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Big Fun at the Big Smoke

You can't read my poker face.
I'm tougher than Chris Noth

So we’re back at work after an exciting trip to Connecticut this weekend. Zac & I along with a few other cohorts certainly enjoyed the event to the fullest. Cigar Aficionado, Foxwoods, and of course all the manufacturers and sponsors did just an outstanding job putting together a premier event that showcased the best our industry has to offer. They really went all out to make this an incredible experience for cigar smokers and I’m glad we got to be a part of it.

I thought about making this blog post about the luxurious free drinks, tasty buffet, or my massive poker winnings afterward, but then I realized that what I probably should write about is my favorite cigar from the day. With so many standouts to choose from it’s tough to pick just one, but after a nice long drive to ponder the question, I have made my selection. My favorite was actually the first cigar I lit up at the event – the Alec Bradley Family Blend VR1.

I made the Alec Bradley booth one of my first stops, they were one of the few companies to announce a specific line, and I’ve been waiting to try the Family Blend for a while. Since it was still early, I decided to pair it with some Pilsner Urquell. In retrospect had I known how much I’d enjoy this one I might have waited a little and paired it with some Dewar’s. Pre-light the smoke was impressive, from the delicious chocolaty aroma to the Cuban-esque pigtail cap. I gave it a crisp punch cut and it lit right up easily and evenly. The initial puffs brought some serious spicy notes, hints of wood, and not quite as much body as I was expecting. I love a good spicy cigar, and this one hit the spot just right. This is a smoke that evolves throughout, and as I moved into the middle third the flavor changed significantly. The spice I had been enjoying fell deep into the background to be replaced with the rich chocolate flavor I had smelled pre-light. I also got a little hint of leather here that blended in perfectly. This is also where the strength I was waiting for kicked in.

Of course I anticipated nothing less than an exquisitely crafted cigar, but my high expectations were exceeded.  Delivering smoke thick enough to chew on and a burn ruler-straight, this stick requires no maintenance and just provides a relaxing and easy smoke. I pondered the fine craftsmanship as I entered the final third and the flavors evolved once again. The spice came back for a final curtain-call, and brought along with it some nutty notes that finished this one off right. In spite of the spice the end was certainly mellow, easing you right out of it and back to reality. I puffed this one right down to the nub, and it was easily worth the minor finger-singe I sustained in the process. Another fine work by Alec Bradley, it seems like they have a Midas-touch lately. Every new line that comes out seems better than the last!

So of course we had lots more fun and smoked many more cigars, but Alec Bradley’s Family Blend was the winner for me. Well, actually the winner for me was when I hit my flush on the turn and got someone to call two bets with two pair, but as far as cigars go the Family Blend took the gold. Thanks again to everyone who was involved with putting on the Big Smoke, the cocktail waitresses who kept my poker opponents fully loaded, and of course our good friend Rachel for chauffeuring us and allowing us to take full advantage of all the Big Smoke had to offer.

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