Those closest to me and those who peer upon my tiny avatar, know that I love cigars.
There is just something inherently magnificent about smoking a good cigar. It is not politically correct, it is not healthy, it is too expensive, it is time consuming…
…it is simply magnificent.
I think cigar smoking and guns are very similar to those who oppose them: Their opposition is rooted in the idea and narrow perceptions of them, but once they experience them – they too would be hooked.
Sitting down and lighting up a cigar in the evening is an experience that can be described using words such as such as relaxing, sensual, religious, spiritual, ritualistic, dogmatic, personal, social, pleasurable, and indulgent.
It begins with a stroll into the local tobacconist or cigar lounge.
A quick glance and polite pleasantry shared with with the fellow smokers as you casually make your way past the dark leather chairs, mahogany tables, and accessory cabinets. Your sense of smell being overwhelmed by the infusion of dissimilar cigars of every variety being smoked by aficionados both young and old. Each of them comfortably seated in those leather chairs discussing sports, politics, and other various anecdotes of life.
It is a place where a man can escape from his life for a short while. Away from home, wife, job, kids, and even Blackberry’s. It is like a coffee shop but without the metrosexual and yuppie undertones to it.
It is a sanctuary of sorts really.
You open the door to the walk in humidor and are instantly greeted with a sweet smelling and perfectly maintained environment of 70 degrees with humidity levels hovering around 68-72% – perfect for storing thousands of precious hand rolled cigars.
The smell is intoxicating. You saunter through the narrow aisles as you find a selection or two. Will it be a mild, medium, or full bodied cigar today? Wine enthusiasts I’m sure can relate to this.
Will it be Ashton today? Perhaps an Arturo Fuente, CAO or a Padron. Oh, I could really splurge and purchase an Acid. So many choices. But a choice must be made so you pluck two or three from their neatly packed resting places and make your way out of the humidor and towards the counter to pay for them.
You are always greeted by a knowledgeable and friendly man behind the counter, quite often the owner of the shop. I say “man” because I have yet to encounter a female shop keeper / owner. That’s not to say they don’t exist, I have just yet to find one. He rings up your purchase and offers you the opportunity to sit a spell and enjoy a smoke right there in his shop.
You decide life can wait for about 45 minutes and take him up on the offer.
You take temporary refuge in a big, comfortable leather chair nearby a T.V. and a fellow aficionado and say hello. You unwrap your hand rolled stogie and carefully cut off the end with a cutter or punch provided by the store or your own pocket. You grasp a cigar lighter or matches that hail from the same places and begin the ritual of lighting it.
This part can be a very personal experience, unique to each individual. Some like to take the cigar band off immediately, sometimes to disguise the cigar’s identity. Others like to keep it on in order to reveal it. It doesn’t matter – it’s your personal cigar smoking doctrine that will never be judged or commented on by another true fellow cigar enthusiast.
There is a certain etiquette about the experience. Some subtle, others more widely understood. But one basic rule of thumb is to respect the cigar and respect the smoker. Always.
As flame quietly meets tobacco, you get your first smell of the wafting smoke that begins to slowly rise from the end of the cigar and gently into the air, artfully prancing and whirling about like a sensual belly dancer, teasing your senses as you take in its elegance.
You take a few puff’s and blow its smoke onto the lit end to make sure you have a good light and an even burn. You put down the lighter and cutter, sit back and just take it all in. Hints of different spice, creaminess, leather, nuttiness, coffee, citrus, and earthiness combine to make the experience that much more enjoyable.
You savor the cigar and cherish every precious minute in this brief interruption from your busy life.
And so you smoke. You indulge. You escape.
Enough talking now…I have a Partagas Corona waiting for me.