Twofer Tuesday – Cigar Adventures

Wow! Big adventure (s) today!

Deb and I are up in Michigan for a new Nuke job and I a couple weeks ago, I made contact with Smoky’s Fine Cigars in Allan Park, MI and mentioned that we would be in the area shortly.

We arrived during the week end, but there is much to do in a new camp and Deb started work on Monday.

I start on Wednesday, so that only left today, to have cigar adventures. As it so often happens, when I arrived at Smoky’s, I was talking to a fellow cigar enthusiast and he mentioned another cigar lounge in the area and it suddenly became twofer Tuesday for cigar adventures.

First Stop, Smoky’s in Allen Park

pic outside of Smoky's

So after taking Deb to work and getting cleaned up, I headed out for Smoky’s. Would have loved to take the bike, but it’s in the Low 40s and coming out of Texas, I am not acclimated to riding in the cold, Yet!

I will be riding while up here, but that trip was about 125 miles and I just wasn’t up for it.

I arrived and was greeted by Frank, who is the owner. Then I myself and gave him my business card, as I always do and briefly explained who I was and what I do.

pic of Frank, behind the counter

It’s kind of funny the way people sometimes react when I do this presentation, like they think I’m there to sell them something and that was kind of the way Frank acted at first, then after telling him I was going to check out his humidor and would stay and smoke one, he went to make coffee and looked at me and said:

pic looking in the humidor

What is it you do? I said: I ride around the country on my motorcycle (most of the time) looking for cigar adventures and then write about them.

That seemed to ease his mind (I was buying, not selling) and he became quite friendly.

I purchased some cigars and we chatted at the counter for a bit and then he invited me to grab a cup of coffee and hang in the lounge.

In the lounge I met a guy named Andy and we talked quite a bit. He was smoking a Last Call, which is a shorter stick with about a 30-minute burn time (he was on a break from work).

pic inside the lounge

Andy didn’t want his pic taken, that’s him in the corner you can’t see!

I smoked a house blend 6×60 Maduro. Nice inexpensive stick, the draw was a little tight at first, but after a bit, it opened up and turned out to be a pleasant stick.

Something that caught my attention in the humidor, was there were a ton of large Gage cigars. Probably 2/3 of the room had 60, 70 and 80 ring Gage cigars. I don’t ever recall seeing this before.

As with all brick and mortar shops, they have to know there clientele and that’s what they stock.

Anyhow, I was visiting with Andy and he told me about a guy named Rupert, who was the manager at a shop up the road called Casa De Montecristo, which is one of JR Tobacco’s stores and I decided to run up there (another 30 miles) and check them out.

Since I had made that decision, I figured I better get heading that way (I knew it would take some time to get out of there, since I had yet to take any pics and figured I would visit with Frank some more, oh yeah, I also met Kevin, who is the Oliva rep for the area and visited with him for a few minutes.

Then I caught up with Frank again and bought some more cigars that he recommended. He also gave me a Fernandez ball cap.

pic of my AJ Fernandez hat

I took my pictures, bid everyone farewell and rolled out of there.

JR’s Casa De Montecristo

Next stop Casa De Montecristo in Southfield, MI.

As I walked in, the whole place was a humidor, with the cash registers, counters and small lounge area in the same room as all the cigars.

pic of the counter with Anthony

The big guy is Anthony

I have seen this type of set up before in other JR locations and Cigars International.

I walked up to the counter where I met a big ol fellow named Anthony. I asked if Rupert was there and Anthony called in the back for him and this girl walked out, I said you’re not Rupert?

Pic of Lindsay

Lindsay

She said no and presently Rupert came out and I introduced myself to them (business cards all around) and told them who I was and what I do.

I mentioned somewhere in there that Andy had suggested that I come and visit them, so I didn’t get the salesman look!

They were all very warm and inviting and we started chatting away right off. I came to find out that the girls name is Lindsay and she has been in the cigar game for about 21 years.

Rupert and Lindsay were smoking cigars and I was not, so Rupert suggested I pick out a stick and we would go over to the lounge area and visit.

I mentioned to him that I prefer a complex cigar and asked if he had a recommendation, he immediately pointed to Lindsay and said that she would be the authority on that, so she escorted me to the Tatuaje display and put me on an Avian Reserva.

At this point I have to give koodo’s to her, because this was an $11.00 stick and quite often when I ask this in a store they find something quite expensive and not necessarily as complex as many less expensive sticks, so THANKS Lindsay!

By the way, I forgot to mention, that this was a nice complex cigar, that I enjoyed (the draw was a little tight at first, but the flavor made it worthwhile).

While visiting with her, I came to find out that the cigar she was smoking was about 20 years old, I was so jealous!

We visited for a good while, talking about likes and dislikes and other such cigar conversation, but I noticed that Rupert was waiting for me and I really wanted to hear his story and not be rude.

Rupert

In my experience in the wonderful world of cigars, one of the most awesome things about it is the people you get to meet!

pic of Rupert holding up his Opus X

Rupert

When I go into a place and the staff is welcoming and you can tell that they are really excited that I came in and they want to hear about Cigar Pals and the adventures, that just turn’s something on inside of me and “It’s ON”!

I know this is going to be an awesome cigar adventure and we are going to have fun.

That’s the feeling I got from Rupert from the moment that I met him!

He has a long history in the cigar industry, I believe early on he was working with Smoky’s and then became a rep, for Gurkha and I believe he told me another company that he was a rep for, but I can’t remember who right now, but if he lets me know, I will come in and edit this post.

He talked about his years on the road and that many times he would go back to a cigar lounge that he did business with after hours and hang with the owner, instead of going back to his motel room.

We build relationships with these people we meet and it’s neat how you can travel around the country and know people who are actually happy to see you when ya come to town.

I forgot to ask Rupert how long he has been at JR’s, but apparently it has been long enough that one of his friends came in and gave him one of the Opus X series cigars for his birthday.

Oh did I mention that it was his birthday? It is also Frank from Smoky’s birthday today and Rupert told me that they usually get together and celebrate (probably with a nice stick)

I could go on, but this is getting long.

pic of some guys I talked to at the front of the store on the way out

Some guys I talked to on the way out!

One other thing I want to mention….. Anthony! Anthony was kind of quiet while I was there, so I didn’t get to learn much about him, but….

a couple of times, Rupert asked him questions about some cigar we were talking about and he was ready with an answer, so I assume he, like the rest is quite knowledgeable about cigars.

Stop! Don’t Outrun Your Adventure!

I bring this up quite often, when you go out to get some cigars, allow yourself enough time to stop and smoke one with the folks at you’re local lounge.

You might miss an awesome cigar adventure if you don’t. You will never meet people like cigar smokers anywhere else.

Said and Done

Unfortunately I had to break it off early, cause Deb was at work and I didn’t think she would appreciate me making her walk home from the plant, while I was having my Twofer Tuesday – cigar adventures.

She hates to miss them!

As always, leave comments, suggestions or questions in the section below.

If you take my suggestion and go have a cigar adventure of you’re own, tell me about it in the comment section!

Till next time, burn one for me and I’ll burn one for you!

10 Comments

  1. Debbie

    What a find! Twofer Tuesday! I hate missing those first encounters. Sounds like you had a great time. Do they ever host any events or bring in industry people? It’s interesting that the the shops don’t seem to be competitive. Is that normal?

    • Hi Debbie: Thanks for checking out Twofer Tuesday – Cigar Adventures. Yes I hate when you miss an adventure too, since you make sure and take care of many important things for me.
      Yes they host events, Frank and Andy were both telling me about a Comacho event they just had there. I’m sure that they have events at Casa De Montecristo also.
      The Cigar world is very unique, in that, even though there is competition, no one seems to get excited about it and everyone from the manufacturers to the retailers, seem to get along. Like a close knit family. of course they all have the same battles to fight, between getting a good harvest, cultivating the end product to dealing with EPA and other government issues and taxes. They all seem to pull together.
      Thanks for asking!

  2. renee

    Chuck sounds like an awesome day.I have become hooked on cigar boxes,thanks to you.As I find them,I am curious about the cigar.My latest isMacanudo.How about a taste test…

    • Hi Renee: Thanks for checking out Twofer Tuesday – Cigar Adventures. I did a review on the Macanudo Inspired Red, last night and have to edit and write it up. Should be posted by the week end.

  3. Anthony

    Chuck,

    Thanks for the kind words and the visit! I think it’s pretty cool what you’re doing and I’ll be checking out the page for your latest adventure!

    Anthony

  4. Bill

    So Chuck, is the plan for Deb to work outages and you retire to have more time for cigar adventures? 🙂 Enjoyed the adventure and the recent cigar reviews. Keep up the excellent work.

    • Hi Bill: thanks for checking out Twofer Tuesday – Cigar Adventures.
      I don’t know about Debs plans, but my plan is to have more cigar adventures and I will be doing a new show, called Cigars and Guitars where I will be traveling the country with a cigar box guitar doing shows at cigar bars/lounges. I’m really excited about that. Glad you enjoyed the reviews too!

  5. Hi Chuck, I am sitting outside with Leanne. She says hello to you and Deb. I’m enjoying a Padilla Cazadores, or, vice-a-versa. It’s a medium, 60 gage stick I believe you would really enjoy. If you haven’t had one already, try one. I don’t know the cost. It was a gift but pretty tasty. I enjoyed the 2 for tuesday article. On another note. Rich is home and doing well. Take care old friend !

    • Hi Paul: Thanks for checking out Twofer Tuesday. Say Hi back to her for me. I just looked up the Padilla Cazadores and I don’t believe I have had that particular stick. I have had the brand, don’t remember which one though. That cigar looks good and I will have to find one!
      I have been messaging with Rich and will be up there probably in late May to do a show at the Cigar Shoppe.
      I will be previewing my new act, which you can check out at guitarsandcigar.net. I look forward to seeing everyone!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *