First I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year, and I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and 2022 as a whole! 2022 was a mixed bag for me personally - I have a lot to be grateful for, and a lot I would like to forget/move on from. At any rate, I look forward to what 2023 has in store and I wish a happy and healthy year to all of you! The purpose of this blog post is multifaceted - to offer insights into what to expect for 2023, to introduce a new dimension to the content provided here, and to create some accountability.
The majority of the content I have provided in the blog portion of the site has been cigar reviews. I have attempted to offer these reviews at somewhat regularly scheduled intervals (it may not seem that way based on the previous month or so, but as I mentioned, there were some things about 2022 I would like to forget). Providing reviews at a consistent rate is something that I thought would create value and credibility to myself and the site. I also smoke frequently and am continuously smoking “new-to-me” cigars as I always look to expand my palate and experience with varying companies and types of cigars. It made sense to just take some photographs and notes of cigars I already planned on smoking.
This worked for awhile and I was happy doing it, however I was inadvertently creating a self-imposed obligation. After a while this obligation began to make an always enjoyable act of smoking a new cigar somewhat of a burden. In an effort to adhere to the “review schedule” no one asked for but myself, I found I was reaching for a cigar to review instead of the cigar I wanted to smoke. Instead of casually and comfortably enjoying a cigar while relaxing or working on something, I was trying to balance my attention between getting the “right” photograph and tasting note with accurately completing the task I was performing or taking a second to just unwind.
They say “there’s always a silver lining”, and after the chaos that was the month of December, I can say that I found maybe a hint of a “silver lining” in that I strayed away from reviews and reverted back to just smoking what I wanted, when I wanted and it was refreshing. Unfortunately, the way my mind works, I felt guilty about it and had to “make” myself just take the time to enjoy the cigar I was smoking instead of trying to pump out a review. As 2022 came to an end and I needed to start looking forward to the year ahead, the topic of reviews came to mind, and I have made the decision to cut back on reviews for 2023. I will continue to review cigars, but there won’t be a regular frequency to their releases. Instead I will casually smoke what I want, when I want, and I will smoke cigars for review in the same manner.
Now, that being said, I will continue paying my respects to the cigar with some photography and acknowledgement to what I am smoking. I also make mental notes on things I smoke, and can offer some insights into cigars I have been smoking. If you see I have smoked something you are curious about and I haven’t reviewed it, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, reach out through the contact page on the site, or DM me on Instagram and I will happily share my thoughts.
Opinion & Educational Pieces
With a decline in review frequency I will have freed up some time. My hopes moving forward are that this will allow me to create some content I have been meaning to for awhile. When I started creating cigar content over at Whiskey & Whitetails I was asked to pretend like I was writing for a consumer base that was new to cigars. I began with a three part article on Cigar Basics, followed by a guide on how to Build Your Cigar Starter Kit, then Building & Understanding Your Palate for Cigars, and finally Understanding Cigar Strength. Far too much time has passed since I originally posted the last of those articles, in fact I have only posted one “educational article” since I started my website (Does Vitola Matter?) and I am excited about the return of this type of content. So be on the lookout for semi-educational, opinionated pieces this year. This may be a good way to introduce some new samplers too…
Speaking of samplers, something I had really enjoyed in 2022 were Company Spotlights. If you are unfamiliar with these, check out the ones on Lampert, Casa 1910, Casa Cuevas, and Crowned Heads. As a very small, online only retailer, my inventory and brands list is quite small. In some cases, I only offer a single cigar from a company because it fits a one-off sampler idea I had. I wish I could bring one every cigar from a plethora of companies all at once. Unfortunately, I only have the means to slowly (but surely) introduce a new company at a time. I have found that I personally enjoy doing this in conjunction with a “Company Spotlight” article that gives a bit of a breakdown of the company and is capped off with a Q&A with an owner or representative from that company. I have a laundry list of companies I am looking to bring on, so be on the lookout for new Company Spotlight articles and new arrivals to the shop!
Guitar & Woodworking Content
It’s right there in the name of the company - “Guitars…” - but where is the guitar content? Well, I launched the website in March of 2022. This was near the end of a big whiskey barrel guitar build for Whiskey & Whitetails. That guitar consumed a lot of my time during the first quarter of 2022 until it was finished in the beginning of April. My wife was VERY pregnant by the time I finished up that build, and since it consumed more time than I really should have allowed it to, I stepped back from the shop. Our daughter was born on May 21st. Between a newborn, a full-time job, and a little farm, my time was pretty well consumed throughout summer and fall of 2022. I just did not have the time to reorganize, plan, and accomplish much on the guitar building side. Fortunately, the cigar side can be a bit more passive, so I could continue building that side of the company.
In the closing couple months of 2022 I was able to do some cleaning and reorganizing in the garage to create a more efficient workshop. My hopes are that, while my time is still a bit limited, I will be able to make more progress on projects. I have a couple guitar projects in the works now. The body’s are out getting some custom artwork done, and I just recently finished shaping the necks. I have to fret and finish them. Both of these particular instruments will not be sold, but are more personal projects that will be displayed pieces. I do, however, have some plans for a couple other bodies that I have, so stay tuned for those.
Lastly, I have been making the plunge into hand tool woodworking. I have always been a power tool user, but due to some tooling issues I began looking into some alternative methods for particular tasks. After plenty of research and trying out a few things in the shop, I have found a new respect for hand work. Previously there were many things I have opted to do by hand with regards to guitar building that could be done with the use of, say, a router and template. So I have always taken some pride in the craftsmanship of hand work, but after learning more about, and experimenting with, hand planing, chiseling, hand sawing, etc, I have really grown more of an appreciation for wood itself and working with it. Where I previously saw the planning, cutting, and shaping as a means to an end, I now find these processes as a time to embrace and value the work itself above the final product. This new revelation in my work will have some implications on what I choose to do with my time in the shop. For instance, where I previously only had an interest in building instruments, I now have an interest in various fine woodworking projects - some relevant to guitars and cigars, others not at all. I also, as I mentioned, have a newfound appreciation for the wood itself. This is something I hope will come across in my work moving forward.
All of this guitar and woodworking talk was to say that I have some plans and projects forecasted for the year ahead. Some of which are professional, others personal, but all are things I plan to share in some manner or another.
Closing Comments & Remarks
In the beginning of this long winded post I mentioned that I am creating this post to “to offer insights into what to expect for 2023, to introduce a new dimension to the content provided here, and to create some accountability.” I think the above items explain what to look for in the coming year for Guitars & Cigars Farm. As for introducing a new dimension of content, I think the items above would cover this, however they were not what I was thinking of when I wrote that line. What I was referencing was actually posts similar to the entirety of this post. This post, in the context of all my other posts, is pretty “random”. I do not necessarily intend to write long-winded articles about “random” topics, however, I would like to begin incorporating some posts that don’t necessarily fall under the “review”, “educational”, “guitar”, etc categories. I think it would be good for myself, and possibly some readers, to just “ramble” about things I find important or noteworthy. Maybe I want to take a minute to recommend a book like, I don’t know, With the Grain: A Craftsman’s Guide to Understanding Wood by Christian Becksvoort made available by Lost Art Press, or maybe I want to take a little to talk about what’s been on my playlist lately, like anything Jackson Browne, or I could just need to rant about something, like how the Boston Celtics have so much talent but have been showing so little heart when things aren’t going their way lately. Anyways, you get the point.
Finally, I mentioned accountability in the introduction as well. I get a lot of ideas for a lot of different things and sometimes, even though they’re good, or something I want to follow through with, they get lost in the mix and never come to fruition. The way I look at it is, I do my damndest to follow through with what I say I will do. So I am throwing these different plans and ideas out there as a motivator for making them happen. I also consider many of these things goals, and I think that promoting your goals is a great way to keep them present in your mind so you proactively work towards them. On a more personal note, I also hope that writing about projects I am doing will help me take pictures and make notes as I work through varying projects. I have a bad habit of getting into a groove and stepping back once something is done and thinking “Damn, I wish I had a picture of what this started out like.” Knowing I plan to create posts about what I am doing should help me correct this err.
Anyways, if you stuck around through all of this, I appreciate you taking the time! I am always open to, and looking for, feedback so please take some time to leave a comment below! Also, if you have any ideas or requests for content, let me know below as well! Thank you and best wishes for the year ahead!