by Randy Mastronicola
The cigar universe is diverse in many ways. However, most agree that social interaction and an appreciation for finer things initially attracted us to the culture. Cigars, wine, cognac, coffee and myriad other pleasures are there for the taking. We’ve made memories, established friendships, learned about different world cultures and developed our identities based on our passions. Those new to cigars are clean slates. The following tips will help them find their way and give us seasoned veterans an opportunity to revisit the rules. We’ll put “10” in the Tenets of Good Cigar Etiquette.
Legendary American Blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter, Lightnin’ Hopkins fashioned his own cigar box guitar in the 1920’s. He described his process:
“So I went ahead and made me a guitar. I got me a cigar box, I cut me a round hole in the middle of it, take me a little piece of plank, nailed it onto that cigar box, and I got me some screen wire and I made me a bridge back there and raised it up high enough that it would sound inside that little box, and got me a tune out of it. I kept my tune and I played from then on.”
The cigar box guitar (cbg) has its roots in primitive Americana musical instrument crafting. Along with the cigar box fiddle (cigfiddle) and the cigar box banjo, these instruments were created as early as the 1840’s.
Many musically inclined rural Southerners didn’t have the means to purchase instruments during The Great Depression. Therefore, homemade was the way to go. They relied on their voices, jugs, washboards and crates/beat boxes to enjoy music and share songs within families and communities. The early versions of cigar box guitars had just one or two strings, but three strings became more popular as the expertise of those making them increased.
The experience of making your own cigar box guitar appeals to different people for different reasons. Some say they enjoy paying homage to America’s blues roots, and enjoy recreating the sounds and twangs like old-time players. The organic experience of using basics like a broomstick, wood slats and a cigar box as a resonator connects players to the instrument and acts as a bridge to the past. Many cigar lovers enjoy utilizing a special stogie box that has a memory or event associated with it. Other enthusiasts enjoy the thrill of the hunt of finding just the right cigar box for the project. Antique wooden cigar boxes, ornate boxes or any number of unique theme boxes are out there for the taking and making.
As revealed by Lightnin’ Hopkins, you don’t need much in the way of materials. The expense is negligible when compared to buying an actual guitar or a fine artisanal cigar box guitar model. Generally, the cost is under fifty dollars. However, the price can be higher if you choose to add gadgets or amplify your ax with a pickup or resonator cone.
The resurgence of the cigar box guitar is a real movement. It’s not just the DIY set nowadays that finds the allure of the cigar box guitar too tempting to pass up. The revival of Brit-beat skiffle groups, Ska bands, and jug bands have contributed to the modern revival.
Very famous and respected musicians have utilized them at one point or another. To name a few: The gravelly voiced pop-blues singer and songwriter Tom Waits has used his cigar box banjo on records. PJ Harvey has been known to work her cig fiddle into her performances and records. Blues innovator Bo Diddley and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons have employed their cigar box guitars at various points. Most famously, Paul McCartney played a Baratto cigar box guitar on “Cut Me Some Slack.” The tune, written and performed with the three surviving members of Nirvana, garnered the best rock song Grammy in 2014.
Making your own cigar box guitar is a fun project and a great way to scrape the rust off your imagination. You’ll be showing off and shredding for fellow cigar and music lovers in no time.
So go ahead and get started!
Here are some links to point you in the right direction:
Cigar Zen is excited to announce its new humidification system, BLÜME, coming to Kickstarter on November 8, 2016. BLÜME is a first-of-its-kind active and fully-connected humidifier that pairs ultrasonic humidification with an inventory management app for both iOS and Android.
Update, Now Available on IndieGoGo: https://igg.me/at/blume-by-cigar-zen
For the first time ever, desktop, end-table and small cabinet humidor owners can reap the benefits of ultrasonic humidification – rather than systems that utilize a fan to enable evaporation, BLÜME uses atomizing transduction which means ultrasonic waves create tiny water droplets that are then released into the air, creating a much more even humidification.
The connected app paired with the BLÜME humidification device acts as both a hygrometer and inventory management system. Humidity sensors on either side of the device send real-time data to the BLÜME app, which then provides notifications when the water reservoir needs to be refilled, if humidity levels alter unexpectedly and when battery power is running low. In terms of inventory management, users enter their cigars’ information into the app’s database as they place cigars into their humidor. The app monitors the progress of aging of each specific cigar, notifying the user when their cigars have been optimally aged and are ready to smoke. This system simplifies the process of aging cigars for even the most novice of smokers, taking away the guess work that often comes with humidification.
Cigar Zen Co-Founder Lee Cocking says, “BLÜME is about enabling that perfect cigar smoking experience for every cigar smoker. It’s about bridging the long-standing gap between cigar craftsmanship and modern technology.”
Kickstarter pricing details are as follows:
Super Early Bird: $195
Early Bird: $225
Regular Kickstarter Contribution Price: $245
Kickstarter Exclusive Premium Gold-Plated Model: $995
BLÜME will initially be available in two standard finishes; brown embossed faux-leather or carbon fiber, each with a chrome base. The unique look of BLÜME has been meticulously designed to compliment any humidor.
About Cigar Zen
Cigar Zen is co-founded by friends and cigar lovers Lee Cocking and Rob McKeon. Together, they aim to bring perfection to every cigar smoker’s experience, using their vast knowledge of technology, product craftsmanship and of course, cigars.
For more information, including media inquiries, please contact: [email protected]
Ft. Lauderdale, FL- October 27, 2016- Turn that ho-hum, empty wall space into a celebration of the cigar lifestyle. ‘Alec Bradley #CigarArt’ wall art has been designed to proudly hang anywhere a cigar is enjoyed. Twenty-nine limited edition styles of canvas were produced in small quantities, per style, for the inaugural release. They will be available to retailers and consumers alike.
“Cigar smokers are passionate people,” said Alec Bradley President, Alan Rubin. “They want to immerse themselves in every facet of the culture. You will find our Red Badge hanging all over the place. We thought it was time to create something else our fans could proudly display.”
‘Alec Bradley #CigarArt’ will be available to purchase at Authorized Alec Bradley Retailers across the country, as well as on the Alec Bradley website.
Three sizes will be available for purchase- 18” X 18,” 18” X 36” and 36” X 18.” MSRP for the 18” X 18” pieces will be $39.95 per canvas. MSRP for the 18” X 36” and “36 X 18” pieces will be $49.95 per canvas.
For more information on ‘Alec Bradley #CigarArt’ or to find an Alec Bradley Authorized Retailer, please visit www.alecbradley.com .
Follow us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/alecbradleycigar
About Alec Bradley Cigars
Founded by Alan Rubin in 1997, Alec Bradley Cigars has been acknowledged as one of the world’s leading producers of fine, handmade premium cigars. Alec Bradley has received the cigar industry’s highest critical acclaim for its Prensado, Maxx, Tempus, Sanctum, and Black Market premium cigars, to name a few. Their commitment to satisfying cigar enthusiasts worldwide is demonstrated by their passion for excellence, creativity, and the highest quality standards.
By Amanda Keeley-Thurman
Hot. Dry. Unforgiving. Alluring. The desert is a place of intense elements and dangerous beauty. Spiky cacti dot the barren landscape. Tumble weeds roll across dusty roads. Oranges, yellows, pinks and caramels splash across the rocky mountain ranges. Sparkling stars blanket the night sky. There is a mystic to the desert; a romance that intrigues visitors to come and explore.
Despite the rawness of the desert there is opulence to be found. From California to Utah, the fascination of the desert can be indulged while enjoying the comfort and extravagance of a lavish accommodation. These ten luxurious desert resorts are no mirage, they are truly an oasis.
Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
Located in the Coachella Valley, just a short drive from Palm Springs is a desert escape that must be experienced. The lush Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa is set on 240 acres with five on-site restaurants, a European spa, modern fitness center, 25 tennis courts and a 27-hole golf course designed by Ted Robinson. To keep cool in the desert heat, Splashtopia is everything you would need for an amazing water adventure, including a 450 foot lazy river. If that’s not relaxing enough, there is also The Azure Hotel Pool for adults only and the Spa Pool for spa guests to unwind.
Take a boat tour around the many scenic waterways or hang out with some exotic birds. Yes Toto, we are still in the desert; Palms Springs to be exact. A mecca of exciting shops, bars and restaurants, Palm Springs is a desert playground, but The JW Marriott is a destination in itself! In addition to the lagoons, boats and exotic birds, the resort also has five pools, a wonderful spa, fabulous dining, and two Ted Robinson golf courses, the Valley Course and the Palms Course. After a day of activities what’s more relaxing than enjoying a cocktail by a fire pit on the terrace of the Blue Star Lounge?
Inn at Furnace Creek
Okay, Palm desert might be the obvious choice, but what about Death Valley? What could possibly be luxurious about a place like Death Valley? After miles of desolate landscape, The Inn at Furnace Creek rises from the desert like a mirage. This 1927 four-diamond hideaway is a very real and welcomed site for weary travelers. This resort encourages guests to indulge the lovely natural wonders the desert has to offer. The whole resort is fed by glacier water of the Travertine Springs, creating this lush oasis in Death Valley. Even the pool is naturally spring fed, warm year round, and with no chlorine.
Celebrating 85 years of luxury and glamour, Arizona Inn opened its doors during the depression as a symbol of hope. Shining like a star in Tucson for decades, the resort has attracted a few stars of its own. Celebrity guests have been flocking to the Arizona Inn for decades, like President F.D.R, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, President Kennedy, the Rockefellers, Danny Kaye, John Wayne and Bettie Davis. Still family-owned, the inn has a wonderful warmness of home with the decadence you would expect of a luxury resort. Not only is the surrounding desert landscape breathtaking, but the property’s lovely garden bursts with color making every morning a good morning to be waking up at the Arizona Inn.
At the base of Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale sits the Five-Diamond Phoenician resort. In addition to guest rooms there are casitas and canyon suites. The Sonoran Desert gets hot fast, but at this resort there are eight pools to choose from to keep you cool, including an edgeless-pool. A beautiful day at the Phoenician is spent playing golf or tennis, checking out the amazing Cactus Garden or exclusive art collection or feeding the Koi in the tranquil Necklace Lake Lagoon. Then enjoy an evening dining at one of the many award winning restaurants or a private dinner for two under the stars at Dinner at tee box eight, the highest point on the resort golf course.
El Monte Sagrado
This Four-Diamond resort is not only an oasis; it is a sanctuary. To nurture and mystify guests, the El Monte Sagrado has a creative mix of calming and interesting elements. Waterfalls, lush landscaping, streams filled with fish, and the surrounding desert views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains help stimulate the senses while relaxing the body. For even more relaxation, decompress at The Living Spa and partake in one of the many organic treatments. Stay and enjoy a full day at the resort or take the opportunity to visit Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage site, just a three mile drive from the resort. End the day with a delicious global meal at De La Tierra or sip on a craft cocktail at the fascinating Anaconda Bar. The Anaconda Bar actually has a giant anaconda sculpture that wraps around the bar and up the ceiling as well as an exotic fish aquarium.
The Inn of Five Graces
This resort may be located in the desert on the oldest inhabited block in the U.S., but it does not fade into the dusty backdrop. Rather, it bursts off the scene with exotic flare from faraway lands. Intricate mosaics and colorful tapestries cover the property, exciting the eye at every turn while the exterior provides balances with the earthy tones of traditional adobe. Kiva fireplaces glow, as the sweet scent of mesquite wafts through the night air. Outside, be transported to another time. Inside, be transported to another world! Five Graces is an Eastern term referring to the five senses, and this resort intends to indulge all of them.
Las Vegas as a city is an oasis, full of luxury resorts lined up along the strip. It can be hard to say which one is better than the other, but the Mandarin Oriental is the new kid on the block and welcomes the challenge. Excited to grow as an international brand, this resort was excited to make Las Vegas its new home in 2009. Carefully intermixing serenity into the overwhelmingly stimulating town, the Mandarin Oriental focuses on wellness and rejuvenation. Although there is no casino or smoking in this hotel, there are amazing bars, restaurants, a tea room, epic views, and the perfect spa to find your Zen.
Sorrel River Ranch
The perfect mix of rustic charm and opulent luxury. The Sorrel River Ranch sits along the Sorrel River with the breathtaking backdrop of the mountains. You want adventure? This resort has plenty of options like rock climbing, river-rafting, and horseback riding. Want to be pampered? Head to the spa for a treatment or Sit on deck and take in the amazing desert views.
Amangiri in Canyon Park
This resort is truly a hideaway in Canyon Park. It literally blends right into the surrounding canyons, only noticed by the warm glow behind its walls and many fire pits. The majestic landscape is the showcase of the Amangiri where the outside infuses with the inside. The canyons even spill into the pools, making for a magnificent sight. Plus, the resort is in the center the Grand Circle, surrounded by natural wonders, such as the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and Monument Valley. The Amangiri encourages their guests to embrace the outdoors with a number of options for adventure or relaxation. You can even take a morning hot-air balloon ride over the Vermillion Cliffs and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument that launches from the resort.
Who knew the desert could be so revitalizing? The land of extreme elements is calmed with the tranquil environment of these luxurious desert oasis resorts. Upon check in, guests are able to fully enjoy all the beauty and wonder the desert has to offer. Mornings on the golf course, afternoons by the pool or spa, and evenings relaxing by the fire pit with a drink in hand. Don’t escape from the desert, escape to the desert at one of these ten amazing resorts.
By Amanda Keeley Thurman
(Ed Note: In print, this article was incorrectly attributed Lanee Lee)
“The people make Glasgow.”
While that is the city’s motto, and while that may be true today; historically, it was the tobacco trade that made Glasgow an economic powerhouse and led to the creation of the ridiculously wealthy and notorious Glasgow Tobacco Lords. Prior to the 1700’s Glasgow was a mostly agricultural community with an unstable economy that was subject to the crown. One of the economic limitations imposed by the English was the Navigation Act, which hindered the Scottish from profiting in the growing trade with England’s colonies (including America), but Glasgow’s location and savvy merchant skills would propel them into an economic boom and turn mere merchants into Tobacco Lords.
What was the tobacco trade?
Glasgow was part of a triangular trade system in which goods such as sugar, rum, and tobacco were exchanged between Europe and the new world, including colonies in the Americas and the Caribbean. Unfortunately, the third prong of this trade route included ports in Africa in which slaves were brought to America’s shores and traded for our keystone export – American tobacco. The 1707 Act of Union is what initially sanctioned Glasgow merchants to engage in trade with the colonies, but interestingly enough the first documented shipment of Virginia tobacco to Glasgow was back in 1674, in scandalous violation of England’s laws.
Beyond merely trading tobacco, Glasgow merchants went further by setting up shop on the shores of Maryland and Virginia. At the stores they would keep barrels of tobacco stocked and ready so that trading ships would waste little time upon port entry. Here, farmers could also exchange tobacco for various goods, tools, money and credit.
How did Glasgow benefit from the tobacco trade?
Simply put, it was Glasgow’s position on the west side of Scotland, along the River Clyde, that made it the perfect jumping off point for trading with the West Indies and America. Why? Well, Europe’s taste for Virginia tobacco was rapacious and Glasgow just happened to be located where the trade winds hit Europe first, giving Glasgow merchants at least a two-week advantage over other ports in Europe. This edge is what prompted France to give Glasgow the monopoly on all of the imports of tobacco into French territories.
Now responsible for 50 percent of Europe’s tobacco imports, and up to 80 percent of its re-exports, which was greater than all of Britain’s trade combined, Glasgow hit the jackpot. With Clyde ports quickly becoming top dog in the tobacco trade, Glasgow went from a rural country town to a bustling metropolis virtually overnight. Enter the age of the Glasgow Tobacco Lords.
Who were these Tobacco Lords?
These were the guys that made loads of money in the tobacco trade, and boy did they like to flaunt their wealth. The Glasgow Tobacco Lords made sure everybody knew who they were by wearing ostentatious clothing as well as building lavish mansions and churches throughout the city. For example, the Tobacco Lords definitely had their own style. They would parade their swag in the streets with flashy scarlet cloaks and Tricorn hats atop their silver wigs while tapping their silver-tipped walking canes. Naturally, they did all their strutting along paved roads such as Trongate, which has been said to have been claimed as their own by the Tobacco Lords.
All around the city of modern-day Glasgow, street names serve as a reminder of its tobacco trade past. For example, in an area of downtown known as Merchant City, the Lords liked to flaunt their outlandish outfits and was the prime location where they chose to build their opulent mansions. Their own names as well as the names of their grand residences–and of the places that earned them their fortunes–still grace the streets of Glasgow today. The infamous Buchanan Street is named after Tobacco Lord Andrew Buchanan, while Virginia Street is named after Tobacco Lord Alexander Speirs’ Virginia Mansion. His name was also given to Speirs Wharf. The same goes for Ingram Street and Dunlop Street, named after Archibald Ingram and James Dunlop. William Cunninghame’s over-the-top mansion on Queen Street still stands grand, and has been repurposed as the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art.
If the Tobacco Lords had their own style, their own streets and their own estates, then clearly they would have their own churches. The sensational St. Andrew’s Parish Church, located near the home of Alexander Speirs, was commissioned by the Tobacco Lords as another way to showcase their fortunes. Still considered one of the most impressive 18th century churches in Scotland, St. Andrews is now a center for performing art.
With grand churches to worship, one would naturally need an impressive place to rest in peace. Necropolis, the city of the dead, is a dramatic cemetery located high up on the hill overlooking the city. These men were rich, powerful, and wanted people to know it in life as well as in death. Just like their outrageous estates and churches, their eternal monuments spared no expense.
Despite the fancy garb, things were not always as they seemed. Malcontent colonists felt cheated by the tobacco trade, and tensions steadily grew approaching the 1760’s. The colonists believed that the Glasgow Tobacco Lords were manipulating prices and causing tobacco farmers to fall into major debt. You see, the English merchants made their money by selling the tobacco to Europe, but the Glasgow Tobacco Lords pre-arranged deals and then offered credit, giving huge loans to these planters. This line of credit would allow the tobacco farmers to purchase goods before their crop was harvested.
Unfortunately, many farmers found themselves deep in debt and were put in the difficult position of selling their crop for ridiculously low prices. Some of the high profile planters that were indebted to the ruthless Tobacco Lords and near bankruptcy included future Presidents of the United States George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson even stated that Tobacco Lords had submerged them in so much debt that it would be impossible to recover without selling one’s land and property.
Impact of the Revolution on Tobacco Trade
The year of 1775 was not good for Glasgow Tobacco Lords. The start of the American Revolution also marked the end of the big tobacco trade. Not only was it unfeasible for planters to pay off debts, but Tobacco Lords could no longer pick up cargo as Glasgow ships were not safe due to the hostile conditions of numerous battles.
Once the war was over and America gained independence, the tobacco planters no longer needed the Glasgow merchants as middlemen. They could now sell tobacco directly to Europe for themselves.
Some Tobacco Lords never recovered from the blow and lost everything, like John Glassford. He was said to be one of most successful of the Tobacco Lords, owning the biggest fleet of ships at that time as well as various tobaccos plantations. He made fortunes at the tobacco trade, but due the American war he died buried in debt.
However, some merchants cashed out just in time and found new thriving business ventures, such as the trade of sugar and cotton from the new world. Others like William Cunninghame were savvy enough to buy tobacco stock off his panicked partners and then sold them high, helping to maintain his fortunes.
The tobacco trade provided fifty years of major growth for the city of Glasgow, and the wallets of shrewd merchants. Owing directly to American tobacco, a small town in Scotland became an industrial city–and its merchants– wealthy lords. While the American Revolution ended the tobacco trade boom in Glasgow, reminders of its illustrious past are still present in the city today, making it hard to forget that tobacco, in fact, first made Glasgow.
By Dave Johnson
Something has happened in the last decade: Across all occupations and budgets, men are dressing better and they are realizing its importance. I personally had an almost Jedi awakening when my kids were born and I realized I needed to dress as an example for my kids. But I had a problem—a big problem: I had no idea where to start, or even if I could afford the clothes that I presumed I needed. Although I haven’t arrived, I continue along the path to dressing better, and over the last couple of years I have significantly changed my wardrobe for the better.
The first service that helped me was Cladwell.com. Cladwell is a website that helps men
and women build personalized, minimalistic wardrobes by highlighting the essential clothing needed for each season. They ask many questions about your style, comfort level, climate, and coloration, and then determine which clothes work best for you. They suggested my color palette is “deep winter” (dark colors), and my style is “casual guy.” Good to know! It’s an outstanding service and was a revelation in my personal journey. And for $7 a month, it’s a steal.
But I realize that even Cladwell has its limits. Not every man has the time (or desire) to shop for the clothes he needs—including me. Besides, just knowing the right types and colors of clothing, I needed clothes that fit, which apparently is a constant battle with my body type. I personally hate shopping in stores, so I needed an alternative. On top of that, I had to factor in affordability since I’m not Tony Stark, and I have to be budget-conscious. Thankfully, the fashion gods had me covered: subscription clothing services.
Personally, I believe one of the best services to come out of this men’s fashion renaissance has been that of online box subscriptions—and that is the focus of this article. These have been a great asset to the wardrobes of countless men, mine included. These services cater to men who desire to dress like a gentleman, but who might lack the knowledge, time, or the budget to do so. So I want to give an overview of some of the most worthwhile choices.
Chief among them is Trunk Club. Trunk Club’s service is simple: at no charge, they connect you to a personal stylist to assess your needs and then send you a box of clothing. You only pay for the clothes you keep, and send back the rest, postage paid. Trunk Club is a fantastic service with clear pros and cons. The benefits are obvious: free stylist—and that alone is impressive. The main con is the price of their clothing. From their website, “Jeans are $170–$250 per pair, casual shirts are $100–$200 each, and sweaters are $100–$300 each.” Ouch. In their defense, they have over eighty top brands, and they ship top quality clothing, so if that’s in your budget, Trunk Club is the absolute best. If you can’t swing that (like me), there are other great options.
Five Four’s service tweaked the Trunk Club model and made it more affordable. You fill out a questionnaire about your sizes, color preferences, and style. Then, for $60 they send you in-house designed and curated clothing every month—you keep everything at no additional charge. You will receive 2-3 items with every shipment, appropriate for the corresponding season. I was unsure how well this service would be for me, but after getting my first “box” (really just a bag), I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and styling of the clothes. I received two boxes worth of clothes, and in them were two Henley’s, a t-shirt, jeans, and light jacket. I liked everything, and it all fit perfectly. For someone more budget-conscious, I think Five Four is not only an excellent value for your money, it’s a fashionable choice.
My first exposure to Fashion Stork was from a video recommending their service. What really stuck out to me was not only their service, but their mission, which is to donate to families wanting to adopt. Their service is somewhat of a blend of the previous two suggestions: you pay $75, keep all your clothes, and you connect with a stylist who curates your clothes. In my box, I received a sweater, shirt and tie, and a note from my stylist to pair it with jeans to complete the outfit. I was really impressed by their service, professionalism, communication, and most importantly, the clothing they offer. With every box sold, they donate $1 to fund adoptions. As someone with friends who have adopted, this company really hits home.
In my search for subscription boxes, I found some companies doing things differently. Urban Dapper’s business is only ties. For $14 a month you get a stylish, high quality tie. The sample I received was a highly fashionable navy and white dotted tie. The value and quality here is wonderful, and if you wear ties a lot or just want to beef up your tie collection slowly and affordably, this is perfect.
Touted as the “#1 Men’s Subscription Box,” SprezzaBox gives you a box of goodies worth over $100 for only $28 a month. You’ll get items like ties, socks, grooming products, pocket squares, and other fashionable accessories. My SprezzaBox included a tie, pocket square, toothpaste, socks, and a shoe horn—each piece exuding quality. The value here is off the charts, and the quality and variety is really wonderful. Even their web store is great, selling all the items they put in the boxes, and offering them at competitive prices.
Lastly, Scent Trunk is fragrance-centered and at $18/month they send you three personalized fragrance samples based on a profile questionnaire. I have found this service really helpful, and they send scents I like all the time.
There are countless other services like these out there and is impossible to review them all in one article, but these few are some of the best. Men everywhere are dressing better because of these companies, myself included. It should go without saying, but I was really impressed by all these services, and if it means anything, I highly recommend all of them. Truly, it has never been easier to dress better, and we don’t have to break the bank to do it.
Unlike clothing, watches are accessories that can last for decades. The value you get from a watch; therefore, is immensely greater, even if the initial cost is higher. To complete your look, I suggest the Lum-Tec Combat series. This particular model is the B26, but anything in that series works wonderfully. Lum-Tec makes exceptional limited-edition, American-made watches with premium parts utilizing a friendly and approachable military feel. They are versatile and sensible with their classic styling and two included NATO straps, plus they work with many outfits. And, of course, the luminosity is very bright at night. The pictures are great, but it’s even more impressive in person and has a legitimate “wow” factor. At $495 it isn’t offensively expensive and has the build quality to last the rest of your life, and do so with timeless style.
Check out www.Lum-tec.com for more details.
by Benjamin Winokur
By Elisa Jordan
It’s almost impossible to pinpoint what makes someone iconic but some of our most memorable people seem to perfectly encapsulate a time or era and yet continue to remain timeless. Only a rare few reach such a status. At the top of that elite list sits Frank Sinatra, who remains Chairman of the Board after all these decades.
Francis Albert Sinatra was born on December 12, 1915, in Hoboken, New Jersey. He was the only child born to Italian immigrants Antonio, a former boxer and firefighter, and Dolly, a woman heavily involved in local politics. His parents doted on their son, but times weren’t always easy for the family.
“Many think of Frank as a scrappy persistent fighter,” says Hollywood historian Amy Condit. “On the day he first entered the world when the 13 ½-pound baby was born not breathing. His grandmother held him under cold running water until he took his first breath. Frank’s daughter Nancy wrote a biography of her father, ‘Frank Sinatra: An American Legend,’ and she feels that Frank’s fight for life that day epitomized the struggle that would shape his ambition as an adult.”
As a child, Frank discovered he had a talent for singing and by the age of 8 was singing for tips. When he reached his teens, he was singing professionally with his parents supporting their talented offspring.
“It was a middleclass upbringing,” says Colman deKay, who worked directly with the Sinatra family to write a musical about Frank’s life for Radio City Music Hall. “He wanted to be a singer as a kid so his parents bought him a speaker and a microphone, sort of the rudimentary equipment. So bands would have to hire him because he was the only one who had the equipment.”
Their efforts paid off. Frank was eventually hired to sing in Harry James’ band and then later stolen away by Tommy Dorsey. It was during Dorsey’s stint at the Paramount Theater in New York that Frank Sinatra became a star.
“That’s where the Bobby Soxers discovered Frank and went crazy over him,” says deKay. “It was World War II so a lot of eligible men were away and he became this huge sex symbol. Hollywood was a natural next move after he walked away from his Dorsey contract and went solo after he became this huge sensation.”
Wheel of Fortune
Frank’s career soared for a few years but a number of factors began taking a toll on his success. After World War II the Bobby Soxers had grown up and were tending to their men who were now home from the war. He was also miscast in a couple of movies, which went on to receive disastrous reviews. What’s worse, Frank Sinatra, a married man with three small children, embarked on a turbulent affair with actress Ava Gardner, then considered one of the most beautiful women in the world. The relationship led to Frank divorcing his first wife, Nancy, and eventually marrying Ava, but unfortunately for the lovers their marriage was as tempestuous as it was passionate. Frank’s hard-won career appeared to be dead in the water and his finances began to suffer.
But those who counted Frank Sinatra out didn’t know who they were dealing with. He always remained that scrappy fighter from Hoboken.
“Frank rebuilt his career beginning with a series of concerts in Hawaii in April 1952,” Condit says. “While the crowds were small in size, they offered a large quantity of support to him. By responding to the audience’s warmth, he felt he delivered one of the greatest performances of his life. It marked a turning point in his career and personal life.”
A few months later, his then-wife Ava Gardner began campaigning on Frank’s behalf to have him cast as Maggio in the film adaption of “From Here to Eternity.” Her efforts paid off and not only was Frank awarded the role, he was rewarded for his performance with the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Frank was back. Not only was he back, he was about to hit his stride.
From Star to Legend
During the 1950s, Frank made a series of moves that vastly improved his career. In addition to his role in “From Here to Eternity,” he left his record company, Columbia, for a new contract at Capitol Records, a move that gave him more control over his music and access to better material. “The records he made in the ’50s with Capitol are just classic,” deKay says.
His career wasn’t the only thing changing. American culture was also evolving. The 1950s ushered in what is now called the cocktail culture, which became a sensation during the era.
Although the cocktail culture went mainstream in the 1950s, its roots actually took shape much earlier. If one wants to go back far enough, the authentic pirates of the Caribbean started mixing rums and it’s that idea—the mixing of drinks—that first constituted the idea of cocktails, says Hollywood and cultural historian Marc Wanamaker, who has authored many books on Hollywood history.
Fast-forward a couple of centuries to 1930s Hollywood. Inspired by Hawaii’s practice of mixing fruit drink concoctions, restaurants like Don the Beachcomber and the Cock’n Bull, and a little later the Luau, began experimenting with mixing fruity type drinks, which evolved to include liquor after Prohibition ended, making true alcoholic cocktails. At the time, what was called the “tiki culture” was finding an audience among Hollywood’s elite.
When World War II hit and the burgeoning cocktail scene was largely put on hold while men fought overseas and families rationed supplies back home. It wasn’t until America’s boys began streaming home, starting families and moving to suburbs that it roared back. The United States had won the war, Prohibition had ended and the Depression was finally over. Everyone, it seemed, was in the mood to celebrate.
“During the war it was a whole different thing,” Wanamaker says. “There was no culture yet. It was really about 1949 when things changed with the nightclubs, bars, hotels and everything else into a 1950s, as they called it, a ‘cocktail culture.’”
It was in the 1950s that cocktail culture and tiki culture took off and hit the mainstream.
As families began their moves out to the new neighborhoods that were mushrooming up at a rapid pace across the nation, folks began throwing bar-be-ques and having get-togethers. Often, men would drink beer but as the 1950s progressed things became more refined. Everything became more elegant and feminine, meaning instead of cigars, hard booze and bars, it was all about cigarettes, cocktails and lounges, Wanamaker says. Whether people gathered in their friends’ homes or in nightclubs, they dressed appropriately in cocktail attire—this is where the term “cocktail dress” comes from—and when out were waited on by “cocktail waitresses,” women whose job was to bring mixed drinks to patrons.
And, Wanamaker says, “Frank Sinatra was involved in all of this big time.”
From his earliest days singing, Frank was part of the nightclub scene and watched it evolve during the course of his career. As he rebounded in the 1950s with better movie roles and recording material, he was poised to be the voice of the cocktail generation.
“Frank literally grew up in this culture,” Wanamaker says.
Dressed in a tuxedo while on stage and singing songs in the crooner style, he epitomized the smooth, elegant style of the cocktail era. “Dignity and glamour” is how Wanamaker describes the songs of Frank Sinatra from this era, along with the style of his pals in the Rat Pack, who began performing in Las Vegas to sold-out crowds. On stage, the guys—wearing their tuxes—would drink, smoke and croon to audiences.
“From the east coast, to the west coast to Vegas and his singing are these songs about love and songs about life and he puts everything in them, he is crooning them,” Wanamaker says.
Frank himself was well known for loving Jack Daniels and smoking cigarettes regularly. But there was a secret—Frank actually drank very little and, when smoking, didn’t inhale, deKay says.
When at a party or event, someone would fix Frank a drink—often Jack Daniels—with exactly four ice cubes. He would sip on it, and eventually someone would hand him a fresh drink. The illusion was that he was drinking heavily and often. The reality was he was just sipping at his drinks and it looked like he was tearing through multiple drinks when they were just continually being replaced. “He would get mad at bar tenders if they poured him too heavy a drink, if it wasn’t watered down enough,” deKay says. “He would say, ‘Do you think I could play in nightclubs all night and shoot movies all day if I’m drunk?’ No, he pretended to be drunk.”
Similarly, he was seen smoking but wasn’t a great lover of cigarettes. “It was the image,” deKay says. When out and about or on stage, he was seen smoking but didn’t inhale. He was concerned with protecting his voice and would even stop smoking all together in the weeks leading up to a recording sessions. “He’d get pissed at Sammy Davis for smoking too much and for real,” deKay says.
Frank’s instincts proved correct. His voice, which he so carefully looked after, lasted decades and he was able to continue performing.
The recordings he made, especially during his prime in the 1950s, stand the test of time. But it wasn’t just his music and drinking image that he put great care into. Frank Sinatra was equally particular about his clothing—crisp suits and hats tilted at just the right angle were also important to him. Taking all the parts of his image into account—the music, movies, clothing, and drinking and smoking—Frank epitomizes the core of the 1950s cocktail culture, elegance and glamour. Following Frank’s lead, all this has since become a classic style.
In fact, it made a big comeback at one point, although it never goes away altogether. “Retro 1950s/1960s cocktail culture had a comeback in the mid-1990s when swing dancing at night clubs became popular as evinced by the Jon Favreau film ‘Swingers,’ and the Ultra-Lounge compilation CD series made the Billboard Jazz top 10 in 1996,” Condit says. “It seemed that the mid-1990s also revived the Tiki culture and a rise in popularity for traditional tiki cocktails.”
The style is as timeless and classic and Frank Sinatra himself. His work will last forever. So will the image.
He seemed to know this, or at the very least hope for it.
“He always used to end his shows with ‘May you live 100 years may the last voice you hear be mine,’” deKay says. “Then as he got close to 100 years old he would say ‘150!’ or ‘175!’”
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]By Amanda Keeley-Thurman
The love of cigars is more than just a hobby. For many, it is a lifestyle; a lifestyle with a rich history in culture and exploration. The first cigars can be traced back to the ancient Mayans, but it wasn’t until Christopher Columbus and his crew discovered tobacco in the Americas that cigars gained widespread popularity. The world fell in love with this rolled, sweet smelling tobacco; a timeless love that is worth traveling for.
The passion for cigars and travel go hand in hand. Travel, as well as cigars allows us to relax, learn and indulge. So, where should a cigar lover like you travel?
From Europe to the Caribbean, there are fabulous destinations around the world that will have cigar fans booking flights and leaving town. Some destinations are obvious, but others might be a bit surprising. See for yourself!
Honduras is known for fantastic landscapes and thriving ecosystems, like the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve. Honduras has adventure, such as kayaking, diving and snorkeling at Roatan, or rafting at the Rio Cangrejal. There is history at the Mayan ruins of Copan. Most importantly, there are cigars. Be sure to visit Carretera al Paraiso and take the Rocky Patel Cigar Factory tour and see the breathtaking Jamastran Valley tobacco fields.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
France is home to the Quai d’Orsay cigar line. Although, Quai d’Orsay is produced in Cuba, it is rather hard to find outside of France. So, it looks like a trip to Paris is in order. While you are there, have a cigar in the oldest cigar shop in Paris a La Civette du Palais-Royal, where Napoleon and Casanova were said to be customers. For a truly unique experience, stop by Art Tabac and try the owner’s specialty made cigars in the smoking room.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Switzerland and cigars, you say? Yes, Switzerland is a great destination for those who love cigars. For starters, they have the Davidoff-Schiff ship.
Holding numerous cigar events such as the Smoke on the Water event held once a month, this floating party cruises along on Lake Zurich providing cigar connoisseurs with a magical evening filled with cigars and even a few Swiss celebrities.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Okay, so Las Vegas doesn’t have historical tobacco fields, but is a great place to travel if you love to smoke cigars. Why? Because it is one of the few places anywhere, that you can enjoy
a cigar indoors and sometimes for free when you are gambling!
Plus, Las Vegas is home to some of the biggest tobacco conventions. A night cap at Casa Fuente isn’t a bad idea either. Located inside the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace, it has a
great selection of Arturo Fuente cigars.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Nassau is home to Graycliff cigars, but visiting the Bahamas offers way more than just a factory tour. Stay at the family owned Graycliff Hotel for a complete cigar travel experience. Built in 1740, the Graycliff Hotel is Nassau’s first hotel and has made the National Register of Historic Places. The Graycliff boutique brand cigars use the complex entubado method and accommodations include a different Graycliff cigar each evening for turndown service. Talk about sweet dreams.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Say what? Not as sexy sounding as Miami, but Tampa used to be the cigar capital of the world! Ybor City, a neighborhood in Tampa, holds the annual Cigar Heritage Festival and is home to many famous cigar makers, including Arturo Fuente and J.C. Newman families. Considered a National Historic District, Ybor City is deeply rooted in cigar history, but this town is very much in the present with a happening nightlife and hub of fantastic Latin American restaurants.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Want Cuban culture in the U.S? Then get to Miami. Little Havana is home to the oldest cigar factory in the U.S, the El Credito Cigar Factory. Although you can’t get real Cuban Cigars in the U.S, they do offer pretty close contenders. The cigars sold in Little Havana are grown in Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, but grown from Cuban tobacco seeds. Plus, Miami has great beaches and a hot night life![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Increasingly popular among travelers, Nicaragua has a ton to offer from volcanoes to explore like Cerro Negro, gorgeous beaches and great surf, and let’s not forget the amazing coffee. For the cigar lover a visit to the cigar capital, Esteli, is a must.
Sign up for Drew Estate’s Cigar Safari for a full hands-on cigar experience. Esteli Cigarros, is a recommended stop for those who love cigars as it includes a free factory tour along with a tour of the tobacco fields. At Plasencia Cigars, where Casa Magna, Rocky Patel and Alec Bradley cigars are made, visitors get a chance to create their own blend. Also, don’t miss seeing the Perdomo tobacco
fields and factory.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Whether you like to keep it low-key with a leisurely round of golf on the La Cana Golf Course or want to seek some excitement on the Jarabacoa Adventure, all cigar lovers will agree that Dominican Republic is a must. In Santo Domingo, visit the Tabacalera De Garcia Factory, the largest in the world! Also in the Dominican Republic are La Aurora Cigar World, Davidoff Factory, Tabacalera Palma Field and factory, Quesada Cigars Factory, Tabacalera La Alianza EP Carrillo Factory, La Flor Dominicana tobacco field and factory, Don Lucas Cigars, and the De Los Reyes Cigar field and factory.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
It is no surprise that Cuba would make the top destination when it comes to loving cigars. Not only are Cuban cigars considered (by many-not all) to be the best, thanks to Cuba’s perfect environment for growing high-quality leaves and the Cuban’s expertise in cigar making, but it is also a very exciting time for travel! The recent changes with travel allowances have made it easier for U.S citizens to visit Cuba. Cigar lovers will want to set up a tour of Havana cigar factories such as the Partagas Cigar Factory, the oldest in Cuba. Get out to the countryside and visit the tobacco plantations such as the Vuelta Abajo region where the finest Habano tobaccos are harvested. Don’t forget to enjoy every cigar with Cuban Rum like Havana Club. Tastings and pairings are readily available in Cuba! Plan your trip for February and enjoy the formal Habanos Festival celebrating Cohiba and Romeo y Julieta.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Amanda Keeley-Thurman is a freelance writer, blogger and bartender with a passion for fine cigars, stiff drinks and great adventures. She has been sharing her stories in Cigar & Spirits Magazine since 2011, and regularly provides hot travel advice on her blog HotMamaTravel.com[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
By: James Hills
Summer’s officially here and so here’s some tips to help you look your best during this sunny season. Now’s the time to refresh your closet with a few summer style essentials. To get you started, here are some top fashion choices for the coming months.
Smart and comfortable summer shoes are a must-have as temperatures rise, and it’s hard to beat the classic elegance and practicality of the moccasin. These may sound like it should be worn by an native American, but moccasins are modern shoes today that are super comfortable. You can take your pick from a range of colors and materials, meaning you shouldn’t struggle to find ones that complement your outfits. This footwear can be teamed up with anything from work suits to relaxed weekend ensembles and even shorts and t-shirts. When you’re selecting these men’s shoes, pay attention to comfort as well as looks. It’s best to opt for ones that offer impressive cushioning and softness, and ideally they should have an antibacterial layer to help keep them fresh even in the hottest weather.
It could also be time to invest in some new t-shirts. Perhaps the most versatile garment of all, this fashion staple comes in a host of shapes and styles, including slim fit, loose fit, crew neck and V-neck. The best thing about them is the fact that they can be worn with virtually any outfit. You can pair them with suit pants and a jacket to create a laidback look for the office or you can combine them with jeans or shorts for a chilled out weekend or holiday vibe.
Tees can be cheap too, so you can stock up on a selection of different colors and styles without busting your budget.
Casual blazers are big news this season. A great alternative to heavy winter jackets, they come in an array of cuts and fabrics and they can be dressed up or down to suit almost any occasion. A great option when temperatures rise is the classic linen blazer. This lightweight material is ideal during the warmer months, and to get that summery look, you can opt for pale colors. Remember though, linen creases easily, so to stay looking sharp you’ll need to take these blazers off if you’re sitting down for a long time.
Shades are another fashion essential at this time of year, and retro styles are in vogue this season. With this in mind, instead of opting for sleek modern designs, keep a lookout for curvy sunglasses that pay homage to trends of the 1960s and ‘70s. When you’re choosing these summer staples, make sure you go for ones that offer impressive levels of protection from the sun too. After all – medical science has made huge progress in protecting your eyes with polarized lenses and other improvements that will allow you to see more clearly while protecting your eyes from damage.
What’s your favorite fashion trend that you are excited about this year?
This article originally appeared on Mantripping.com
James Hillis is a Men’s Lifestyle & Travel blogger. His loves include food, beer, spirits, fishing, cars, gadgets, sports, & fashion for men. You can follow him on Twitter & Instagram: @Mantripping
By Austin Peters
Putting seems to be the simplest stroke on the golf course, yet we all find ourselves putting far too often while playing. Let’s take a look at some basics to help improve that. First and foremost you must have a solid balanced stance and correct ball position. When positioning the ball, it should be slightly closer to the hole from the center of your stance. Doing so will allow you to hit the ball as your putter begins to rise from the lowest point on the swing. This way you strike the ball evenly, helping ensure the ball begins rolling end over end rather than to hop or skip.
The main component to putting is your stroke itself. Now, I could dive into details about different putters matching different strokes, but let’s keep it to the basics for now. Since the putting stroke is very simple, it is also very easy to use the wrong body parts to make a stroke, examples being your wrists and/or arms. Putting should be done with a turn of your shoulders where your arms/elbows/wrists (in whichever position is most comfortable) stay locked in place. This allows for the most consistent stroke in terms of being repetitive, controlling direction, and using the correct power.
Power control is the most difficult aspect of putting because it not only controls the distance you will have left if you miss, but it also dictates the line you should take. How many times have we all three putted because we left a putt short or blew it way past the hole? I’m sure far too many to count. The best way to learn how to control the distance of your putts is to have the mindset of “pushing” your ball to the hole. This will create a shorter backswing which in turn will ensure acceleration through the ball. One of the most common downfalls I see from amateurs is that they decelerate on their putts (and all short shots in general), not only is this practice terribly inconsistent, it’s extremely difficult to control. Now, let’s take these tips and head on out to lower those scores.
Austin Peters is a PGA Pro based out of the Los Angeles area. In 2015 he earned his entry to the PGA Championship after he placed T-5 in his debut at the PGA National Championship qualifying event. Today he continues to play in PGA Tour Events and offers lessons to professional, amateur, and beginning golfers alike. You can contact Austin via email at [email protected] or by phone at (303) 475-0692