Prize Provided by Pinar Del Rio
Day 7 of the 3rd Annual Stogie Review 12 Days of Christmas has arrived, and this string of days are one of my favorite. In these days we ask for people to tell us a cigar related Christmas story. Each year we get a good mix of funny, heart warming, and everything in between.
The prize for Day 7 is a box of Pinar del Rio Reserva Dominicana courtesy of Abe Flores of Pinar Del Rio. Our winner submitted two stories, one of which was chosen as the winner. I was initially just going to post the winning story, but decided to share both with you as they are both enjoyable reads.
Thank you for selecting me as the winner of the G.A.R.’s from Gran Habano. I still want to show my support of the site and enter a couple of stories that are important to me and my cigar smoking relating to Christmas. I have 2 that I would like to share.
First, Christmas 1998:
I was fortunate to spend the fall semester of 1998 in Regensburg, Germany as a study abroad. I spent my junior year in Europe with three of my best friends from college. We didn’t travel together every weekend but always spent Sunday night together at dinner followed by either a Cuban Hoyo de Monterrey or Romeo y Julieta. We would eat at an Italian restaurant in Regensburg then head to the Steinerne Brücke to light up. We did this from August until we headed home in December. If the weather was bad, and it rained a lot, we would seek shelter in the awnings of the historische Wurstkuchl. I can’t say that any of us actually appreciated what we were smoking but we were having brotherhood. When I packed to fly home I bought 2 Romeo y Julieta tubos and two half litres of the local brew, Kneitinger Bock. I got home on December 12. I duck hunted with my dad for several days when I got back to the States. On Christmas Eve, the night we traditionally exchange gifts in my family, I presented my dad with a cigar and bottle of beer. I also got him some knives but we agreed that we would drink and smoke together. On Christmas night after chilling the beers all day we popped our bottle tops and smoked our cigars. To this day it is one of the best times I have ever had smoking. We have since shared many cigars but that was the first. I hope I never forget that smoke. Now that I am a regual smoker and a keeper of my bands, I wish I had that band to have in my dossier.
I was married in August 2004. My wife has a cousin and uncle in California and when we visit them we always have cigars and scotch. Well, we did until I introduced them to single barrel bourbon. In Christmas 2006 we were hosting Christmas, for the same guys that I went to Germany with almost a decade earlier. We always spend at least one evening together when they return to their families for Christmas in Western Kentucky. We had discussed hosting for a couple of years and Christmas 2006 became the year. I had kept a humidor since 2002 but never had more than 4-5 cigars in it. My wife wanted to do something festive and did some online research looking for the best cigar and Christmas beer pairing. Her search resulted in CAO Criollo Bomba with either Sierra Nevada Celebration or Samuel Smith Winter Welcome. We went to Nashville to buy the beer and asked a cashier where to find a good cigar shop. She didn’t know but called a cigar smoking friend that led us to a cigar shop in Belle Meade. We were able to buy the CAO Criollo and went home pretty happy. As soon as we got home I cracked a Sierra Nevada and lit a Criollo with a plain zippo. I didn’t know. It was a great pairing and led to my first box purchase. The guys all enjoyed our CAO’s and beer and I became a CAO fan. I started picking up all the CAO lines that I could in the following month and my humidor started to fill up. It was the beginning of a wonderful relationship with tobacco and it all really started with that Christmas gift from my wife. She only has her self to blame
I didn’t learn that CAO was in Nashville until about 4 months later. We tried to schedule a tour a few times before we were able to finally fit it into our schedule. That is a story for another time. When we finally made it inside we fell for Susie as a person and brand ambassador on that first visit to the HQ. Susie told us about Jon and twitter and I became a social media stalker shortly thereafter. It is absolutely disappointing that CAO won’t be 100 miles down the road from us in a few weeks. That one 50 count humidor has expanded to another 50 count, a 150 count, a CAO Vision box, a champion’s sampler case. 3 cigar caddy’s and an 8 count wine cooler lined with cpanish cedar. I am officially obsessed and there is no end in sight. I’m not nearly the online ambassador that y’all are but I give out a lot of good cigars to my friends and local smokers.
Thanks again for contributing to my obsession.
Michael Thorne .