Good Cheer Trail: Stamp Number 2 or Jay and Sean’s Excellent Adventure
Lets just say that being a cigar smoker in Nova Scotia is a bit of a solitary existence. I am trying to convert as many people as I can, but I’m only one dude. I can only herf so much haha.
So when I found out ‘the godfather’ aka @proboff99 aka Jay was going to be cruising his way into the port city of Halifax this summer, I was pretty pumped! It was going to be great to meet a fellow Noise Maker, but also get the chance to talk with someone that has probably forgotten more about cigars that I will ever know.
When it comes to planning things, I have the tendencies of Clark Griswold from the first Vacation movie. I will over plan the crap out of something, completely sucking the fun out, in an effort to get the most out of a specific time frame. I can’t see it. But that is what I have been told by my family, friends coworkers, strangers on the street etc. It’s not about taking a breath and enjoying the moment, it’s about maximizing the time in any one place to see and do as much as possible. Largest Ball of mud, count me in.
My original plan was to try and give Jay the “Halifax Experience” in about 5-6 hours. I did research, I sent Jay along some questions about what he may like to see in the area. I had a solid plan. I showed it to my wife, she ripped it up (yes I printed out the itinerary). ‘If you try to cram all this in you will have zero time to actually smoke a cigar with him, isn’t that the point of this meet up? Sigh, ‘yes’. I went back to the drawing board and came up with a much more basic plan. Couple of my favourite watering holes, cigar shop and couple places to possibly have a cigar.
We drove up to Haliax to meet Jay, and it was a scorcher. I know what you are thinking, heat wave in Canada….so… only one winter coat then? Funny. But we were actually in the middle of a solid heat wave for our part of the world. Temperatures were hitting 37C (that is 98 in Freedom degrees). As a Celtic type, I was feeling particularly melty on this day, but was ready to shrug off the heat for the first Cigarnoise Can/Am herf.
The port access in Halifax for cruise ships is right beside one of the best craft breweries, Garrison Brewery, it seemed like the natural starting point. We found Jay outside the terminal; a bro hug and we were on our way to Garrison for our first drink of the day. Yes it was only 10:30am. Welcome to Halifax! As a bonus, it would also be Stamp number 2 for me in my Good Cheer Trail passport book.
We settled into a couple pints of Garrison’s Oat and About Stout. In my opinion the perfect breakfast pint. The bar staff got very antsy when I asked if we could smoke some cigars on the patio, and suggested we smoke them across the street or on the other side of the patio chain barricade. I told him not to get stressed; we would just have our drinks and find another location to smoke. Ugh stupid smoking bylaws.
We headed out onto the patio, and chatted about the cruise thus far and a little about the city. The beer was good. I enjoy stouts, and the flavour profile was very similar to most others I have had. It’s not a Guinness, but it had that great coffee, nutty hits that always make it a great pairing partner for cigars. If a person was able to actually light up a cigar, it would have been a great pairing partner. At this point my wife dipped out to meet up with some friends, and ‘not to intrude further on bro time’ haha. We finished up the pints and made our way to the one cigar shop in Halifax, Sieverts Tobacco.
Whenever I am in Halifax I like to purchase something from them. Whether it is cigars, accessories, or humidity packs. It being the last true cigar shop in Halifax, I want to make sure it stays around as a couple others have closed up over the years. Sieverts has two humidors; one wall mounted one for Cuban sticks and one small walk in, for everything else. I tried to preface our visit with some fairly low expectations in comparison to what Jay was used to in Philly, which sounds like cigar shop heaven, and has moved up considerably on my ‘places I need to visit’ list after talking with Jay.
Jay managed to find a Cuban Canadian exclusive and entertained my suggestion of trying a stick from Dominion Cigar – a Canadian cigar manufacturer. The cigar was the Black Lotus Maduro. I have had these multiple times and I like sending them out in trades as most folks haven’t seen them before. They have a nice dark, oily wrapper. You get some chocolate, some molasses and slight cream. After our purchases we headed out to our first smoking spot for the day, Grand Parade Square. Pictured below is the Citadel Hill clock tower that you can see up the hill from the Grand Parade Square.
You never know what you may see at the Grand Parade Square in Halifax. I have witnessed various sites over the years such as: a man trying to bit his own face, a couple having angry sex in front of the legislature building, various concerts and an ill-fated hot dog theft from one of the night time vendors that ended with the dude getting beaten down with the stolen hot dog. Today though was far less dramatic with some music in the park.
We made our way to a little piece of shade to get out of the face melting heat and lit up a couple of sticks. I had a Vegueros and Jay had the Black Lotus he just purchased. I had a bottle of local rye in my bag for us to sip on, anticipating most places would not let us smoke on premises. The rye is made by the Glynnevan distillery out of Guysborough Nova Scotia. We had the double-barreled Canadian rye whisky. It has some vanilla, honey, and a spice hit in the back of the throat. Good little sipper, but didn’t do anything to take the edge off the heat.
As began to chat about this and that, Jay dropped a ‘Philly Love ‘ bomb on me, pictured below. Pretty hard to catch me speechless, but he definitely did. After I found words again and thanked him, we started chatting about the folks he has met in the cigar world and from the Noise, our love of collecting various things, our kids, families and cigars. It was awesome.
We finished up and walked a couple blocks to my favorite Irish bar in Halifax Durty Nelly’s. Love doing the pickle back shot they have there. We laid down our CN challenge coins and had a Jamisons with pickle juice chaser. A couple of pints and some lunch and we were off in search of a boutique wine and liquor store to see if there were any bottles that Jay would want to add to his collection. I had always heard the Bishops Cellar had hard to find bottles, but have to say was pretty let down at the lack of spirits they had on hand. If you were a wine person, this would be your spot. Liquor, not so much. So after a dud, we made our way back to the waterfront to post up for round 2.
We found a couple deck chairs along the waterfront and lit up. I had a Julius Caesar from Diamond Crown and Jay burned the Canadian Exclusive Cuban he picked up from Sieverts.
As we sat back on the waterfront and watched the boats float by, the breeze was very welcome because the heat was beating down on us pretty good. Being of Irish/Scottish descent, it does not take a lot of sun to crisp me up the color of a hard steamed lobster. As we enjoyed our smokes, I could feel every pore of skin on my face beginning to harden up like leather in a tannery.
But the conversation was too good to give the heat much thought. Unfortunately the hours flew by and it was time to get Jay back to the boat. We had enough time to grab a quick beverage back at Garrison, this time it was a glass of water chased by a Chainyard Apple Cider. Cider brewing started to get more popular here only in the last few years, and Chainyard is one of the better ones I have had. Not too sweet and very refreshing. We got Jay back to his boat on time; bro hugged it out and left.
I don’t know if any other Good Cheer Trail stop will be as fun or mean as much as this one did. I had a blast getting to meet Jay, taking part of the first Can/Am CigarNoise herf, and getting to show off a small part of my province. Cheers Jay, until next time!
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