As I travel throughout Florida and visit our ABC Humidors, I encounter many guests perusing our fine cigars and always enjoy helping them make their selections and in many cases end up in a great conversation about cigars. Inevitably it always seems that the conversation reaches the point where I am asked “So what is your favorite cigar?” It is a good question but it does not mean a simple answer. I could just say a Cohiba Behike 54 or a Padron 45th Anniversary or a Davidoff Nicaragua but I am not in the habit of dropping $25 and up on a single cigar and while I love those cigars I would not call them favorites since they are a rare special-occasion smoke.
I hear many of our guests say “Oh, I only smoke Arturo Fuente” or “I’ve never heard of that brand and I just want to stick with what I know.” These folks have a favorite cigar, or at least think they have a favorite cigar. To most people a favorite cigar is actually a favorite brand or label of cigars. When I am asked the infamous question of “What is your favorite cigar?” I give the very odd answer of “Well, it depends on a lot of things” and I get some very odd looks.
I consider myself an avid cigar smoker and a very knowledgeable smoker. I read about cigars, I study cigars, I’ve been to factories, I know lots of folks in the business and been involved in the business for over 20 years. And yet I have no favorite cigar. The very simple answer for me is that there are just way too many quality cigars in the market today to even think about limiting myself to one name. Honestly I have smoked hundreds of different cigars over the years and can only think of a handful that I despised and would never smoke again. But to limit myself to just one label and maybe even just one size will never happen because of many factors, not just because there are literally thousands of outstanding cigars in the market today.
One of the main reasons I can’t come up with a favorite cigar is, at least in my case, dependent upon the situation. Many times on a weekend morning I will wake up, brew some coffee, and head to the patio to enjoy my coffee and a morning cigar. This is not the time of day to dig out that beautiful Ashton VSG but it is a great time to enjoy a Tabak Dulce or a Nub Cappuccino. Something light and mild that will compliment my coffee and not overwhelm me at 8am! Those may be my favorite cigars for that situation but I will not be smoking them at midnight as I enjoy an old-fashioned or a glass of port. Sitting around the pool with friends in the afternoon would be a nice time to enjoy some Fuentes or some Montecristos or something mild to medium with maybe some Dominican filler and a Connecticut wrapper. As the day winds down and night settles in I will begin looking for the full bodied Nicaraguan smokes from Oliva and Drew Estates. So the answer to the question is no, I do not have a favorite cigar but I probably have 20-30 cigars that I would consider my favorites based upon the time of day and the situation and my mood!
There are just so many quality cigars in the market today that one does themselves a disservice by just picking one single brand and never deviating from it. Keep a box of your favorites on hand but try new offerings. Recognize the fact that certain cigars go well with certain beverages and with certain situations. Start the day off with light and or infused cigars and build up gradually to more powerful smokes as the day goes on. This is what the cigar experience is all about.
Steve Mungeer, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits Category Manager: Premium Cigars & Craft Beer
Follow me on Twitter @abccigarmungo