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The latest slew of cigars I've smoked have all been the same. Don Cervantes, Tatuaje, Padron and a Brickhouse thrown in for good measure. But then Joe Barron of Grants Tobacconist turned me onto Jose Fuego's Origen cigars and then suggested I try the CAO La Traviata Maduro.

The problem with the last two is that they don't qualify for the blog but they're both very tasty, such that I've gone back and picked up more of them. Hell, even Brickhouse doesn't qualify based alone on price. If I were going by ratings, that would be different. Let's look closely at that first.

Brickhouse, Padron and Tatuaje consistently score 89-91 points from most of the big players like Cigar Aficionado and Smoke Magazine. Yet by my standards, based on price alone, only the Padron Anniversarios, Tatuaje Miami and JC Newman's Diamond Crown would qualify for review.

Fine. So I'm a snob. And even worse, I'm a romance writer which means I currently don't bring in the sort of money that the average Cigar Aficionado reader is reported to make. But I refuse to compromise on quality. So what do I do?

That's one area I can work on with a little bit of thought and talking to other cigar fans. The other problem I have is that I actually only want to try extensions of the above mentioned makers. So that limits me to Don Pepin Garcia, Padron, Eric Newman and Max Myers. Now I'm sure these guys are honored to know that with my income I chose to spend it on their product but the funny thing is that once we start talking to each other, more cigars are suggested and that puts me in an odd position.

"Well, I only smoke Padrons." In fact, Pete's La Riqueza #2 broke that streak. Padron broke my JC Newman streak, you see how this goes. And in truth these cigars have different, unique tastes that evoke different sensations on the palate yet still give me that one thing I seek when I light up. A relaxing experience.

Perhaps I just need to stop being stuck in my ways. Oddly enough, I don't have this problem with wine and spirits. I tend to drink Glenfiddich/Grants as it's what I can afford and I refuse to compromise on that. With wine, I am a ratings whore. And a classist too. And a Francophile. But I have a hard time getting good French wine in California. But when someone suggests a new cab or merlot I'm welcoming with open arms.

I honestly don't know what to do about my dilemma. I guess for now, I'm still figuring it out.

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