Posted: Nov 17, 2009 9:55am ET
Back at my desk today after a weekend in Las Vegas with the most enthusiastic, upbeat cigar smokers that you could find anywhere on the planet. The occasion was the 2009 Big Smoke, which is one of my favorite annual events. In the upcoming days, you’ll read and see our coverage of each Big Smoke night, and the two days of seminars. Here are a few of my ruminations.
Posted: Sep 11, 2009 3:43pm ET
I cleaned out some filing cabinets right after Labor Day, an ongoing personal effort to get up to speed on an organization system called Getting Things Done, or to those in the know: GTD. Sure enough, one of the things that can happen when you start cleaning up what in my case amounted to a geological kind of storage system…the further down you dig, the further you go back in time…you find good stuff. And, there it was, in a file I hadn’t checked in probably 10 years—How to Judge a Good Cigar. I knew immediately who the author was: Richard DiMeola
, the former executive vice-president and chief operating officer of what was then called Consolidated Cigar Corp., today’s Altadis U.S.A. Inc.
Posted: Aug 25, 2009 3:01pm ET
It’s always hard as summer winds down, and you’re left wondering how the last three months disappeared. The 2009 version, in the Northeast, will be remembered as one of the coolest, wettest summers on record, although the last couple of weeks have been making some headway on the temperature front. But I can’t complain. There were some fun excursions on my itinerary.
Posted: Aug 19, 2009 11:16am ET
I haven’t spent a lot of time in Vermont, but it’s always been my impression that Vermonters travel to the beat of their own drum. They still hold dear those values of our forefathers, especially those regarding self-reliance and the whole live and let live ethos. You won’t find a whole lot of tolerance there for anyone or anything intruding into their private lives.
Posted: Jul 22, 2009 4:47pm ET
Jack Bettridge and I were chatting last week after we both wrapped up the taste test for the September/October issue of Cigar Aficionado
. By the way, you guys are gonna love the cover subject….I’ll say no more.
We recalled how our taste tests used to be a lot more difficult. There were some issues back in the mid to late 90s where we tasted 140 cigars or more for each issue. The tasting format was different too. We would rate one size each issue, and try to find every example of that size in the marketplace. If nothing else, the cigar boom brought a lot of brands to the marketplace that we had never seen before, and for that matter, have not heard of since the end of the boom in late 1997. But our humidors were packed to overflowing and it was a struggle almost every issue just to get through the cigars, and not suffer serious palate burnout.
Posted: Jul 10, 2009 10:57am ET
It’s being called the year with no summer in the Northeast. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about sitting out on a patio, or my back terrace to have a cigar and ended up watching another torrential downpour through the windows. I read it is not like the summer of 1816, when there was still ice on New England rivers in July, but this past June in New York was tied for the seventh coldest on record and the second wettest since 1869, according to the National Weather Service.
Posted: Jun 29, 2009 11:48am ET
I had one of "those" days on the golf course yesterday. I was in a tournament, technically not in contention to win anything in the second round, although with a great round I might have put myself up with the overnight leaders in the net stroke category. After starting quadruple bogey, triple bogey, my day had taken a turn for the worse and I never really recovered. I made a go of it for a few holes, but it just wasn’t to be. I won’t even tell you what I scored; it was my worst round in more than two years.
Posted: Jun 18, 2009 11:20am ET
For those of you in the New York area, you probably never thought you’d see the phrase fine dining and White Plains in the same headline. For years, the small business satellite center about 25 miles north of New York had been just that: a business and retail center without much going for it in the way of great restaurants. But that all changed about five years ago when a locally-based developer began revitalizing the downtown, and today, it is unrecognizable from the White Plains of yesteryear. There are a number of fine restaurants, and a vibrant downtown built around some movie theaters and malls.
Posted: Jun 15, 2009 2:04pm ET
Out here on the East Coast, we are living through a mini-Monsoon season—rain, rain, rain, all the time. Unfortunately, the unusual period of rainforest-like precipitation coincided this past weekend with my club’s annual member-guest tournament, known as the Half Moon Invitational, a two day tournament with about 100 people playing five nine-hole matches divided up into a dozen flights or so created by the total combined handicaps of the two players. For the most part, the rain held off during the day, but each night, downpours turned the fairways to Velcro, and the greens to a slower than normal speed.
Posted: Jun 10, 2009 9:30am ET
The evening was lovely, and the Harvard Class of 1974 reunion attendees were outside on a pleasant patio facing one of the Harvard Athletic buildings across the Charles River in Allston. Cars and buses roared up and down Western Avenue, but it was a nice enough space for a little Wiffle ball and a valiant but ultimately failed attempt at a wet t-shirt contest…and you thought Harvard graduates were all sticks in the mud. Fortunately, wisdom prevailed among the mid-50 somethings gathered there.