And So it Begins

We spend a great deal of time being consumed by work matters, family matters, current events, and media. When do we get time for “ME”? For most of us, the answer is we don’t. This blog is about “DIVERSIONS” from the serious preoccupations above. I am hoping that “DIVERSIONS” will provide a small bit of time to view, read and think about self-care! What things do we enjoy if given the time to just “be” and “enjoy” some of life’s simple pleasures. For me, and I suspect some of you, that has to do with enjoying a fine handmade cigar, sipping a great wine or spirit, reading for pleasure and telling or listening to some stories about the same. Oh, and do not jump to the conclusion that this is a “boys only” affair. By no means! Believe it or not, I know quite a few women who enjoy these DIVERSIONS as much if not more than the boys.

So “DIVERSIONS” is meant to bring you some of the best of cigars, spirits and stories. DIVERSIONS will provide interesting and informative bits of information about cigars, wines, and spirits. Guest experts will educate us about these finer forms of diversions. Besides the experts, we want to hear from YOU! What are your favorites in terms of cigars, wines, spirits, etc… We will also publish content sometimes in text and others in video from people in the equipment finance and commercial finance industry sharing their special enjoyments. So, we encourage you to share what you enjoy, why you enjoy them, your favorite pairings, your favorite establishments, and more. Do not be shy! I will start with one of my favorite cigars and paired with my preferred beverage along with where to get them. I will of course end with a quick story of my cigar education and enlightenment.

So, here is one of my favorite cigars and beverage when given an hour or so to relax either in solitude or better with friends.


My Father Le Bijou 1922 –(see picture) Cigar Aficionado’s cigar of the year in 2015. The price is between $10-$15 per cigar depending on the size selected. The tasting notes (as I see it since taste varies for everyone) that I can depend on are: chocolate covered raisins, cocoa, nutmeg and a richness that is totally relaxing while being intriguing with each puff. While the Le Bijou looks very dark, because of its oscuro tobacco wrapper, it is not strong but rather very flavorful which is often confusing to novices. Strong and dark are not the same. You can have a very light-colored cigar but that is very strong (e.g. Cohiba).

Link to Stogies website for this cigar


Diplomatico Reserva Exculsiva (see picture). Price is very affordable at $35-$40 per bottle. The tasting notes that I can really look forward to are: molasses, caramel and vanilla that compliments the LeBijou’s tasting notes incredibly well. This pairing frankly is a real treat for the senses and my favorite. This bottle can be had at most fine liquor stores in your area. It should not be hard to find.


I have been smoking cigars for about 4-5 years but only became seriously aficionado for the last 3 years. I view myself as a life long learner and always try to find out all I can about a topic of interest. Anyway, about 3 years ago, I joined one of the most quaint “down home” cigar clubs in Cincinnati, Bells House of Tobacco, owned by a really interesting and engaging fellow, John Bell. I used to drop in and buy a short cigar (known as a robusto) and only hang out for a short while to smoke said shorty. One day, I went back to the smoking lounge early one afternoon and I had it all to myself. Mr. Bell came back about 10 minutes into this cigar (by the way, a My Father Le Bijou 2922 robusto.). As I recall, the conversation went something like this:

JB: “Bob, we need to talk. You like being a member here right?”

Bob: “Of course I do. Why”

JB: “Well, I have to tell you that something has to change or you are not going to be a member much longer.”

Bob: “What?”

JB: When you come here you always get a short cigar, you pace, fidget, work on email and otherwise make everyone nervous with your nervousness. Bob, that has to stop. Do you ever relax?”

Bob: “Sure I do. That is what I am doing right now.”

JB: “That is not relaxing Bob”. Now here is the deal. I am going to go out to the humidor and select a proper cigar for you. You are going to sit here and smoke it and you better not bury yourself in your phone and work. If you do not do that you will not be a member any longer.”

A few minutes later Mr. Bell returned with a very long and thick cigar.

JB: “OK! Here we go. This is a dynamite cigar that I know fits your taste profile from what I know. It will take you a good hour and a half to finish it. Put your phone away.”

Bob: “Alright!” so I proceeded to properly cut and light the stick. I then sat back and just smoked and well started to just think. About 30 minutes later a few other members showed up and we just started to talk. Wow, I think I get it. Smoking a cigar is about really relaxing. What else am I going to do for an hour or two while it takes to finish a cigar like this. Mr. Bell returned to the lounge.

JB: “Well Bob, what do you think?”

Bob: “John, I think I get it. The cigar actually tasted better when not buried in email or pacing and I am not sure I have any relaxed like this.”

JB: Mr. Bell put on his trademark broad wide infectious smile and as also commented in his trademark remark. “That’s right! You got it!”

As I look back on that episode, I can honestly say this. He saved my life from a mental standpoint. I learned to enjoy just, well, just being and enjoying the finer points of hand-crafted fine cigars and beverage pairing with them. I also enjoyed the discourse that takes place in a cigar lounge. There is something about a cigar lounges and the folks that frequent them. The cigar culture is one of camaraderie, sharing experiences, cigar selections, beverages and of course story and story.