Saturday, August 27, 2022
Friday, August 26, 2022
Country of origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
I usually have a piece of chocolate with my cigar, but in this case, it would be redundant, as the cigar is plenty sweet and chocolatey all on its own.
The write-ups promise such things as:
"savory espresso notes and a touch of milk chocolate, all perfectly balanced by a sweet, velvety aftertaste."
And make note of:
"three times the ligero typically used to produce a cigar this size."
A guarantee of the full punch that goes long with that much ligero is more than implied.
Those assurances seemed overstated at first, but proved true enough, and it was definitely a most enjoyable cigar, as was the case the first time I smoked one a year or so ago.
So, lets get right into it.
Appearance: Lovely, velvety dark brown, a little rougher veined than some, which, along with the shag foot and pigtail cap, gave it an old world, kind of rustic appeal.
Construction: Well built, medium solid pack, which is to say it has a bit more give than some of my regular go-to smokes, but no soft or "saggy spots or anything like that. It's built well.
Aroma: Sweet and chocolaty, evoking childhood memories of See's Candy in the mall, and the promise of free samples of normally forbidden treats. In a word, delicious.
Cold Draw: A "cool" (kinda like ice cream), creamy, undefined sweet flavour.
Cut: No cut needed - just bit off the pigtail and all was great.
Light: Very easy and even light, in large part due to the shag foot.
Draw: The draw was perfect from the start, which is not nearly as common as it ought to be.
First Third: Immediately after lighting, I'm tasting the same kind of "undefined" sweetness as I noted in the cold draw, but that quickly morphed into a very sweet cream flavour, with just the slightest touches of coffee noticeable on the retrohale. Getting into the latter half of the first third, the sweetness has a more distinct chocolate flavour, and more of the coffee starting to come through toward end.
Second Third: Some of the ligero and espresso notes began to vie for centre stage, along with a touch of caramel (what!), and some delightful, buttery nuance making an appearance. Into the second half, it's tasting more like a latte and the flavours are blending very nicely in the finish. It's still pretty mild, but I'm not complaining. The mouth feel is sweetly buttery, leaving a very light coating on the roof of the mouth.
Last Third: If they made sweet espresso cotton candy, and it translated well, it would taste like this! The strength is finally evident and the promised punch is delivering deliciously, with a dark espresso and burnt sugar finish. The cream has pretty much completely disappeared halfway through this last third, and there is definite pepper lingering on the tongue. There is quite a bit more of the ligero and espresso on the retrohale in the final stretch, and it keeps making me sneeze (weird), so maybe it's more spicy than seems, but again, no complaints.
Burn: Pretty even burn throughout, with only a couple touch ups, and those may have been cause of the fans running and forgetting to rotate.
Smoke: Lots of billows of creamy, white smoke, with a texture all its own.
Ash: Very light grey - almost white, and flaky. This isn't the stick for your local herf's long ash contests. It only held about an inch at a time, and I ended up with ash down my front a few times. At least, being as loose and flaky as it was, it wasn't hot! And really, I don't care that much anymore about what anyone is going to think when I make an ash of myself. (OK, OK, I know. That was horrid. I can't help it!) Not for smoking over your in-laws' expensive carpet, and if you are self conscious about ash on your shirt, maybe save these for at home smokes.
Bottom Line: The Red Eye may not start out of the gate a clear winner, but stick with it, and its definitely a smoke that risks burning the lips as you smoke it as far down as you dare. I give it a solid 8/10.
Thursday, August 25, 2022
Hello, my smoking friends and fans!
I finally designed an official logo for Smokey Kisses, that will be affixed to exclusive SK merchandise (more on that coming soon!). This will be items in addition to what is already available in the SK Cafe Press Store. There's the full version, above, and a basic, simpler version, suitable for printing on a wider variety of items, below.
Stay tuned for some exciting new developments that are part of the reason for an official logo that is better suited to printing than the regular site logo.
I haven't decided yet if the new logo is going to replace the current one on the website or not. I'm certainly open to suggestions!
I might try it out for a while and see what sort of reception it gets.
Coming up next, look for a review of Drew Estate's Tabak Especial Red Eye, and a casual photo set of me smoking it for said review during a Zoom session.
Sunday, August 21, 2022
I used HVAC tape to affix the lights to the inside, partly cause it's hella strong, but mainly so it would reflect the lights and provide more of a diffused, ambient lighting effect. The above photo is the initial one, with just the bands from the cigars I smoked in the few days I was waiting for the supplies, and I was already loving the way it looked!
This pic ^ and the one at the top of the post is a couple months in, and the one below is from August 8. It's now about halfway to being finished! I didn't light it up for the most recent pic, cause I have the cord and remote all taped up to keep it safe and secure until it's fully done and installed in my new home.
Some of the bands have gotten turned around or not landed facing forward, so once I declare it full, I'm going to take the back off and arrange everything so you can see all the bands properly, and I might affix some of them to the backing to act kind of like "shelves" to keep smaller ones from falling into the big ones and disappearing. I'll figure it out when I get there. LOL.
Anyway, it is so cool that now I'm thinking about starting another one to auction off once this one is finished.
In fact, if I did that, there is almost no end to the items that could be displayed in special order art for you along with the bands (or even instead)! My cigar shorts/stubs? Sure! One or some of my lipstick tubes and/or lipstick kiss cards, stockings, gloves...? Of course! The possibilities are limited only by your imagination! Tell me what you think!
And, of course, I'll be posting again with pictures of the final project once it is full and fixed how I want it.
Til next time, my smokey friends and fans,
Saturday, August 20, 2022
Enjoying a Fuente Fuente OpusX Oro Oscuro Reserva d'Chateau at Waterwheel Cigar in Fernandina Beach, FL. It's an awesome cigar and an awesome shop! I recommend checking out both, if you can.
The mini set is from my cruise in 2015. It's only two pics, because I didn't really get a chance to get more pics or smoke more than one cigar on that cruise. It was my first cruise and there was a lot I didn't know about getting the most from a Cruise. Once I did the second one in 2019, I had a solid plan for being able to do most of the stuff I wanted to do and manage time better. That means there are a few more pics in that set.
The Staircase one is a short set from my 2 week camping trip up at Staircase, in the Olympic National Forest almost immediately after the cruise. I used to go up there every year at the end of August/beginning of September. I've missed the last few years, but definitely plan on getting back to it, cause I really miss it!
Monday, August 15, 2022
I've made mention of "breakfast cigars" on multiple occasions over the years, and sometimes people ask me what this means, or think it means a cigar I have with my meal.
This is not actually the case. In fact, I very rarely have cigars with food, other than a bit of chocolate to enhance the experience. The only exceptions have usually been at cigar events, and the food has been things like wings, nachos, or steaks.
A cigar with more typical breakfast food, or really anything "lighter" than the aforementioned fare just sounds gross to me.
When I speak of a breakfast cigar, what I really mean is a morning cigar, smoked with morning coffee, either before or after (or frequently in lieu of, if I'm honest) breakfast. These are usually milder smokes that don't require, and/or would be overpowered by any sort of heavy meal, rather than my usual preferred smokes, many of which will knock you on your bum if you haven't had something substantial to eat beforehand.
So, next time you read or hear me talking about breakfast cigars, you'll know what I mean!
Til next time,
Sunday, August 14, 2022
Hello there my smokey friends and fans! Do you remember Jose - that cocky and entitled cigar slut wannabe who was introduced so many years ago in my story, "Jose's Introduction"? Well, if you do, they you may be interested to know that I've been writing again, working on the follow-up to that story.
It is called. "Jose's Training", and picks up immediately where the previous story left off.
Below is a little teaser.. The opening passage from the new story.
Saturday, August 13, 2022
Unfortunately, due to lack of RSVPs (only ONE person who said they wanted to go actually bothered to fill out the very simple form), The social for this month is cancelled. We will try again next month. I will post the updated event listing sometime in the next few days.
This set finds me enjoying an undoubtedly delicious smoke at Norwescon 37, back in 2014. Yep! That's how far behind I am in updating photo sets on the website.
It's been a pretty ... eventful few years, for sure, but things are back on track to be settling into something a little more reasonably paced soon, and I've got all sorts of plans.
Oh! And some news that isn't on the site, for those of you who read my blogger posts...
I just bought a brand new Harley!! Yep! You read that right. I am now a Harley owner! She's still getting mods done, so it will be a couple months before I'll actually be riding, but know that there will DEFINITELY be some photos (or entire sets) featuring me smoking on/with my beautiful bike!
Friday, August 12, 2022
Thursday, August 11, 2022
I didn't plan it this way, but it turned out to be an A.J. Fernandez day.
According to the write-up:
I had one or two of these out of the 5 that were in a sampler ages ago, and wasn't super fond of them, so I figured I'd let them age a while, and then promptly forgot about them for a couple years."The La Herencia Cubana line started as an experiment by AJ Fernandez to capture a new audience in the boutique market by showcasing an affordable premium cigar. In Spanish, La Herencia Cubana translates to “Cuban Heritage,” which pays homage to AJ’s focus on creating premium handmades that are similar in complexity and flavor to those from Cuba’s glory days."
Ageing did improve them, but they're still not really my cup of tea, hence my rating.
That said, it is not a bad cigar at all - just not one I particularly like, so if you like this sort of flavour profile and experience, you may well love them.
Appearance: Sleek, dark, lightly veined wrapper with a nice, satiny sheen. A very nice looking stick.
Construction: well built, solid, with just the right amount of "give" with a gentle squeeze. No imperfections noted.
Pre-light: Smell was rich and earthy, in a dry, crisp sort of way, taste was less crisp and gave a hint of the supple leather notes, with definite pepper evident on the lips.
Light & Cut: As usual, I did a light and cut. It lit quite easily and evenly, and immediately started producing quite a bit of white, creamy looking smoke, which, with the promises of smoke that is "creamy
on the palate" seemed to bode well. I did a V cut, and there was no unravelling or tobacco getting in my mouth, so another plus there for construction.
First Third: The main flavour was very earthy, with the slightest trace of grass, with warm notes of well oiled leather coming into play about halfway through. Toward the end of the first third, the pepper started becoming more apparent, though it was more a sensation than actual flavour, giving it a bit of heat and that spice on the lips and tongue tingle.
Second Third: Lots more pepper, coalescing into more obvious black pepper flavour, rather than the earlier "generic pepper/spicy" feeling. The ligero piquancy really started coming through here as well, amping up to meet the full bodied rating in the description. The retrohale proved even stronger - almost harsh, rather than the "smooth through the nose" in the advertising, and with very slight hints of toast only showing up in the exhale.
Last Third: Even stronger than the previous, and finally, some of the claimed creamy notes crept in. My "creamy" experience was nothing like I expected, based on the advertised description, and didn't have any of the chewy traits I usually expect with the more full bodied smokes either. Unfortunately, it started tasting more burnt than strong just over halfway through the last third, so I didn't even get to enjoy the best bit for long.
All in all, rather a disappointment to me based on expectation and hype, but it was still worth finishing, which is why it gets a 5/10 from me, rather than something lower.
I'll probably trade or give away the remaining ones, cause I think someone with a different flavour profile preference will appreciate them more, which I suspect they actually DO deserve. As stated right up front. I don't care for it, but I think it is a good cigar within that profile.
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Come smoke (or just hang out) with me on Zoom this Saturday, 13 August, 2022, from 3-6pm, Pacific Time at the very first (hopefully of many!).
The Zoom link will be sent to all confirmed attendees the day of the event, so be sure to check out the FetLife Event Page, or just go directly to the website event page to get all the details and RSVP (required!).
This is a virtual cigar social for lovers of the leaf and their admirers to gather and enjoy fine cigars and pairings, share tips, tricks, recommendations, and general conversation.
Whether you enjoy smoking cigars, watching others smoke them, serving as a human ashtray or other cigar service, want to learn about cigars as a pastime, fetish, form of service, or just what pairs well or where to find great deals on sticks and accessories, this is a great opportunity to meet some new friends and have a good time.
And while you're at it, check out my newly revived Smokey Kisses Website!
I've been giving it a major overhaul. I've already implemented a brand new and improved smoking gallery, with all the previously existing sets already uploaded, PLUS lots of never seen before sets (over 1,700 cigar photos so far, with more on the way!), all in better organised, easy to navigate, fully searchable categories and albums with voting and comments enabled and a built in Members Only feature with extra special content just for my most loyal fans! Check it out and read up on all the new and upcoming changes. I'm going to be adding new sets to the gallery at least once a week for the foreseeable future, and more!
Saturday, August 06, 2022
As mentioned a while back, I've been working on reviving the Smokey Kisses Website, and, of course, the biggest thing with that, besides the new posts here and on the Facebook page, is the photo sets!
So, I've been working on a new gallery that, after the initial time in getting it all set up, will make adding entire new sets, no matter how big or small, a breeze!
That means there will be far fewer batches of photos just sitting and waiting to be added until I have time to create the gallery itself, and the separate page for each and EVERY photo! Nope! Now, once any needed edits are done (crops, reducing file size, lighting/balance fixes, etc), I just have to click a button to add an album, name it, describe it, and then upload the whole lot of pics in one go, and that's it!
The new album software doesn't yet handle videos, so those will still be available separately for the time being, but I'm working on finding something better for that too.
What it DOES have though, in addition to lots of other features, like comments, rating, favourites, and the like, is the ability to register and, if you are a Smokey Kisses Supporter, you'll have access to the Members Only albums and features!
All my regular and member only sets are up on the new gallery page, along with a new, not yet seen set from 2012.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be adding new albums for photo sets over the last few years that have just been sitting there, waiting to be added, so keep an eye out for new, old sets, as well as some upcoming new, new sets!