Beer/Cigar Reviews – Black Butte and Primos Estate Maduro

Welcome to another edition of my beer and cigar reviews where we take a look at some notable (and some not-so-notable) beers and cigars! Let’s just jump right in shall we. As always, we will start with today’s beer selection.

Black Butte Porter

This offering from Descutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon is an American Porter style ale. It weighs in at 5.2% ABV, 30 IBU and an unspecified IBU rating.

Pours a dark brown color with some red streaks and a light tan head. Aromas of roasted malt, coffee and piney hops. Flavors follow – roasted malt and coffee make up the body along with a slight tinge of dark fruit. Balanced but not overbearing piney hop finish. Fairly light bodied and medium in carbonation, you can kill several of these and not be weighed down.

A solid example of the style. While not the high-octane, bolder beers I tend to prefer, for a session beer this is easy to please and you can have a few and not feel guilty about it. Rating: 3.75/5.

And now for today’s cigar selection.

Primos Estate Maduro

This offering from Blanco Cigars features a Nicaraguan Habano Maduro wrapper over a Honduran binder and Honduran, Nicaraguan & Peruvian long fillers. The size reviewed is a 6″ x 52RG Toro vitola.

The first light revealed a perfect draw producing plentiful thick medium/full bodied smoke. Flavors of a sweet spicy cinnamon on the back of the palate and a black pepper on the retrohale supported by subtle notes of cocoa on the front of the palate.

Getting into the first third we get much of the same but adding a slightly tart creamy note to the draw and a hint of cedar on the retrohale. Pepper subsides somewhat but does remain.

The 2nd third sees a transition in which the tart cream starts to take on more of a plum note and little dark roast coffee joins the mix yielding a very complex flavor profile. Strength sets in early, holding at a medium at the halfway point. No further changes were noted. I ended the cigar at 1 hour 10 minutes for a reasonable burn time for the size while the strength holds at a medium.

The typical Blanco construction quality was evident in this stick showing a razor-sharp burn all the way down.

A solid cigar all around, and at a price point that’s hard to argue with (ranging from about $6-7/stick depending on the vitola). Nice complex flavors and a lot of flavor make this a must-try cigar. Rating: 4.5/5.

That’s a wrap for today. Have any of you tried today’s offerings? Let me know what you thought in the comments!


Welcome to Sunday Social

Sunday Social! Let’s all commune and share some blogs.

Rachel McKee~Illuminated Literation

Sunday Social is a place to mingle, collaborate, and share our blogs. Sunday Social is one more place where you can share a post that maybe didn’t get as much feedback as you were hoping for. Sunday Social is a place to meet new bloggers.

This weekly post is a “wild card” of sorts. There aren’t many rules but I do ask that you follow a few guidelines.

  • Give honest, constructive feedback, but always be courteous.
  • If someone takes the time to comment on your post, please return the favor and check out their endeavors too.

How do you participate?

It’s very easy.

  • Copy and paste the link to your blog or a specific blog post in the comment section below.
  • Give us a little blurb about your blog, the feedback you are looking for, or if you are just hoping to meet some new blogger buddies.

Voila! That’s it.

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(Birthday) Song Lyric Sunday 3/18/18 – Mr. Pessimist

How interesting that Song Lyric Sunday fell on my birthday this year. As of 11:32 AM CDT (which was 9:32 MST at the time – was born in NM and at the time March was still on standard time), I will have completed 31 trips around the sun, but man I feel 10 years younger than that now that I’ve been released from the clutches of my shitty old job and DFW(TF).

OK, I digress. Shadows was a topic I had to think HARD about. The lyric that first came to mind for me is part of a song I’d featured not too long after I started participating in SLS (namely the lyric “my shadow is the only one that walks beside me”) and I don’t think I’ve been doing this long enough to do reduxes (reduces? reduci? what the hell is the plural form of the word “redux?” English majors help me out).

When I was batting zero thinking of literal shadows, I decided to go back to the sort of secondary theme that I’ve injected for today – birthdays. For the longest time in my life I lamented birthdays. During a period from about 2012-2015 I HATED my birthday because I resented what it represented – my birth. During that time in my life I resented being alive, resented that I was ever born and even resented my parents for bringing me into the world without my consent. I burned every birthday card I received, rejected gifts, had to resist myself from just ripping anyone who wished me “happy birthday” a new one and even told an ex-friend who had planned a surprise birthday party for me to take that stupid party and shove it so far up her ass she puked it out the other end (my exact words paraphrased for past tense and third person). Yeah, that lost friendship was totally my doing. I admit it.

Of course, things are better now even though I’m still for all intents and purposes an antinatalist. I still say had you given me the choice a priori I’d have chosen not to have been brought into existence, but these days it’s more of a purely philosophical argument rather than one coming from emotional turmoil and I no longer consider my life bad enough to end prematurely.

Still though, the metaphorical “shadow” of depression and pessimistic thinking often hangs over me. I always seem to make mountains out of molehills and have irrational fears and gutteral reactions due largely to a feedback loop that I got stuck in through my really tough times. It’s hard not to fall back into what is familiar and dare I say comfortable even when that comfort zone is something that is just not good for one’s well-being.

So with that – I’ve chosen pessimism as a metaphor for a shadow (because it does feel like a shadow has been cast over you when you feel that way) and I’m featuring a song around that. As such, the song I have chosen is “Mr. Pessimist” – a 1993 song from the album Elemental. As for who the song is by, well, who did you THINK I was going to feature on my birthday? Yeah, that’s what I thought (written by Roland Orzabal and Alan Griffiths).

Time will swallow
Your precious time
Like magic create the future

What makes man so fickle ?
Who put the daggers in those eyes ?
Was it to learn
Through dark days of struggle ?
Was it to burn
To burst all our bubbles ?
Thunder and rain
Well the cynicle flame will it heat, stick and blister ?
Thunder and rain

Evangelistic brother
Should be banging a tambourine
Go wash your hands and fingers
Till your mind is clean

Was it your fate
To sleep like a normal ?
Time and decay
No man is immortal
Thunder and rain
Boredom and pain lit the cynical flame
Will it heat stick and blister ?
Thunder and rain
Still try to resist the pessimist
The pessimist no no

And these things I find
In the back of my mind
Where time lasts forever
I get all mixed
Think I’m all mankind

Listen Mr Pessimister
With your Catholic taste
Oh listen Mr Pessimister Pessimister
We do not relate
Listen Mr Pessimister, Pessimister, Pessimister
Mr Pessimister
Source: Lyrics in video description. 

Well, there you have it. I probably talked way too damn much in this post, but I guess so it goes. Thanks for everyone who stuck around and completed this SLS post in its entirety. I appreciate it.

New(ish) Ink!!!

How fitting to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish themed tattoo right?

Well how’s this?

I’ve been wanting to dress up my semicolon tattoo for some time now and this was the idea I came up with to do so.

The Celtic knot is a nod to my adopted heritage and my pipe band life as well as to my earth-centered spiritual beliefs. The semicolon, though a beautiful symbol of my own battle with depression and suicidal ideation, has a Christian element that doesn’t jive with me. This makes it my own in a way.

Very happy with how it turned out. Once again, Jade rocked it out for me. She’s awesome and has been since day 1.

A great way to start the day and a great early birthday gift (tomorrow).

What do you think?

The Long Road to Recovery

So last Friday marked one month since I left my old job and DFW(TF) in my rear-view mirror and this Friday I will have officially completed one full month at my new job. My how time flies, right?

I will say, I feel so much better. My workload isn’t any lighter – if anything I have a substantially heavier workload. However, that’s OK because I don’t have an overbearing boss over me at all times so I can really work. It’s also a lot more of the engineering side of things and a lot less administrative office stuff so it’s more of what I prefer to do in the crane world.

I feel better outside of the office too. I’m sleeping much better at night (though part of that is probably also my new bed!) and I’m not putting as much alcohol away as I was. I won’t ever give it up completely because I love the taste too much but I’m not inclined to just get plastered day in and day out either. I’ve picked bagpipe and guitar back up again and am enjoying that release again. I hope to eventually get my courage back up again to play open mic nights (a few new venues have opened in Abilene that might be a fit for my softer, mellower, folky style) and I’ve already got two gigs on the books for St. Pat’s day on the pipes.

That said, I’ve still got a long way to go. When you’re subject to use and abuse day in and day out it can take a long time to fully heal. I still cringe anytime I see an email from one of the “big bosses” come across. I can’t help but wonder if I’m in for a major ass chewing. I also had a glitch in my lift planning program this morning where the company logo wasn’t displaying correctly on my lift plans. My first worry was is that a not-so-subtle way of telling me to fuck off? These are real fears I had that, although they might sound silly to you, it’s almost a conditioned response.

Even though I’ve engineered several complicated lifts even in this short time I’ve been at my new job, I can’t help but wonder if they think it’s good enough. You have to remember that before I got into the crane business I spent almost four years out of work – nobody wanted to hire an autistic weirdo. This world isn’t kind to those of us who don’t fit the mold and when you combine it with that it did some serious damage that I’m still working to undo.

I hope that in due time (say, after I’ve completed a year) I’ll be back to where I want to be, but in the meantime it’s still a struggle. Consciously I realize many of my fears are irrational, but when you’ve been through what I’ve been through these conditioned responses are hard to get past. I just want that cloud to vanish from over me.

Just know I’m working on it and please be kind and gentle with me while I try to sort this all out. I thank you in advance for your continued love and support during this transitional phase of my life. It’s been noticed and very much appreciated.

Song Lyric Sunday 3/11/18 – Mother’s Talk

Unity. Something this nation (and, by extension, this world) needs more of. As such, a very fitting theme for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday.

When I first saw the theme the lyric that first sprung to mind was “only we can work it out.” Emphasis on the word “we” – not “you,” not “I” or any other similar word. Alas, it’s true – we all have to unite to work it out. As such, this led me to my selection for this week – “Mother’s Talk,” a 1984 song from the album Songs From the Big Chair by…uhh…ahem…yeah…them again (written by Ian Stanley and Roland Orzabal):

My features form with a change in the weather
We can
We can work it out
My features form with a change in the weather
We can
We can work it out

When the wind blows
When the mothers talk
When the wind blows

When the wind blows
When the mothers talk
When the wind blows
We can work it out

It’s not that you’re not good enough
It’s just that we can make you better
Given that you pay the price
We can keep you young and tender
Follow in the footsteps of a funeral pyre
You were paid not listen now your house is on fire

Wake me up when things get started
When everything starts to happen

My features form with a change in the weather
We can
We can work it out
My features form with a change in the weather
We can
We can work it out

When the wind blows (when the wind blows)
When the mothers talk (when the mothers talk)
When the wind blows
When the wind blows (when the wind blows)
When the mothers talk (when the mothers talk)
When the wind blows
We can
Only we can work it out

Some of us horrified
Others never talk about it
But when the weather starts to burn
Then you’ll know that you’re in trouble
Follow in the footsteps of a soldier girl
It is time to put your clothes on and to face the world

Don’t you feel your luck is changing
When everything starts to happen
Put your head right next to my heart
The beat of the drum is the fear of the dark

My features form with a change in the weather
We can
We can work it out
My features form with a change in the weather
Better late then never there’s a change in the weather
(We can work it out)

When the wind blows (when the wind blows)
When the mothers talk (when the mothers talk)
When the wind blows

When the wind blows (when the wind blows)
When the mothers talk (when the mothers talk)
When the wind blows
We can
Only we can work it out

And that’s it for today. Hey I’ve done good – it’s been like 6 weeks since the last TFF song I featured here. That must be a new record. I know, I’m terrible.

Cigar Review: RoMa Craft CroMagnon Aquitaine

This offering from RoMa Craft Cigars features an Ecuadorian Habano Ligero wrapper over a Cameroon binder and Nicaraguan long fillers. The size reviewed is the Cranium which is a 6″ x 54RG Toro vitola.

The first light revealed a slightly snug draw but producing ample smoke. Medium/full body flavors out of the gate consisting of a smooth earth on the draw and a substantial pepper bite on the retrohale. A slight sweetness and creaminess on the draw also.

Getting into the first third the body dials down slightly to a straight medium while the flavors take on a cream and cocoa on the draw followed by a bright, aromatic cedar on the nose. There’s a hint of coffee toward the finish as well. This stayed consistent for 2/3 of the cigar. The last third ramps back up to medium/full while the coffee comes to the forefront and becomes darker and deeper. I ended the cigar at 1 hour 10 minutes for an average burn time for a Toro sized stick and bringing in a medium nicotine strength.

Construction was excellent with a near razor-sharp burn that required no touch-ups. Ash holds on for about 1/3 of the cigar at a time.

Honestly, this cigar reminded me very much of the Padron x000 Series in natural. A mix of dessert tones and earth tones made for a complex yet not overbearing cigar. This would be good at any time of day with a cup of coffee. Rating: 4/5.