Thursday, March 23, 2006

Worst cigar ever?

Since getting married and starting a family my tobacco usage has dropped considerably, but every once in a while I will smoke one of my pipes or enjoy a cigar. My tastes in tobacco generally involve premium stuff you can only find in specialty shops, but I don't consider it beneath me to occasionally light up convenience store cigars or pipeweed. After all, I got started with Swisher Sweets and Captain Black. My tastes have expanded and evolved since those early days, but to say they've refined might not be completely accurate. I still prefer vanilla aromatics over more 'serious' pipe tobaccos and my favorite stogie is a Mexican number called Te Amo that sits comfortably in the shallow end of the premium pool. So given my less-than-sophisticated tastes, when I happened recently to come into possession of a Phillies Strawberry, I felt duty bound to try the dang thing. You may have seen the Phillies line of fruit-flavored cigars in your local gas station check-out line. I've been morbidly curious about these strange stogies for a while, since I recall hearing tales of an excellent chocolate cigar from somewhere in the Low Countries. Maybe a strawberry cigar could be an interesting smoke. Anyway, the tobacco in the Phillies Strawberry was harsh and hard and dry. No surprise there; that's the standard for cigars bought in the wild. The strawberry effect was apparently acheived by dipping this pitiful little stick in the same sort of fake strawberry crap that is used in children's candy and cheap strawberry creme cookies. It's like the difference between orange Koolaid and fresh squeezed orange juice. As I understand it Phillies are popular among the cannabis smokers, something about removing the tobacco and replacing it with marijuana. I don't move in those social circles, so I'm not exactly certain what the motivation is for performing amateur surgery on these poor defenseless cigars. But you could probably remove the tobacco and replace it with yard clippings and end up with a better smoke.