Old Granddad and a Fernandez Stogie: By CURTIS OWENS

Thunder crashing! Lightning flashing! A drenching onslaught of rain soaking into our already drenched soil. I’m not sure about you, but sometimes the weather matches my mood perfectly.
Or is my mood culpable in the current rainy week we’re having? Either way, it’s a perfect night to sit out on my front porch, alone, while this whirlwind swirls all around me.

Well, I’m not alone, exactly, my pup is here with me. He hates the storms and would rather be hiding under my bed or in my closet. He seems content enough tho, as long as my hand remains active scratching behind his ears, or patting his, like me, ever graying patch of fluffy hair on his head.

I’ve also chosen a couple of vices to join my surly attitude tonight. Some times I have a healthy pour of a quality bourbon, rye, and on rare nights I splurge and have a delicious Scotch. On nights like tonight though, when I feel aggravated, irritated or frustrated, I tend to choose something different for my glass and my palate.

To smoke it’s a cheap Fernandez stogie, something medium in body and peppery in flavor. It’s a robusto in size, so smaller than the typical stogie, but with every bit as enjoyment as the larger vitolas.

I typically like to use a ‘v’ cut to open my cigars, but tonight I chose a punch instead to restrict the draw and maybe make the stick last a little longer than intended. An evening cigar, with the quiet reflection that comes, usually brings peace and calm, but not on this night.

That’s probably the reason for my second choice to indulge in. Old Granddad bourbon has been around for as long as I can remember. I always passed on it until a few years ago when someone recommended I try the OG114. Yes, as in 114 proof, or 57% alcohol.

It’s strong, but flavorful, with the same caramel coloring as the typical bourbon, and lights the back of your tongue with pepper and spice all through the finish.

I enjoy primarily bourbon, some irish whiskeys and the single malt Highland Scotches that mimics the flavors and experience I feel when drinking bourbon.

The reality is though, that just like different chocolates, coffees or spices, each has their place and sometimes one fits your taste, mood or situation better than the others.

When I have a night like tonight, feeling tired and a little beat up, or maybe just a little mad at the world, I tend to pick the cheaper bourbon line-up in my collection. Preferably something with a higher proof.

Also, when it’s a truly tough day, and I’m feeling an extra bit out of sort, I forgo the glass altogether. I pull the cork and take a swig straight from the bottle.

After I slowly swallow that drink, but while the flavor is still strong, I take a pull from my stogie and allow the smoke to swirl in my mouth.

It’s an attempt to force the tastes to merge and get the most from both the drink and the smoke.

I don’t know, exactly, what’s causing my consternation tonight. Why I feel the bad mood that’s enveloping me like a rolling batch of dark storm clouds. I don’t know why, but I just know it’s there.

I don’t believe either the drink or the cigar will bring me out of this funk.

This writing? My attempt to exorcise these bad emotions through words, that will likely not help either.

Regardless of why, of my inability to critique my feelings to a balance of understanding, these emotions will remain with me for a while.

Since they’re there, I think I’ll pull the cork for another swig and take another toke from my cigar, and just watch the rain.