Monday, June 24, 2013
It is rare that I find a tech device worthy of mentioning here on the Shaggy Feetz. This is one of those rare occasions that I have a new toy and have to share the joy it has brought me. I received an iPad for Christmas, which has left my laptop mostly collecting dust. The only time i crack my laptop open is if i have photos to edit in photoshop or to upload to my photography website. The iPad and it's camera proved to be the perfect addition to my blogging arsenal. The only complaint I have had so far is that the on-screen keyboard is a pain in the tush to use to type something as lengthy as a cigar review. I saw a few of the bluetooth options at the local office supply store while picking up a new desk for the home office, but they carried a price tag larger than I was willing to pay for convenience. Me being the Amazon fanboy I am, jumped online and did a quick search to see what my other options were. After viewing what felt like hundreds of bluetooth keyboards, I decided on the sharkk keyboard. This item was listed as being the newest model, which has an aluminum top just like the Apple branded keyboard. I preferred the durability of the aluminum top to painted plastic offered on some of the other models I found. I have had the keyboard for a week or so and have very much enjoyed it so far. I haven't experienced the lag that some people spoke of in the reviews on Amazon. It was super easy to set up, all you have to do is start a pairing session and input a code on the keyboard. It has function or command keys that control a lot of the features of the iPad. The best part to me is the fact that it can be paired to the iPad, iPod, pc, and android based devices. I also ordered a camera connect kit for the iPad (review may come soon if it is worthy) that allows me to connect usb jump drives and access sd and micro sd cards. That means I can import pictures to my iPad that have been taken with my DSLR camera and use the iPad version of photoshop if the pictures only need light editing. To me, that opens up a wealth of possibilities that the iPad was previously incapable of handling. Only time will tell if this new toy for the iPad is durable but it feels pretty sturdy. This updated model uses a built-in rechargeable battery instead of you having to use 2 AAA batteries. I kind of like being able to swap batteries out if I need to but it charges in a couple of hours and will go weeks between charges with moderate use. The Sharkk bluetooth keyboard was 19.99 and shipped for free with Amazon Super Saver shipping. If you are in the market for an external keyboard for any device that supports bluetooth, I highly recommend the sharkk bluetooth keyboard. It is highly functional and at a price that won't hurt the wallet.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
I ordered a bundle of the Gurkha Black Ops cigars awhile back and got a lighter free. Most of the freebie lighters from CI are Xikar and well worth getting whatever the combo is to acquire the lighter. I have seen the black ops travel cases and lighters and have been curious for awhile about how they would perform. With that being said here are my opinions, for what they are worth, on the Black Ops Kilo lighter.
The Kilo is a fairly hefty torch with a built-in punch and triple flame jets. The fit and finish is nice, giving the appearance of quality construction. I usually prefer a single flame torch, as I feel it gives me more control of my toasting and lighting. The double and triple flame lighters just seem to burn through fluid too fast for me. There is a door that covers the jets when not in use, and it slides out of the way upon activating the igniter switch. The kilo, as well as most of the Black Ops lighters, is available in multiple color options. The colors have a militaristic theme to them with matte black, OD green, arctic white, desert sand being a few I have seen online. The one I have is a "black out" with a black on black color scheme.
When I first received the lighter I purged before filling even though it shipped empty, always seemed like a good idea to keep with the habit. The lighter filled with no problems and lit on the first try. I did have to adjust the flame before actually using it or I would have burned my cigar to the ground. The cigar punch, I am not sure what size, is a nice added feature. I have been using the lighter for several months and have filled it a couple dozen times with no problems. The punch is sharp and creates a nice clean hole every time I have used it.
Final verdict is that this is a nice lighter. It wouldn't be fair for me not to mention though that I have seen this lighter branded with a different name before. A google or amazon search for jobon triple flame torch will yield results that look identical. They are most likely the the same lighter but at different prices. So if you want a nice triple flame torch with a built in cutter with a militaristic color scheme grab a Black Ops. If you don't care what color it is as long as it works, you can save some money by buying the one without the Black Ops name. But if you are like me and like tactical and military stuff, you will want the official Black Ops version. Depending on which option you choose and where you buy, you can pick one of these up for 8-30 bucks. I personally, wouldn't pay 30+ bucks for this when I could get a lifetime warranted Xikar lighter. As a freebie or if i run across in the 15 dollr range, I would buy another. Only time will tell if this lighter will last for awhile or not, but for now I am pleased. I keep this lighter in my work bag so I don't have to carry a lighter and a cutter to work.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Father's Day is just around the corner and it's time to pick up something special for dad. My dad is a bit hard to shop for, he always says he doesn't need anything and he doesn't smoke cigars. I, on the other hand, am easy to shop for. I just tell my 4 year old son that daddy wants cigars for Father's Day and he bugs his mom until she gets some for him to give me. It can't get much simpler than that right? Well if you are looking for cigars or cigar accessories for your dad this year (or things to tell your kids to get you), StogieBoys has put together a list of ideas to make it "Nice and Easy" for you. In addition to their list, they made a short video clip that I find pretty darn funny. I made the mistake of drinking a soda while I watched it the first time and retrohaled some soda through sinuses. You can check out the "Nice and Easy" Fathers Day list HERE and be sure to check out their selection of cigars and accessories. You will find the video embedded in this post but I strongly recommend not sipping that beverage when you watch.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Size: robusto (5x54)
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: wine fermented Dominican criollo '98
Filler: Dominican criollo '98
Price: around 5 bucks per stick
Time in humidor: 2+ months
This is the second cigar from the "three of a kind" Exactus sampler sent to me by Ram Rodriguez at Tabacalera El Artista. It has been a while since I smoked the clasico and remember that is was an exceptional smoke, with perfect draw and complex flavors. I read my tasting notes from the Classico and prepared myself for another outstanding smoking experience. Now let's see if it came through.
The Habano wrapper had a nice oily sheen, with only very small and smooth veins. It had a milk chocolate brown color with a touch of reddish hue. The body was firm and well packed, with very little rebound upon squeezing. The body offered the aroma of cocoa and the foot offered notes of cocoa with a mild sweetness. I clipped the cap with my trusty Xikar cutter and found a perfect draw with notes of cocoa and a hint of honey. I used my Xikar executive to get the foot toasted and get things going with no problems.
The initial third opened with notes of wood and toasted nuts with a very faint note of coffee. There is a spicy kick to the retrohale and a nice tingle left on the palate. The finish is long and woody with a very mild lingering sweetness. Somewhere around a half inch into the burn the spice calms as the smoke becomes more creamy and smooth. So far it is a whirlwind of flavor with a lot brewing in the background just waiting to develop. The flavors to start to settle in as I progress through the first third.
Going into the second third the coffee notes have fully developed and taken center stage with the nutty and woody notes winning "best supporting roll". The toasted nut notes are ever changing as I progress through the second third. One puff resembles almonds, while another may more resemble walnut or pecan. This smoke is anything but boring for sure! Even the woody notes do a bit of morphing, as they go from cedar to oaky. There are butter notes that come and go and seemed to become more frequent as I progressed through the burn. Somewhere around the midway point, the smoke took on a salty/sweet component that really made the flavors pop that much more. I detected a few notes of honey, they were infrequent but definitely noticeable.
As I journey into the final third the ever-changing nutty notes finally settle in as a toasted walnut flavor. There is a hint of sourdough that comes and goes as the coffee moves back to allow the nutty notes to take the lead. Most of the honey notes have subsided and the sweetness faded a bit with them. This was a pleasant roller coaster ride for my palate.
The final verdict is that the Habano absolutely delivered as well as the Classico. The body was consistently on the full side of medium-full while maintaining a creamy smoothness. The burn and construction was excellent and only required a minor touch up or two. The Exactus Habano brought flavor and smoke production by the truckload and held my interest through every inch of the burn. The ash was a bit flaky but still managed to hold to two inches or better at a time, I only ashed twice before I was at the nub. Tabacalera El Artista has a fine thing going with the Exactus line and at a great value for the consumer. I would have to say that the Habano is box worthy and it is possible it will be in my favorites of 2013 list. Thanks to Ram Rodriguez and tabacalera El Artists for sending me the samples to review, they are mighty fine smokes and I look forward to upcoming releases. A search for these online didn't turn up a plethora of sites to pick these up at, but my buddy Brad over at cigarstix.com as them in stock and ready to ship. If you would like to try them out before committing to a box, the "Three of a kind" sampler includes one each of the Habano, maduro, and the Classico. The sampler is available in 5 different sizes so you can find your favorite blend and size before ordering a box. You can find Exactus cigars on cigarstix.com at http://www.cigarstix.com/categories/premium-boutique-cigars/exactus-cigars.html
My wife asked me awhile back, why I saved all my cigar bands. I have to admit I didn't really have an explanation at the time that would make sense to her, so I thought about it for awhile. A cigar is a product of someone's dream and vision. It often takes years to perfect a new blend and get it ready for consumer consumption. I imagine the same amount of care and consideration goes into making the band for that cigar as well. I doubt it takes as much time to design a band as it does to perfect the blend, but it has to reflect the brand and the passion of the brand. Each cigar is a hand-rolled work of art, and most bands are very ornate and beautiful. I have a few bands that I would someday like to have turned into a cigar band ring, they are just that nice to look at. One of the biggest and most beautiful bands I have seen are on the La Sirena cigars, they are so intricate.