A Week With Omar - Rocky Patel, Audeze and Campfire Audio
Updated: Sep 12, 2022
Once again, ‘a week with Omar’, a weekly post, has stayed consistent for a grand total of two exceedingly sweet weeks.
I would like to offer my apologies in the form of a new article, and If I do say so myself, this one is gonna be a cracker.
First and foremost, how are you doing?
Everything going well?
I do hope that whatever trials and tribulations you are currently dealing with are either in hand or you have a plan to get on to the path of resolution.
The world seems to once again be on a strange trajectory, in the UK and globally we are seeing a backlash from the extraordinary spending that occurred during the pandemic in the form of the highest inflation rates we are seen in 40 years.
This is not good.
As we move further and further down this path of economic disrepair, I have noticed that financial jargon seems to be the star of the show; inflation rates, quantitative easing and interest rates being a few.
Would you guys be interested in an episode or a post breaking down what all these mean? How they influence your day to day life and what you could do to protect yourself from a 10%+ inflation rate? Do let me know!
On to less grim topics!
This entire post is essentially going to be my recount of one particular afternoon with a couple cigars, a shit ton of headphones and a chap called John.
I am now extremely conscious that the previous sentence sounds like the beginning of a very corny joke, c’est la vie, lets start with the cigar.
For those who used to be subscribers of my newsletter you will be very familiar with my favourite cigar lounge, Edmundos Cigar Shop in Fulham.
Before I get in to the cigar I was lucky enough to sample, I want to answer a question I've been asked a lot recently. What makes a particular cigar lounge a ‘favourite’?
In London, I think we are spoilt for extraordinary options both in terms of prodigious terraces and sampling lounges. We really do have a special cigar culture and community here. Having been fortunate enough to sample cigars in some of the best central London cigar lounges, what makes Edmundos my favourite?
It's really a combination of the ambiance, service and cigar selection. To find a unique combination of all three of those factors that resonates with a great clientage without feeling inaccessible to the uninitiated smoker is a really special thing.
Omar, the owner of Edmundos never fails to greet everyone entering his store with a smile, treating everyone with respect, reverence and a genuine want to provide you with a memorable smoking experience. For anyone trying to understand how hospitality is done, please take notes.
Up until this point on the blog I've only really spoken about Cuban cigars, why?
It's rather simple.
It's just what I tend to be smoking most of and generally speaking, I find Cubans to be more accessible in terms of their strength. The strongest Cuban cigar pales in comparison to the strongest Nicaraguan, trust me, I know.
However, as I have communicated on the podcast, I have been exploring new world cigars more and my most recent escapade landed me at a very well known brand, Rocky Patel. The cigar I was fortuitous enough to sample was the Rocky Patel White Label Robusto. Now, allow me to be clear, I think the key to exploring your horizons in life is to engage in activities without prejudices or preconceptions so when I am sampling a cigar for the first time I typically do very little research on the brand or the cigar.
Rocky Patel White Label Robusto Taken on Nikon Z6
First of all, this bloody thing may very well have the biggest band on a cigar I have ever smoked, but as you can see, it is a real looker. The white and gold band against the light brown wrapper is a real sight to be hold. I know the trends are going towards the darker oilier wrappers but fuck me, I do like these cocoa coloured ones.
From what I understand, this particular cigar has 10 year old Nicaraguan tobacco in it, thats very old ladies and gentleman.
I would like to mention that this is tobacco that has been aged before the cigar has been rolled, hence why they say aged tobacco as opposed to an aged cigar.
But I must say, this was an extremely enjoyable smoke, so enjoyable that it caused my friend next to me to comment on the ‘fruitness’ of the smoke.
Rocky Patel White Label Robusto Taken on Nikon Z6
I would class this as a perfect medium smoke, little to no spiciness, very smooth and lots of plummy dry fruit notes! I typically can’t identify these particular tasting notes but that dry plum note really stuck out.
Just to emphasise how much I enjoyed the experience of this smoke, I immediately texted the distributor to enquire when I could get some more. I think if you are making you first foray in to the world of new world from Cuban’s this would be a failsafe option, a 45 minute smoke you’ll remember.
Now, please allow me to answer the burning question in all of your minds, WHO THE FUCK IS JOHN?! Well, I call John the headphone man, he’s the guy that started me on my journey of understanding hi-fidelity personal audio experiences.
Armed with our Rocky Patel’s, John started to whip out the goodies, some MACH range IEM’s from Westone Audio (stay tuned for a blog about that), the Campfire Supermoons, Audeze LCD 5 and the Final Audio D8000. For those who don’t know please take a moment to google these items before continuing and you will soon work out that we had covered the table in almost £10,000 worth of gear.
John wasn’t messing around.
Let's start with the Campfire Supermoons.
I’m going to be totally straight forward here, I want a pair of these. Just a little background on mine and Campfire’s relationship. I apologise for putting this so crassly but these guys took my virginity in the world of high end IEM’s, the first time I listened to the Andromeda's, they rocked my world, on the same day I heard their former flagship, the Solaris. I remember I listened to Royals by Lorde and I was so moved by the experience that I had to immediately email Caleb from Campfire and details what the Solaris had just done to me.
As you can see, im a fan.
These particular Supermoon units were a universal based on a custom, I don’t blame you if that confuses you, I put them in my ear and I'm still confused as to what they were.
Regardless of the abundance of confusion, all of that disappeared as I started listening to them, shamelessly blasting Golden by Harry Styles these IEMs are no joke.
What Campfire do so well is they don’t make boring sounding stuff, the phrase ‘reference’ can definitely be over blown in the audiophile circles, to an extent of which accuracy is provided to the detriment of the enjoyment of the damn music.
The Supermoons were abundantly articulate, with a ridiculously expansive soundstage and a rich, deep thumping, fast bass, this is my type of combination. Listening to Letter 2 My Unborn Child by 2Pac gave me goosebumps, if your standard airpods are akin to a filter coffee the Supermoons would be a rich hot chocolate. With the limited amount of listening I got from them, these are testing the love I have for my beloved Final A8000’s…
Enter the Audeze LCD 5.
Audeze LCD 5 Taken on Nikon Z6
Audeze has a special place in my heart since It was my first exposure in to the world of well tuned planar drivers, I have episodes on the LCD 1. LCD 2C and a newsletter post on the LCD X.
First and foremost, the LCD 5 are gorgeous, truly a beautiful piece of design, the carbon head band combined with the smooth polished contours of the ear cups whispers luxury as opposed to standing on the dining table yelling IM EXPENSIVE!.
The most surprising aspect of the headphones were the weight, or lack of I should say/ Being more used to the outstanding LCD X im used to big, heavy, Mike Tyson neck type stuff but this was feather light, perhaps the lightest flagship headphones I've ever worn. I must admit, I don’t mind heavy headphones, the weight is a reassurance of quality - at least in my mind - but for long listening periods the comfort of the LCD 5 would be second to none!
I want to make this very clear, this is not a review but a first impressions inspire of this, I must say, after a good 7 minutes of listening to a myriad of test tracks suggested by John I was most definitely impressed.
Audeze LCD 5 Taken on Nikon Z6
The sonic performance is extraordinary, the detail they are able to extract out of the music is mind boggling, it kind of reminded me of the first time I saw a blu ray movie, I was seeing things I didn’t know were in the 1080p equivalent.
Closing my eyes while listening to Gregory Porter really allowed me to hear the instrument separation and I swear to god I was able to position the vocals, drums and bass with pin point precision, this is what we call imaging. However, I think this might be a result of the limited time I spent with them, I wasn't able to really develop any connection with them, I got my introduction but the conversation was non existent.
Audeze, if you're reading, I’d very much like to spend some more time with these cans, pretty please.