1.4.12 Carytown has a Cigar Shop? YEP! For over 20 years and she’s a beauty!
There’s something to be said about places that speak to pleasant places of the past with a loud clear voice. When it comes to smoking, everything has changed, but I still remember sitting in the tobacco shop as a young man with the thick rich smell of cigars and pipes complimenting lively discussions from men in a relaxed state. As much as anything else, the simple, but profound pleasure of those early experiences dictated that I’d be a cigar guy.
I’ve used every form of tobacco. Snuff, dip, chew, pipe, cigarettes, and yes, cigars. As a native Virginian, tobacco has always evoked a feeling of pride. Over the years, I lost interest in all tobacco other than pipes and cigars, but thoroughly enjoy the two. As much as anything, the enjoyment comes down to the process.
I’ll use cigars as my example.
So much more than just buying a smoke and smoking it. I thoroughly enjoy researching and reading reviews of the cigar to include taste, tones, draw, and volume of smoke. I good cigar reviewer can bring me completely into their world.
“The Habano Rosado Toro has a nice triple-cap, a firm feel in the hand, and a clean, silky exterior leaf. The pre-light aroma is mostly earthy with a touch of sweet cocoa. The maroon band is easily removed and the cold draw has just the right amount of resistance.
Where the Habano Oscuro starts with a chary, chewy Nicaraguan zing, the Habano Rosado has a jasmine-like floral taste with notes of toast, cinnamon spice, and a toffee sweetness on the finish. This is an entirely different cigar with a more medium-bodied profile (the Oscuro is a bold, full-bodied smoke). Still, the spiciness makes it no pushover, and the complexity makes it quite interesting.
As the straight burn line works down the cigar and the white ash builds off the foot, I notice that the resting smoke has a pronounced sweetness. I also notice that the taste of the cigar mellows halfway through with some of the spice giving way to more sweet notes.”
Good stuff, right? So, When I get a Cigar (or more like 10) I prefer to buy them at my local tobacconist to be around other Artisans like Patrick Ashby. Though Patrick & his team are located in Arlington, Cigar Shops attract his type, the Aficionados. Like a good wine, or single malt, knowing the nuances of the product seems to make it a bit more enjoyable.
But it’s more than that. Getting a room full of Cigar Smokers together creates a certain vibe. Conversation is engaged, yet mellow. The tone is warm and friendly, yet everyone is comfortable in sharing their opinion. In my mind I think that this is what “Civilized Discourse” looks like and for a country boy like me, that’s alright.
Setting is meaningful. Olde Virginia Tobacco is the local Carytown spot that I support. From the super knowledgeable and friendly team that works at OVT to the regulars, the personalities match the physical environment~
Warm, Nostalgic, Unpretentious, Classy, & Fun.
This is the kind of place that you come to sit for a bit and catch up with old friends, and make new ones. On my last visit, I spent two hours catching up with 2 gentleman that I’ve considered friends for close to 20 years, and met 6 new friends. We talked economics, politics, football, basketball, commerce, cars, food, and yes…We talked Cigars.
The store offers seating for four in chairs, then it’s the window ledge or standing. With that said, no one seems uncomfortable. This is the kind of place that you just kind of huddle together and get to solving the problems of the world with the other sage smokers.
The Humidor is generous in it’s size with strong selections. Like the rest of the store~ it’s old, yet sturdy, & unpretentious, yet impressive. I always find myself spending a good 10 minutes staring at selection. Typically I will buy the same Cigars with a few added new selections.
Along with the impressive humidor, the shop has a substantial pipe collection along with an incredible variety of tobaccos. Perhaps my next visit will be with one of my old collectible pipes. I’d be uncomfortable bringing a junker, as the inventory of pipes is intimidating.
The store also sells humidors, lighters, cutters, and other pipe & cigar accessories. Aside from the items for sale, I always enjoy the old school tobacco house furnishings to include the old Indians and cigar art.
I like the fact that Olde Virginia Tobacco always has my Standard Rocky Patel’s & Padron’s along with new experiences like the EP Carrillo Maduro, which I smoked during my last visit. When trying the newer cigars I simply ask the Gallery what’s the best new Maduro. I rarely get bad advice. Here’s part of a review of the Carillo Maduro by Barry Stein from acigarsmoker.com. He does an incredible job of describing the experience. Since my review would be ~ “Great smoke, good structure, solid burn to the finish” his is a bit more impressive:
The foot of the cigar has an abundance of rich molasses to the nose and some pepper as well which is heavenly to say the least. One the third and fourth inhale I pick up notes of manure which is one of the best compliments one can pay a cigar. Once the cigar is clipped the cold draw serves up notes dark chocolate and a sweetness which reminds me of a jelly ring. In the background there are notes of earth and cedar. If the prelight ritual is right I am in for a very complex smoke. The first third of the cigar has notes of coffee and dark chocolate with something sweet tries to fight for recognition. Just before the 2nd third is reached the sweetness becomes a subtle cherry that compliments the other notes well. As the second third of the cigar progresses the cherry sweetness becomes stronger giving this cigar a classic maduro profile. In the background there is shortbread (thanks Stogimus Prime and Jerry Cruz for helping me put that into words) with coffee on the finish. The last third becomes slightly bitter but not over powering, as there is still a faint cherry that slowly gives way to leather that lingers on the finish.
In my last visit, not only did I enjoy the new friendships made, but also ended up setting up 2 meetings. It’s always the same. I leave Olde Virginia Tobacco Company and promise myself that I’ll set aside a couple of hours a week to catch up with my Cigar Friends. Sometimes I stick to it, but not nearly enough. I hope that you get the opportunity to visit and stay a while. Think Carytown when you think Cigars thanks to Olde Virginia Tobacco. They have been around for over 20 years and the faces are pretty much the same. Gotta go for now. Beautiful day outside and it’s time for a smoke. Thanks OVTC.