!”

“Force me to play Red Rover with you massive-dawdling-church-group-from-Tennessee and there will be casualties!”

Tourists cowered from me in fear, fathers tucking their wives and young children behind them so that they wouldn’t be affected, sullied by the brazen New Yorker marching a swath crosstown toward the East River like Sherman marched to the sea.

However, one southern tourist, clearly showing off for his overly make-upped girlfriend, had the gall to sass me:

“Hey.  Could you watch where you blow that smoke, man?”

“Sir, New York has the 5th worst quality air in America. I ain’t making it any worse, in fact, my fragrant plumes of Dominican flavor are making the air smell better.”

I then I flicked my cherry toward his Teva’d feet.

However, I had lied a bit to the tourist still clad in a frat t-shirt even though he was in his late thirties.  My Suave wasn’t that great of cigar.  True, it did smoke pretty smoothly and indeed lasted the length of my whole walking trek, but the flavor was pretty unexciting.  Indeed it was light, kinda creamy, a little tingle the tongue, but nothing spectacular.  It wasn’t offensive, just not that interesting.  I probably wouldn’t get another one.

And no, I didn’t march back to Nat Sherman’s to kick the salesman’s ass–I neglected to mention that he was a brick shithouse of a 300 pound and ripped African American man, looking like he should probably be Jay-Z’s personal security detail.

As I was nearing the end of my smoke I passed a hansome cab driver leaning against his horse while it shit in the bag strapped to its ass.

“Ain’t nothing finer in life than a good see-gar,” he said.

“Right you are, sir.  Unfortunately, this ain’t a good one.”

FAIL

Camacho Triple Maduro

July 11th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Cigars

6 X 54, Honduran

Attention salesmen, you want to get me to buy something? Just insult me. This strategy worked swimmingly when Batch and I visited a cigar shop in Virginia for some purchases a few weekends ago. I would tell you the name and location of this shop, but I don’t want any readers to make any special field trips to check out the monumental geeks that run this joint just like junior high classes go to nearby Colonial Williamsburg to gawk at queers dressed like cobblers.

The shop’s owner was some tall and pencil-thin Bill Nye-looking dweeb wearing a Tabasco brand Hawaiian shirt tucked into his Haggar wrinkle-free, stain-resistant slacks which barely made it within three inches of his scuffed New Balances. As we schmoozed with him he cockily referred to himself as “aggressively single,” meaning that he eschews monogamy in order to live a “playa” lifestyle befitting a man of his ways and means. But something tells me that 45-year-old losers that smell like crusty old stogies don’t exactly get a lot of pussy. Especially ones that brag about hitting on “honeys” at the Knights of Columbus swimming pool and snack bar (membership’s only $152 a year!)

The head salesman might have been worse. A 5′4″, 22-year-old that still looked so prepubescent that he probably IDs himself any time he takes a cigar off the shelf. If these two nerds had somehow been cloned one-hundred times ala the hokily terrible Jet Li movie “The One,” Batch and I still could have kicked all their arses with impunity.

But there would be no pugilism that day, only verbal sparring. The salesman led us into the humidor, smugly standing in the corner and observing us as we misguidedly looked through the cigars.

“So what do you guys like to smoke?”

I responded, “We’re no experts, but I think we both have enjoyed most of the Olivas we’ve had recently.”

He smirked.

“Oh, so you like lighter and milder stuff?”

He said that line as if he thought me a bigger pussy than the one belonging to a 60-year-old Catholic woman with seven children and a speculum spread open in her while she sits in the OB/GYN’s stirrups. Then, the salesman began offering us some cigars to try. Now I’m no cigar aficionado but I don’t think there’s a brand called Big Brown Lollipop. We were being fucked with. The salesman was offering us shitty cigar choices to mock us. I wouldn’t stand for that.

“What’s that you’re smoking, pal?”

I had noticed him tugging on something quite fragrant.

He guffawed, responding in near hysterics and short of breath…

“Huh…huh…there is no way you could handle this. It’s the Camacho Triple Maduro. The world’s only triple maduro ever made. You’d probably immediately throw up and then pass out if you even took one puff from this bad boy.”

I had just been called out by some virgin. And no way was I gonna stand for it. Did he not know I was a world-famous vice consumer?! I plucked a $14 cigar from the box and marched it to the register.

“Better fill your belly with cheeseburgers before smoking that one…!” the salesman called out to me as I slammed the humidor behind me.

I carried the potent smoke around all July 4th weekend, never locating the perfect time (or actually smoke-friendly haven) to light up. Finally, at around 2 AM on Saturday night, finding myself atop a chichi and boring hotel rooftop bar, I asserted myself and sparked up. The New York City wannabees set down their $11 Amstels and stared at me with the same disdain as they’d stare at a ghetto teen opting to keep her baby as opposed to having an abortion*.

My brief thoughts on the cigar…

Dark, extremely peppery, tastes of rich chocolate. The draw was nice and the cherry was huge, remaining on for over an inch. Overall though, I found it decent but surprisingly bland.

Let’s be clear, this is a novelty cigar. Not like a foot-long, Coke-can-thick and pink “IT’S A GIRL!” cigar, but a novelty nonetheless. Of course, it is indeed potent. I hadn’t eaten several cheeseburgers that day but I had had a large steak and numerous beers. Nevertheless, by the time I was done I felt like Ivan Drago had been wailing on my stomach all night long. I hurried home to lay down, clutching a pillow to my midsection as if it was a teddy bear, calling out “Mommy!!!” well until daybreak.

Three days and several showers later, the cigar had somehow permeated my person so much that I still tasted it in my mouth and smelled it in my hair and skin. And, I can’t say I enjoyed that.

I guess that nerd was right, the Camacho Triple Maduro did kick my ass. Still worth a try however.

PASS

*That was not a pro-life line. Believe me, I’m all for anything that thins the populus: abortion, the death penalty, suicide, war, and my potent triple maduro exhales giving the entire roof deck emphysema in the same way Love Canal turned all the kids in Niagara Falls retarded.

Saranac Pomegranate Wheat

July 2nd, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 3 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Matt Brewing Company, Cigars, Country: America, Grade: B plus, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen)

4.7% ABV bottles from a sixer along with an OLIVA SERIE V Churchill extra cigar

My oldest childhood friend Matt was getting on my case earlier this week:  “You don’t write about enough different vices!” he proclaimed. He thought I should touch on “vices” such as a bad crank habit, LSD usage, Charles Barkley-levels of gambling, porn addiction, Miami Vice, the Vice Lords, and maybe even the U.S. Vice-Presidents. Believe me, nothing would tickle me more than to have nice critical reviews of the crystal meth in Utica or the mushrooms dispensed at Bonnaroo or the BDSM hookers in Chinatown, but unfortunately, I don’t really do drugs and, though I think it should be legalized across the board, I have never paid for a lady of the night. (Perhaps I’ll use the vast funds from my Vice Blog empire to hire a guest blogger to tackle those things.)

However, Matt is absolutely right. I do have tons more vices than craft beers. Cigars for one. I fucking love a good smoke. In the summer, I try to have a toot once per week and in the winter I try to smoke whenever I can smoke inside. Which usually means I’m lighting up less than once a month, what with the increasingly anti-libertarian, draconian, nanny state laws pervading this nation. Nowadays, smoking cigars has almost become less about pleasure and more about exercising one’s inalienable rights to freedom!

I don’t want to sound like a poseur, but I don’t 100% enjoy cigars for how they make me feel. Yes, they taste great and are relaxing and are a great way to laze away a few weekend hours, that’s a given. But they also feel manly. The great Winston Churchill was wrong. A cigar is never JUST a cigar. Perhaps in his day, but not now when if I light up in Central Park I get everyone within a 50-foot radius glaring at me, the most passive-aggressive souls tsk tsking me, and the outright stereotypically rude New Yorkers coming up to me and calling me an asshole. An asshole? For indulging in pleasure? I’m fucking outside! I NEVER smoke within 10 yards of another human, and even then I casually ask those around me for permission. I likewise never smoke within sight of babies, children, or animals. I may not like those creatures but I’m no WC Fields!

I think the biggest problem sniveling little over-educated no-good-nik “goin’ green” yuppies have with cigar smoking is that it is manly. It evokes images of fat cat capitalists that like to eat steak, drink bourbon, fuck women, go golfing, and earn money. And we all know those things are bad because they kill animals, hurt livers and vulvas, clear out disgusting wastelands in order to build beautiful fairways, and they make people rich.

Or maybe a cigar IS simply just a cigar and these folks are just worried about second-hand smoke. Despite the fact that it isn’t even dangerous, fuck you The Truth and your annoyingly catchy sophistic commercials (”It musta been a typo!  A typo!  A typo!”  SHUT UP!).

OK, this wasn’t meant to be a crazy libertarian screed…let’s get to the reviews.

You know how you could take a class PASS/FAIL in college? That way you could be a lazy fuck, barely go to lectures and understand the material, achieve at an absolutely miserable level, and so long as you got a D+ you’d get a “PASS” on your report card and no one would know the wiser? Well, I don’t know as much about cigars as I know about beers, but I do know what I like. And, thus, my cigar reviews will be on a PASS/FAIL system.

I don’t have many cigar-smoking friends, and very few of them are in New York, so when I’m out of town with smoke-friendly pals we always have to allot an hour or two for a cigar. Usually this occurs on the golf course, but sometimes you’re lucky enough to find a friend with a balcony. Like my bud Batch. We needed to kill the time between breakfast and the-appropriate-hour-for-hitting-the-bar on Saturday and we knew that nothing would be better than a smoke. We’ve both becomes fans of most all of Oliva’s blends so we grabbed some. The smokes were enormous, definitely making us look like classic over-compensators. But I like a huge cigar that you can really get to know in the hour or two you pull on it.

The Oliva V has a great draw and the smoke comes easy. Very flavorful with tastes of coffee. Not too heavy so you don’t have to have your stomach full of cheeseburgers in order to not keel over from this one. A great little spiciness too. I can taste it on my tongue as I write this.  It was a perfect selection for a lazy Saturday of smoking, drinking, and philosophizing.

PASS

Before smoking we went to the supermarket to find the perfect beer to “pair” with our smokes. That’s always a tricky proposition. First of all, you don’t want something too powerful. A nice Scotch or bourbon always works but we didn’t want to be wasted by nightfall. Back in college I actually found a certain kind of root beer that went terrific with a cigar. But we needed some beer this time. We figured two or three lighter beers would be enough to get us through the cigar and feeling fine. Looking through the huge coolers I found nothing that intrigued me.

And then I saw it!

The cutest little bottle of beer. A bear with sunglasses juggling pomegranates! The label made me incredibly happy so we grabbed one–no better make it two, Batch–six-packs of the beer.

I’m being coy but I actually have a long history with this brew and it holds a warm place in my heart.  Last summer I was upstate visiting my sister for a little BBQ and I bought a six-pack of the Pomegranate Wheat on a whim.  And it fucking blew my mind!  I told any one that would listen how great this beer was.  Only problem was, I couldn’t find it anywhere once I got back to Manhattan.  I could find dozens upon dozens of other styles of Saranac, but never the Pomegranate Wheat.  So this would be my first time to have it since then.

Maybe I’d talked it up too much, maybe I had over-idealized it over the last year–who knows–but it didn’t blow my mind again.  I’m not even sure if you can have your mind blown twice by the same thing, but I certainly didn’t.  The beer was still good, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not even sure if I could call it great.  It was still tasty and flavorful and still eminently drinkable, but simply not world class as I had once thought.  Nevertheless, the beer got much better as the day went on.  This beer demands being drunk from a glass so that your nose can inhale all it’s wonderful fruity, wheaty, and pomegranate smells.  It’s quality stuff and I hope I don’t have to wait another year to have it again.

I may have not revisited a classic.  I may have discovered this beer’s flaws (not quite alcoholic enough, a little too thin, oddly not pomegranatey enough).  But, I did select a near-perfect beer for daytime drinking as we smoked and talked away the afternoon.  And, yes, we both polished off a full six-pack by the time our Olivas were smoked to the nub.

B+