People ask me why this site is called guitars and cigars? Most of my posts are about guitars and occasionally pictured with a cigar. Well, the things I spend my time on are smoking cigars and playing guitars. As a matter of fact both are complementary. What better way to pinch out a pentatonic blues lick while enjoying a leathery, earthy maduro cigar? The love of cigars restricted me to home playing or open-air gigs. The anti-tobacco police are everywhere, public smoking is politically incorrect and “Snowflakes” are offended as soon as they see a lighter. This is the reason why I don’t post about cigars any more. Facebook has banned me for “promoting tobacco” which is against their policy. Duh! I never encouraged someone to start smoking nor did I ever promoted it. I never smoked a cigarette in my life. All I do is just share the joy of tasting a good cigar, the art of degustation, just like you can enjoy a glass of wine or a single malt whiskey. Unfortunately I cannot write about cigars, …only guitars. I fought the law and the law won!
A few weeks ago I came across an object that is closely related to cigars and guitars. It was an oddball special humidor made out of tone-woods. A guitar is kept in a protective case and your precious longfiller cigars are to be stored in a Humidor. Filip Redant is a Belgian woodworker, instrument builder and restaurateur of antiques who made a humidor of these rare (and expensive) woods you usually find in vintage instruments. Probably this guy has used some leftovers from earlier restauration projects of antique furniture and instruments like pipe organs.
The humidor contains a dozen types of wood. Rare species you can find in vintage guitars that will cost you an arm and a leg to buy them. Most known is the Brazilian Rosewood you can find for example on the early sixties Fender fretboards. Brazilian rosewood has been banned in Europe since 1976. The front of the drawer is made out of white ebony. I have seen white ebony only once on the fretboard of a PRS Private stock guitar. Other rare woods are snakewood and Cuba mahogany. Inlays are hand-cut mother of pearl and horn. Other fancy stuff: Venetian velvet as an interior cover for the drawer and antique brass hinges and locks. It is only a humidor if it can keep your cigars within the correct humidity of 69-72%. To safeguard your stogies it sports a modern Habueno humidifier. With the Habueno you can control temperature and humidity remotely and receive notifications in real time on your smartphone. It is something like a vintage guitar played through a Kemper Profiler amp. A humidor with an ebony tuning peg.
I have no idea about the price of this rare wood “mash-up” humidor. I guess it would take you an entire CITES administration team to import/export it. Anyway ,a good example of pairing cigars and guitars. Fine craftmanship! Keep the fire burning and Rock-on!
In 1972 Cigar Master Ernesto Perez Carillo launched “la Gloria Cubana” in the United States. Later on these cigars hit the worldwide market under the brand “El Credito”. El Credito is a strong tasting cigar with complex aroma’s. Definitely not a cigar for beginners, be sure you grow a pair before you start smoking the El Credito series “R” (rated R – only adults?).
In 1968, Ernesto Perez Carillo fled from Cuba to Miami and started the cigar company and created some tasty cigars based on his personal taste in flavours. The brand name “la Gloria Cubana” was dropped due to trademark infringements and changed to “El Credito. In 1999 Ernesto Carillo Jr honoured his father by creating the “Series R”. By now these cigars are on the market for almost twenty years and they are loved by “experienced” cigar smokers all over the world.
Filler: Dominican/Nicaragua – Binder: Nicaragua – Wrapper: Ecuador
Every time I light up the Series R with the daphne blue cigar band I grab my Gretsch Anniversary G6118T. In 1958 Gretsch introduced the “Anniversary” model. Over the years the guitar underwent some changes but in 2018 the guys at Gretsch nailed it by combining old and new appointments creating a professional instrument for modern players. It has the trestle bracing, Filter-Tron pickups and a pinned rocking bar bridge. The Bigsby now has a string-through bridge so no more puzzling with the little pins and string balls as we used to do with the old style Bigsby.
The controls are changed too. No more “mud switch” (Who needs a mud switch?) just a pickup selector switch and four fancy chrome knobs with engraved Gretsch logo (volume pup1 – volume pup2 – tone – master volume). This instrument has a lot of brightness and volume. The G6118T sports a laminated maple body, a medium U-shaped neck with 12″ radius fretboard with pearloid thumbnail markers and 22 jumbo frets. The finish is a beautiful high gloss two-tone Iridium Silver/ Azure Metalic.
Azure is the color of the Caribbean sea, … Cuba, … and so we are back to cigars!