Travel

By Andrew Lyon

I have had a bit of writer’s block.  I haven’t been doing this long but I have to learn how to deal with it.  It came to me after a while that I was thinking too big.  Luckily my wife came through.  This week while staring at my Perdomo Habano and trying to figure out what to talk about on Holy Smokes, our live show Thursdays at 6:30 PM CST on the Facebook Group Real Men Wear Kilts, my wife said let’s talk about travel we want to do.

In the past articles I have attempted to talk about huge general categories, life changing events, and some of my beliefs.  All of which seem so big to me.  In my mind I asked, how could a simple discussion of the places we want to visit equate to a whole show?

I think sometimes I am short sighted, because as usual my wife was right.  Yes, I can say that and still feel like a man.  I have no issue admitting when I’m wrong, even though I wasn’t really wrong and to admit it our loud may revoke my man card…. but I digress.

My wife is a pretty intelligent lady; she is very good at showing me a different side of things.  One of my favorite things about her is that really, we talk a lot.  In our long wonderful conversations, without fail she always seems to find a way to show me the other side of the coin.  I don’t think I can properly convey what a blessing she has been.

Writing has to come from that place in your mind that allows for some creativity, and like a muscle it needs to be flexed, but a different point of view always seems to helps grease the gears.

To this point, travel may be a singularly unique way to get different views.  I find that people on average do not have the desire to travel abroad, but more specifically, they don’t want to travel for cultural purposes.  Sure, they want to go to Cabo for beaches, or Cancun for the ummm beaches… I’m seeing a trend. Who says, I want to see the beaches of Normandy?  That’s one place I am glad I visited, and cried at, and said a quiet thank you and prayer.  Life changing, really.

How about going to some of the most famous churches in Europe to better understand how art was supported by the church? It was fascinating to follow the progression of artists and architecture as they were commissioned time and again to create scenes of beauty and majesty.

How about learning to ask for the toilet or food or the train station in another language?  I’ve done all these things in my life and can’t imagine not doing it again.

We gave you our top 10 places we want to visit, what are yours?  More importantly, why?

 

Perdomo Habano Torpedo 6.5 x 54

This cigar came from my random cigar box club.  They send me 5 premium cigars a month and it’s always a surprise.  The Habano has an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper and the binder and filler are Cuban Seed Nicaraguan.  This means the tobacco was grown in Nicaragua but the seeds were from Cuba.  The tobacco was aged in a bourbon barrel for 6 years and looks absolutely beautiful.

I take a sniff of the cigar; I get a wonderful cedar hint.  Cut the cap and take a cold draw.  I can taste the caramel tones from the bourbon barrel.

I am toasting the foot and take my fist couple of puffs to get everything going.  Butter, nuts, something a bit spicy, cedar…I am overwhelmed with all the flavors.

I am in the 1/3 and the buttery creaminess of that Connecticut and the cedar are the most powerful flavors I can taste.  The burn is wonderful and I am trying to slow myself down for an even experience.  The draw is perfect and the smoke is full and lingers like that dream that you had last night, though you really can’t recall what it was about.

I look up info on the cigar to get some information as I smoke, and Aficionado magazine has it rated 92.  Anything 90 and up is going to be a wonderful experience. I cannot believe how inexpensive it is for such excellent quality.

I am moving into the 2/3 and the creaminess and richness are accentuated by something like roasted nuts.  The burn and draw are still perfect and full.  My wife and I are still discussing where we want to go and why.  I love nights like this.

Finishing the 3/3.  This has been an amazing cigar.  I should have had a snack before I smoked this.  Even though it is mild to medium it is hitting hard because I have not had a cigar in a while.  Note to self, have a snack before cigars.

 

Taste

A lovely 5 out of 5 Drams

Construction

5 out of 5 Standing Stones

Draw

5 out of 5 Bonnie Lasses

Cost

6 out of 5 Scrooge McDucks at only $5.50 USD

Enjoyment

6 out of 5 Kilts a-swinging!!

I know my scores are often high – that is how it’s going to be with me.  I love the world and don’t typically spend much time with things that actually suck.  The Perdomo Habano Torpedo feels like a “once and a while” cigar and it is premium rated, but the less than 6$ price tag puts in the “I can get a box of these without breaking the bank” category.  So, I fully endorse this as an everyday smoke and it will definitely impress if you want to share with a friend.  This cigar can be found here:

https://www.holts.com/cigars/all-cigar-brands/perdomo-habano-connecticut-1.html

Pictures are mine or from Holts.com

 

If you liked this article, you might enjoy reading this one …

Why Women Love ALL Men in Kilts…

By Cynthia A. Nichols

Okay, I have to admit, I am a total sucker for a kilted man.  I think the words, “total sucker,” don’t even come close to describe my complete admiration deeply enough.

I believe it was Sean Connery who made me a believer in kilted men but seriously, what woman isn’t taken by Sean’s Scottish brogue and his gorgeous, kilted self?

When I met my “real & authentic” kilted Scottish-Texan, Raymond Mhor, I began immersing myself into his Celtic/Scottish lifestyle.  First came the Outlander Netflix binge so I could catch up with the rest of the world.  I ate, drank and slept Outlander – all those men in kilts!  (Even some of the soil-dirty ones still look amazing!).

After, we began attending Outlander parties, enjoying local Scottish Highland games and the best was volunteering at our Highland Game Group’s Bagpipe contests (with all the contestants kilted!  Woo hoo!)

READ MORE >>>>

 


Love Kilts, Scotland & Outlander?

Please share this article with all your Celtic / kilted friends and if you have an interesting story that is Celtic, kilt, Scotland, Ireland, Outlander related, please contact me and let’s talk. I am always looking for great stories to share with the kilted Celtic community.

JOIN OUR FB Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/realmenwearkilts/

Check out our You Tube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/c/realmenwearkilts

If you like what we are doing, please consider becoming one of my patrons at Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/thescottishtexan

 

A Little Help From Our Friends

By Andrew Lyon

This one is for Andrew Graham.  Last week after our FB live show “Holy Smokes” on Real Men Wear Kilts, Andrew gave me a holler in the comments.  Said he had some extra “sticks” (the term used for individual cigars) and would love to send them my way.

I was so excited; our first contribution to the show! We got the pertinent info together and off they went or here they came.    And it was such a pleasant experience receiving and enjoying these sticks.

Though, I don’t think I should have been surprised.  I have never met more accepting and giving people than cigar smokers.

I’ve had many situations where a wonderful conversation has led to new discoveries for accessories and types of cigars.  You will instantly know the difference from a bar and a cigar lounge.  The music volume is lower, and the people are all chatting.  Usually I find couches, leather chairs and great company.  People are eager to talk about whatever you want, and I have never found anyone overtly rude or mean.

One of our Real Men Wear Kilts members, Matthew Walbeck of Highland Tobacco Company, has a cigar lounge I cannot wait to visit.  Pics of his place show a luxurious and wonderful experience.

This one time at a cigar lounge near me, my wife and I ended up at a table discussing the best ways to help those in need with an Episcopal priest and a random gentleman in a Green Bay jersey.  You really never know what can happen if you leave yourself open to the possibilities.

I’m trying to say that we need to care for each other.  Getting a little help from our friends is a wonderful thing.  I love meeting the kind of people that will offer kindness just because and there are no strings attached.  I know cigar enjoyers do not have the monopoly on kindness and hospitality but go to your closest lounge and grab a stick, or better yet ask someone what they like.  I’ll bet you end up staying longer than you expect, and you may make some friends along the way.

Esteban Carreras Vigilante 6×60

I take a cold draw of this Nicaraguan cigar and experience hints of dark cocoa and wood.  I love the smell of wood in a cigar.  I toast the foot and start this experience.  Immediately I’m hit with this gentle pepper profile that you get from the tobacco grown in Nicaraguan soil.  The cocoa is the main thing I taste.

In the first third I have a few issues keeping the burn even but the smoke from the draw is thick and strong.  The pepper is almost gone which is odd, since it typically gets stronger as I go.  There is something smooth in here, like a chalk but it’s not chalky.  To be honest, the flavor seems to be clean tobacco and hints of something here and there.

Moving into the second third the flavors stay mellow, and gentle.  The draw and ash are great.  Nothing new is coming through on the flavor profile.  I am still having issues keeping the burn even and think it may have a ménage of different types of tobacco making up the cigar.  This is not stopping me from enjoying it though.

The last third is here, and I am still happy, the burn has been weird throughout and it lasted less time than I expected for a 6-inch cigar.  The tobacco flavor is really the only thing I taste now, there is a hint of the cocoa and that smoothness is still there, but it never stood out with its flavors.  I have one more of these.  Again, thank you Andrew, and look forward to it in a few days.

Taste

A lovely 3 out of 5 Drams

Construction

4 out of 5 Standing Stones – there was a bit of peeling toward the end

Draw

5 out of 5 Bonnie Lasses

Cost

5 out of 5 Scrooge McDucks at around $2.00 USD

Enjoyment

4 out of 5 Kilts a-swinging

If you can find it, the Vigilante is a good buy for the price.  It is an everyday cigar for after you mow the lawn or are walking the dog.  Match it with some rum or some whiskey of your choice and you won’t go wrong. Please tune in on Thursdays at 6:30PM CST on the Facebook group Real Men Wear Kilts and say hello live on our show Holy Smokes.  Thank you so much for taking the time to read this  Please comment and share with everyone.   I found a box of these at https://paylesscigarsandpipes.com/esteban-carreras-vigilante-connecticut-toro pics are from there as well.

If you liked this article, you might enjoy reading this one …

Why Women Love ALL Men in Kilts…

By Cynthia A. Nichols

Okay, I have to admit, I am a total sucker for a kilted man.  I think the words, “total sucker,” don’t even come close to describe my complete admiration deeply enough.

I believe it was Sean Connery who made me a believer in kilted men but seriously, what woman isn’t taken by Sean’s Scottish brogue and his gorgeous, kilted self?

When I met my “real & authentic” kilted Scottish-Texan, Raymond Mhor, I began immersing myself into his Celtic/Scottish lifestyle.  First came the Outlander Netflix binge so I could catch up with the rest of the world.  I ate, drank and slept Outlander – all those men in kilts!  (Even some of the soil-dirty ones still look amazing!).

After, we began attending Outlander parties, enjoying local Scottish Highland games and the best was volunteering at our Highland Game Group’s Bagpipe contests (with all the contestants kilted!  Woo hoo!)

READ MORE >>>>

 


Love Kilts, Scotland & Outlander?

Please share this article with all your Celtic / kilted friends and if you have an interesting story that is Celtic, kilt, Scotland, Ireland, Outlander related, please contact me and let’s talk. I am always looking for great stories to share with the kilted Celtic community.

JOIN OUR FB Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/realmenwearkilts/

Check out our You Tube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/c/realmenwearkilts

If you like what we are doing, please consider becoming one of my patrons at Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/thescottishtexan

 

Belonging

By Andrew Lyon

I’ve been thinking about tartans a lot lately.  We are talking about making one for the group and it got me to contemplate the nature of groups.  We know historically nations had soldiers wear uniforms for more than a few reasons.  Easy to tell who “they” and who “we” are, but an offshoot of that idea is that “we” get a sense of belonging.  Sports teams practice in uniforms, and we have even come up with almost a uniform to determine what “dress” we wear for particular occasions, jeans and t-shirt, slacks and polo, coat and tie.  What’s more is we tend to feel weird if we over- or under-dress.  This all shows an understanding of a shared knowledge.  So, what are tartans?

Looking at the tartan names it’s easy to say it’s all about families.  And you are right, but it’s more.  That’s why we see many family names associated with most tartans.  I’ve spoken with many Scots who think Americans are tartan crazy, and that we put way too much consideration into which tartan is just right.  I personally have more than a few, just as many of you do: Lyon has its own, and was part of Farquharson; my family was from Perthshire, which has another tartan. Also, Ross on my grandma’s side has a tartan.  I’m an American, there is a tartan for the USA, and a Texan, yep you guessed it.  Many organizations, corporations and teams also have approved and usable tartans.

Basically, I think they’re right – Americans are tartan crazy.  And I love it.  I want every kind of tartan I can get for anything I am affiliated with.  You all know the feeling, when you see someone with your same last name, same t-shirt, same car.  You feel a belonging.

This leads back to Scottish people thinking we’re too concerned with what tartan is the right one and wondering why kilts hold such a very special place in our hearts.  First, wearing a kilt is just cool.  It’s a bit different, stands out, and gets you noticed.  Takes just the right kind of person to do that.  Second, it helps create a belonging.

People desire to belong.  We want others to agree with us about the best restaurants, the best drink, our favorite movies, as well as many other seemingly unimportant things.  But as Diana Gabaldon (the author of the Outlander series) wrote, “An Englishman thinks a hundred miles is a long way; and American thinks a hundred years is a long time.”  If you dissect that just a bit you can easily see we want history, and parts of U.S. History are hard to be proud of in some respects.  So here we are, we look up our ancestors and are proud to tell everyone that 22 generations back “I am related to Robert the Bruce” even though 4-8 million people have this in common.  We talk about our clans like they were all amazing warriors and poets, and we seek others of similar backgrounds to share our passion for heritage and history.

I personally love it.  I find it wonderful, and I want to belong just as much as you do.

Boondock 6 ¼ x 46 review

Speaking of belonging, on our show, Holy Smokes (Thursdays at 6:30 central), I lit up the Boondock. Why yes, that is a shameless plug for the FB group live stream my wife and I host on Real Men Wear Kilts.  It seems only fitting to talk about belonging when I review a cigar celebrating a movie about a couple of Bostonian lads with Irish heritage fighting some Russian mobsters.  I hope you can find this cigar and enjoy it too.

This Corona Gorda from Nicaragua is strong and has a wrapper of Pennsylvania broadleaf; its binder and filler are from Ecuador and Nicaragua.

I cut the foot, and on screen for the first time…harder than it looks. Then take a cold draw.  Dark cocoa and espresso fill my nose.  I am wondering if this cigar is going to be as violent as the movie.

I am toasting the foot and take a draw and it is as dark as it looks. Also, it is so strong, continuing the flavors of dark cocoa and espresso, but there is something spicy but not like black pepper.  I taste something more in there too, some earthy tones of wood and trees or plants.  The draw is thick and the taste is powerful.

Almost to the second third and the ash is impressive; it gets to 1.5 inches before falling on its own. It continues to hold together well. That spicy flavor note must be red pepper, it’s just so interesting.

The last third I set the cigar down as we watch Louis Collingwood review a bourbon. When I pick it back up, I’m hit hard by the red pepper.  Man, but somehow, it’s still smooth without being buttery or creamy.  These full-bodied cigars make me hungry.  The other flavors have taken a back seat to the spice, but the cocoa and coffee are still in there.

Taste

A whopping 5 out of 5 Drams – This cigar was wonderful but did have a bit of kick to it.  Strong and full.

Construction

5 out of 5 Standing Stones

Draw

4 out of 5 Bonnie Lasses – It didn’t have an overabundance of smoke as I puffed.  Sometimes I prefer more.

Cost

4 out of 5 Scrooge McDucks coming in at around $10 – $13 USD

Enjoyment

5 out of 5 Kilts that fit just right

The power of this cigar compels me to explain that it’s a great once in a while, not your everyday cigar.  Do not try this without some food in your belly first, and choose a drink that can mellow you out on the other side, so maybe don’t enjoy this bad boy with a coffee.  I found the cigar here, https://atlanticcigar.com/black-works-studio-limited-edition-the-boondock-6-25×46/ .  Pictures here are from myself or this website.

Boondock Saints Prayer (just because)

“And shepherds we shall be.

For Thee, my Lord, for Thee.

Power hath descended forth from Thy hand

That our feet may swiftly carry out Thy command.

So we shall flow a river forth to Thee,

And teeming with souls shall it ever be.

In Nomine Patris, et Fili, et Spiritus Sancti.”

 

The Nostalgia of Kilts and Tobacco Pipes

By Louis Collingwood

A lot of people that begin to wear a kilt do so because it is a way to connect to old history like I did.  Giving myself that nostalgic feeling of days gone by a few hundred years ago that has long since passed. With the fast-paced times of today we all want something that reminds us of times we think were much simpler.  This also holds true for a lot of people that enjoy puffing on some pure tobacco in a nice briar wood pipe.

One of the oldest forms of tobacco consumption began in the 1700s in the form of a pipe.  I’m sure it could be farther back than that, but what I could find of pipes on record.  A lot of pipes from the 1700s were made from clay that can still be purchased today.  More popular today is the briar wood pipe.  Some are machine made, and some are still carved by hand giving them a more artistic and personal feel.  The feeling I get when I have to take the time and care to pack and prepare my pipe for a puff is I am sure still the same as it was 300 years ago.  It is a slower more relaxing process then just getting something rolled up out of a pack that only last a couple of minutes.  When smoking a pipe I slow down, usually thinking of the days events with a more relaxed mind.  Sitting with my kilt wrapped around me taking it easy and just enjoying the moment.  Yes, it is also nice to have some type of drink to go along with the tobacco, but not always.  While smoking on my pipe I must work the tobacco a bit making sure the ashes are tamped down.  This keeps the ember inside going.  Again, something that takes little effort and concentrate my mind to how our brethren would have done this same thing many years ago.  When I am done with the bowl, I make sure to clean it out so it will be ready when I am for the next puff.

There are endless choices of varieties of tobacco now days.  I know that was not the case hundreds of years ago.  Many things can be flavored with vanilla, cherry, whiskey, and spice.  I prefer to stick to natural blends that have different flavors just from the type of tobacco it is.  These would include virginia, cavendish, latakia, burley, perique, oriental to name a few.  Each one having its own unique taste without and added toping or flavor. Like many things in our world today there are many options for each person.  All of the types will still give you the same historical feeling of simple times when you sit down to smoke them.

All these things I do in a way to take what little bit of spare time I have to just enjoy the moment I am in.  Thinking of how our ancestors may have been doing the very same thing in their kilts 300 plus years ago.  After a long day out in the field tending to the garden or farm animals the pipe would have been a great way to end the day and relax before bed, I am sure.  The main point is that my self like many others that live the kilted life love history. I long to find ways to connect to the past.  While the kilt is a very unique historical garment of clothing and connecting with my own family history is how I began my journey into the kilted life.  When I began smoking from a pipe, I got that same nostalgic feeling as I do every time I wrap my kilt around me.  I know the work may not have been simple work to live before the industrial age, but some of the worries of life may have been.

So, to others looking for a way to have that feeling of wistful memories of days long since passed, the pipe has been just another way I have found to make that connection.

 

If you liked this article, you might enjoy reading this one …

Why Women Love ALL Men in Kilts…

By Cynthia A. Nichols

Okay, I have to admit, I am a total sucker for a kilted man.  I think the words, “total sucker,” don’t even come close to describe my complete admiration deeply enough.

I believe it was Sean Connery who made me a believer in kilted men but seriously, what woman isn’t taken by Sean’s Scottish brogue and his gorgeous, kilted self?

When I met my “real & authentic” kilted Scottish-Texan, Raymond Mhor, I began immersing myself into his Celtic/Scottish lifestyle.  First came the Outlander Netflix binge so I could catch up with the rest of the world.  I ate, drank and slept Outlander – all those men in kilts!  (Even some of the soil-dirty ones still look amazing!).

After, we began attending Outlander parties, enjoying local Scottish Highland games and the best was volunteering at our Highland Game Group’s Bagpipe contests (with all the contestants kilted!  Woo hoo!)

READ MORE >>>>

 


Love Kilts, Scotland & Outlander?

Please share this article with all your Celtic / kilted friends and if you have an interesting story that is Celtic, kilt, Scotland, Ireland, Outlander related, please contact me and let’s talk. I am always looking for great stories to share with the kilted Celtic community.

JOIN OUR FB Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/realmenwearkilts/

Check out our You Tube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/c/realmenwearkilts

If you like what we are doing, please consider becoming one of my patrons at Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/thescottishtexan

 

Madainn mhath (Good Morning in Scottish Gaelic)

By Andrew Lyon

Weird thing happened yesterday, my night owl of a wife came to me at about 10pm, 2200 for some of you, and said… I’m sleepy.  You all may not comprehend this, but it’s not a regular occurrence.  I often go to bed around then, but she does NOT.

Funny thing about going to bed early, somehow you tend to wake up early.  So as way leads to way, we were up at 6 AM on a Sunday morning.  I was ecstatic!  This gave us the chance to greet the morning.  I love sunrises though the sun is no real friend of mine.  I tend to burn like the rest of the Celtic folk.

We sat and sipped a coffee and I cut a cigar for each of us: the Avo Domaine found here. https://us.davidoffgeneva.com/avo-domaine-puritos/.

Back to my ongoing point on luxury, I want to point out a bit of a misconception I’ve just gotten past.  I usually have only one cigar a day, and some days I don’t have one at all.  I save that moment for evenings; I pour a little scotch and a glass of water then I head out and relax.  This is a lovely evening ritual that has become a closure to the day.  This event offered an opportunity to change the time of the experience and the beverage of choice which led to a brand-new thing.

Humans love rituals.  Ill bet you all have some.  For the morning, how you get up, what you do first, second, and on and on until you are in the car on the way to work.  I’ll bet you have forgotten to bring something with you a time of two because your routine runs on autopilot.  Get up, wake up your SO, or be awakened by your SO, get the kids up, shower, hair, food, lunch, double check everyone…this monotonous routine is hardwired to help us accomplish things but I don’t think we realize we do this for everything.  I’ll bet you can guide me to where the bread is in your local grocery store because you have a routine when you go shopping.  You may not know that you help yourself get sleepy through routine but you do.  Turn off some lights, change the temps in the house, watch a show…

All that to explain how I forgot that there are many ways to find luxury and enjoyment.  I had missed out on mornings by eliminating them from the possible stress relief that was my evening ritual.  Sometimes, that sleepless night or early morning that feels like a such an intrusion into your life is a blessing, or good fortune in disguise.  Who, what, when, or where do you normally avoid that could lead you to a newfound pleasure?  Mine is mornings with coffee and these fun little cigars.

Avo Domaine (4 x 30)

These small cigars are a new one for me.  Their size put me off at first, but I missed out on their point.

Taking one and sniffing it I find a very clean and easy nutty note.  Cutting the foot is difficult due to its size but after I got that accomplished, I took a cold draw.  Pure smooth butter.  So nice, with that nuttiness I spoke of earlier.  I found lighting it up to be a little difficult due to its size but got it going and took a draw.  It’s smooth through and through.

The clean tobacco is refreshing as well as not having 14 flavor notes to interpret was lovely.  My wife is finding the slow pace at which you have to smoke cigars to be an enjoyable learning curve.  I usually give you the tastes by thirds, but honestly you don’t get much time with these things.  Maybe 20 minutes.

I am more than half way through now, I have already decided to try a second one, seeing I have ¾ a cup a coffee left over.  I usually put aside an hour or more to enjoy a cigar.  These are wonderful for someone without much time.

The taste has become a tad bit stronger but all in all these cigars are smooth and simple as far as taste goes.

Taste

A lovely 5 out of 5 Drams – strongly suggest having these early in the morning with a cup of coffee

Construction

Small but sturdy 5 out of 5 Standing Stones

Draw

5 out of 5 Bonnie Lasses

Cost

5 out of 5 Scrooge McDucks (they come out to about $2.00 USD apiece)

Enjoyment

5 out of 5 Kilts swishing

Two very big thumbs up from this guy right here. This is easily a special occasion cigar but its size and price are perfect for newbies to smoking or for the experienced among you who don’t have an hour to spare.   My wife also said she would like these around a bit more if that was possible.   Pictures are either mine or are from https://us.davidoffgeneva.com/avo-domaine-puritos/

If you liked this article, you might enjoy reading this one …

Why Women Love ALL Men in Kilts…

By Cynthia A. Nichols

Okay, I have to admit, I am a total sucker for a kilted man.  I think the words, “total sucker,” don’t even come close to describe my complete admiration deeply enough.

I believe it was Sean Connery who made me a believer in kilted men but seriously, what woman isn’t taken by Sean’s Scottish brogue and his gorgeous, kilted self?

When I met my “real & authentic” kilted Scottish-Texan, Raymond Mhor, I began immersing myself into his Celtic/Scottish lifestyle.  First came the Outlander Netflix binge so I could catch up with the rest of the world.  I ate, drank and slept Outlander – all those men in kilts!  (Even some of the soil-dirty ones still look amazing!).

After, we began attending Outlander parties, enjoying local Scottish Highland games and the best was volunteering at our Highland Game Group’s Bagpipe contests (with all the contestants kilted!  Woo hoo!)

READ MORE >>>>

 


Love Kilts, Scotland & Outlander?

Please share this article with all your Celtic / kilted friends and if you have an interesting story that is Celtic, kilt, Scotland, Ireland, Outlander related, please contact me and let’s talk. I am always looking for great stories to share with the kilted Celtic community.

JOIN OUR FB Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/realmenwearkilts/

Check out our You Tube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/c/realmenwearkilts

If you like what we are doing, please consider becoming one of my patrons at Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/thescottishtexan

Cigars are a Luxury

By Andrew Lyon

Cigars are a luxury.  I’ve already said a few things about this.  For me the imagery always begins with a room that seems it was made for the latest flavor of a Bond villain.  Wing back leather chairs, dark wood, and quiet enough for contemplative thought.  Maybe you see a cabana somewhere with palm leaves, guayabera shirts and fedoras.  Not typically my view but to each their own.  I am obsessed with imagery.  I love that we can say a word or phrase and encapsulate a thought or moment, much like how memes tend to explain a feeling or situation we can all relate to.  When I light up, it actually tends to be more like the cabana than the library situation (due to the Texas heat) but the luxury I feel as I slowly enjoy the cigar, sip whatever I’m drinking and think about whatever I want to think about feels like true stress relief to me.

One night last year my wife and I sat outside in August, had to be about 90 degrees outside, listened to the cicadas and read passages from the Bible as we prepared for the class we teach to 6-8 year olds at our church.

I’ve enjoyed cigars out in Midland, TX on what has to be the best porch I’ve ever seen at a place called Hemingway.  The trees covered it so well that I was able to sit in the light rain with a cigar and good company.  I’ve enjoyed an evening in Pennsylvania at a wonderful club called the Leaf and Bean as we sat in what can only be described as a log cabin, with huge windows and so much light that I had to wear sunglasses, as I discussed business with a potential client.

Luxury should conjure thoughts of peace, comfort, enjoyment, laughter or quiet respite.  If it didn’t, why would we continue to pursue things of this nature?  All of that to explain how I think you should take time and make luxury a ritual.  You should have a place to enjoy.  I have a comfy chair on my back porch.  Get a drink; don’t let anyone tell you it has to be a particular kind.  Choose a cigar and remove the wrapper.  Squeeze it and then sniff it.  What thoughts come to mind?  I love getting everything all around me: ash tray, drink, lighter or matches, and the cigar.  Toast the foot and take a few puffs, but please remember not to inhale cigars.  Hold that smoke in your mouth for a moment and pay attention to the feelings and tastes you perceive.  As I blow out the smoke, I envision the stresses the problems and issues I’ve dealt with leaving me.  Take a drink and lean back.  Could there be anything better than that ritual you have learned in your life that lets you forget the issues of the day?  I often use this time to pray and read.

The Argyle Conundrum Robusto – 5.5 x 50

Today I’m drinking Scotch with a touch of water and ice; it is hot in Texas.  I remove the wrapper (do these do anything really?) and smell the cigar.  I get a strong dark chocolate profile and something else, maybe a fruit of some kind.  I trim the foot just a bit with my cutter, getting just a little of the bottom. A visual inspection shows the wrapper looks like it was repaired or something, glue sticking out of seams.

I take the unlit cigar and have a cold draw.  This results in dark chocolate, maybe some coffee, a little bit of leather and maybe butter or cream. Whatever it is isn’t strong but brings a nice little smoothness to the experience.

I spark the cigar up and in the first third I taste something sweet, but only just a little.  That dark chocolate and coffee are the main notes throughout. Opening a browser and looking up the info, I find the wrapper is a dark USA Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper.  The binder and filler are Dominican, and the cigar is rolled in the Dominican Republic.  So far, the cigar is burning all right, but I have flaking all around.  I hope the wrapper holds up for the finish.  The smoke is full and seems to waft nicely.

The ash was a bit under 1 inch when it fell off and I begin to move into the second third of the cigar.  I’m getting a smother burn now, seems much creamier than before, still falling apart just before the ash, as if the heat is messing with the construction.  I’ve had to relight the cigar twice now.

It has been about an hour as I move into the last third. It seems I have lost some flavor notes and pick up only creamy butter, maybe some of the leather I had at first.  Still fighting it; I have had to relight a lot.

Taste

A lovely 3 out of 5 Drams

Construction

A rickety 2 out of 5 Standing Stones

Draw

5 out of 5 Bonnie Lasses

Cost

5 out of 5 Scrooge McDucks

Enjoyment

3 out of 5 Kilts

This is a pass for me, but only just so.  It could be an everyday smoke for some. The flavor is nice, but I prefer a cigar that isn’t falling apart. While the taste and draw were good, a luxury shouldn’t force you to rebuild your cigar as you smoke it.   Pictures are either mine, thank you Gaston, or come from holts.com.  This cigar can be found here:  https://www.holts.com/cigars/all-cigar-brands/argyle-conundrum.html

 

If you enjoyed this article, consider reading the following one….

 

Living in the Here and Now

By Cynthia Nichols

“The secrets of health for both mind and body are not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” — Buddha

Welcome to the present.  Welcome to “living in the here and now.”

I know you are asking yourself as you begin reading this article, “What does this topic have to do with the Celtic community, kilts, whisky or anything Celtic?”   I will get to that, but that’s not now, it’s in the future so you have to wait.  (Imagine a grin here.)

“Living in the here and now” essentially means you are focused on today, like, right now.  You’re not thinking of yesterday, or a year ago, or any memory that pops to your mind.  You are also not worrying about what will happen tomorrow.  It is you, literally, being in and thinking about what you are doing right this minute     READ MORE NOW >>>

 


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Luxury Where You Are

By Andrew Lyon

Today I’m looking at this blog and wondering where it’s going. I don’t want it to be me imposing my beliefs on you, though I’d be happy to discuss them.  I think I want it to be about luxury.  I’ve talked about how it took me 40 years to realize I don’t know how to stop and smell the roses, so to speak, and just relax.  That being said I want to talk, teach and learn about luxury.

What is it?  Webster defines it as a condition of abundance or great ease and comfort.  What comes to mind when I say the word?  Take a second and consider this and answer it for yourself… I think of a leather chair in a comfortable atmosphere.  A porch swing and cold iced tea.  Maybe even a Sunday morning when you wake up with the sun shining in and the house is still and nice.

Luxury sometime gets a bad rap because we think it means having the fanciest, most expensive everything.  That’s not necessarily what it means at all. As I write this, I have finished mowing my lawn.  I feel like I’ve accomplished something.  I have on a flannel “jammie kilt” I made myself while I am sitting back in a worn camping chair with a cold beverage costing less than $1, and a cigar coming in at a whopping $2.5.  Point is total cost to me is less than $5 and I feel like a king.

Quietly typing away as I listen to the wind, the trees, a bird, and my wife humming some melody, I realize I have been aiming at the wrong things for far too long.

What other things have I misjudged?  Covid 19 has put us all in an interesting place.  We are all reevaluating what we really “need.”  I’ve heard so many of my friends trying some cooking methods they hadn’t before.  Looking for things they can do to their house for cheap.  Spending time with their kids outdoors instead of at the movies.  Some really good family values returning.  Amidst all this, some people like me have learned to chill.  I sometimes enjoy a drag on my cigar, close my eyes, and thank God for what I have.  I have lost stuff in this time of crisis.  Please don’t think I have been immune.  Many adjustments have had to occur.  But I have my family, for the moment a place to live, and some de-stressing I’ve never understood in my life.  Sounds like a bunch of wins to me.

So where else can we inject luxury in our lives?  I’m seeing videos online of how to make bath balls, living room forts, and dinners from the stuff you already have in your house.  Putting together meals kings would be envious of, soaking my tired muscles after a long workout, and making sure the pillows are plentiful as we started watching Stanger Things all over again.

The theme is twofold.  First, luxury doesn’t have to be a yacht on the Riviera, it can be a lawn chair and baby pool where you soak your feet in this hot summer sun.  Second, we’ve been missing the little things that can be luxurious that are all around us.  Take a minute, and try to put a little luxury into whatever you are doing right now.

Argyle Banquet (5 x 50)

So far in the box of Argyle cigars I bought, this is the winner.  I pulled this Banquet robusto out of its wrapper and immediately feel that it has a better-quality wrapper.  It smells leathery and a cold draw gives me a sense of a well-oiled glove.

The Golden leaf wrapper is from the Connecticut River Valley and has some aged Dominican and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos.  It is a medium bodied cigar.

Today I’m drinking some coffee with a bit of whiskey added.  As I toast the foot, I am happy to see a consistent burn, and after a couple of puffs it is going quite nicely.

My first drag brings out that leather and fresh creamery butter.  Super smooth.  The smoke is thick and wafts making dragons in my mind.  Or is it unicorns I see? I am immediately content with this cigar.

I am into the 2nd third of the cigar.  As usual the flavors are just more prominent.  I can taste something nutty and there is a hint of cocoa but it’s not very powerful.  I am contented as I watch the ash grow and fall at around an inch and a half.  The ash is consistent and dense not flaky like with other budget smokes I have had.

The last third has begun and I taste a bit of bitterness, as expected from the end.  Sometimes I don’t get too far into this part.  The heat and taste are a bit too much for me but I find the medium bodied experience along with that continued creaminess to smooth out this finish for me though now I can add a spicy flavor profile.  Maybe pepper or something like it.  The cigar has held up exceptionally well and hasn’t gone out once.  It’s lasted well over an hour and leaves me wanting more.

Taste

A lovely 4 out of 5 Drams

Construction

Solidly made 5 out of 5 Standing Stones

Draw

4 out of 5 Bonnie Lasses

Cost

5 out of 5 Scrooge McDucks

Enjoyment

5 out of 5 Kilts with a robust breeze

All in all, this is a thumbs up for me.  A must have for your everyday smokes.  I would be more than happy to share with a friend while we sat outside and chatted the evening away.  You can find it here https://www.holts.com/cigars/all-cigar-brands/argyle-banquet-selection.html.  Pictures are either mine or come from holts.com

 


Love Kilts, Scotland & Outlander?

Please share this article with all your Celtic / kilted friends and if you have an interesting story that is Celtic, kilt, Scotland, Ireland, Outlander related, please contact me and let’s talk. I am always looking for great stories to share with the kilted Celtic community.

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CIGAR REVIEW – God and Cigars

By Andrew Lyon

What a time we live in.  I hear that a lot.  It’s June in the year 2020 and the world has been through it.  Fires in Australia, plagues in Africa, pandemic around the world and riots in the United States just to name a few.  Before we get too deep, I want to reassure you that this is not going to be a sermon.  I am a man of faith, a lot of it.  I am happy to talk about it anytime anywhere.  Here, I just want to tell you that I recently learned something I want to share.

Twice in recent history I ended up in situations talking faith and views and both times I had a cigar in hand. Topics and views aside, I realized men in general have a hard time opening up.  Maybe it’s nature, maybe nurture.  I’m not here to debate that with you; it’s just an observation.  But something magical happened when we had cigars in our hands.  We didn’t look each other in the eye much, but we opened up in a way I’ve seldom experienced.

We talked for hours, needed a second cigar.  Just sat on the same side of the table and talked.  We talked about our pasts, our hopes for the future, and how we…. dun dun dunnnnn…. felt. Finally, we talked about how we could help each other, back to the usual man pattern of problem-solving.

This got me to wonder, what was it?  How did two manly individuals who aren’t very touchy-feely manage to open up and talk about some of the most difficult subjects that we could have right now?  How did we keep our cool and walk away friends at the end of the night?  My only answer can be the cigars.  Well, maybe not the cigars only.  Maybe it could have been a cup of coffee.  Maybe throwing axes and a wall.  Point is we had something, a shield to protect our manly personas.  It was almost like we talked to the cigars and happened to overhear what the other person said.

I looked toward history.  Whoa, there are many examples of world leaders smoking cigars. I wondered if this was more than just a habit or hobby.  Winston Churchill was almost never seen without one. Churchill said he believed that smoking helped bolster him to face the daunting challenges of his personal and political life.  All of the U.S. founding fathers, JFK, FDR, LBJ…and we all know Clinton loved his cigars.  Maybe they figured out something; a secret no one has let the rest of us in on.  We need something in our hands to focus on in order to come to terms and discuss difficult things openly.

All that to say, simply, if you have Stuff to Talk About, why not give it a try?  Ask a gentleman out to a local cigar bar and light one up.  Sit on the same side of the table and see where it goes.

Today’s Cigar is the Filthy Hooligan

At first glance this cigar looks like a novelty.  There are two wrappers of different shades spanning the length like a barber pole.  The label, all in green and printed on plain paper without any gold or silver leaf, looks like it was scribbled on a cocktail napkin.

This cigar by Alec Bradley is truly unique in a world of luxury and finery, suggesting it’s more at home in a pub during whatever sporting event you prefer than in your pampered leather chair.

There two variations of this cigar; I have the Toro 6” x 50 with the Candela leaf and Nicaraguan Jalapa leaf wrappers. The fillers are mixed as well, from Honduran and Panamanian tobacco leaves.

Interesting to note, I want a pint of ale, and I am more of a Scotch man who enjoys an occasional glass of wine.  According to what I read, there are only 2000 boxes made each year and they are released on Saint Patrick’s Day.  By the way, that’s my birthday, so I would say this cigar is a very good fit for me.

I pull the cigar out of the wrapper and squeeze it, a firm reply is happily received, then I cut off the cap and take a cold drag. I never read the flavor notes from the manufacturer until after I try to form my own opinions. I’m puzzled and hand it to my wife to get her opinion.  I purposefully do not share mine yet. She looks at me and says, “Is that some kind of green plant…. grass?” “Green tea?” I suggest. We can’t identify it precisely but I get a very earthy tone of something green, not like dirt but more like a plant.  Yes, I know tobacco is a plant, just go with me on this.

Lit it up and toasted the foot, which happily started smoking, and took my first pull.  Not too difficult with just the right density.  The greenness of the cigar continues, and it’s smooth, it’s so buttery smooth.   I am on my first third and my wife has reached over 3 times to taste it.  She never does that.  She typically takes a small puff and tells me what she thinks.  This is something special.  The ash doesn’t stay together very well, it has fallen off a couple of times now.  The burn seems a bit uneven, maybe because of all the mixing of the different kinds of wrappers and fillers.

I’m into the second third and finding nothing I’m not expecting.  The flavors have intensified and the medium body experience I’m getting from this cigar is lovely.  My wife continues to talk about the smell of the smoke as it burns in my ash tray.  Now I’m adding in some hints of cocoa and the combination of the green flavor is wonderful.  The after taste is very buttery and creamy.

There is a rhythm to smoking cigars. I try to keep my smoke slow and even as I move into the last third of the cigar.  People often complain about taking that one puff too many and hitting a very sour flavor.  As you are pulling the flavors through the cigar you will find they are accumulating in this last bit.  So far, I have not found a part of this one I don’t enjoy.  This has been a treat through and through.  I usually give up on cigars when I start feeling the heat on my fingers and on my tongue.  This time, I wish I had another Filthy Hooligan to start up immediately!  Let’s break it down.

Taste

Easily a 5 out of 5 Drams

Construction

I’m going to give this a 3 out of 5 Standing Stones

Draw

This gets 4 out of 5 Bonnie Lasses

Cost

Coming in between $9-$10 we get a happy 4 out of 5 Scrooge McDucks

Enjoyment

5 out of 5 Kilts

Recommendation

This cigar is a solid hit with me and the wife.  If it’s in your budget to get the box it could be an everyday smoke but I will set this aside as a once in a while.  My only slight complaint was the uneven burn.

 


Love Kilts, Scotland & Outlander?

Please share this article with all your Celtic / kilted friends and if you have an interesting story that is Celtic, kilt, Scotland, Ireland, Outlander related, please contact me and let’s talk. I am always looking for great stories to share with the kilted Celtic community.

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CIGAR REVIEW – Waxing Poetic about Cigars

By Andrew Lyon

This series aims to inform you of my opinions on cigars and maybe just a bit more.  I have been enjoying cigars now for a couple of years.  It all started with a very bad day that ended with a cigar.  An Estaban Carreras Chupacabra and a glass of 12-year-old Balvenie in the back yard helped me understand that in 40 years I had never learned how to truly relax and just enjoy a moment.  A new passion was born on that night.

I spent hours looking for the best cigars and accessories, trying to learn the trade.  Asked everyone I knew what they liked and why, but I found it difficult to find like-minded individuals.  Even if it is a trope, I began a cigar journal.  What happened that day, what I thought of the cigar, yes even the bands were taped in that book for my memory.  Soon I found the journal getting used less and less, and I forgot to save a band here or there.  I found sites with “deals” getting whole boxes of the same cigars and didn’t really take the time to write down my feelings and thoughts.  Kinda sad, so here I am, after hundreds of cigars, trying to figure out how to write something compelling for you to read and enjoy.

How will I rate cigars?  I will reserve the right to amend this evaluation process.  I have to warn you, I am not a snob.  I have a lot of forgiveness for imperfections.  I would prefer to tell you what I like about something rather than what I hate.  I will use a 1-5 scale, 3 being average, to rate:

Taste

I will tell you what flavors I taste in the cigar, and whether they “work” for me.

Construction

I will discuss the binder, filler and wrapper but also a bit about my experience with the physicality of the cigar. This will also include any notes about the ash and how the cigar handles being smoked.  Let’s face it, we’ve all had that one that fell apart as we attempted to smoke it anyway.

Draw

The Draw is all about what happens when I take a puff.  There is something so satisfying about that puff full of smoke that stays solid and swirls like I’m Gandalf trying to make a dragon appear.

Cost

There is a stereotype.  Before you get your hackles up and want to beat me for that word, hear me out.  “The Scottish man is cheap.” I disagree, but I do have to admit I cannot stand to waste money.  I have no problem buying a $20 cigar, but was it $10, $15 better than another cigar?  This will be evaluated, and I’ll drop the cigar into one of a few categories.  Is it an everyday smoke, a once in a while, or for a special occasion?

Enjoyment

This should be an easy category, but I submit to you it is not.  I have great examples of this.  The most enjoyable concert I’ve ever been to in my life must be Weird Al, but it wasn’t the best concert.  One of my favorite movies has to be Demolition Man.  I just enjoy it even though it’s a terrible movie.  I’m sure you are all getting the idea by now.

To that end I will give you my inaugural cigar review, on the most Scottish-sounding cigar line I could find: the Argyle Dark Corojo Robusto (5 x 54).  I just pulled the cigar out of the wrapper and gave it a small squeeze; it is not overly dense and not too soft.  The smell I have here is like leather, but not a freshly oiled leather from a baseball glove new from the store, rather more like an old book that hasn’t been handled too much over the years.  This is not to say I don’t like it. I am excited to light it up.  I cut off the end cap and toasted the foot.

My first draw finds much of what I expected from the sniff, leather through and through.  My second draw finds a bit of spiciness I can only describe as pepper but not overly so.

As the name implies it has a corojo wrapper and a mix of Dominican and Nicaraguan long-fillers.  The wrapper looks a bit dry and seems to flake off a bit more than I would like it to.  It’s burning well; I haven’t tried to ash it yet and it is already over an inch long.  I haven’t had a burn out in the first 30 minutes of the smoke which is always a treat.  I’m pairing it with Monkey Shoulder for just a bit of enjoyment. Honestly, I don’t know if there is ever a time when Scotch doesn’t complement a cigar.

This isn’t the best draw I have ever seen but it is satisfying.  Taking a long pull and stopping for a moment to taste everything in the 2/3 of the cigar doesn’t result in a lot of difference. I think I can taste hints of some creamy buttery finishing notes, but they don’t seem to manifest as I would expect.

I’m in the last third now, the cap came off and it’s becoming difficult to keep it together, but my draw is still strong and as usual the nub is starting to get hot.  This is not always my favorite part, but the cigar is still going strong.   I still taste the leather and as with other cigars that last third is a bit stronger than the rest.  It has lasted me about 1.5 hours and I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly.

When considering this smoke, remember that I got a box of 20 of these for $50 USD.    $2.50 per cigar makes this cigar really hard to hate.  I like when a cigar is very inexpensive, but I am still able to enjoy it from start to finish.

Let’s break it down.

Taste:                    3 out of 5 Drams

Construction:     2 out of 5 Kirks

Draw:                    4 out of 5 Bonnie Lasses

Cost:                      5 out of 5 Scrooge McDucks

Enjoyment:         4 out of 5 Kilts

This is an average of 3.6 out of 5 for an everyday smoke.  I wouldn’t pull this out for guests if you are trying to impress them but If you just want an evening out on your porch with the libation of your choice, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

 

If you liked this article, you might enjoy the following one…

 

The Kilted Cajun

By Damian Broussard

I grew up in a small town in southern Louisiana.  When I say southern, I mean less than one hour to the Gulf of Mexico.  The definition of deep south.  Growing up, I was immersed in Cajun culture.  The music, food, and way of life encompassed daily life, but I always had an interest in my mother’s side of the family.  The Irish side of my ancestry. Thus began my genealogy research that lasted many years which led to my deep rooted interest of my Celtic heritage.  All of my interest and research came to fruition when I attended and graduated from University of Dundee in Scotland.  My fascination and passion for my Celtic heritage was solidified…. READ MORE >>>

 

 


Love Kilts, Scotland & Outlander?

Please share this article with all your Celtic / kilted friends and if you have an interesting story that is Celtic, kilt, Scotland, Ireland, Outlander related, please contact me and let’s talk. I am always looking for great stories to share with the kilted Celtic community.

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