A CHICK WITH A STICK, AND A GEE-TAR PICK #2

I’m reviewing Habana House’s 11:oo smoke. For now I’ll just call it the Mystery Smoke. Details later. I want you not to be biased by name … because that’s just how I experienced it. So if you want to play – don’t click the link yet if you haven’t read the more recent blog entry. Later I’ll hide the names when I do 11:00 smokes, because it’s more fun!

Frustration Component: [1-10 / Does the cigar frustrate me? Do I frustrate my own enjoyment of the cigar?]: 8.5 I actually have had an epiphany lately, which has nothing to do with this cigar review – that has made me feel better about myself as a woman, a person, and a musician. So I came into the humidor today feeling pretty “9.5” (I say 9.5, because I haven’t yet been booked on the David Letterman show! {proud strut …}

Ahem … anyway. I had to lower it another point because a) I was sitting by my boss. This is not a bad thing. I like him, he is my friend … a very good friend and my Esteemed Colleague (or at least, he will be when I get off my ass and start playing out). But I have this strange relationship with clipping. And I have adjusted my clipping strategy because of the way that he once cut me a Cabaiguan. I thought wow, I’m really sucking(!) on this thing … Then I thought … well hell … why not … Because it was actually improving the taste, when I didn’t hack the shit out of it. Anyway … I’m sure it’s a huge debate. But anyway … Boss was intimidating me a bit, because I haven’t quite gotten the system down. Which is why the big-assed first paragraph – and; b) When I did cut it, the cigar … well it unraveled a bit. I had to get all twisty with it. Actually, it pissed me off a little bit. But in the end, I triumphed – because I have come to terms with cutting difficulties and have learned to adjust. Then my husband came up to me and says “the cap came off,” or something like that. I knew I was no cigar cutting mutant. It annoyed me that despite my own new-found confidence, I am still not trusting my own experience enough to think that I didn’t screw up the cut … that I indeed, did NOT cause the cap to come off. That I didn’t “woman-up” the cigar. I didn’t. But I shouldn’t have even had to question it. So it averaged out to that score, as you could plainly see if you were a bit cute- but-neurotic, like myself.

(an aside: reading ‘The Vagina Monologues‘ the night before reviewing a cigar in a roomful of men is probably going to flavor your review a tad …)

Room score: [1-10] 9.5 The room was really nice today. There were some detractors, of course, but I reserve the right to be a bit mysterious. I will say that I think there is a moment to just sit and smoke; enjoying themselves – and because I am a woman I think I can detect when there might be a little conflict in the air. And I always sweep in to do the damage control, even though no one asks me to. I don’t think anyone takes any notice of these things but me, though.

User handicap and explanation: [1-10] I’m not using this score today. I am not going to give myself a handicap – simply because of the long ass explanation of the first paragraph. I rule! Denise power!

Pre-draw: [1-10]. 8.5 The pre-draw was nice; a) because there was a discernible pre-draw (or whatever you call it!) … which always still surprises me; b) because it reminded me of chocolate (this isn’t necessarily a good thing, me being on a diet, although if this is the only way to get my chocolate – oh well …) and c) because it really did point a bit to what the cigar was going to be … or did it …

Initial impression: 8 There was a lot of smoke getting in my eyes, although this could have been the ventilation system in here and the amount of dudes in the room smoking. There was also a lot of spice, but it was more a dark peppery spice, and like I said I’m really used to starting off with the Cabaiguan. I thought I detected some of what I describe as “dirt” in there too.

Goofy adjectives: peppery, squishy, very old raspberries that mysteriously do not mold or go bad, slight smell of menthol cigarettes (the “zing” part … not the mint), coffee that Mike made (so it’s REALLY dark) that’s been on the burner all afternoon and there’s nothing to put in it but soymilk.

Burn: 9 This is a really good score for me. I usually don’t burn well. I hardly had to turn it at all. I expected this to be different because of how the cigar looked on the outside with all the lines and funky looking bits; but this shows what I don’t know still about cigar making

Ash: 8 The ash stood up pretty well, except it fell on my computer while I was trying to illustrate an important and intellectual point! Damn!

Consistency: 8.5 It was really … chunky at the beginning, what I’d call stemmy. But it got spongier with these … well … veins or tree-like bits or something through them, even though it was … uh … pliable. If I tell you exactly what it felt like, the nuns will hit me with a ruler, so I’m moving on to –

Hype : 7 My boss picked this out to try, so it was not going to suck, I guess. But I guess that it could have been touch and go … because it was a mystery cigar.

Conversation: 10 Very nice today (I already covered the “funky” bit in another part). We talked about music, I got lots of tips, I learned that we were listening to Donny Lopez (who rocks – although I’m not sure that’s his name of that I got it right, because I tried to find a link and I couldn’t find anything!); One fellow was interesting; there’s another regular in there who likes me and is really funny; there’s an artist-regular that it was really nice to see; and cute-TV-guy regular came in too and it’s always nice to see him. I always wonder what curly-cap dude is doing on the computer …

Aroma???: My nice guy has made a good point about aroma. I never put anything on this. He said that he didn’t really like the aroma and that the smoke was overpowering or something like that (I don’t remember exactly what he said). I liked the aroma of the smoke. At the end of the smoke, it got very oily and industrial factory tasting. So it did not wrap up well. So I’m going to add two scores. The aroma: 8.5 (which was strong, but which I liked) and:

Wrap Up Impression: 4 Couldn’t finish it. Had to put it out. Boss is correct about his assessments of cigar taste. I wanted to disagree and find something redeeming. Here’s why:

A SMALL NOTE ON “PEER PRESSURE:” When there are a lot of dudes in the room that think something about a thing … it makes me automatically want to do it too. This really skews my review. Because I’m all intimidated and stuff. I’m this little girl thinking what the hell do I know about the cigar I’m smoking. Suddenly, my opinion grows in my mouth, and the cigar swells to this Churchill-sized impossibility. I need help to define it … need the others to “weigh in.” It’s crap. I’ve got to get over it.

But it turns out that I could agree, and disagree. I liked the smell, but my Nice Regular was right (I’ll have to think of a better name for him – he’s really distinctive!) – anyway, the cigar was stinging my eyes (mine were sore the whole time, in fact). In fact …:

SMOKE: 6 Over-powering.

… and my boss – on about the taste. So that’s it. So here’s the mock-up:

BREAKDOWN

FRUSTRATION: 8.5 / ROOM: 9.5 / HANDICAP: none / PRE-DRAW: 8.5 / INITIAL IMPRESSION: 8 / BURN: 9 / ASH: 8 / CONSISTENCY: 8.5 / HYPE: 7 / CONVERSATION: 10 / AROMA: 8.5 / WRAP-UP IMPRESSION: 4 / SMOKE: 6

TOTAL: 7.9 (hopefully, the math is right. There’s 14 categories in total … (12 of which I averaged … one is a description, one didn’t count)

If Ken had come in during the review, that would have really been cool, but he only just walked in as I finish here. Oh well.

PS. I remember curly guy now, but I’ll keep calling him that. I’m so bad with names. He has a blog too, but I don’t know where it is right now. He does videos and is into music. He likes our BBQ chicken 🙂

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A CHICK WITH A STICK, AND A GEE-TAR PICK #2

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