From the Editor Publisher/Editor: Kevin Moore Sales Manager: Jeff Stroud Sales Associate: Mark Cartee Photographer: Dennis Lathem www.photobama.com Art Direction: Hope Chastain, Katapult Solutions, Inc. www.katapultsolutions.com Contributing Writers: Jeff Alverson Doug Bell Mark Bremer Mike Butler Matt Coutler Danner Kline
Woody Lawley Kent Michael Kevin Moore Dave Rigdon Greg Williams Randi Wright
Souhthern Cigar Lifestyle is published monthly by Southern Cigar Lifestyle, Inc.,9340 Helena Road, Suite F167, Birmingham, AL 35244. The phone number is 1-205-332-3466. The fax number is 205-449-6556. Reproduction of any part of Southern Cigar Lifestyle without permission of the publisher is prohibited. Distribution of this magazine does not constitute an endorsement of information, products or services. Views expressed in Southern Cigar Lifestyle do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. Every effort has been made by the Southern Cigar Lifestyle staff to insure accuracy of the publication contents. However, we do not guarantee the accuracy of all information nor the absence of errors and omissions; hence, no responsibility can be or is assumed. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2009 by Southern Cigar Lifestyle. Circulation & Distribution: Southern Cigar Lifestyle is free and available at targeted, high-traffic locations throughout the Birmingham, AL area.
Welcome to the April 2009 publication of Southern Cigar Lifestyle. I hope that you continue to enjoy our efforts. Starting this month, we have expanded our distribution to include the Florida, panhandle as well as Tuscaloosa, Al. We are in the planning stages of expanding our distribution efforts to Atlanta and the Nashville, markets in the very near future as well. Spring has arrived and I look forward to many Saturday afternoon’s outside with a good stogie. Head out to your local retail cigar shop, stock up and enjoy the great weather. This month our cover story is an interview with Mancow Muller. It was a pleasure to speak with him and learn that he is a avid cigar smoker. This issue includes an interview with the owners or Avalon cigars, an article on barbecue rubs as well as our featured articles on wine, beer, NASCAR, golf, fishing and other interesting reads. Keep in mind that the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR race will be held on April 26, 2009 at the Talladega Superspeedway. Grab a handful of cigars and head out to the race. The Talladega Superspeedway has been a big supporter of our magazine and let’s show our support by attending the race. Thank you again for choosing to read our publication. If you enjoy it, please support our advertisers and let them know that you saw their advertisement in our magazine. You can also visit SouthernCigarLifestyle.com where we have links to our advertisers websites. All our previous issues are available for download online. Send a link to the website to your friends and introduce them to our publication. For thoughts, comments, suggestions for content or any other ideas related to the magazine I can be reached via email at: Kevin@southerncigarlifestyle.com.
— Kevin Moore Kevin@southerncigarlifestyle.com
Cigar Friendly! April 2009 3
4 Southern Cigar Lifestyle
About the Editor
On the Cover
Table of Contents April 2009
3 From the Editor 6 Sporting Roundup Kevin Moore lives in Hoover with his wife Amy and his three children. Reagan his oldest daughter born in 2002, Keegan his son born in 2003 and Karis his youngest born in 2005. Kevin is an Industrial Engineer from Auburn University by vocation but has spent many years as a software consultant throughout the southeast and even a year in Frankfurt Germany. Kevin enjoys a few cigars a week, an occasional round of golf and restoring old arcade video games. Kevin currently owns a window treatments business and he and is family are members of Shades Mountain Independent Church in Bluff Park.
- Tee Time - Crowning a Hall of Gamer: Hubert Green - Green to Checkers - Happy 40th Anniversary Talladega
Mancow Muller.- pg. 14 Barbecue Rubs - pg. 10 Avalon Cigars - pg. 20
8 Cigar 101 - 101.1.3 Wrappers Part III
Smokin’ and Grillin’ - Barbecue Rubs
Traveler’sCorner - Scenic Seattle
Adult Libations - A Closer Look at Beer: Brown Ales - The Wine Guy - Do I Really Need a Wine Cellar?
20 Special Feature - Avalon Cigars and the Blues
Scenic Seattle - pg. 12
Just Blowin’ Smoke
4 Things Men Should Know
The Great Outdoors - An Unusual Outdoor Experience
4 Things Men Should KNow - pg. 22
The Smokin’ Times
Barbecue Rubs - pg. 10 April 2009 5
Sporting Roundup Tee Time Crowning a Hall of Gamer: Hubert Green
An early walk at venerable old Birmingham Country Club will allow you on most mornings, to catch a glimpse of a Hall of Fame golfer, doing what he’s done for most of his life. From a distance it’s hard to see who is hitting balls from the indoor area on the back of the range, but as you get closer, it obvious, as this thinly framed gentleman takes an unusual waggle, and then lashes at the ball, that Hubert Green is doing what he’s been doing most of his life, and that’s working on his golf game. The recent inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame loves to hit balls, and shrugs when told of his old friend Mac McClendon’s comment that “Hubert’s work ethic was unreal. He made himself a great champion.” It was an attitude that was instilled in him at an early age, by his late father, Albert Huey Green, a well known surgeon in Birmingham, who always told his son that if you’re going to cut the grass, then cut all the grass. If you choose to dig holes for a living, make sure you dig the best hole there is. Hubert, has followed his father’s advice his entire life, and after a much publicized battle with neck and throat cancer, in which he described as “a nine hole match with the devil”, he continued his career on the Champions tour, even though it was difficult for him to talk, or even drink water, because of the chemotherapy and radiation he endured in the infected areas. The treatments also zapped his strength and his wiry frame, became almost frail looking, which took plenty of distance from his game. “I never was long anyway. What else was I going to do, feel sorry for myself, Oh woe is me, I’d have gone crazy sitting at home.”
final round. After being told of the threat on the 14th hole, Green opted to continue playing with police officer’s at his side. After he holed out for par on 15, he looked to the crowd and barked, “Chicken.” A year later, he would miss a three foot putt on the final hole of the 1978 Masters that would have forced a playoff with Gary Player. He also three putted the 16th hole for bogey. The day before his induction ceremony, he sounded like it happened yesterday, instead of thirty years ago. “That was a total joke, I blew it, but life goes on.” Like most southern born youngsters, playing at Augusta National was not only special to him, but also his father who died in 1975, at the age of 75 of stomach cancer, but always followed his son at the Masters. “He’d walk down number one, down the right side of two, and stop by the tree on that hill to watch us lay out and hit tee shots on three”, Green remembered. “After he passed, I found myself turning on two and looking back, and he wasn’t there.” There is a soft reflective side to the crusty Green, who never let that show with the media who followed him, or his fellow competitors. When describing the treatments he went through in Gainesville, Florida, where he would bring in a stuffed toy horse that would play his alma mater Florida State fight song, Green said without hesitation, “Chemo doesn’t favor this redneck. Matter of fact, it is worse than missing a three footer on 18 at Augusta.” With his health on the rebound, and a hall of fame induction ceremony behind him, Green now looks favorably on the future. “I was always told, never look back, always ahead. You can get frustrated or mad over a bad shot, but it’s over with. Like surviving cancer, you take one day at a time and keep working on it.”
I remember talking with several of Hubert’s friends, who showed up at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine for his induction ceremony last year and they all remembered him as one of the toughest competitors they ever faced. Long time friend Bill Kratzert recalled playing with him during a practice round shortly after his cancer diagnosis. Kratzert simply couldn’t find the fairway, while Hubert was in his usual spot, right down the middle. “He was all over me, as usual, so I asked him, why you riding me so hard?” He says, “Man, I’m dying of cancer, this might be the last time I can give you a bunch of (grief).” I say, “Here I am feeling a little compassion for you, and you are still the Doberman you always were.” It was wonderful.
Another shot comes out of the shed at Birmingham Country Club, which means that this self taught golfer is still trying to figure things out about is game. He and his family moved back to his hometown recently, and just like he did when he was a youngster banging balls on the range he is still doing things his way. He’s digging the best hole he knows how and for most of his life, the ball has gone right in the center. — Doug Bell
“He’s somebody you’d want to go to battle with”, said Dave Stockton, who played with Hubert on the 1977 Ryder Cup team. “He wasn’t intimidated by anybody. He wasn’t even intimidated by any golf course. He wore his heart and soul on his sleeve, and it rubbed some people wrong. That’s just Hubert.”
Doug Bell can be heard on the PGA Tour Network on Sirius/XM radio and also on ESPNU television where he handles play by play for college football and basketball. You can watch Tee Time, his weekly golf television show on ABC 3340, Sunday’s at 11:05 PM and on WOTM-TV, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8 AM and 6 PM, Tuesday and Thursday at 9 AM, and Saturday at 8:30 AM and 7 PM.
Green won 19 times on the PGA Tour, including the 1985 PGA Championship and 1977 U.S. Open at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma. That’s where a caller told the local FBI that Green would be shot on the 15th hole during the
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Green to Checkers Happy 40th Anniversary Talladega
I wanted to do something REALLY special for this occasion. At the suggestion of Kristi King, the Richard Petty of media, marketing and public relations at the World's Most Competitive Track, I called Don Naman. Don has never missed a race at the famed 2.66 mile oval. What started as a quick trip down memory lane, turned into an hour and a half of some of the most compelling stories I have ever heard. There is no way to convey to you, my NASCAR friends, the wealth of delightful, insightful and ‘never-been-told before’ history Naman possesses. If my bleeping recorder had not cut off five minutes into the conversation, I would have had it posted as a podast on the Southern Cigar Lifestyle website.
Naman was hired as the General Manager of The Talladega Super Speedway in 1970. He stayed in the draft for 18 years before moving to The International Motorsports Hall of Fame, where he was crew chief for 12 years. He still consults today, when asked, which happens often. So Don is 40 for 40 in my book. As many of you know, I am not a writer by trade. Broadcasting has been very good to me. “Writer's block!” I have heard of it. How about writer's overload? Naman told me about a conversation he had with Dale Earnhardt, Sr. after one of his 10 'Dega victories. "I can see the air, I can see the draft" Earnhardt told him. Didn't we all know that? Seems he passed that along to Junior. Naman was once so curious about the magic of the Talladega draft that he, as only the track GM could do, snuck down into turns 3 and 4 during the final lap of one of the many fabulous finishes. He was mere yards from the track! On his knees he watched in a awe as Allison took the perfect line, at the perfect time to beat The Intimidator to the flag. Naman spoke fondly of The Alabama Gang. "Donnie and Bobby won the first two races when I was GM in 1971, two home town stars" Naman said, with a since of Alabama pride. Naman added, "You know how the crowd's today cheer when Dale, Jr. takes the lead? You should have seen them when Bobby and Donnie ran side by side through the tri-oval. They never sat down.” He was also very quick to point out, that after years unjust delay, Donnie was going into the museum that Naman nurtured for a dozen years. Yes, Donnie Allison will be inducted in April of this year. Remember when Bill Elliott owned the keys to Talladega? Remember when he had an oil leak very early in the race and fell two laps down? Did you know this? When that fabulous thunderbird came up on Cale
Yarborough, the race leader at the time, his crew said "Don't let him pass!" Yarborough responded, "I am a lap ahead!" His crew yelled, "No you're not!" as Elliott dusted him in yet another trip to victory lane. That number 9 Coors/Melling Ford came from over five miles down UNDER GREEN! Talladega has always been known for showing favor to the first time winner, in some cases, the only first place finish on their NASCAR resume. Dick Brooks, Bobby Hillin, Jr. and Ron Bouchard. ‘13 races, 13 different faces’. Naman led that marketing campaign until Darrell Waltrip put a stop to a wonderful advertising slogan. Naman started at ‘8’, by the way. Ok, back to Bouchard, DW and Terry Labonte. They were in a door handle to door handle battle that had the crowd worked into a Hueytown frenzy. “They were ten inches apart, and suddenly out of nowhere came Bouchard. Waltrip thought he'd won" said Naman with a laugh. A no name driver from Maine, yes Maine, ended up in victory lane, where puzzled reporters struggled with his New England accent. NASCAR devotee, and gentleman Don Naman still ‘works’ in the business. "Taking the Red Farmer exemption, I am 49 years old" he told me at the conclusion of 90 minutes that flew by in a Buddy Baker lap. He helps teams find sponsors and still lives in Lincoln, Alabama, 3 miles from the track he helped bring to prominence 40 years ago.
"I still get that amazing feeling when I drive through the tunnel and when they drop the green flag....The Lord led me to Talladega" Naman stated. I left one story out, and will save it for a rare race rainout. NASCAR hired this brilliant promoter from a little track in Maryville, TN. When faced with The Billy Graham Crusade, Johnny Cash and President Richard M. Nixon he dropped the green flag anyway. It is a story this man of tremendous faith tells so eloquently, he called me back to say, "God Bless." NOTE: The last issue said I worked for NBC 13, I did for almost 12 years, but no longer. I currently work for Concept Inc. a full service ad agency, The Talladega Superspeedway and The Gulf South Conference. — Matt Coulter Matt Coulter had been a TSS track announcer for 20 years, and 36 years as a broadcaster in Alabama and is currently working for WTTO CW 21, CSS, eporro.com, Southern Cigar Lifestyle Magazine and Concept, Inc. Matt worked 12 years as sportscaster for WVTM TV and 15 years in Birmingham on Sportstalk radio and has announced for Birmingham Fire, Barracudas, Steeldogs, UAB, Jacksonville State and Hoover. Matt is a 6 time AP award winner and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 2009 7
CIGAR 101 101.1.3 Wrappers Part III Corojo, Criollo , Corojo-99
If Connecticut and Pennsylvania broadleaf tobacco leaves, along with a few other American varieties (including the hallucinogenic rustica cohibas used by the Taino), originated the whole ‘cigar wrapper’ concept, it didn’t take the Dutch, Spanish, and English traders long to add to their repertoire. Sumatra wrapper revolutionized the early capa world, with its extremely tight grain and spicy taste, and almost kicked all other types of stogie wrappers to the curb. Good old Yankee ingenuity quickly fired back with the invention of the ‘shade’ method to produce an improved Windsor Valley leaf, and the race was on. Versions known as Java, Indonesia, Vorstenlanden, and others came and went, but American broadleaf, shade and adapted Sumatra varieties pretty much controlled the market for quite a while. And then, as the old song goes – ‘along came Jones’. But in this case, the soon-to-be-famous Mr. Jones had the distinctive name of Corojo!! Corojo had the humblest of beginnings. It just ‘volunteered’, as my father used to say-- nobody intentionally planted, bred, or hybridized the first known Corojo-and was discovered one day by workers toiling in a lowly field of criollo (native Cuban tobacco). The farm was known as Santa Ines del Corojo, a vega rented by Diego Rodriguez—so Corojo it was! This unintentional miracle discovery took place in Cuba’s famous Vuelta Abajo region near the town of St. Juan y Martinez some time along about 1928-1930. By the 1930’s, an improved Corojo was used in virtually all Cuban cigars! Yep, this dadgum lucky seed became what made Cuban cigars the standard of all standards, wherever, whenever, premium cigars were judged. However, Corojo had (and still has) its eccentricities and weaknesses. Low yield was a bit of a drawback, but susceptibility to diseases such as Blue mold and
black shank was even worse-- much, much worse. It was not uncommon for a farmer to go to bed with a rich, bountiful field of Corojo plants one night, and wake up to find he was the proud owner of a dying, withering vega of Wrapper ugly leaves full of sad, ragged holes! El Corojo had met its downfall, or at least it seemed that its Binder reign was threatened. Filler The leaf that put the Vuelta Abajo-Pinar del Rio area on the map, that had this region of Cuba spoken about in terms and tones similar to those used to describe the terroir of France’s famous winemaking provinces, suddenly had a failing fault-- a fatal flaw, a weakness so bad that almost overnight the Cuban government started research into alternatives, and especially hybrids that attempted to retain Corojo’s best qualities with the disease-resistance of other varieties. Well, God’s will, luck, and hard scientific work by certified agronomists, finally saved the day—and in doing so, saved Cuba’s ass (for lack of a better term)! Fungicides were found, planting and harvesting times were adjusted, and hybrids were grown that allowed Cuba’s cash crop to continue. But if, in the words of Ms.Gertrude, ‘A rose is a rose is a rose’, Corojo is Corojo, but not Corojo—at least not everywhere, and not so much, if at all. Unofficially, the true Cuban El Corojo died around 1997 (but don’t tell the Eiroas, of Camacho Cigar fame, that I dared utter these words—or I’ll never be invited to Honduras again). Today, almost all premium cigar manufacturers use Corojo-99, Habano-2000 (H2K), Criollo 98 and 99, or some other hybrid that uses El Corojo as its essence, but not its entire soul. Basically, if you ain’t smoking a Camacho Corojo, you ain’t tasting ‘the real McCoy’! Now why, if I’m so danged terrified of Don Julio and his son, Christian Eiroa, that I find myself writing these few words with bated breath, am I not equally fearful and/or respectful of all the other great cigar growers, blenders, and manufacturers of the world? Well, I, in my infinite dumbness, and simplistic manner of saying my piece, have the following formal answer: I hold in all honor and have the utmost respect for the work of the Fuentes, Nick Perdomo, Lito Gomez, Frank Llaneza, John Oliva, Gilberto Oliva, the Padrons, Daniel Nunez, Benjie Mendenez, the Newmans, and so many others that I could never list them all. But in brevity and in truth, I don’t know and I’m not real sure that I care! They’re all great, it’s all good, but something, somebody, somewhere HAS TO BE THE BEST, and in my humble opinion (and at least for now, this little article is based on MY personal opinion), El Corojo is the bomb!!!!
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COROJO VOCABULARY: COROJO- First developed in the 1930s at the El Corojo plantation outside San Juan y Martinez, Cuba. El Corojo had served as the wrapper for some of the greatest cigars ever made on the island: from the aristocratic Montecristo to the much-hyped (and counterfeited) Cohiba Esplendido. The El Corojo wrapper was what caught the eye of serious cigar smokers, from Fidel Castro and John F. Kennedy to your grandfather, your father, and me. El Corojo makes a cigar look so rich and beautiful that it makes you want to smoke it. Some say that it’s dead—me, I choose to believe that, unlike Elvis and Tupac, Corojo lives on! HABANA-2000- Corojo hybrid. Derived from crossing El Corojo with Bell 6110 (a Cuban cigarette tobacco) to produce a better yielding, more disease resistant leaf. The first crops had severe combustion problems, but today’s Habano tobacco has shown much improvement and is highly successful. Tastes good, too.
CRIOLLO-98- Improved Corojo hybrid; getting better, especially when fermented and sold as maduro. COROJO-99- More improved Corojo hybrid. If you’re not Camacho, this is a darned good alternative. SAN ANDRES/MORRON COROJO- Shhhhhhhh...don’t tell anyone, but this is a darned good Corojo. And you like it. And you probably have no clue who uses it, because the cigar manufacturers think you wouldn’t try it if you knew that it was grown in Mexico by one of the very best tobacco leaf producers in the world, the Turrent family. Mexican (give up your childish prejudice against Mexican tobacco, and read on a bit) tobacco is one of the most commonly used maduro wrappers in the industry, along with Conn. Broadleaf and Brazilian mata norte. Macanudo and Partagas cigars use Turrent Mexican binders; one of the world’s highest rated cigars (one that even uses serial numbers) and proclaims itself to be a Nicaraguan puro actually uses Mexican maduro. So there-Mexican corojo is getting better every year.
The Eiroas, from their languid, palatial, luxurious, Jamastran Valley fields in southern Honduras, keep the faith. Don Julio grows it, Christian blends it, and the seemingly odd bedfellow combination of Camacho Cigars and Davidoff of Geneva markets it-- the spirit, the smooth spiciness, the strength, and the flavor of El Corojo lives on! It might take the Mossad, the OSS, CIA, the FBI, and someone equal to my mother to ferret out how the Eiroas continue to grow such an exquisitely macho product as “the son of El Corojo” in their fields (and Camacho’s fields this year are the most beautiful, seemingly perfect in every way that I have ever seen)! Let me be clear in further explaining that I love the flavor, strength, and aroma of El Corojo (Camacho), but I also very much enjoy STC/Gran Habano’s Corojo #5, Los Blancos Primos, Avalon’s Hellhounds, Vegas de Santiago’s D. O. series, Tobacco Shop’s new Leon No. 1, Alec Bradley’s Tempus, Fonseca’s Casa Magna, Oliveros’s King Havano, almost everything blended by ‘Pepin’ Garcia, and lots of others. If a cigar says Corojo in its provenance, if it has Habano on the box, if the term H2000 (a bit less), or Criollo (well, some Criollo) appears anywhere on the band, Michael G. will proudly give that stogie a try! Heck, why hold back-- I’ll go ahead and just flat out say it: VIVA EL COROJO!! LONG LIVE EL COROJO!!!! — Mike Butler Mike Butler is a retired school teacher and self titled ‘cigar nut’. Mike is currently the cigar guru at The Tobacco Shop in Hoover where you can find him many days during the week.
April 2009 9
My article on barbecue beef brisket has been postponed until I can get over Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in my left hand.
In my opinion the rub for barbecue is the foundational ingredient for good barbecue, whether it is going on ribs, chicken, pork or beef. While sauce can be important, my opinion is that sauce should complement the meat, not ‘BE’ the flavor. There are several core ingredients to most good rubs and then there are several spices that are common to make your rub unique, yet still retain barbecue flavor.
CORE SPICES Paprika – By volume, this is probably the most used spice to provide a base for barbecue rubs. Paprika comes from sweet red peppers that are dried and powdered. Most paprika comes from Hungary but more often today you can find paprika from Spain. Typically if there is a choice, I prefer ‘sweet Hungarian paprika’. Paprika helps give barbecue its beautiful red color.
Chili Powder – Often chili powder is a spice mix primarily made from chili peppers (red, cayenne, ancho and chipotle). Some mixes will include other spices such as black pepper, mace, coriander, turmeric and others.
The following spices are all considered acceptable for a barbecue rub and often commercial rubs will include some or all of these spices.
Salt – We all know salt right? Just be careful because you can easily add too much salt to a rub. Especially when used with smaller cuts such as ribs or chicken. Also, be careful with rubs that are high in salt content if you plan to let the rub cover the meat for long periods of time. High salt rubs can turn the meat ‘hammy’ if allowed to blend with the meat too long. I prefer to use kosher salt with my rubs, but you may need to run it through a spice grinder if your other ingredients are finely ground.
Cumin – This spice is a bit more obscure than the rest of the common ingredients found in barbecue rubs, but one that I use in all of mine. Cumin is in the parsley family and has a great aroma. If you have eaten Indian or Persian food, you have had an abundance of this spice. This is a core spice for many Mexican and in nearly all Tex-Mex dishes. I love this spice and often have to hold back to keep from putting too much in my rubs. A little known fact is that cumin is the 2nd most used spice in the world (to black pepper).
Sugar/Brown Sugar – Another staple like salt. Brown sugar is often a large percentage of the bulk of rib rubs, but is common in many all-purpose rubs. The amount of sugar will depend on how sweet you want your meat. It may be necessary to dry out brown sugar to avoid clumping if you are planning to store the rub for some time. Also, be careful with rubs high in sugar because it can easily burn.
Coriander – This is another great spice that has an identity crisis. Most of the world refers to it as coriander, but in America it is called cilantro, yet, it is also referred to as Mexican parsley, as well as Chinese parsley. Whatever you want to call it, add it to your barbecue rub. But, make sure to use ground (dried) coriander. Cilantro leaves have their purpose, but its sweet, citrus like taste of the leaves is better left for other dishes. This is another spice often used in Asian, Indian and Mexican dishes.
Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Black Pepper – Must be mentioned, but no explanation necessary.
Cayenne Pepper – Another basic spice that most of us are familiar with. Go easy with this one unless you like your rub with some kick. Too much kick is possible even for those who dig very spicy rubs. I made the mistake of using fresh ground cayenne for the first time at a barbecue competition…and the judges must have thought it was a hot buffalo wing eating contest. I enjoyed the ribs, but the judges scored me VERY low on taste.
MIXING Basically, mix your ingredients together and put on your favorite cut of meat and cook to your pleasure. A few hints. Keep in mind that ribs have a small surface area, so a little rub goes a long way. Just the opposite effect with an eight pound Boston Butt or 12 pound beef brisket. With the bigger cuts, more rub is better. Also, sweeter rubs seem to do better with ribs and chicken and less sweet for bigger cuts (they cook longer and could burn with high sugar content). Some cooks will use what is called a mustard slather. They will literally slather
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yellow mustard on the meat and then apply the rub. The mustard slather tends to bind the rub to the meat so that it will not fall off. I have tried it with mustard and without and cannot tell any appreciable difference. So, there goes making your own rub. Below, I have referenced a good basic rub that you can experiment with. Also, there is one called BRITU (Best Ribs in the Universe). This is a recipe that has a great story with it. It was first published on the BBQ Forum online at www.thebbqforum.com and you can get the background on this award winning rub.
COMMERCIAL RUBS There are some OUTSTANDING commercial rubs on the market that could save you the pain of making your own. I am making no money by dropping these names, but here are a few of my favorites. Bad Byrons Butt Rub, Billy Bones, Lotta Bull, Texas Rib Rangers and HomeBBQ.com. Now where to find them? You could search the web, but I will drop another non-paid ad. There is a website that I have used often because they literally carry several hundred rubs and sauces and everything else barbecue. The website is HawgeyesBBQ. www.hawgeyesbbq.com. Great prices and great selection, but shipping can be a killer. I advise buying several different ones so the shipping is spread over a bunch of bottles. There are also several ‘packages’ that are mixes of top rubs and sauces.
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Next month I will cover beef in detail and one of my favorite smoked cuts, beef brisket. So until next month, I hope April is filled with lots of smoke, whether it be from the smoker, from your cigars or a combination of both. Happy Smokin! — Kevin Moore Kevin Moore is a barbecue hobbyist and has competed in several competitions in recent years. Kevin is the publisher of Southern Cigar Lifestyle magazine and resides in Hoover, AL with his wife and three young children. Kevin enjoys full bodied cigars such as La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero’s as well as Camacho and Perdomo cigars. Kevin can be contacted at Kevin@southerncigarlifestyle.com. In coming issues Smokin’ & Grillin’ will bring you great ideas on various rubs, sauces, brines, marinades and basic tools of the trade!
BASIC RUB RECIPE 5 parts Paprika 3 parts Chli Powder 3 parts Brown Sugar 2 parts Kosher Salt 1 part each Black Pepper, Onion Powder, Cayenne Pepper Part can be any measurement – cup, tablespoon, teaspoon… Experiment with other spices
BRITU (Best Ribs in the Universe) (reprinted from www.thebbqforum.com thanks to Ray Basso for permission) (some people reduce the salt
and/or MSG) 1 Cup Sugar 1 Cup Non-Iodized Table Salt ½ Cup Brown Sugar (Dried out lightly by exposing on cookie sheet room temp. several hours, or slightly warmed 5 Tablespoons + 1 Teaspoons Chili Powder 2 Tablespoons + 2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin 4 Teaspoons MSG (Accent) 4 Teaspoons Cayenne Pepper 4 Teaspoons Black Pepper freshly ground (important) 4 Teaspoons Garlic Powder 4 Teaspoons Onion Powder
April 2009 11
Traveler’s Corner Scenic Seattle
The Seattle area has always been one of my favorite places to visit and especially at springtime. Despite what you have heard about the dreary weather, it has always been pleasant to me. Birthplace of Starbucks, Microsoft and the burial sites of Bruce Lee and Jimi Hendrix; it is a beautiful area with abundant natural beauty. When you think of Seattle, the Space Needle immediately springs to mind. Situated on a hill and nearly 60 stories high, the views of Seattle and Mt Rainier are fantastic and worth the short wait you may have to endure. Near the Needle, you will find the Experience Music Project (EMP). Founded by Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, the museum contains mostly rock memorabilia and technology-intensive multimedia displays. The structure is also home to the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. No visit to Seattle is complete without a visit to Pike Place Market, which is a public market that opened August 17, 1907, and is one of the oldest continually operated public farmers' markets in the United States. The market is famous for its fishmongers who throw fish to each other. The lower levels of the market contain a variety of unique shops, which includes antiques, collectibles, restaurants and even a head shop. Head down to Pier 54 on Alaskan Way and you will find two places you MUST visit. First is Ye Olde Curiosity Shop which is a gift shop and museum of sorts. This eclectic shop was created in 1899 and admission is free. Some of the more unusual artifacts are: a perfectly preserved mummy, Siamese twin calves, one of the largest collections of shrunken human heads, a three tusk walrus skull, a woven cedar bark hat worn by Chief Sealth (namesake of Seattle), a Chinese beheading sword, and even whale and walrus oosiks. The gifts include Northwest Indian totem poles, masks, plaques, jewelry and other artwork. This is also a great place to buy your Seattle and Washington souvenirs. Next to the Curiosity Shop is Ivar’s Acres of Clams restaurant, an institution in Seattle. While Atlanta has The Varsity and Tuscaloosa has Dreamland; Seattle has Ivar’s. The first Ivar’s was created in 1938, and it is THE place to go for seafood in Seattle, especially chowder. If you eat outside, watch out, the gulls love Ivar’s too! Rent a car when in Seattle because the surrounding area is not to be missed. Of course there is Mt Rainer to the south, but north and west of Seattle is my favorite area. Twenty-five scenic miles north of Seattle is Whidbey Island. The spring time brings two wonderful things to see: Gray whales and multi-col-
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ored acres of tulips! A small group of resident Gray whales, typically arrive in early March and stays through the end of May in South Whidbey. In April and early May, the fields found on Whidbey are awash the most beautifully colored tulips. One of the prettiest sites I have ever seen. A third point of interest regardless of the time of year is Deception Pass State Park, which contains an abundance of breathtaking views of nature. Following the road north of Deception Pass will lead you to Fidalgo Island and the town of Anacortes. Anacortes is home to the Washington ferry system which offers access to the San Juan Islands and British Columbia. The ferry system is one of the best in the world and the view from the boats are wonderful. Whales and other sea life can be seen from the boat. If you haven’t seen any whales by the time you get to San Juan Island, take one of the Orca sightseeing charters. On our half day trip we saw a pod of 5 Orcas. There are many places to stay on the four islands that make up the San Juans. Rain? Sometimes but never excessive and the area has so much to offer. — Jeff Alverson Jeff holds a degree in pharmacy from Auburn University and currently works for a large pharmaceutical manufacturer. He travels the U.S. extensively with his job and loves to travel out of the country on his vacations. He loves dining out, golfing, fishing and duck hunting with his friends which usually includes a lot of cigar smoking. He has been smoking cigars for 32 years and enjoys a wide variety of full bodied cigars. Among his favorites are Camacho, La Flor Dominicana, Sancho Panza, Punch Punch and Trinidads.
April 2009 13
n late March 2009, the editor Kevin Moore had a phone interview with Erich ‘Mancow’ Muller for Southern Cigar Lifestyle Magazine. The Mancow Radio Experience can be heard on WYDE 101.1 throughout the north and central Alabama from 5:30 to 8 AM weekdays, as well as other times in dozens of other markets throughout America.
SCL: You are new to our market, as is the Talk Radio Network on WYDE 101.1 in Birmingham, so can you give me a quick overview of your show, The Mancow Radio Experience? MC: It is pop-culture in a blender. It is the fastest radio show that there is. We have everybody from Jimmy Fallon, Rush Limbaugh, Larry the Cable Guy, Bruce Willis, the Fox New anchors, authors, top business people, it really is all over the place. I was a guy that was brought up on MTV, back when it actually meant something, as well as USA Today. We often refer to it as ‘short attention span theater.’ We are number one, twelve plus in Chicago. We lead into Rush Limbaugh in President Obama’s hometown which is the epicenter of the media universe right now. It has been an incredible last few months. I have been doing this since the late eighties. I did this in Kansas City, San Francisco, Monterrey Bay and other various places and I have never seen anything like this. It really is lightning in a bottle every day. SCL: Where did the name Mancow originate? MC: I was doing a sketch on the radio paying homage to the old National Lampoon Radio Hour and Stan Freberg. The character was basically a human, but when you unzipped his pants, there were udders there. It was all kind of double entendre silliness and people started saying, “Hey, you’re that Mancow guy.” That was in Kansas City and it caught on and stuck. I tried to lose the name over the years.
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Nicknames are strange. You cannot pick your own nickname, it just doesn’t work. You can call yourself the king of all media or the king of pop, but it seems to me that the names that other people pick for you, you cannot shake.
SCL: Your reputation, whether the classification is fair or not is that you are one of the ‘bad boys’ of radio. Other shows in that genre have failed in our market. Shows like Ron and Ron as well as Mark and Brian (after their move to L.A.), have failed miserably. We are a pretty conservative market where Rick & Bubba got their start. What can you say to our readers to convince them to tune in to your show? MC: People just have to listen to the show and judge it for themselves. It really defies classification. It is what we do really well in America, we classify everything. Every new rock band from England is the next Beatles. The fact is that I am not the next anything. I have arrived. I think Rick & Bubba have a great show. I have never met them but I understand that they are fine individuals. There are many bad people in radio playing to the lowest common denominator and that is not what I do. I was live on the Fox News Channel on 9/11. I was actually on TV when the second plane hit and the fact that I have twins really changed my life. How would you like to be judged by who you were back in 1986? I do not know who that guy is anymore and I do not live my life in the past. We do not do the same show every day like a lot of these guys. We are on the cutting edge of what is going on today and that is what you are going to get from the show. So, we are for people that want to be well informed and not be a part of the populist, Socialist, Obama agenda. SCL: What is your biggest challenge with radio? MC: The biggest challenge is keeping it fresh and entertaining every day. Radio is not considered hip
and cutting edge, but I consider it the most relevant form of media that exists. On the internet, there is no accountability. Newspapers are going out of business every week and both newspapers and television are not immediate. Television does not have the connection to the people. We catch people in their offices, and in their cars. Our show takes more callers than any radio show in history. What do they tell you when people are on the ledge? You keep talking. I think there are a lot of people on the ledge, spiritually, and in many other ways. If you keep talking they will step back from the ledge. A lot of people are boiling over and we are like a pressure valve. We let them talk, and release the pressure. I think that is what we are doing right now that is important. SCL: You often mention your faith in God, please tell me about your faith. MC: We were talking on our show this week about how a bunch of U.S. coins in production where ‘In God We Trust’ was left off, supposedly accidentally. I just do not believe that it was an accident. I spent 4 hours with President Obama, one on one, talking with him and a good portion of the conversation was about faith and I am not sure that I bought his. Now, part of me says to accept him at face value, my gut says, I do not believe this guy at all. I think we have a bunch of Godless, secular, humanists running this country. I was just with Bill Maher the other night. These people are just ‘not into it’ or ‘it is not my thing’, it is that they hate it, and they want to destroy it. Evil is real. Good is real. There is a real battle being fought on Earth right now
and you can feel it. I can feel it with my callers. I have travelled throughout the Middle East and throughout the world and there is a battle between good and evil. Good always, always wins. I do not want to be a fear monger. Fear is a four letter word that controls the masses. There are a lot of shows that use fear and many of the talk shows promote fear. So when I am reporting the news, I do not want to promote fear. People may get afraid, but that is not my intention. The good guys always win. We may go into a thousand years of darkness, but I am fighting to bring a little light into the world. People are in a spiritual battle, they are looking for light and good and I think we do that. I think that I am a sneaky preacher and I am proud of that. Sure there is some scintillation, flash and show biz on the outside, but once you get inside, we have substance. So, I sneaky preach. There is a real moral backbone to my show and that is really what I love most about the program. You say, what are my goals with the show? What profit a man if he loses his soul? This is not a marketing thing with me. If anything, it is a negative, my ratings would be higher if I was talking with lesbians and bashing God and I would make a lot more money. It is a very real thing for me. I have found when I seek God first, everything else falls into place. It is a tough thing to do, but it works. I am really trying to do good. I do not know if it will work, but we are trying to find one world changer listening, that will bring more good into the world. SCL: Tell me about your cigar habits. MC: I am a big cigar fan. It is really quite awful, Rush Limbaugh gave me a Continued on page 17.
April 2009 15
16 Southern Cigar Lifestyle
MANCOW M U L L E R $120 cigar and he tried to give me a $120 Partagas that I did not take. People try to give me $80 cigars and I just cannot take them. There is a cigar that I like called the El Jocko (La Flor Dominicana). El Jocko is named after a guy that worked with me named Jocko Headblade. He helped us line up guests and stuff. He ran a Chicago cigar store and ended up going to different plantations all around the world. So, I actually know the guy that they named the cigar after. He worked at WLS radio with us. I also really enjoy the little maduro Fuente cigars as well. SCL: What do you listen to on the radio when you are not on the air? MC: I cannot listen to radio. It drives me crazy, because every guest that they have, I want. Every advertiser they have, I want. Everyone speaking on the air is taking food out of my kidsâ€™ mouth. I am quite competitive in that way. One guy I do enjoy is Mark Levin and the other is Mark Steyn. Steyn fills in for Rush Limbaugh on occasion and wrote a great book titled America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It. It is a great book and he is a brilliant mind. SCL: What got you started in the radio industry?
Continued from page 15.
any cocktail party. I dabble in everything, but I am a master at nothing. I do not have a clue what else I would be doing. What would a thoroughbred do? All I am good for is radio and hanging out with my wife and kids.
SCL: Well obviously you have been successful. Not many people can say that their work is truly what they love to do. MC: It has been peaks and valleys. William Shatner was in my wedding and I asked him, why is it that that so many people who were bigger than you disappeared? He said because he kept walking, even during the peaks and valleys. Life is full of peaks and valleys and you never stop at the bottom or the top. I have been kicked, beaten and pushed aside and I keep walking. When people are down, that is one of the messages of the show. Your better days are ahead of you. The Bible does not say to stop in the valley of evil. It says keep walking. I have found myself seated at the table of my enemies, but I got up and left. There is always an exit. It is like that old expression that grandma Mancow used to say, If God closes one window, then, he opens a door. I keep going. I have been doing this since the mid eighties. I am constantly saying that if I can just stay on the air one more day, it would be great. I still feel that way and it just keeps going. One bit of my favorite advice comes from the late grandpa Munster. He said it is not enough that you love what you do, you got to love the way you do it. If you follow that advice, then nobody can touch you.
MC: I started listening to old time radio shows that my dad had on reel-toreel. There were shows like Inner Sanctum and Orson Wells War of the Worlds. My mind really went places. Your mind can take you better places than and computer generated graphic can take you. I really fell in love with radio. I am an oddball. I have been offered television shows, but just really love radio. I do television and write books and do interviews like this for one reason and that is so that I can do radio for one more day. Every buddy that I meet that has heard me, but never seen me before, always says that I do not look like they thought. I ask them what they thought I would look like SCL: Mancow was a pleasure to interview and his exudes a true passion for and they describe themselves. It really is amazing how you can reach people with the radio. You can reach them in their car when they are typically by radio and entertaining his listeners. You can learn more about Mancow on themselves. his website at www.mancow.com, the company that distributes his show The Talk Radio Network (www.talkradionetwork.com). Do yourself a favor and SCL: What would you be doing if you were not in radio? tune into a great radio program. MC: I know a little bit about everything, I would be your favorite person at
â€” Kevin Moore
April 2009 17
t l u Ad Libations
A Closer Look At Beer: Brown Ales So far we've looked at stouts (on the extreme malty end of the spectrum) and IPAs (on the extreme hoppy end of the spectrum). Now would be a good time to consider the beers squarely in the middle: brown ales.
The origins of brown ale can be traced back to England but as they often do, Americans have taken the style and pushed it to new and exciting heights. Brown ales are a bit unusual in that some are richly malty, while others are exceptionally hoppy. Still, others split the difference. The only defining characteristic that must be present is the color, produced by caramelized and lightly roasted malts. English versions tend to be malty and very subtle. American versions are usually hoppy and robust. The most famous brown ale is undoubtedly Newcastle, an English brew. Newcastle deserves gratitude from the craft beer community for its service as a widely-available crossover beer. Many a beer drinker has opted for Newcastle as his first step outside the familiar territory of mass-produced lagers. But if that's your only experience with brown ales, you don't know what you're missing. Other, richer English-brewed examples of the style can be found in Alabama. Samuel Smith's renowned Nut Brown Ale tastes as its name suggests: nutty. But that flavor comes solely from barley; no nuts are used in the brewing process. Another, sweeter example is Wychwood's Hobgoblin. As great as those classic English examples may be, three of the best brown ales you'll ever put to your lips are made right here in the Southeasten USA: Good People Brown Ale brewed here in Birmingham, Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan brewed in Kiln, Mississippi, and Terrapin India Brown Ale brewed in Athens, Georgia. Good People's Brown Ale is remarkably balanced, featuring plenty of spicy hops, offset by a very rich maltiness. Lazy Magnolia's Southern Pecan is brewed with real pecans, and you can taste it. Sweet and nutty, with minimal hops. Terrapin's India Brown Ale is precisely the opposite: an American hop bomb brewed with brown malts. The name itself is a play
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on ‘India Pale Ale’, letting the buyer know what he's getting before he ever cracks open a bottle. Fortunately, this is a style that usually falls within Alabama's 6% ABV limit so we have many options to choose from. I recommend getting some friends together along with several bottles of different brown ales and doing a tasting. There's no better way to understand beer than to drink it!
— Danner Kline Danner Kline founded the grassroots organization Free The Hops in 2004 and served as President of the group through December, 2007. He remains active in FTH by organizing the Magic City Brewfest, held annually in June at Sloss Furnaces. A 2000 graduate of Samford University, he now serves as Telecommunications Manager for the City of Hoover.
The Wine Guy
Do I really need a wine cellar?
I probably get that question more often than any other wine-related question. My answer is that it’s like the difference between dating and marriage. If you want to have a steady source of love and companionship, make the commitment and get married, but if you aren’t ready for the commitment, keep dating. This applies to your cellar. If you want to make the commitment to the time to build a steady and reliable source of good wines that you’re committed to, get or build a cellar. If not, pick up a mixed case every time your stock runs low. But once you’re serious about wine, you’ll find those special bottles that you want to have on hand, and if they’re that special, they deserve proper storage. This article is not for those of you who believe your wine cellar is a simply a place to host a wine dinner for twenty people, or to show off wines that are so expensive you dare not drink them. You don’t need my advice and you have permission to turn the page.
something than not enough. Since our terrain practically ensures that most houses have a basement, you can pick the most insulated corner, put up a couple of properly insulated walls (read the book), install some racking and, if needed, a small cooling unit and you’re in business. If you’ve checked the temperature and humidity, you may not need the cooling unit, or can get by with a smaller one that the square footage might suggest. It’s a fairly easy do-it-yourself project since you’re only building two walls and running one or two electrical lines. It’s also easy to get those projects done for you—especially with handymen and remodelers screaming for work these days. Your wine won’t care about the wood it’s resting on, so buy with an eye toward value unless you want to brag about the expensive wood you put in the dark, cool room which you visit infrequently. Choices will range from pine-to-redwood and then on to mahogany. An online search for wine racks turned up more than 4.7 million hits so you have plenty to choose from, and the best will offer you a custom design feature to maximize the number of bottles in your space, or conform to your desire to collect large format bottles or wine in wooden cases, etc.
The standard advice for those just starting out in wine collecting used to be, “find a dark, vibration free place in your house and start carefully storing wines there.” Putting some inexpensive wine racks or cubes in the back of the closet or in the basement is still good advice, if you’re truly on a bare bones budget.
If you need, or want, a cooling unit, be sure to allow for proper ventilation to exhaust the hot air, and keep in mind they’re not silent. I’ve had good luck with BreezeAire and WhisperKOOL units in my cellar.
Caveats to this approach: Be sure the temperature and humidity don’t fluctuate too much. Check this using a combination thermometer/hygrometer with a memory feature ($20.00 or less at Radio Shack or online—search for “thermometer hygrometer”). Track the temperature for a few weeks using the memory feature to check maximum and minimums. Ideally you want it around 55 degrees with relative humidity of 60%-65%, but a few degrees either side of that won’t kill your wine. A steady 60 degrees is better than a place with wide temperature swings, and while excessive heat is the real enemy of wine, bright light and vibration should be avoided too. In low budget cellars, those eco-disaster Styrofoam wine shippers are a great choice. The Styrofoam provides insulation and it keeps the shippers out of the landfill.
If all this seems like a lot of work, there are companies in Birmingham who do a great job of building custom cellars. I’ve seen impressive examples of cellars built by the folks at Small Cellars www.smallcellars.com) and Wine cellars by Design (www.winecellarsbydesign.com).These folks value high-end design, so be clear about what you want in terms of esthetics and cost and you’ll be well served.
But my guess is that if you’re serious about buying wine that has aging potential, your budget can stand a bit more expense. If your storage needs are modest and you don’t care about having a dedicated wine room, my suggestion is the purchase of a wine refrigerator. Entry-level units hold 30-50 wines and sell for $600-$900. They’ll fit almost anywhere and as your needs grow, they can handle near-term storage of wines you’ll drink soon, or want close at hand for entertaining.
Once your cellar’s built, the next step is starting to fill it. We’ll tackle that next month.
Larger units can hold more than 400 bottles and cost upwards of $7,000, but there are plenty of units from which you choose in the $1,800-$3,500 range that may be all you’ll need. They’ll hold around 250 bottles in perfect condition. These units are about the size of a refrigerator freezer, so be sure you have space. Good names are EuroCave and Vinotheque. But if you have a basement or an unused closet with access to ventilation, you should consider building your own wine cellar. The definitive reference on this subject is How and Why to Build a Wine Cellar 4th Ed. by Richard M. Gold, PhD. It’s overkill for most cellar projects, but I’d rather know too much about
— The Wine Guy The Wine Guy writes anonymously about wine for Southern Cigar Lifestyle. He worked in retail wine shops in Birmingham, has traveled in wine regions around the world, and is currently an investor in a partnership that is building a state-of-the-art winery in southern California.
April 2009 19
S P E C I AL F E AT U R E Avalon Cigars and the Blues On a recent visit to Avalon Cigars at their cigar camp in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Kevin Moore had a chance to sit down with the owners: Gary Hilton (GH) and Mike Adams (MA). With an address like 600 Blues Alley and their offices in the old Clarksdale train station, you get a true feel for the Blues in your being. SCL: You guys are a relative newcomer to the cigar industry. What made you decide to get started? GH: I had been on the marketing and retail side of the cigar industry with the ad agency that I owned for several years. I sold that a few years back and knew that I wanted to get into the production side of
Mike Adams (left) and Gary Hilton (right).
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things and use my marketing and sales background to bring a product to market. SCL: What is the significance of the Blues theme? GH: We were born and raised in Mississippi and Blues have always been a part of us. We were looking for something to make us unique. Most cigar companies have their Cuban heritage, or they claim it at least. There are enough Don nobodies in the business already. Heck, we do not even speak Spanish. When you really dig deep, the story of the Delta Blues has so much tradition and history, it became an easy decision for us. Blues and cigars just go together. You will never see an ad with us standing in a tobacco field with a Cuban shirt and hat on. You might see us sitting in a Blues club listening to music. We are marketing Americana. MA: If the cigars complement the marketing then you have a chance to succeed. Our early motto was, â€˜If you can get them to buy it the first time, I will make sure that they buy another one.â€™ SCL: How do you come up with your blends? MA: I come up with all the blends. It is a difficult and time consuming process. I sit down and scratch out 15 or 20 blends at a time. Often when I start putting the tobaccos together, you are lucky to get two or three that you would smoke. We have had to reject a lot of cigars. I struggle with the trend in the cigar industry with these companies that come out with new blends, what seems like every few weeks. It is maddening to try and keep up with it. Many very average cigars come to market. We try to be conscious of the fact that there are a ton of great cigars out there. We will only come to market with what we consider a great cigar. We have thrown out dumpster after dumpster full of cigars that were not good enough for us to release. When we came up with the Juke Series line, we knew that we had a winner. SCL: Mike, how did you go from owning a pathology lab in a hospital in Jackson Mississippi to blending cigars? MA: I have been passionate about cigars for years. I am constantly trying new cigars. I probably have over 300 facings of cigars in my personal walk-in humidor in my basement. I have been learning about cigars for several years and have always wanted to create my own blends. The struggle is, do I blend what Gary and I like, or do I blend what I know would sell well? Our hope is that we can actually accomplish both. Blend cigars that we like, and consumers will enjoy smoking. Some of the companies that we have tried to blend with, refuse to do the blends that I have set out. They have never smoked anything like that, so they assume that the blend will not work.
GH: To expand on that thought, that has been one of our biggest struggles. Mike will come up with a very specific blend down to proportion by leaf, by age and the manufacturer will add their own tweaks to them, thinking Mike’s blends will be too strong. We do our blends in Miami, and when we find one we like, we send it down to Nicaragua to have them produced. Now that we have proven ourselves, our manufacturers are in tune with us and produce exactly what we request. They manage our warehouse in Nicaragua and see the cigars flying of the shelves and say, “these gringos know what they are doing.” SCL: What have been your other struggles with getting into the cigar industry? GH: Cigars are one of the few handmade products in the world that are ‘mass produced’. Any other industry, you come up with a product, sell it to Wal-Mart and overnight you are available nationwide or in some cases worldwide. In this industry, you have to build relationships with the retailers at an individual level. It takes time to cultivate those relationships. There are a lot of good cigars out there, and you have to convince retailers that your cigar is unique, and that you can deliver consistent product. Over the years we have seen many boutique cigar makers have a big hit with a release, and end up not being able to reproduce that blend and end up disappearing. One thing Mike does, is when we find a blend we like, he takes into account how much raw material is available, to make sure that we can keep up with production and supply a consistent, quality product. SCL: Tell me about your current lineup.
GH: Our first major release is the Numbers Series which are rolled in Miami. We have them available with three different wrappers and the numbers represent the ring gauge. We have Cameroon Oscuro’s, Cameroon’s and Brazilian Maduro’s. Our flagship right now is the Juke series which are produced in Nicaragua and also available in three wrappers. We have the Juke Blue which is a maduro wrapper, the Juke Red which is a habano rosado wrapper and is full bodied and the Juke Ebony which is a creamy Connecticut wrapper. With the success of the Juke Ebony, we released the White series which are light and creamy Connecticut wrappers. Then we have our full bodied Hellhound series. The Hellhound is produced in Nicaragua and comes with Nicaraguan and Peruvian filler, spiked with ample amounts of Nicaraguan and Peruvian ligero with an aged Nicaraguan habano wrapper. You can see that we cover pretty much every cigar smoker. From our lighter Connecticut wrappers to our ligero spiked Hellhounds, we cover the full spectrum of strength and body. SCL: I really enjoyed my time getting to spend a few hours with Gary and Mike at their cigar Blues camp in Clarksdale. I enjoy full bodied cigars and have become a huge fan of the Juke Red, and the Hellhound is definitely in my current top five favorite cigars. What makes these guys unique among other so-called boutique cigar makers is that they are well funded and they refuse to come to market with sub-par cigars. If you have not had an Avalon cigar yet, do yourself a favor and give them a try. These guys are the real deal and I am confident that they are going to be extremely successful, and around for a long time. They have many new blends in the pipeline and I look forward to trying them as they are released. You can find out more information about Avalon Cigars on their website at www.avaloncigars.com.
April 2009 21
THINGS MEN SHOULD KNOW 1. Club Furniture is a factory-direct, high-end furniture maker located in the hills of North Carolina. Brothers Darrin and Jeff King founded the company over a decade ago, and they have more than made their mark on the industry. What about Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel? Forget about it (best wise guy impression). Club Furniture offers the same quality, if not better than the competition at 30 to 40 percent less. I ordered a leather chair from them last year and I have to say… nothing beats coming home after a long day at work than relaxing in my plush down seat and lighting up a fine cigar. It’s downright bliss. Unfortunately, there’s no showroom – you can only order online or over the phone. No need to fret, though. Their website is thorough and their staff is more than helpful. All their pieces are custom made to order. If you are looking to outfit your man cave with some new digs, or if you just need a new sofa or chair for your living room, give Club Furniture a shot. As a tried and true customer, I can assure you will not regret the purchase. www.clubfurniture.com 2. It’s April, and you know what that means… baseball, the great American past time. Yes, the pace of the game can crawl at times, but that’s what I love about baseball. Think about it, it’s one of the few sports where you can enjoy the game and the company you keep. Not only that, the atmosphere at most major league and minor league ballparks is absolutely magical. The smell of hotdogs, beer, and fresh cut grass… you gotta love it. Although we don’t have a major league baseball team here in Birmingham, we do have the AA (double A) Birmingham Barons. I had the chance to go to a few Barons games last year, and I had a stellar time. They have “Thirsty Thursdays,” where all drinks are a buck (including beer), and “25¢ Hotdog Night.” If minor league baseball ain’t your thing, the Braves are only two hours away. Personally, I’ll be visiting both ballparks. I’ll be at Turner Field when the Cubs come to town, and at Regions Park whenever the mood strikes. It’s spring, folks, and spring in America means baseball. Take your kids, take your wife, take your girlfriend, or take all of ‘em and have a beer and some peanuts. www.barons.com www.braves.com 3. Let’s discuss Netflix must-haves. I know last month I mentioned a few movies you must see in theaters this year. Well, for those of us on a budget, or for the introverts among us, I give you three DVDs you should have on your Netflix Queue. First, Arrested Development, Seasons 1-3. My wife and I have recently gotten sucked into this TV show. We weren’t part of the hip crowd that caught it on our local FOX affiliate first time around, but we’ve been fortunate enough to catch up via DVD. It’s HI-larious! The show moves quickly, though, so don’t laugh too hard or you’ll miss the next joke. Next up, Thank You for Smoking. If you haven’t seen this sidesplitting movie about the Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol and Firearms… add it to your queue now. Aaron Eckhart is charmingly funny, and Rob Lowe went up a few notches in my book after his portrayal of eccentric character Jeff Megall. Last, we have Young @ Heart. This one’s a tearjerker, but not in the romantic chick flick kind of way. It’s a documentary about an elderly choral group from Massachusetts who tour the world performing modern pop, rock, and R&B covers. Group member Fred Knittle’s interpretation of Coldplay’s “Fix You” is awe-inspiring, and worth the price of admission. 4. Garden & Gun magazine is published in gorgeous Charleston, South Carolina. If location alone isn’t inspiration, I don’t know what is. Don’t be thrown by the name of this bi-monthly publication. Its layout is clean and modern. The content reminds me of a manly version of Birmingham’s own Southern Living. Open their most recent issue and you might find a crawfish guide, an article on a small shotgun company, a write-up on historical Savannah, a list of collectable flasks, or a blurb about a new golf course in Corpus Christi. Its predominantly male writing staff is clever and in touch with the contemporary southern man. Along with your Southern Cigar Lifestyle, consider picking up a copy of Garden & Gun.
— Kent Michael Kent Michael grew up in Clanton, Alabama, the son of a Southern Baptist preacher. He attended Samford University and studied journalism for several years before dropping out in 2004 to pursue a career in music with his band, Beneath. After a brief stint in Florida as a wannabe rock star, sharing the stage with the likes of Judas Priest and Queensryche, and after many, many miles in his Honda Civic, Kent and his wife moved back to Birmingham in 2006. He is currently an office manager for a small business and is in the process of finishing up that degree. You can read more of Kent’s ramblings at his blog, http://lifeunrefined.blogspot.com.
22 Southern Cigar Lifestyle
A Change of Seasons
Greetings outdoor enthusiasts! Sit back and relax and have a good cigar and let’s think about it. If you are at all like me we have suffered through another February when most hunting seasons are over and it is still too cold to fish in Alabama (if you are at all sane). However, it is a great time to clean up the muddy trucks, 4-wheelers and trailers, and clean the shotguns and rifles. February and early March are good months to be getting your fishing tackle and boats ready to start fishing. Go by your favorite tackle store, buy those extra baits and put new lines on your reels. Absolutely do not forget to check your batteries for both cranking your engine as well as the batteries for your trolling motor. Make sure to check the trailer tires as well as the spare. March is the month I begin fishing in earnest. The anticipation of beginning the fishing season is exciting. I think about many past successes, and the excitement of sticking that trophy fish, and finding the Kentucky Spots stacked in an area like ‘cord wood’. Those good times are always tenuous and like the classic expression ‘all glory is fleeting’. But we look forward to attaining our one more day in the sun. When that day does come, it is all worth the effort to complete the preparation and ensure the days success. Even the check list that you have written down on the lunch napkin, or the equipment you stacked on the boat so that you wouldn’t forget, adds to the accountability of “have I remembered everything“? As the years go by I find myself making more checklists, but my enthusiasm for the change of seasons hasn‘t diminished. I generally pay close attention to cold fronts and the wind velocity. The “windy month” usually lives up to its reputation. Along with frontal systems and rain fall changing the water stain, one really has to plan to be effective. The lakes that are still below full pool in March catch the mid-day sun on the exposed banks and warm the shore waters quicker. As the shore waters warm, the fish’s metabolism increases, and their feeding and mating urges increase. Those wary larger bass become more susceptible to angler tactics. The largemouth bass is an interesting study that has intrigued fishermen for years. The female is the dominant species. Only the female grows larger than five pounds. When mating season arrives, the fish begin to congregate around cover such as logs, rocks, ledges or underwater caves. The smaller male bass looks for a gravel or
sandy bottom that is suitable to wallow out a bed. Once the bed has been started, the male looks for a suitable female. The male then pushes and nudges the larger female toward the bed he has prepared. If the female accepts the courtship, they form a bonding pair. The female then adjusts the bed to suit her larger requirements. After a short period the female lays her eggs and the male passes over the bed and fertilizes the eggs. Shortly thereafter the eggs hatch and the fry are born. Oddly enough, the female only guards the fry for about a 24 hour period - leaving the male to take over. The male fends off the predators such as sunfish, until his strength is gone; usually lasting several days. Those fry making it to minnow-size seek cover in grass and weeds, or other areas of protection in the waters. While the bass are bedding, they are very territorial and protective of their young, as are most animals. Most bass fishermen who catch bedding bass in the spring, release the fish to protect the spawn and ensure a healthy lake bass population. Fish the shallows in the spring with slow baits such as ‘shaky heads’, small worms and spinner baits - and hang on! And always remember, the good Lord doesn’t count hunting and fishing days against your time here on earth… — Greg Williams Greg Williams grew up in Birmingham and started to develop a love for hunting and fishing in 1955 at the age of nine. Greg has hunted and fished all of his life throughout the U.S. and beyond. Greg retired from Xerox and resides in Hoover with his wife Madeline. He is a member of many outdoor organizations and has served as the Alabama State Chairman for Ducks Unlimited and is a 4-time Alabama State Duck Calling Champion and a winner of the Heart of Dixie Regional Duck Calling Championship. All 5 championships qualified him to participate in the World Championship Duck Calling Contest in Stuttgart, Arkansas, in 1982, ’85, ’86, ’88, and ’93.
April 2009 23
Cigar Reviews ach month we will choose 3 cigars to review. These cigars are completely blind tested by the reviewers. The bands have been removed and there is nothing unique to identify the cigars. This month we chose to review toros, an ever popular size. For appearance and construction, the numbers are a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being Poor and 5 being Perfect. The reviewers for this issue were chosen based on how long they have been smoking premium cigars regularly. If you have an interest in being a guest reviewer for a future issue, please email email@example.com and detail your smoking habits such as how long you have been smoking and what are some of your favorites.
Cigar 1: Perdomo Habano Maduro Toro The Perdomo Habano is a blend from 3 different regions of Nicaragua that was released in 2007.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Maduro Reviewer D. Lee K. Michael J. Alverson A. Harris
Size: 5 1/2 X 54
4 4 3 4
4 4 3 4
Very Even Even Very Even Even
Split/Unravel None None None
Perfect Easy Perfect Perfect
Past Band To Band To Band Nub
Medium Medium Medium Med-Full
Highly Yes Yes Yes
Reviewers Comments • B. Zarzaur - Hints of dark chocolate for the first half and a bit nutty in the 2nd half. Very good cigar that I truly enjoyed smoking on my front porch and I enjoyed every draw. Highly recommended. • K. Michael - Starts off with notes of pepper and coffee. Complex smoke with tons of flavor. • J. Alverson - Each draw of this smoke had a slightly bitter nuttiness. Overall good smoke even with the different taste at the start of each draw. Note: He guessed Perdomo. • A. Harris - An absolutely great smoke. At last, on the fourth time as testers, our esteemed editor has rewarded us with 3 fine smokes.
Cigar 2: Oliva V Double Toro A complex blend of Nicaraguan tobaccco blended for full body taste yet smoothness.
Wrapper: Habano Sun Grown Reviewer D. Lee K. Michael J. Alverson A. Harris
Filler: Jalapa Valley Liger
Size: 6 X 60
4 4 5 4
4 2.5 5 4
Even Uneven Very even Even
None Tunnel None None
Easy Easy Perfect Perfect
To Band To Band Nub Nub
Medium Medium Full Med-Full
Yes No Absolutely Yes
Reviewers Comments • B. Zarzaur - This was a very enjoyable smoke that started a bit harsh but I gave it a chance and it turned out great. • K. Michael - This cigar was harsh and I had to relight it several times. • J. Alverson -This was an excellent all-around smoke. A great afternoon cigar and I highly recommend. • A. Harris - An absolutely great smoke. At last, on the fourth time as testers, our esteemed editor has rewarded us with 3 fine smokes. Cigar 3: Flor De Oliva Toro This is a bundled cigar that uses long-filler tobacco handmade by the Oliva factory in Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Broadleaf Maduro Reviewer D. Lee K. Michael J. Alverson A. Harris
Size: 6 X 60
4 3.5 4 4
4 4 4 4
Uneven Even Very Even Even
Tunnel None None None
Too Easy Easy Easy + Perfect
1/4 Past Band To Band Nub
N/A Mild Mild + Med-Full
No Yes, Morning Yes, Beginner Yes
Reviewers Comments • B. Zarzaur - I dropped this cigar faster than a Sociology class at UAB. This was a horrible cigar and I did not have enough Scope to get the taste out of my mouth. • K. Michael - Smooth cigar with a sweet undertone. Extremely mild, but consistent. This cigar would be great with a cup of coffee in the morning. • J. Alverson - An average smoke that just did not have any body. Might recommend to a new smoker. • A. Harris - An absolutely great smoke. At last, on the fourth time as testers, our esteemed editor has rewarded us with 3 fine smokes. Note: the same summary was written for all 3.
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April 2009 25
April 2009 Events Altadis Cigars & More Trussville, AL April 2, 6-8pm www.birminghamcigars.com
Altadis Cigars & More Hwy 280 â€“ Hoover, AL April 3, 6-8pm www.birminghamcigars.com
Davidoff Cigars & More Trussville, AL April 15, 6-8pm www.birminghamcigars.com
Avalon Cigars The Tobacco Shop Hoover, AL April 23, 4-8pm www.magiccitycigar.com
Drew Estates The Tobacco Shop Hoover, AL April 2, 4-8pm www.magiccitycigar.com
STC/Gran Habano The Tobacco Shop Hoover, AL April 9, 4-8pm www.magiccitycigar.com
Davidoff Cigars & More Hwy 280 - Hoover, AL April 16, 6-8pm www.birminghamcigars.com
Perdomo Cigars The Tobacco Shop Hoover, AL May 7, 4-8pm www.magiccitycigar.com
CAO Cigars & More Trussville, AL May 7, 6-8pm www.birminghamcigars.com
Have a photo to share? Please forward pictures to: Kevin@ southerncigarlifestyle.com. Subject: Photos No guarantees that pictures will be publishedâ€Ś
26 Southern Cigar Lifestyle