Saturday, June 06, 2009

Roasting Alta Mogiana

The Good Smoke 2

Those Europeans and their warning labels...

What makes a good meal great and a great meal even better? Capping it off with beautiful cigars. Hell, give me some great steak and a great cigar and I'm just a happy human.

After such an enjoyable meal of fine smoked meats, what better way to celebrate than with a few Montecristo #2 Habanas (illegal, of course) that I rescued from the Frankfurt airport over two years ago. While I do love great cigars, it's always a treat to share great cigars with friends who truly enjoy cigars. Nothing is more frustrating to a cigar lover than to share a great cigar with someone only to have that friend not only not appreciate the smoke but to smoke half (or less). The coup de gras comes when that person stubs the cigar out mercilessly.

Those are the times when you regret ever sharing that fine cigar.

Luckily, my friend Bryan is someone who knows and appreciates fine cigars and will never be found stubbing one out. In the humidor, I've got a nice collection of cigars dating back to 1995 where they have been slowly and carefully aging for thirteen years or so. I've always tried to buy cigars of a certain caliber and it has returned dividends in beautiful smokes that are flavorful and lingering. Ahh, the memories...

What's that precious gift hidden in the box behind Ethipian Birr? Oh my!

Knowing that Bryan enjoys Cubans, I grab the aforementioned box of Montecristo #2s and head out to the veranda. Inside are freshly printed Ethiopian Birr notes - evidence that I bought this box during my trip to Addis Ababa in February 2007. As I open the box, expecting to find three Havanas, I'm surprised and delighted to find two Montecristos and one PG Belicoso Maduro.

Even though I can't imagine what it could be, I must have done something right this week.

While I love the Montecristo #2, my passion in cigars is for the Paul Garmirian Belicoso Maduro. To my tastes, there is no finer cigar. I started smoking them in 2002 and they've rocked my world for seven years now. By this point, I've smoked well over one hundred of them and I've only had three that had problems. In the world of cigars, that's an amazing statistic.

It's a delicious cigar. Medium bodied with a sliky spiciness and a mild sweetness. To my palate, this is the one cigar I could smoke day in and day out. In fact, I have smoked it day in and day out - which is why I'm surprised and excited to find this hidden treasure.

I love and smoke this cigar so much that I no longer can keep them in the house. I've had boxes in the house. Boxes that were intended for my reserve. Boxes for aging. Boxes to combat the anticipation of the downturn in the economy. Boxes that I were supposed to be for the days when business was bad and I couldn't afford to splurge on such a cigar.

There they were, boxes of PG Belicoso Maduro. Waiting for Days of Doom. Waiting to rescue me from wiping out my empire and fortune. Waiting for the days when I would have no more money, no more women and no more nothing. These boxes were for those days when I would have nothing left, I could still comfort myself with the flavor of the Belicoso Maduro.

But no, I don't have discipline. Just one cigar, I would tell myself, intending only to smoke that one Belicoso Maduro before going back to something lesser, like the Padron 1964 Anniversary (a perfectly delicious cigar in its' own right). That's when the madness would begin. Just another one from the box will be okay. Then another and another, and another - suddenly, before I would realize it, I had smoked through the entire box.

It's like an addiction. It's so good, I can't get enough. Help me.

Happiness is: the Paul Garmirian Bellicoso Maduro.

For several months, I've been without. Since I no longer make regular trips to Northern Virginia, I no longer make regular visits to the PG Boutique in McLean and my larder has run dry. It's been a sad state of cigar affairs here on the home front.

As I savor each draw from the Belicoso Maduro, I'm reminded why this is still my favorite cigar. No other compares. That light spiciness and the mild sweetness. Just amazing. I wish I had a steak. And some of that Pezzi King Old Vines Zinfandel.

That would be Legen - wait for it - dary!