12/21/17

On The Cigar Aficionado Top 10 Cigars of 2017

I was traveling east-bound down Royal Ave. when he turned out in front of me actually right at my side from whatever that street is called. The one by Little Caesars, ya know? He just missed T-boning me by not too much at all. I gave him the finger in a knee-jerk sorta manner. He honked. Revved his engine. HONKED. REVVED.  REPEAT. The windows of his truck were blacked out and when I slowed at a red light, a passenger of his opened the door to get out, then the light went green and I was off. "What am I in a movie?" I mighta said out loud.

More honking. revving. Swerving behind me. I was still carrying the flu in my gut and really wasn't looking forward to being shot. Or beat up. In a bit under a mile, I turned off at my street and undid my seatbelt. Cruised into the driveway. Jumped out. I keep a baseball bat inside my front door, too far away. I stopped carrying a knife because it makes my sweatpants fall off my waist. Did I have a tire iron in my truck? Exposed, I stood there. The truck, looking more militia than it did from my rearview, pulled up sideways onto the curb. Not quite into my drive. 

The door flung open. A twenty-something kid spoke to me from the passenger-side: "Why'd you do that back there?" He whined. "Yeah, man," ditto'd the twenty-something driver. I waved them off, walked inside slowly. They drove on down Berntzen, I imagine all the way to Marshall. 

Why does this year's Cigar Aficionado Top Ten list make me think of this few days ago happening? It's obvious, no? Wet-blanket obvious.

Lettuce delve into the list with first a single-word response on each offering therein, then a brief kibbitz to put a nice ribbon on it all. [If I've given the stick a looksie, the title will appear as a link to my own review.]

1. ARTURO FUENTE DON CARLOS EYE OF THE SHARK: back-ordered.

2. PADRON SERIE 1926 NO. 2 (NATURAL): yawn.

3. OLIVA SERIE V BELICOSO: safe.

4. BOLIVAR BELICOSO FINO: Cuban.

5. ALEC BRADLEY TEMPUS NATURAL CENTURIA: average.

6. ASHTON SYMMETRY BELICOSO: excellent.

7. MY FATHER THE JUDGE GRAND ROBUSTO: over-rated.

8. GUARDIAN OF THE FARM APOLLO SELECCION DE WARPED: hipster.

9. PLASENCIA ALMA FUERTE GENERACION V: place-holder.

10. VILLIGER LA FLOR DE YNCLAN: no.

2017 is the year Cigar Aficionado went full-Goth. The top-three are in homage to deaths. I ancestor worship as much as anyone, but the effort seems strained here, as there were no new blends in the top three. New formats of old list inhabitant blends were forced into place, instead. I assume David Savona is wearing a black velour cape these days, atop recently bought Hot Topic garb. But where's AVO, then? Oh, that's right.

Only a single Cuban offering? ... Cuban cigars are just like any other country's cigars. Some good, some bad, and yes there is a certain characteristic. The same can be said for leaf from DR, Nica, etc. The important thing is that your Cuban is a fake and that's mold on it, not plume. Also, the cello can be left on or taken off. Take it off if yer aging the thing.

No one who's smoked The Judge in my home shop has been at all impressed, and it is a HUGE My Father joint. Warped: I prefer to get my hipster fix from Caldwell, kthxbye. Plasencia? I know a throw-out vote when I see what -- particularly since 2016. And finally, Villiger. The La Flor de Ynclan... No. But I said that already.

All told, an all-time weak list with forced components at its top.

A parting thought: allow me to again reiterate once more that the distinction twixt boutiques and big boys ain't got nothing on the distinction twixt B&M and what I call "internet brands." No Steve Saka, no Skip Martin. No James Brown, no Fred Rewey. Why is the nom de labelle internet brand more apt than boutique? Because the brands we geek about in social media exist mainly in our computers. Not in brick. Not in print. Furthermore, the chasm that divides them from B&M humidors is greater deeper wider than just the difference of boutique(small) |    | (big)brands. Growth ain't the only thing needed to contend. It's a matter of culture, not just audience. Leaf security is a thing, too. Levels of legitimacy (not to offend). I hope this helps. I almost deleted the entire paragraph and didn't put too much editing into it. BREAKING NEWS and laziness and ADHD and all.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I'll post 11-25 in the next Cigar News Weekly Report.

Look to Cigars City FIRST, for anything on this list and anything you like.

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

"A Pooper-Scooper" Kaplowitz Radio: December 13, 2017