Saturday, January 4, 2014

Cigar Review: Egg by Drew Estates

Here is what our friends at Famous Smoke say:

You'll need 2 full hours to get through this baby. The 'Egg' is a true one-of-a-kind cigar made from a 4-nation blend that jam-packed into this rotund, savory bomb.  Beginning creamy and smooth, Egg explodes at its center with deep, rich tasting complexity.  A must-try for the adventurous smoker.

Famous Smoke has not yet rated this cigar.

A New Year, and a New Smoke

     As Smoking Seth and I were exchanging Christmas gifts, he handed me a wrapped, rectangular package.  I knew it had to be good, just by the giant grin on his face.  As I unwrapped it, the name on the box beneath the wrapper jumped out at me:  "1 EGG, DREW ESTATE, Esteli, Nicaragua."  Seth's silly grin moved to my face as I remembered having seen the Drew Estate Egg cigar online.  I quickly opened the box and stared at a peculiarly shaped behemoth.  It looked like a small snake had swallowed a big mouse and it was stuck right in the middle.  I took it out and gave it a sniff and passed it around the room for everyone to admire.

     Out of the box, the cigar had a light wrapper, was not particularly oily, was relatively smooth and had a little give on the squeeze.  From what I remembered, this is not a cigar from any of their infused lines, so I did not expect a fragrance other than the pungent aroma of quality tobaccos.  As I was contemplating when I could light this bad boy up, Seth reminded me that this cigar is meant to be a 2-hour smoke.  I would have to wait until we got to Branson, Missouri, and smoke it while celebrating the New Year.

     Seth, I, and our wives were spending the New Year in Branson and decided to make smoke-friendly Waxy O'Shea's Irish Pub our haunt for the evening.  Waxy's was hopping with an 80's-era live band, and a room full of eager patrons.  With the song from the Lion King in my head, I lifted my EGG from its box and high into the air for all to see.  The generous people who had shared their table with us gasped and looked upon it with love and awe and everyone in the room held their breath in anticipation as I clipped the end, toasted the foot, and took the first draw.

     Now, it may not have been quite that dramatic, but there WAS a GREAT deal of cigar envy in the room that night.  The EGG was pointed at, stared at, asked about, and met with admiration (and a little condemnation) as I lit it up and began my EGGsperience.  Throughout the evening, and through MANY Long Island Teas, shots, and whatever else may have been set in front of me, the EGG was my companion, providing a quiet respite from dancing with my beautiful wife on the noisy dance floor.  What a great evening!

     Now, about the EGG.  The draw was easy and light and produced a mountain of smoke.  I got a great ash from the first half of the cigar, having to make an effort to knock it off so I wouldn't perchance to drop it on my wife, myself, my drinks, or any passing patrons.  The taste was mild and smooth, not complex, but pleasant.  The cigar remain lit as I moved to the "Mountain in the Middle," and stayed lit until about the midpoint.  Towards the middle of the cigar I began having some trouble.  Mind you, this is about an hour or more into the cigar...and into my drinks - we were both well-lit at this point - but my Connecticut wrapper began to fall apart.  It started as cracks, then began to tear, and then started to stick to my lips.  Shortly thereafter, the wrapper began to crumble along the full remaining length and I was forced to kill it off.  This was very unfortunate as I still had a full third or more of the cigar to go, and it wasn't even midnight yet.
Overall, the evening was better than the EGG, but the awesomeness of the EGG paired very well with a blow-out of a New Years Celebration, the likes of which I hadn't had in many years.

The numbers:

Burn:  85
Consistency:  80
Draw:  85
Appearance:  99
Taste:  80
Construction:  40

Overall:  75

The Suggestion:  This is a lot of cigar for a lot of fun.  Don't go into this thinking it is just a novelty to smoke with the guys during the game, but bring it out when the night is going to be a production and you need the props to be THE PIMP in the room.  You will get a lot of attention while you enjoy a mild cigar that looks like it would choke a horse..

Monday, December 30, 2013

Cigar Review: Liga Privada Único Serie Papas Fritas

Small But Powerful 


Here's what the Pro's at Famous Smoke say:

Liga Privada Unico Serie cigars are a unique addition to the Drew Estates highly-acclaimed Liga Privada series.  All of the cigars in this series are not only different in size and recipe, but they are extremely limited and exceptionally delicious,  The smoke is medium to full in body and marvelously complex.

Burn:     91
Consistency:     90
Draw:     90
Appearance:      86
Taste:     86
Construction:     88

Overall rating:     88

As I mature (nice way of saying I'm getting older) so does my taste in cigars.  I started my journey in the world of wrapped wonder seeking those mild smokes.  Heck, throw in a flavor here and there and I was set.  I still like a smooth, gentle smoke, even some sweetness now and again, but my taste buds have grown to, first, appreciate and now, crave the robust flavor of a medium to full bodied cigar.  

Recently my wife bought me my very own box of Liga Privada #9.  Yes you heard me right - a whole box just for me.  If you have ever had one you know that these aren't your everyday cigar.  This is due to the rich and fullness of the cigar as well as the hefty price tag.  I found myself wanting to smoke one, pulling it out of the humidor, holding it, smelling it, but ultimately putting it up thinking that there had to be an occasion to partake of such a distinguished stick.  I felt guilty for thinking about puffing away at one by myself with no reason for celebration.  

In comes Papas Fritas.  Not the 1992 indie rock group, or the salty starchy treat we have all grown to love from McD's.  Nope, the Liga Privada Único Serie Papas Fritas -  a small but powerful smoke.  In a nutshell, these little sticks are the offspring of the more elaborate and heavily sought after Liga Privada line which actually translates as "private blend."  The Liga line features the #9 and T52.  How this smoke came to be was that Drew Estates is always seeking to create a new and elite smoke for their Liga line and in doing so they created endless samples.  Some are great, but not cost effective to produce as a line of there own.  What we see with the Paps Fritas is one of those such creations.  It is the same tobacco used in the elite lines, but with a few differences.  One, and probably the most telling reason, is its use of short filler tobacco as opposed to long filler tobacco.  What this means is a slightly faster burn than it's older brother of the Liga line. 

Don't get me wrong.  This is by no means a "seconds" or "flawed" cigar.  You can easily tell  from the construction and feel of the cigar that this is the real deal and you know you are in for a treat.  It is constructed from premium Liga Privada Nicaraguan fillers, a Connecticut River Valley stalk, cut and cured maduro wrapper, and a Brazilian Mata Fina binder.  There is a nice sheen due to the oily exterior.  It is a 44 gauge and 4 1/2 length, so this can be enjoyed in 30 minutes or so.  

After toasting the foot and letting it breathe for a few seconds, I lit it up.  From my first taste I knew that I had found a good smoke.  The flavor was definitely complex.  It started off with an earthy, almost smoked flavor.  As you settled in, the sweet profile raises it head and the hint of a nutty coco mixture starts to develop.  The draw was a fantastic rich smoke with almost effortless pulls.  

No single flavor outweighs the other as you get to enjoy the collaboration throughout the smoke.  I did notice a little more heat toward the final third of the cigar, but nothing that took away from the enjoyment.  As I neared the end I kept looking at the now nub of a cigar I had in my hand wondering if I should extinguish it or try to steal another drag or two.  The only draw back, and I feel it may be due to the short fillers used along with the gauge, was the firmness of the cigar did seem to give way in the final third.

Here is how I see this tiny giant. 

My ratings:

Burn:     90
Consistency:     88
Draw:     95
Appearance:      90
Taste:     90
Construction:     86

Overall rating:     89

The Suggestion:  

Although this is a small cigar, it will burn longer than most cigars of comparable size due to the tight roll as well as the high quality of tobacco used.  It's price point makes it an absolute must if you are looking for high-end flavor without the high-end price.  They come in tins of 4 and are now a staple for me.  If medium to full body is your thing and you want a smoke at a price you can share (although you won't want to) this is a cigar for you.  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Obama say's "It's Just Math"

In the recent debates, and on many of his talk show appearance, I keep hearing Obama using a catchy little phrase "It's Just Math" when he refers to any question about his economic plan.  In fact that is his defense when anyone else tries to offer a plan.  In the debates we have heard this explanation, and rebuttal on quite a few occasions.  As I listen to the debates, and here the LARGE numbers thrown around, and I even find myself not being able a follow the trillion this, and billion that dialogue.  I fear that many people feel the same way.  Both candidates use the large scary number approach that sounds impressive, but if you really got down to it most people don't even understand what a trillion dollars is.  This link might help you visualize the numbers the politicians throw around.

However that doesn't really get to the topic I am trying to hit on.  He uses the "It's just math" statement  to make it seem so easy that you might be scared to question it as you will appear stupid.  I say if it was just math then how has Obama manage to rack up 4.7 trillion in debt in under 4 years? The debt when he took office was 10.6 trillion.  Now we know that in the eight years that Bush was in office that he put 4.9 trillion of debt on the books.  There we go big numbers that might not be easy to follow.  I will show you the "It's just math" response.

From the first President to the 42nd President the USA accumulated 5.7 trillion dollars in debt.  That number doesn't include either George W. Bush, or Obama.  Here is the "Math"

15.3t (debt as of Jan 2012) - 4.7t (Obama's debt) - 4.9t (Bush's Debt) = 5.7t (the debt of Presidents 1 - 42)

Easy enough. So that explains that.

What about the whole "that's un-patriotic" comment that Obama made about that 4.9 trillion Bush spent.  Since we have two whole numbers to compare the 4.7t of Obama, and the 4.9t of Bush we have to make it apples to apples.  They only way to do that is look at it on a yearly basis.

4.9t divided by 8 years is .61 trillion per year.

4.7t divided by 3 years (as the we are using Jan 2012 numbers) is 1.56 trillion a year.

Yes folks that is more than double the Evil George W. Bush's yearly debt accumulations.  "It's Just Math".

However here is the one we are really all concerned about, hear all the talk about, and the one that I feel is the most vague.  TAXES. 

We hear the terminology the 99%, the evil 1%, Fair Share, the 47% that don't pay, Food Stamps, unemployment, ect...  Well I want to do a simple math breakdown of Obama's plan verse Romney's, and see if this makes it easier to visualize, and hopefully come November 6th make a more informed choice.

Let's use 100 people to demonstrate today's tax revenue and structure.  I will refer back to this the base line.

We will use a $1000.00 dollars to represent the revenue generated by taxes.

We will use 2009 tax percentage to make them as non biases as possible.  Here is my reference.

So for our 100 people and $1000.00 this is how it would break down. 100% of the revenue paid by 50% of the people.  ( the bottom 50% when it comes to household income actually pays approx 2.25%, but for simplicity purposes we will roll that number into the top 50%)

1 top person would pay 367.30 dollars.  The next top 4 people would pay $54.82 dollars a piece.  The next 5 people would pay $23.62 a piece.  That all together equals $704.40 paid by the top 10 people.  Now the remaining 40 people will evenly share the the remaining 295.60.  That equals $7.39 a piece.

So that being our baseline let's look at what Obama wants to do.
  • Cut taxes on the middle class which he defines as not the top 1% or household incomes over $250,000.00
  • Raise taxes on the Top 1% (millionaires and billionaires.)
If we give a 5% tax break on everyone that isn't the top 1% and raise the taxes on that top person by 15%  let's look at what our net revenue would now be.

1 top person would pay $422.39 dollars.  The next top 4 people would pay $52.07 dollars a piece.  The next 5 people would pay $22.43 a piece.  That all together equals $742.82 paid by the top 10 people.  Now the remaining 40 $7.02 a piece or $280.80.

Under this plan we would have a tax revenue of $1023.62

Using our base line let's look at what Romney wants to do.
  • Cut taxes on the middle class which he defines as not the top 5%
  • Keep  top 5% paying their same percent of the tax burden.
  • Romney's plan create 12m jobs as apposed to the the 23m less workers. 
If we give a 5% tax break on everyone that isn't the top 5% ,and keep the top 5% paying the same burden let's see what our revenue is.

1 top person would pay 359.68 dollars.  The next top 4 people would pay $53.69 dollars a piece.  The next 5 people would pay $22.43 a piece.  That all together equals $686.59 paid by the top 10 people.  Now the remaining 40 $7.02 a piece or $280.80.

Under this plan we would have a tax revenue of $967.39.

But Wait! That is what Obama is saying we have to raise more money.  Here is the variables that Barry doesn't talk about.  During his term 23m people are now out of work that were working.  The current population of working age adults between the age of 18 and 65 is 181.9 million.  That means we are paying on average $386.00 dollars a week to 12.6% more people now then we were when Obama took office.  That is an expense in fiscal terms.with a price tag of 8.87 billion dollars. 

Let's do the math using our base line.  12.6% of 100 is 12.6 people.  Since you can't have a 6th of a person we will round down to 12.  Now These people would be the the bottom 25% of wage earners so we will say that instead of tax gain we are spending tax dollars.  So with Obama's model let's figure in 12 people at the lowest bracket as an expense.  The math is $7.02 times 12 which equals $84.24 dollars.  Put that into his $1023.62 revenue numbers.  The math would be $1023.62 - $84.24 which equals $939.40.  That is a loss of $60.60 per year.

To be fair let's do the same math for Romney.  His plan moves the 23m people out of work to 12m.  The math 23m - 12m which equals 11m people still not working.  This would mean on an average we are paying 6.04% the $386.00 dollars per week with a price tag of 42.4 billion dollars.  Still a pretty hefty price.  However we have to also consider that we have a gain of people now paying taxes verse the current economic situation.  From the 12.6% to the 6.04% is a 6.56% swing.  We will make the math easy a spilt it in half.

Let's do the math using our base line.  6% of 100 is 6 people who we are paying the $7.02 a piece to as an expense.  However we have 6 more people now paying the $7.02 in taxes as they are now working.  The math is $7.02 times 6 which equals $42.12 as an expense dollars, but this is offset by the people coming back into the workforce, and now contributing to the revenue of $42.12  Put that into his $967.39 plus $42.12 which equals $1009.51.  You then have to back out the 42.12 again, and leaves you with $967.39. 

So "It's Just Math" answer would be.  Romney's plan would cut taxes, but offset expenses, and would require spending cuts of  3.3% to just break even.  Obama's plan would cut taxes for some, and dramatically raise them others.  However since there is no plan for covering the expense he would have to cut spending by 6.1%.  If you use his record as a indicator of his spending habits that just doesn't add up.