The High Priest by: Tom Halladay

Greetings Jazz fans! Oops, wrong gig. Oh well… Let’s see where this takes us…

I have collected, enjoyed and played (on the radio- Jazz music) for over fifty years (RE: Jugs, Jukes and Jazz 8pm-10pm Sunday nights on WUAL 91.5). I have nurtured a deep personal relationship with the music of Mingus, Coltrane, Ellington and many more Jazz artists. Some are playful, some reflective, some spiritually inspiring and restorative. But none better for fun and surprise than Thelonious Monk.

The angular, cubist lines of his very original works as well as his personal interpretations of Americans standards make him an American waster and the high priest of modern Jazz. His unexpected rhythmic accents and “lost” notes require the listener to follow the artist and delight in his continuously calling to pay attention. “Wow, I didn’t hear that coming.” It’s his distinct musical vision.

The good folks at Drew Estate Cigars likewise have a vision guiding the testing, blending and production of their Natural line of smokes.

Natural cigars are crafted using the finest Nicaraguan leaf combined with exotic tobaccos from places around the world including Syria, Turkey, and St. James Parish, Louisiana. Incorporating leaf from up to twelve countries, each cigar is a testament to the artful blending of smoking tobaccos. Each cigar has it’s own individual blend making for it’s own unique experience ranging from mild to bold. Expect the unexpected as you enjoy this line.

Spirits at the Shops of Lake Tuscaloosa is proud to make 5 of 8 Natural styles available to you. From the adorable (3 x 38) cocktail size “Juicy Lucy” with pigtail head and cameroon wrapper to the maduro wrapped “Dirt” (4 x 43). These cigars along with the slightly larger “Big Juicy” (5 x 46) have a pleasant sweetness on the lip and palate. The smoke is aromatic yet hard to place. Their diminutive size and lush flavor remind one of a strong Central American high ball.

The (5 x 50) Elixir is an exquisite finished head Connecticut wrapped, glass tubed satisfy-er. Light and sweetly nutty at $7.95 this one is great to give and great to get.

The heavyweight of our selection is the “Root Deluxe.” Like Monk’s music this cigar will engage you viscerally and intellectually. Sharp and pungent this Toro size (5 x 55) tubed cut foot maduro demands your attention. And like Monk there is no reason to have it on if you are not going to listen.

Any of these cigars duet nicely with your drink of choice. Perhaps a Brother Thelonious Abbey-style Ale for you. “Straight, No Chaser” for me. As Bob Davis would say “you’ll thank your hip self.”

Regards, Tom

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