General – Spirited Smoke

The mystery of tasting cigar notes.

Dear family of the leaf,

this is not a PSA or any documentation that any of these thoughts are stone cold facts. The blogs I write are the thoughts in my head about cigars. This one in particular is about tasting notes, we all have our preferences when it comes down to curing that particular craving from a snickers bar, favorite lager, or cigar.

I could go all over wrappers and their origin, cigar pairings with fine alcohol, but I’m going straight to the point. I’ve watched several Youtube reviews by different tubbers and think? “How do they bloody taste that?” Even with my friends in exchange of conversation and debate and it’s always so different. I’ve smoked the famous collaboration cigar The T. By Caldwell, Fernandez, and Booth as well as other FOTL we all found the base note, but everything else was similar and different. I got a mint leaf, tea leaf, and smoke/bacon notes in that cigar.

Strange sure, I could argue I have a well rounded palette because I’ve dedicated my time in experimenting with Penzy spices to compare and contrast with cigars. Far from everyone else’s case. Others use a flavor wheel as a road map or other methods I believe all these methods are great, but I contradict myself yet again. Memory and smell are intertwined, memory is how we learn to remember certain smells and if you can’t smell you can’t taste.

Interesting. Happy smoking everybody! Always leave your thoughts and personal comments of the matter.

– Susana Murguia (AKA Shane Cheshire)



Always on my day off

Just got served a subpoena to give a deposition and of course it’s right before my one day off which ticks me off. It’s about a situation 3 years ago in which my wife was driving and a dude without his lights on at 4am was speeding and we ALMOST collided. But we didn’t. The other driver spoke very little English ( no her wasn’t Hispanic either) and he got it of the car to yell at us . Said we were going to jail .I having had a claims adjuster license before knew since we don’t hit him or anything on the road and neither did he this was not an issue. But he wanted police so I called them. I asked him if he was ok and he said he wasn’t. I asked him about injuries he just laughed and said I broke his heart. The police didn’t want to come until he changed his position and said he hit his head. The dispatch on the line for so mad at him she hung up on him. So we waited as they carted him away in an ambulance ( my tax dollars at work) . The police would not even file a report for us because there was no accident. He told them we dented his car and pointed to a dent that was BONDED OVER AND REPAINTED ALREADY.. This is what it’s come to. Dude driving at 5am in a bathrobe trying to cash in on tell hard working people going to work. I’ll end my rant but man that pisses me off.


Privada Cigar Club: My Year in Review

My pictured June double box from Privada marked my 1 year anniversary in the club.  Though I am not much of a writer I wanted to leave my reflection of what a full year in the club entails.

The basic idea you get coming into Privada is you are going to get some good cigars to smoke.  They explain they are focused on rare and aged cigars. As I received the first few months of boxes it was clear I was getting non-mainstream cigars and cigars with definite age.  I will say they were all great cigars.  Some even left me searching the internet to attempt to find them on my own.  My white whale being the Dissident Soapbox.  A cigar I loved and never could find it.  Eventually Privada also opened the Privada shop which offered members the ability to score the few remaining sticks after boxes went out to members.  White whale update….I was able to buy 5 Soapbox.  That made me one happy member. 

Privada also introduced me to cigars and companies that I may have never tried because of my lack of knowledge.  The variety of companies featured is amazing.  From HVC, Room 101, Caldwell, CAO, Crown Heads, Illusione, Southern Draw, Sindicato  and Cornelius & Anthony only to name a few.  Believe me these are only a few.  If companies want exposure they are not going to get any better then what the PCC family will provide. The members plaster these sticks all over social media with rave review.

Only once did I have a concern with a stick and it was immediately address by Brian.  For any of you that don’t know, Brian is the mastermind behind Privada Cigar Club.  A true gentleman that I will address later.  The customer service that is provided is amazing.  My biggest concerns were usually moving my shipment around because I was going to be out of town when the box was supposed to arrive.  Always accommodating, Privada either immediately shipped or delayed the shipment based on my needs.   The assistance making my situation easier is always appreciated.

The cigars that are provided by Privada are top notch and not matched by any other club I have seen.  You receive aged cigars, rare cigars and exclusive cigars.  I do not have the patience to age cigars so receiving a cigar with multiple years of age is appreciated. To also receive cigars like the 2018 HVC Black Friday were only 7500 were made is amazing.  But the exclusives are what amazes me to this day.  The first ever Privada exclusive from Matt Booth and Room 101 was a club favorite.  The last Cowboy lancero which was only released to Privada this year.  Or the Padilla Miami 8&11 lancero which is being reviewed by club members as a magical stick. The opportunity to smoke things that 99.9% of cigar smokers will never see is worth the price of admission.  To talk with your cigar buddies about the El Titan de Bronze Redemption Sun-Grown Lancero which I believe consisted of only 300 sticks made for Privada.  This is something almost no one will ever experience.  You can’t put a price on that.

Experiencing all these wonderful sticks caused me to up my membership to a double membership about 8 months in. I still wonder to this day why it took so long for me to figure that out. I mean I could have an extra HVC or a Room 101 exclusive which won’t be seen again. To be able to smoke the monthly sticks now and know I have another round saved is a great feeling. A double membership is a no brainer for any member in my opinion.

I was also able to find out that the community within Privada was like no other I have seen. To say the members are a family is the understatement of the year.  Privada has a strong Instagram presence but has a community on Facebook that is like no other. Privada’s Facebook page serves as a hub for those in love with Privada and what the club provides.  There are obviously too many people involved in the Group to mention them all.  But there are many that stand out to me.  Scott Ramsdell and his wife Kelly providing nubbers to the community. Kelly’s Creations is an amazing business that has provided custom nubbers to the members.  I have 3 myself and 1 more I gave as a gift. Walter Underwood being the godfather of the mail bomb. His generosity exceeds my imagination every time he bombs someone. As he says just give from the heart. I cannot count the number of members who unselfishly mail their cherished sticks to others in the club in an effort to share their experience and pass along sticks that others may have not tried. Cindy Waldrop looking to coordinate the first Privada gathering to allow us all to gather personally and build the community further.  There are so many more of you that I interact with daily I hope you forgive me only naming a few.

Then there is the charity. To say my faith in people was renewed in people recently would be correct.  Privada recently took the time to let the members know that the purchase of sticks and stickers from the site would mean Privada would donate to feed families with each purchase. The Privada family purchases triggered 1250 meals being donated to families and then Brian and his family matched that generosity and donated another 1250 meals. 2500 meals donated in a weekend!!!!!  If you ever needed a reason to believe that there were still good people out there then this community does that.

Now many people may ask if this is all just a business push and everything is done simply for a profit. I have had the pleasure of personally interacting with Brian.  The man you see in the lives on Instagram and Facebook is the man you get.  I am truly impressed by the care he has for the members and the generosity he shows.  When it is said this is a family and would not be what it is without its members and their participation, I truly believe that.  The effort Brian puts in on behalf of his cigar family to obtain the best quality cigars is never ending.  I can say this is the best cigar club experience I have had. 

This has been my last year with Privada and I couldn’t imagine my year without it. To say I am excited to see what year two will hold is a massive understatement.  If you are looking for a monthly membership that included rare, aged and exclusive sticks along with a huge family of cigar smokers attached to it then Privada is the club for you.


Motorcycle Lifestyle – Isle of Man TT

The isle of Man TT

Every year at the end of May and the beginning of June, road racing enthusiasts from all over the world flock to a tiny island in the Irish sea. They come to the Isle of Man to witness what can only be described as the greatest motorcycle racing event on the Planet.

If you’ve been to the IOM road races and had to describe the TT to someone who hasn’t, you might find yourself tongue tied looking for the proper adjectives to do it justice, or you break into a grin and shake your head before you utter words like, “unbelievable, unreal or incredible”.

The IOM TT is akin to a religion to fans of two wheels. It is the oldest and most dangerous race in the world, part sprint race, part endurance race, part time trials. The course measures 37.73 miles long with over 264 turns and corners snaking their way through towns and villages until it reaches Snaefell Mountain. Along the side of the course, which are public roads the rest of the year, there are what the riders refer to as “furniture”, furniture includes trees, stone walls, fences, gates, houses and whatever you might find at the side of the road. Speeds of over 200mph are reached on the Sulby straight, an account in 2003 by Sports Illustrated writer Franz Lidz described it as “38 miles of terror”. Any lapse in concentration or the smallest mistake can prove fatal. There have been 258 recorded deaths since the race’s inception in 1907.

Sitting at the side of the road a few feet away from the racing surface ads to the excitement and on more than one occasion I’ve had the air literally sucked out of my lungs by a motorcycle being piloted by some of the world’s best road racers and replaced but the intoxicating smell of oil and race fuel. Racing on the IOM is not for the faint of heart, it takes a special breed to take on this course. These riders are akin to modern day gladiators.

Valentino Rossi, who holds nine grand prix championships came to the Island in 2009 and proclaimed

I understand why people love this because it’s fucking awesome – it’s unbelievable, great. But, unfortunately, it’s too dangerous. Sometimes, riders are crazy.’

‘The Isle of Man is very difficult. If you make a mistake, maybe it’s the last mistake.’  

As intense as the TT is, in the paddock area, the riders can be found interacting with their fans, signing autographs and posing for photographs. The food court provides everything from pizza, baked potatoes with all the toppings, fish and chips, pork sandwiches with crackling to Davidson’s Ice cream and little fried donuts sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar. O’kells Beer tent is the center of the social world in the paddock with live music in the evening and a local beer selection and bar. There is literally something for everyone.

If the TT is on your bucket list, take it off, go and experience the greatest motorcycle event on the planet, take in the sights and sounds, and be that person that tries to explain what he or she has witnessed. This is the temple of Road Racing Purity It is truly the greatest show on earth.


Happy Cinco de Mayo!

BLTC Santa Muerte courtesy of the Privada shop. What’s everyone else celebrating with today? Happy smoking fellow PCC-ers!!!

Brian why is my image sideways? Lol. Everyone turn your phone cause I’m just going with it. ?



Hey everyone ….


Just wanted to post something   so….  Who here is ready for Game of Thrones final season?    Are you smoking or drinking anything special along w the show ?

 I’m thinking of Smoking my LLTK Mad MF unbanded Privada Exclusive……with some nice whiskey to top it off with some bite.   



Should Privada Cigar Club accept crypto currency for payment?

As a passionate member of Privada Cigar Club since 2017, a thought provoking question has come to mind recently and I thought I would share it for a consensus. Who thinks adding a Bitcoin payment option could be a great idea for Privada Cigar Club to integrate the worlds latest cutting edge digital currency option for membership payments or even for as a payment checkout option for shopping on their website? As we all know by now, Bitcoin has become just as important as mastercard and when emerging markets lend their consumers the diversity of the latest payment options, this could become another pioneering move for PCC’s business.

Lets talk about it…..



Grand Havana Room Members Only Club

The Grand Havana Room Members Only Club is something of a legend in the cigar world. No more exclusive cigar lounge exists. With locations in Beverly Hills, New York City and most recently Moscow, the enigma of what the club is, looks like and what it’s like to be a member are greater than ever. Almost a year ago to date I was first invited to the famed club at its original location in Beverly Hills Ca. As someone who recently moved to LA, a goal on my list was to become a member. Becoming a member however is no easy task. You must be recommended by 2 other current members and the membership fee although listed at $3,000 annually is actually higher by way of food and drink minimums. Meaning you have to show up often enough, drink and eat enough to meet a certain dollar amount and also pay the $3,000 cost of membership of which I’m told is higher now but cannot confirm.

Let’s start at the beginning for a second and get an understanding of how the GHR became a thing. Apparently, as the story goes, Stan Shuster (founder of GHR), friend of superstars like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sly Stallone, was at luck with the above mentioned people in New York. It was a patio set up. They were all enjoying cigars when someones mother came over to the table and gutted them for all of the smoke in the outdoor restaurant. Apparently he hated the situation so much he opened a restaurant/private club for him and his friends to smoke, eat and be merry in. With time and exclusivity, EVERYONE wanted to join. IT seems to me that Shuster’s growth was more of a wait and see or wait and learn before opening up in other cities because they did not open another for close to 10 years. (I cannot seem to fact check this).

So here I am on a sunny California afternoon when I receive a text asking me if I’d like to go to GHR. “GHR” I said, what is that? My friend lol’d me and said the Grand Havana. My answer…”YES”! Threw on a suit with a t-shirt and matching Adidas Calabasas sneakers and headed to the car (mistake on driving myself as I’d find out around midnight while squinting out of one eye to stop the road from veering in two). I got to the right intersection and suddenly I’m lost. I cannot find the place for the life of me. I’m literally at the marker on my maps. Walking back and firth and to and fro. I followed the smell of smoke yet nothing. I even heard my friend yell my name out and still nothing. He came and got me. Apparently the doorway is hidden beside a restaurant in a walkway of other shops. We give our name and a young lady calls upstairs. They ask who we are guests of and we tell them. A small elevator opens and we are on our way.

The elevator opens into a hallway with a door at the end that has a small circular window and a button to press for entry. A gentleman opens the door for us and we walk into a very grand, high ceilinged room. It is pretty large the first time you walk in but I have a feeling it gets smaller the more frequent your visits become. On one side are the private lockers that go as high as the ceiling , about 30 ft if I had to guess, the wall of lockers wave like the ocean and give the room a feeling like it is shaped like a grand piano. Encased in glass and humidified of course. There is a bar although hidden upon entry in the back right. Then entire place is filled with dining tables and chairs neatly dressed, very similar to a swanky steak house. To the left there are outdoor tables on a balcony, our choice of seating. Apparently the main room gets very smoky as the night goes on.

So, a few things I think should be mentioned and then a few that shouldn’t but I will because no one that attends the GHR is ever going to read this. First, I’ve been twice now. The second time the place lost its luster for me and just didn’t tickle me the way it did the first time. The club itself is really a restaurant and bar that allows smoking and will rent you a locker. It’s a 3.5 star maybe 4 star restaurant and bar however so it is swanky as hell. I could see being a member going there for lunch and brunch but dinner had a vibe I’ll get into shortly. Overall, I’m going to guess members spend at least $8,000 annually to be members and I’m probably short changing that number…I’d bet most spend $10,000 and up. So is it worth it? If you can afford it and you live nearby (which would mean you can afford it), sure, if that is your crowd. Personally, If an extra 10-15k a year was no big deal and I lived near, I’d probably join, so there is that. In regards to the things I shouldn’t say…at night when it got busy the place wreaked of bullshit. I’m quite sure like any other demographic most of these people are here to live a shared lifestyle of celebrity. I personally met people I would not hold in high regard. Con artists? Maybe not, but not far from it in some circumstances. Others I met in passing seemed overly wealthy, which hey, we all want to have that problem but as you find out after getting too close to some of these types, money does not make the man. I sensed a ton of bullshit when talking about money. A lot of inflated, show off stories and numbers thrown around yet when the check comes everyone yells dutch. I picked up the tab not once but both times I went. The first out of appreciation for the invite. The inviting member acted upset with me stating members have to pay. I don’t think he was too upset however. The second was out of animosity. To listen to a conversation where people tell me they have the markets down to a science and make $1500 plus a day in minutes of trading to not only run from the check but then break down who had what…yuck. I threw in my platinum AMEX like a boss and said it’s on me big shots. So in the end…I’m glad I had the experience but do not miss it in the slightest.

I hope this helps anyone who was ever curious about the GHR.


Fancy Vodka: A Marketing Ploy?

According to the most recent video series from NPR’s Planet Money, the concept of fancy vodka is very new and was the brainchild of Sidney Frank, the marketing genius who created the idea of expensive vodka.

Click to watch the video on how he used the power of marketing to create Grey Goose in France and sell it for much more than any of its competitors at the time.

This makes me want to do a blind taste test to see if it’s really true. Anyone else??