Cigars, cigar reviews, cigar varieties

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Introducing the Reviewer . . .  

As a long time fan, follower and fellow “surfer” of Bullz-Eye, I have seen its scope and content expand to provide more comprehensive coverage on the most relevant topics, subjects, and interests that men elect to consider.  Despite the common stereotype that men only think about sex, sports and more sex, we men are a little more cerebrally complex than the women who perpetuate the stereotype think.  When we are not thinking about sex, or sexually related things - granted sex-related musings do consume most of our conscious and unconscious life - we employ whatever mindshare we have left to pursue other important interests, like engaging in a variety of sports, drinking fine liquors, beers and wines, or smoking premium hand made cigars.

Cigars are a worthy topic, especially as they have provided one of the valuable diversions and pleasures that men have enjoyed for centuries.  Now, some of the Bullz-Eye faithful may have little to no interest in the topic, which is perfectly fine.  The beauty of our society and the wonders of the web allow us to bring you cigar-related content and you can elect to never hit the left mouse key on the link that’ll take you to it.  However, I would encourage you to give it an open-minded look.  Even those of you who do not have an interest in cigars, and may never smoke one over your lifetime, could benefit from an occasional “read” on the subject, as cigars are often an essential “tool” used in the worlds of business, poker of any kind, socializing and, as Bill and Monica can attest – even sex (damn, there it is again – women are not all wrong about us).  We are also confident that some of the Bullz-Eye readers DO have an interest and maybe even a passion for a good “stick” every now and then, or more frequently.  It is this group that should appreciate the new cigar feature that I will bring to Bullz-Eye.   

My name is Bob Hritsko (the “H” is silent, for those wondering); I will be providing a regular cigar review and cigar-related content as a feature on Bullz-Eye on a go forward basis.  My primary goal as a Bullz-Eye cigar reviewer is to provide some regular insight, guidance and a little knowledge into this vice, er . . . I mean “hobby.” The feature is primarily aimed at, but not limited to, the cigar smoker.  I will initially combine a weekly cigar review most often combined with cigar-related commentary, an informational tutorial, a worthy news item, and/or cigar-related debate.  Sometime in the future, the plan is to provide you with a link to an even more comprehensive sight specifically dedicated to the cigar enthusiast, which will offer a more interactive experience and potentially some special cigar purchase opportunities.  However, you, the Bullz-Eye reader, will help drive our evolutionary path.  We are committed to providing you optimal value in this feature and welcome your feedback and ideas along the way – send me an email!

It may be helpful to understand a little bit about my views, philosophy, and recommendations relative to the experience of a smoke.  For starters, I have been smoking cigars for nearly 20 years – back before it was cool to do so, during the coolest period or fad (remember Demi Moore, Madonna, and others in their prime exhibiting their oral fixations in full view on the covers of publications like Cigar Aficionado in the latter 1990’s) . . . and now in the 21st century. . . . sorry, I lost my train of thought for a moment.  Oh, yes, I also don’t smoke cigarettes, nor do I chew tobacco – tried both, no real value in it for me.  Just like smoking marijuana does not mean you will be led to a heroin addiction (I hear), cigar smoking does not seem to be leading me to broader use of tobacco products.  The fact that I never directly inhale cigar smoke (not intentionally) is a factor, the smoke is taken in the mouth and that is as far as it goes – an advisable practice that many cigar smokers follow.

Interestingly, for the majority of these years I was a casual cigar smoker, “on again, off again.”  The reason: my cigar selection was driven by lack of knowledge and for the most part a random selection process.  In hindsight it is no surprise - I would have a good experience and would begin smoking a little more, until I had a horrible experience and would swear off for awhile.  This cycle repeated itself, until I decided to quit taking chances with my discretionary dollars and learn a few things about cigars and about my own taste preferences in them.  You’ll find in my reviews that I will pepper the text with some of my direct experiences, and even some suggestions that I discovered in developing my enjoyable and relaxing hobby.  With that, here are some of my most general observations and suggestions that will provide an ongoing context for the cigar reviews going forward:

  1. To get the most out of the experience, try to engage virtually all of the senses (with the sense of hearing being the possible lone exception).  Though I have heard said, an ex-wife chewing your ear over a late alimony payment while you are smoking a fine cigar can ruin the experience.  I don’t have an ex-wife (yet), so I cannot say.  I can directly attest that enjoyable music in the background tends to heighten the experience.  However, the sense of hearing is not typically a direct sense that is involved in the experience.  For this reason, I will structure my reviews around the four direct senses that are involved:  look, feel, smell, and taste. 

  2. Everyone is different in terms of what they like or dislike from a sensory perspective, and the sensitivities to certain tastes, smells, etc., do vary amongst us.

  3. Beyond music and ex-wives, your overall environment (externally) and mood (internally), can impact your senses and will naturally do the same to the smoking experience.

  4. The nature of the premium cigar making process is also impacted by many factors, thus no two cigars of the exact same brand and size are exactly alike.  Primary factors include:  weather conditions endured by the tobacco batches used, soil conditions where the tobacco was grown, manufacturing process and quality control in a predominantly manual, complex process, etc.  For these reasons it is a given – even the finest cigar brands will occasionally have a “bum” cigar (for whatever reason).  The cigar brands that achieve relative consistency in providing a good smoking experience are highly valued by the smoker.  The converse is also true.

The primary point that I am driving at - It is unlikely that you and I, or you and anyone else, will have the exact same experience when smoking the same brand and size of cigar.

Given these factors – I like to remind to fellow smokers, especially the “newbie”:

  • A specific cigar gets at least two chances before I completely “write it off” or “buy into” it.

  • The ultimate review of good / bad / like / dislike must come from you.  I merely offer some guidance.

  • There is a large variety in the market, finding your favorites can take some time, but can also be a lot of fun, i.e., one man’s “dog rocket” is another’s “pleasure stick.”

  • Equally important – this “hobby,” like most, can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you care to make it.  There are some good smokes out there at all price ranges!  Like virtually everything in the world, there is some overpriced, over-hyped shit out there - and some hidden treasures that can be had for a song as well.  My advice - smoke to your budget!  My reviews will tend towards more affordable and available cigars – in line with a mainstream budget.  I do plan to “mix it up” by reviewing some excellent cigars, both in the super premium and value categories.  

One last point, please read the disclaimer below.  Thank you and I hope you enjoy the cigar content.

DISCLAIMER:  At the risk of sounding too much like a TV commercial, I do want to sincerely state:  This feature is NOT intended to advocate the smoking of cigars any more or any less than you already do, nor do I intend to influence the non-smoker to begin smoking cigars.  Make no mistake about it; CIGAR SMOKING MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH.