For the BOTLs who know me well, it doesn't take long to learn that I'm clean and sober. Have been for a while.
18 years as of today.
It's funny being in this hobby, because the food and drink forums often discuss pairings with this cigar or that... Herfs often involve adult beverages. Usually, work functions are harder to get through than a herf when it comes to alcohol consumption. Cocktail parties and afternoons on Lake Murray are often met with confusion... "Whadda ya mean, you don't drink?" "Are you Mormon or something?" "Don't you think you could handle a drink after all of these years?" "I bet you're fun to be around when you've had a few..."
However, I've never had to explain my sobriety in great depth with the folks I've met here. They know that my 'thermostat' is simply broken, so I don't drink. I've never been met without a load of understanding from the Palmetto State Herf Crew, and I thank my southern BOTLs for that.
At any rate, I decided tonight was as good as any to reflect on the last 18clean and sober years of my life with a Padron 80th... After such a glowing CA review (a 95), I figured this was momentous enough of an occasion to put fire to foot.
I picked this stick up in Charleston in February of this year, and it's been resting comfortably at the bottom of my desktop ever since. The cost was not cheap, at $29.95. Not an every day stick.
A quick Palio cut and an unseasonably cool night with a LP heater, and I'm off to the back porch with my dear friend of six years, a Retriever/Chow mix named Zeke. Yeah, and per usual, it's accompanied by black coffee... At this hour, decaf is the hearty brew.
The form of this stick is wonderful, a true figurado tapered at both ends. I forget to bring the camera out or do a pr0n style layout before starting with it, but I come to my senses with less than an inch in on the stick.
The box press is strong, and I needlessly worried about the draw before lighting. The draw was, in two words, absolutely perfect. I've been disappointed in high-dollar sticks before, but this is not the occasion here.
The flavors are incredibly intense and complex. There's a nearly floral profile to the stick, alternating with leather and then earthiness. If you're not a fan of floral smokes, this may not be your cup of tea. However, the dynamicness of this stick is unrivaled.
Sadly, I get called 'all in' QJ spades against K10 spades, and my flush is beaten. Oh, well, the stick doesn't loose any luster as a result!
Two inches in, and the ash is snow white and holding on like a champ. I'm dying to see how long it holds on. The burn is perfect.
At nearly the half-way point, the ash drops off perfectly into the Stinky ashtray, and was solid.
Deep into the second third, the stick becomes much more medium, but still maintains an exquisite flavor profile. This one is destined to be nubbed!
The stick never becomes peppery, and not what I'd even remotely consider to be spicey. It has it's own flavor profile, very unique in the way. Reminds me of a well aged God of Fire I recently had the pleasure of smoking, in that the taste was unique... It tastes simply like a Padron 80th, and no other explanation comes close!
In the last third, the flavor profile becomes much milder than the first two thirds. This is a nice change, and one I simply didn't expect. Even though I have a fondness for full bodied smokes, this one is ending on a nice note.
All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better night to reflect, with a better life and better stick!