Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bundled (Cigars) By the Pool

Well, its summer in Texas, and with temps getting into the range of 110 degrees or so, it is without a doubt advantageous to have access to a private pool. After a successful morning of applying to the next job I will hate, getting a few callbacks, and running some errands, I decided to have a few cigars while neck deep in chlorinated water.

I took a few moments and visited my old haunt for goodies, the Arlington Cigar and Tobacco Company in search for some cheap enjoyment. Hunting for a cigar or two that if they fall in the pool, I’m not out a large investment, I target their humidor filled with “bundled” cigars.

Now, for the inexperienced smoker, bundled cigars are somewhat the bastard children of the cigar world. In a marketplace where a lot of value is placed on exclusivity and hand crafted art, bundled cigars lack the packaging and aesthetics of their premium and super premium brethren. Sometimes these are just inexpensively produced cigars, and other times they might be the seconds or rejects of larger manufactures, generally not sold under the label name because of cosmetic issues.  Because they lack pedigree, the frugal smoker can find gems in the rough that smoke just fine, and in some cases equal to a more expensive cigar. 

For the total price of 5.46, less than the cost of a cheap cigar cutter, I walk out of the shop with two cigars, a “No. 59 Factory Throwout” Candela/Claro that measures 6.25 by 45  and a Dominican Double Corona with a natural wrapper boxed by the shop. I vaguely remember hearing that the store branded cigars were rolled by Hoyo De Monterrey, but don’t hold me to that.

Cigars in hand, after returning a call or two, I meet my lovely wife in the pool and light up the Factory Throwout, that is apparently rolled by JC Newman, the rollers of a number of premium cigars and begin to enjoy a very simple, mild cigar that offered up what I was looking for. True to candela cigars the flavor was predominately grassy with a slight spiciness that became more pronounced as the head inched closer to the butt. The buck fifty cigar burned well overall, and only had a slight flaw with the wrapper, a large vein of the tobacco leaf.

In need of liquid refreshment, I wanted a beer to wash my mouth out, and get a slight buzz to mellow out the already relaxing afternoon. Knowing that I had no beer chilled, and that a macro’s adjunct body would be light and likely non-offensive, albeit boring, I chose to select the Budweiser Select Light over the Coors Light that my mother had on hand, choosing something I expected to be poorly crafted over something I knew to be.

I could go on a long tirade about mediocre macro lager, but I won’t, just let it be on the record that for what little flavor this beer had, it was bad, and if this is what Americans who think beer tastes bad expect from a beer, I can understand their position, even if it is one based on ignorance.

With one and a half of the cervaza selections consumed quickly to avoid the off-putting flavor, I give up on the rest of the piss yellow beverage, and light up the double corona.  Like the first cigar, the flavor is on the mild side and agreeable. Predominate notes of nutmeg are coupled with a nice raw earthiness. While not very complex, the cigar is enjoyable, and for its cost of three and a half bucks before tax, another good value.

Buying bundled cigars will not always result in good or even decent cigars, but with a little research, and perhaps a little luck the frugal cigar smoker can stumble on a few worth enjoying.

Because I was looking for something to smoke that was cheap, and more for just kicking back in the heat, as opposed to explore and critique, these cigars worked out fine.  If I had been at my desk pondering the nuances of these sticks, and if they where a few dollars more, I would have likely told you look elsewhere for more oomph for your cash. Remember, value is to be had, but circumstance does play a role in perception.

Now I am going to apply a thick layer of aloe before this burn gets any worse.

Happy smoking!
Pope Crisco

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