Here’s a little blurb about myself, for those who might be interested. My name is Joe Shanty, I hail from the northern reaches of NY, way up by the Canadian border, in a small college town by the name of Potsdam where I was born and raised, and most likely will meet my end.

I am a middle class blue collar working stiff who enjoys cigars, fine art and of course my family, wife and three daughters. I am semi college educated, I say semi in that I went to college with a major in art studio ( concentration in painting) art history and a minor in anthropology. Due to financial and personal issues I ended up dropping out after three years. From there I went to work at a local college, first as a security officer part time, then on to a custodian full time, and then eventually into the position I have now, which is night shift general maintenance tech. I enjoy it, I work alone, have the campus to myself other than the security officers and what few custodians that work nights. Another good aspect of the job is that you never know what you will run into, and trust me, I have many funny stories.

I got into cigars when I was 18 or 19, for no particular reason other than I have always admired cigars. I am from a non smoking family, although I guess my grandfather used to smoke them decades ago. I started the way a lot of people did in the cigar world, stop by the corner store or the local stop n rob and grab whatever is there behind the counter. Then, like now, I wanted to try any I can get my hands on, I like to try new things and see how my tastes evolve.

My real first premium hand rolled cigar came about when I saw an ad, like I’m sure a lot of you have seen, get a small humidor with 10 or 20 cigars for around 30 bucks. Of course I was new to the cigar life back then, I ordered without thinking, and when the package arrived, I was in need of a cutter. My very first premium cigar was smoked by poking a hole in the end with a….pencil. Yes, a pencil. I poked a hole in it and lit ‘er up and loved it. That was back before there was Facebook, and Google, and the wealth of knowledge that is out there now. Hell, the humidor I thought was just a fancy box to keep the cigars in, for display. I had no idea about seasoning, humidity control, temps, all that fun stuff.

Let’s just say I have come a long way. I smoked cigars and pipe until I was around 28 or so, then due to financial reasons, I took a break for around six years or so, and then started up again. The market out there is amazing with the amounts of brands and blends, and being me, wanting to try them all, makes it a nightmare whenever I want to place an order. Thanks to a lot of the information out there, either by way of Google or the many groups on Facebook, you can pretty much learn something new every day. I never knew there was a Dickman cut, did you? And no, its not an insult, its a real way of cutting a cigar. Its a wild amazing world out there in cigarland, and as part of the Bobalu blog team, I like to share my knowledge, as well as discover new things to learn, and keep it fun and entertaining. Yes, I may ramble a lot, and partake in a lot of self deprecating humor, but that’s how I am, and if I can get a smile, giggle or guffaw, maybe even a harumph or two, that makes it worth while.


Joe Shanty

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