The Ol' Baile Atha Cliath Cigar Orgy

by Keith Rowson. Additional material - El_Ingles 
Photographs © El_Ingles/Andy Wright
The Author

Keith starting
to take notes

Well, the TOBACCO Herf (The Ol' Baile Atha Cliath Cigar Orgy) had been much looked forward to by a Group of UK and Irish lovers of the leaf. This was to the first since THOLT2 in July, organised then by Paul Dixon. Our hosts this time were, Ian Pepper and Kevin Summons-Walsh, who were to be very kind sponsors of the event, with a box of Por Larranga Super Cedros provided by Kevin via a friend in the business. Ian donated a box of Partagas 8-9-8's Unvarnished, thanks guys :)

For some of the Group, The Herf started Friday night. Paul (El_Ingles) & Andy met up at the B&B with Kevin, and went down town to a pub, to meet Ian & Sharon.

Wondering where Ian & Sharon were, they lost no time in drinking the black nector, abd firing up some cigars. Several pints, and cigars later, they arrived, mumbling something about a double episode of the Simsons, and King of the Hill!

It was about midnight when they left the pub, but since there were no taxis to be seen, Andy, Kevin & Paul stated to walk back to the B&B. About half way 'home' they got a taxi!

Saturday, we met up at Thomas Reids, a cafe in the centre of Dublin for the first of the cigars and necessary coffees, for those who had overindulged in the pleasures of Dublin the previous night. Those attending were:-

  • Ian Pepper
  • Kevin Summons Walsh
  • Paul Dixon "El_Ingles"
  • Keith Rowson
  • Andy Wright
  • Hugh Swift (H&F Representative)
  • Paul Farron
  • Roy Juniper
  • Sharon Kiernan
  • Plus various friends of Ians during the day!!
As we wait

As we wait

We got to Thomas Reids at 11am as planned only to see the doors firmly closed, Ian assured us that he had phoned to check they would be open, and unlike on THOLT they did open, just a little later than planned!!

Inside Thomas Reids

Ian, Hugh &

Various stashes of cigars were displayed by those that had brought them, and offered around, Paul Dixon had his very cool jar, with humidifying element which used to have the Jose L. Piedras, but was now his Herfdor for the day. Coffees and Cigars were sorted out, and the brave amongst us plunged into Ians box of 8-9-8's for Breakfast, a hardy bunch are we :)

J J Fox

Then we decided to get a move on to visit the three cigar shops in Dublin. J J Fox was the first visited, and some us made purchases of the beautiful Habanos in cabinets. Both Ian and I got a Partagas Lusitania Cabinet each, as the just looked so good. The Irish cigar market has for those that don't know, a lot more machine made Habanos, I don't know why but there you go. Prices aren't cheap, and probably are about the same as London. We then moved on to Petersons, which is famous for its Pipes, and there are a lot on display. The cigar range was smaller than J J Fox, and we noticed that some of the Montecristos on display, were very poor in appearance. This in no way is a reflection of the shops, but of the poor wrappers used in some of the Cuban cigars at present

A large thirst was starting to develop by this point in the proceedings,so we went to the John Keohe pub. Beers were ordered, and more cigars were fired up :)

The Manager
at J J Fox

JJ Fox

The cigars
at J J Fox

The John Keohe Hugh, Paul F, & Andy

Hugh, Paul F, & Andy

Hugh, Paul F, Andy, Roy & Ian

Hugh, Paul F,
Andy, Roy & Ian

The first round of our Cigar quiz was run, Ian and I believe, Kevin sorted the questions.

Unbelievably I won the first round, excellent. Now it was time to visit the last of the Dublin Cigar shops, The Decent Cigar Emporium.

The shop is run by Guy Hancock and Belinda Gildea. The shop sources its cigars from a varied number of sources.

The Cubans come from Hunters and Frankau in the UK, Spain and Switzerland. There are also the well reputed La Gloria Cubana and El Rico Habana which come direct from Ernesto Carillo in Miami. Fuente and others come from The London Cigar Importing Company.

Guy has also imported bales of Brazilian, Dominican, Jamaican and a small amount of Cuban wrapper tobacco. Guy went on a cigar rolling course in Havana, so one day we might get Cubans rolled in Dublin!!! :)

The shop has members which organise social functions, and an additional benefit is you can bring in your favourite tipple, to enjoy while Herfing a great cigar. This shop is a lot of fun and comes with a personal recommendation. For some reason the shop was a favourite with Hugh Swift, as he was able to observe young ladies in a state of undress, in a shops changing room across the street. This didn't last for long, as the blinds were pulled down, can't think why ;-)

Next we were taken to the Porterhouse Brewpub, where Kevin S-W had organised a beer tasting and tour of the Brewing facilities. First of all food was organised, large vats of delicious steaming mussels for starters, followed by whatever everyone chose for their main course. Andy Wright suggested we should phone Peter Embling, just to tell him what a great herf he was missing, Peter was in the middle of moving one of his shops, so couldn't make it to TOBACCO.

Kevin & Hugh
Kevin & Hugh
Roy & Andy
Roy & Andy
Caught in the Act!
El_Ingles caught
having a cigarette!
Kevin & Paul F

Kevin & Paul F

Round two of the quiz was held, now Paul Dixon was in the lead

The tour of the Brewpub was taken by Mr Frank Shannon, the manager, we were given a thorough tour, seeing the whole brewing process. The Pub produces approximately 350 barrels per week, for the Porterhouse and one other pub. Then it was the beer tasting, 11 trays of beer were provided by the pub FREE, each taster being 1/4 pint and Kevin S-W tried to conduct a tasting over the loud traditional folk music that was playing no more than 10 feet from us. The beers ranged from weak lagers (Budweiser type/ Water) to a hearty Oyster Stout. All agreed that the darker brews were the best.

Then it was off to the Long Haul

The Long Hall pub promised Kevin S-W's snuff tasting, The Final Round of the Quiz and The Cigar Tasting quiz.

I somehow managed to avoid the Snuff Tasting, due to having to go and check-in to my hotel. Well thats my excuse and I'm sticking with it. Judging by all the faces of those who had been brave enough to try it, I made a wise choice. The only remnants were chocolate lookalike bits in the top of someone's pint of Guiness.

At this point Sharon Kiernan (Ian's Girlfriend) showed up, and joined in the Herf. Sharon is basically the herfers ideal partner/wife, she tolerates Ians cigars, plus she has been known to enjoy the odd cigar herself. The cigars for the tasting were passed around, and the following cigars were tasted, the object being for people to guess the country of origin.

  • Habana Gold Black Label (Honduras)
  • Churchill No.3 (Nicaragua)
  • Quintero Panatela (Cuba)
  • Sancho Panza Ducales (Cuba)- Machine rolled
  • Don Diego Cristales (Dominican)
  • Raphael Gonzales Panatela Extra(Cuba)

the T-shirt

I'm glad to say I was the only person to get it right. I had the Quintero, which was very much like a light version of a Partagas, Ian informs me they are made in the same factory. I received an ASC T-shirt, which I left in the Pub later on :(

Paul (El_Ingles)
wearing his, but
looking the
worse for ware!

Round Three of the quiz was held, and Paul Dixon won. The prize being a Decent Cigar Cohiba sweetshirt.The scores for that round were read out and I was told that I had scored no points for that round :( Then the correct answers were read out, and I thought thats what I put, more than once. At this point I asked K S-W what I had scored, and could he check the answers. He said, oops sorry forgot to mark yours. I ended up second place with Andy Wright in third place.

Bottom and next to last place were the Hunters and Frankau rep. Hugh Swift and Paul Farron, who BTW was opening a new shop in Kensington the Monday after the Herf. Better get down to The Cigar School that H&F run.

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{short description of image} Sharron

Then it was off to the final pub of the day, The Stags Head. A fine pub, hardly any tourists, Brits don't count Ian do they?? The final cigars of a long and successful day were lit up along with more of the fine black liquid. The Cigars total (approximately) for each person during the day were as follows.

  • BTW this is not the definitive total, as the list was aided by lots of alcohol and nicotine late in the evening. Andy Wright - 7 cigars
  • Keith Rowson - 9 cigars (who started earlier)
  • Paul Dixon - 8 cigars
  • Ian Pepper - 8 cigars
  • Ian Pepper - 8 cigars
  • Kevin S-W - 7 cigars
  • Roy Juniper - 6 cigars
  • Hugh Swift - 5 cigars (Chatting up the local ladies lost him concentration)
  • Paul Farron - 5 cigars (Ditto)
Hugh and ......

Hugh and ....

Now whose a luckly girl then! ->

Now whose a luckly girl then! ->

Shouldn't that be a cigar?

Still taking notes

Still taking notes!

People had all left by about 11.30, after having had a superb day.

Late Sunday morning the Herf continued with the survivors. Keith and Ian met up at The Palace, joined by Andy a bit later.A couple of hours later, Keith had to leave to get his plane. The rest then caught up with Sharon in Davy Byrne's, and finally on to John Kehoe for the last cigar (a Serie D. No. 4 for Ian and a Punch Punch for Andy).

Thus the wheel came full circle, back to the pub where it all started. Finally at 5pm Ian and Sharon forced Andy into a taxi to get him to the airport.and it was all over

From those of us who decended on Dublin, Thank you to all that helped put TOBACCO together.

Here's to the next Herf in the very near future. Ideas that were put on the table included Paris, Amsterdam (beer talking) and of course London again.