We see so many blogs, so many reviews, so much chatter, so much space in our stores allocated to cigars and I’m sure a lot of folks just ask “why?” Of course, we would guess that these folks are not cigar smokers, but for those who do not indulge in the pleasures of cigar smoking I’m sure there is a bit of curiosity as to what all the fuss is about (when all we are talking about is a bunch of tobacco leaves and setting them on fire!) Let’s explore the world of cigar smoking…
Cigar smoking has definitely evolved over the years. We can look at images from fifty or so years ago and see the well-dressed gentleman sitting in his study, enjoying a cigar in front of a roaring fire with a snifter of brandy nearby. Or we might see a men’s club with twenty to thirty gentlemen doing the same scenario as above; very staid, very stuffy, and very much a solo activity even when with it’s a group.
Today we see the cigar smoker in a much different environment. Men and women in cigar bars and lounges socializing and comparing notes on different cigars. A group of golfers out on the course all smoking cigars or the friendly neighborhood barbecue with folks sitting around and smoking cigars while enjoying some cold craft beers. Cigars have moved up into the mainstream and have definitely entered the world of celebration.
Times have changed, yet one thing does remain… cigars are always about celebrating. Whether celebrating a small personal accomplishment, enjoying the company of good friends, discussing the latest sports scores with fellow cigar smoker or just the celebration of life in general! Cigars definitely fall into our theme of Always Be Celebrating!
So you want to get your feet wet and see what all this cigar smoking is about? Not sure where to get started or afraid of looking foolish? Here are some quick basics for the complete novice.
Pick up some infused cigars such as Acid, Tabak, or Rocky Patel Java. All of these will give you the tobacco flavor but the flavor is mellowed out with herbs and spices, so while you do get tobacco you also get non tobacco flavor which is helpful for a beginner. Pick up some mild premium cigars also such as Ashton Classic, Macanudo, or Montecristo White Label.
The next step after trying infused would be to go for the straight tobacco flavor with no infusions. Try not to jump straight into the bold flavors. Make sure you also buy a cigar cutter and a butane lighter so you can prepare your cigar for smoking by slicing a very thin cut off the head of the cigar (closed end) and always use butane to light your smoke so as not to impart the flavors of a lighter fluid. And for you former cigarette smokers, do not inhale the cigar smoke! That will hurt! Simply draw the smoke into your mouth and let it linger while your tongue picks up the various flavors and then gently exhale. Savor and enjoy and perhaps I will see you someday in a cigar lounge!
Smoke and enjoy!
Steve Mungeer, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits category manager for premium cigars and craft beer
Follow me on Twitter @ABCcigarMungo