Tidbit of the Day: Lifestreaming: The White Paper

Here’s a work-related white paper I wrote for Weber Shandwick. Enjoy:

First, some links:

Here’s a link to the paper from the Weber Shandwick Web site.

Here’s a brief description of the paper I wrote for Weber Shandwick’s Social Studies Blog.

Lifestreaming: The White Paper (Weber Shandwick)

Chicago 2016 Update: Chicago loses bid for 2016 Olympics

Here’s the final tally, round by round:

Chicago 2016 Update: President Obama’s Copenhagen speech to IOC

Chicago 2016 Update: Waiting with bated breath

I was recently looking back over some of my old Chicago 2016-related content the other day when I realized, “Wow — the IOC is actually going to pick the host city for the 2016 Olympics. It’s time.”

Well, the decision is tomorrow, and I suppose we’ll see what happens. If Chicago is picked, I may be inspired to start documenting my thoughts on the bid and the process.

Also, I must say I’m impressed with Billy Dec’s work in compiling celebrity interviews about the Chicago 2016 bid. Give that man a medal. Or a burger.

Cigar of the Week: Gurkha Micro Batch Liga VH-7

Gurkha Micro Batch Liga VH-7
Gurkha Micro Batch Liga VH-7

Brand: Gurkha Cigars
Line: Micro Batch
Vitola: Liga VH-7 (Toro; 6 x 50)
Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Jamastran Habano
Binder: Ecuador
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran, Dominican
Body: Medium-to-full
Strength: Medium

Cigar stores are a great place to hang out and pick up a stick or two, but when you’re buying in bulk, it’s difficult to resist the allure — and the price — of internet retailers. They’ll get great deals many brick-and-mortar shops just don’t.

When I saw a freebie deal on Cigars International for the Micro Batch sticks, I decided to take a shot with the Gurkha Micro Batch Liga VH-7.

The VH-7 is a box-pressed cigar, and is made with a slightly veiny — but mostly smooth — Jamastran Habano wrapper from 2003. According to the site, only 45,000 of these cigars were made.

I typically switch between cutters and punches, depending on the cigar’s vitola and my mood, but I used a punch for this particular stick and I got a great pre-light draw that was extraordinarily leathery.

Once lit, the cigar was earthy and leathery, and its Habano wrapper was quite tangy and tasty. The sweet, caramel taste of my drink, a Bass Pale Ale, brought out the flavors of the stick.

The cigar was maintained properly in my humidor, but I noticed that about a third of the way in, it started canoeing a bit up one side. This evened out after about an inch, though. Otherwise, the Liga VH-7’s burn was even and the burn line was thin.

As the cigar progressed, it got more even more leathery, a hint of nuts, which I enjoyed at first, but then it only got more leathery from there.

Verdict: I found the Gurkha Micro Batch Liga VH-7 too one-dimensional. There was too much leather, which overpowered everything else: the nuts, the earthiness — everything. It tastes good, and there’s some heft to it, mbut if you’re looking for something more complex, you may want to look elsewhere.

(NOTE: This review was originally posted on CigarJack.)

Cigar of the Week: Louixs cigar

Louixs cigar

It’s good to feel like a big macher every once in a while.

When you spend a little extra money on the finer things in life — a fine scotch, a Swiss watch, a luxury car — and you get a great deal, it’s a wonderful feeling. An investment in quality is generally a smart one because you’ll experience that quality, presumably, for a long time to come.

The Louixs ultra-premium cigar — made in Nicaragua for Goldwin, the house cigar of the Beverly Hills Cigar Club — is just built for decadence. There are two reasons why:

1. It’s a 6-inch, 60-ring-gauge smoke. (That measures to about an inch in diameter.) The stick is pretty damn big. George Carlin would have a field day with it.
2. It costs 50 bucks.

The Stats

It’s a magnificent-looking cigar, that’s for sure, with a flawless reddish Rosado wrapper leaf from Nicaragua. The cigar band, which features a portrait of Louis XIV, the famous 17th-century “Sun King” of France, makes it look even more stately.

The Goldwin Web site claims the Louixs is the most expensive cigar ever created. At $50, it’s a hell of an expensive stick. Goldwin’s claim, however, is incorrect. The original Gurkha Black Dragon limited-edition cigar debuted at a whopping $1,150 per stick.

But it’s clear Goldwin isn’t selling these sticks to veteran cigar smokers. They say, “Louixs are special because every part of the manufacturing process is managed by master tobacconists who understand this cigar is the very best: native Cuban torcedores (rollers) handleaf each one; native Cuban catadores (taste testers) check every batch; veteran revisadores (inspectors) monitor every aspect of the production.”

Last time I checked, this is basically the case with every other cigar factory. The good ones, at least.

The Taste

Anyway, back to the cigar. Since it has such a big ring gauge, using a cutter may give you too much smoke on the draw, if you’re not a cigar vet. I used a double punch, and got a great, even draw the whole way through.

The pre-light flavor had hints of cocoa and a touch of spice on the finish, but the stick wasn’t anywhere near overpowering. As I smoked through the cigar — it took about an hour-and-a-half to smoke — I noticed it didn’t really get any more complex, as the cocoa and spice persisted until about halfway in, when the cigar got a touch earthy. But that was it; the Louixs hit a flavor plateau early on, and it never extended past that. While it tasted good, I was disappointed by its lack of complexity.

Was the Louixs tasty? Sure. Could you get a better-tasting cigar for $10? Absolutely. You’ll also have some money left over to buy that scotch.

I originally wrote this review for Asylum.

A new job awaits at Weber Shandwick

Sorry, folks, for the lack of new posts lately. I’m changing that now, since I got a new job.

I started last week as a digital communications supervisor at Weber Shandwick. My time at Tribune Company was great, but I like a new challenge. I look forward to learning the ropes of the agency world!

Here’s the official announcement from Weber Shandwick.

Video of the Day: My panel at the Social Media Club of Chicago

I was on a panel last week for the Chicago chapter of the Social Media Club along with Wailin Wong, Howard Wolinsky, Andrew Gill and David Viggiano.

Here’s a video of the panel livestream. Enjoy:

You can find some photos here.

Cigar of the Week: Casa Fuente Pyramid #2 (Arturo Fuente)

Casa Fuente belicoso cigar

Brand: Arturo Fuente
Line: Casa Fuente
Vitola: Pyramid #2 (Torpedo – 6.38 x 52)
Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Cameroon
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Body: Medium
Strength: Medium

Viva Las Vegas.

I recently took my second trip to Sin City to moderate a panel at CES2009, but before I left, I stopped over at Casa Fuente to try its exclusive Casa Fuente cigar. (Well, there was that, and Pete Rose was signing autographs across the way.)

The Casa Fuente has a sweet-smelling Cameroon wrapper that’s exceptionally smooth, and my sticks had good prelight draws and no soft sports. The Casa Fuente — like most Fuente cigars I’ve enjoyed — is superbly rolled, so the cigars’ caps were superb.

I found the flavor in the first half to be leathery with a sweet, vanilla finish. The second half is leathery and sweet, but it gets a touch peppery.

As far as burn, the Casa Fuente burned a bit unevenly at first, but it evened out about an inch and a half in. It produced solid, light gray ash.

Verdict: Love this Cameroon wrapper on this one, and you will too. It’s a good, consistent smoke.

As far as the proper drink to enjoy this with, I was at the Casa Fuente store around 11am, so I didn’t have a spirit with the cigar the first time around; I just had a couple of Fat Tires. My suggestion is to pair this with something fairly mild so you can savor this consistent, delicious smoke.

At $18-$28 a stick, however, you’d better save this for a special occasion. Weddings, bar mitzvahs — or if you win some money at the blackjack tables.

Cigar of the Week: Gurkha Signature Red 1887 Rothchild

Gurkha Signature 1887 Red Rothchild

Brand: Gurkha Cigars
Line: Signature 1887
Vitola: Red Rothchild (Toro); 6 x 55
Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Indian, Peruvian
Body: Mild-to-medium
Strength: Medium

I’ve been on a bit of a Gurkha kick lately. Sue me. Things could be much worse.

Anyway, I’ll just get right into the review. The Gurkha Signature Red 1887 and its maduro brother, the Gurkha Signature Black 1887, seem to be tough sticks to find, but I grabbed a couple of the Red at a recent herf, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The Signature 1887 has a good prelight draw and has a slightly sweet, nutty scent. The Connecticut Shade wrapper was smooth and silky without any rough patches or big veins. The cigar, which just looks like it would be spongy, was consistent and firm.

Burn wasn’t an issue with this stick at all, as the Gurkha Signature Red 1887 produced a solid stack of dark-gray ash. However, about a third of the way in, the draw got a bit tight, and the cigar was tough to smoke just until it hit its sweet spot.

I’m happy the draw opened back up. It was, as they say, luxurious. It was toasty and nutty, with hints of sweetness and had a touch of spice on the finish.

Verdict: I think the Gurkha Signature Red 1887 may be one of my new favorites. At $8 a stick, it isn’t a regular smoke, but if you’re one to splurge on a box occasionally, you may want to check this one out.

(Note: This review originally appeared on CigarJack.)