I often wonder about that question, and the answer is “yes.” You could ask the same question about coffee. If you have a cup of coffee every morning, it’s probably more of a habit – something you do on a regular basis – than an addiction. But if you drink 10 cups of coffee a day, one could make the case for addiction.
Whether it’s smoking cigars, playing online poker, or watching reality TV, just about anything can become addictive. What starts often as a hobby for some cigar smokers, may eventually become habitual, and beyond that, addictive. How do you define the three? Cigar smoking as a hobby would apply to a friend of mine who smokes only several cigars a month, though he might smoke more often if his wife wasn’t so insistent he take it outside. He also does a lot of domestic and international travel, and there are very few places left in the world where one can enjoy the company of a good cigar and a libation; so that also keeps his smoking to a bare minimum, but he’s fine with it. As Yoda would say, “A bona fide cigar hobbyist, he is.” Continue reading
If you want to continue to enjoy premium cigars as a passion and hobby, don’t just make a comment to the FDA – make it a Damn Good Comment. If you’ve already spoken out about exempting premium cigars, thank you. Speaking up and speaking out is a big help for us all, as cigar enthusiasts. If you haven’t, there’s less than one week to go: the FDA closes its comment period on 8/8 for the submission of comments, data and research on the proposed deeming rules that will determine the future viability of the premium cigar industry. Continue reading
Why the FDA Has It All Wrong
By now, we’ve all heard the news: the FDA has given us a look at what they’re thinking about doing to the cigar industry, vis-à-vis new regulations. Pending though they may be, it’s only a matter of time and outspokenness before they decide how hard to come down on cigar lovers. At the heart of the issue is how premium cigars are to be defined…they already have been, by various state legislatures; but now it’s time for the Feds to come up with something they feel is more formal. And the definition of what a premium cigar “is,” is really the subject of the debate if we’re to have any reasonable shot at the FDA moving away from regulating premium cigars. Continue reading
New Cigars in the News
H. Upmann Legacy “Special Edition Wood Mold Gift Set”
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Cigar enthusiasts can now experience the remarkable heritage of one of the most trusted premium cigar brands with the limited edition H. Upmann Legacy Special Edition Wood Mold gift set, coming soon to Famous Smoke Shop. Each 10-pack of H. Upmann Legacy Toro premium cigars comes set in a rustic wooden cigar mold featuring the H. Upmann logo engraved on the front with a retail price of $75.00.
Traditionally, cigar rollers used these wooden molds after the tobaccos were bunched together and wrapped in their binder leaves to compress the cigar to its shape and form.
“Owning an H. Upmann Legacy Wood Mold is to own an important part of history.” said Janelle Rosenfeld, VP of Marketing, Altadis U.S.A. ” This traditional wooden mold gift set will surely impress and delight long after the cigars have been enjoyed,” she added. Continue reading
We all do it. When buying cigars, we leaf through the catalog or dissect the website looking for a deal. Open emails that scream about savings of 50, 60, 70% or more on great cigars, then pore over the coupons to find out which deal saves the most cash while bringing home the most cigars. Inside all of us is a hardcore cigar value hunter – which, I assume, is why you’re here as well. But even the most budget-conscious among us is willing to drop a little extra coin now and again for a “good” cigar. But are we really just burning up money that could be better – or more smartly – spent?
In a word, “yes.” Continue reading
One of the subjects I’m often asked about is, how to spot fake Cuban cigars. That’s a good question, too, because despite the fact that Cuban cigars are still illegal for American cigar smokers to purchase, some choose to do it anyway. Is it because they’re still considered “forbidden fruit,” or is it that most cigar smokers believe Cuban cigars are still the world’s best? It’s more like a combination of the two; cigars made in Cuba are so great you just have to get your hands on some, even if it means risking losing them to U.S. Customs. And they’re not cheap, either. That is unless you’ve been bamboozled by a hustler who will sell you a box of so-called “Havana’s” at a great price while you’re vacationing somewhere in the Caribbean. Chances are, they’re fakes. What’s that old saying? “A fool and his money…” More on that later.
Yes, at one time Cuban cigars actually were the best and had virtually no competition. Zino Davidoff realized this in the early part of the 20th century, and was one the first European retailers to introduce Cuban cigars to the world. Later, when he began producing cigars under his own name, they were made in Cuba. Additionally, when you see someone smoking a cigar in old movies from the 1920′s to the 1960′s (and very likely even after the 1962 embargo), you can bet they were smoking Cuban-made cigars. Continue reading
Boutique cigars are one of the hottest trends going in the world of cigars today. If you need more proof, check the 2013 Top 25 Cigars of the Year List – if you eliminate cigars you can’t score legally in the USA, you’ll find the Aging Room Quattro at the top of the list. What company makes the Aging Room you ask? Rafael Nodal’s cigar company, the aptly named Boutique Blends. But what makes a boutique cigar a boutique cigar? Simple. It’s…um, yeah.
Well, if you consult a dictionary, you’ll get this: “…of, designating, or characteristic of a small, exclusive producer or business: one of California’s best boutique wineries.”
Obviously, for our purposes, we’re replacing the word “wineries” with “cigars” (or should it be manufacturers? More on that in a minute) – but when we define “boutique” – should we be doing it in terms of numbers, such as output of bottles (or cigars)? Or is it in availability of supplies, as in “small batch?” Is it the size of the manufacturer that matters?
Yes. And no. Continue reading
There’s been a lingering question out there when it comes to smoking, and it’s in making the distinction between premium cigars and cigarettes. The question has bubbled to the surface again in the face of pending FDA cigar regulations, many of which are modeled after regulations already in place for cigarettes. The folks pushing for these regulations frequently take the viewpoint that tobacco is the same in any form, therefore, they feel regulations should be uniform as well. This thought-process leads us back to our original question – what are the differences of cigars vs. cigarettes? The answers, unsurprisingly, run as wide a range as the number of people who you might ask for guidance. But today, we’re going to draw some major differences between premium cigars and cigarettes – and I got nominated, since I’ve had my fair share of both. I’m not afraid to admit it – I was a cigarette smoker for many moons, and many Marlboros; today, I smoke cigars exclusively. But let’s be clear – smoking, isn’t just smoking. Continue reading
Why are Cuban cigars illegal? If I had a dollar for every time I’ve fielded this question, I’d quit my day job and spend the rest of my years smoking Padron and drinking Louis XIII. Unfortunately for me, no one is passing out singles for answers to the question “Why are Cuban cigars illegal?”, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth answering.
The short answer is the United States’ embargo against Cuba forbids the import of any Cuban-made products into the United States. Furthermore, U.S. law forbids American citizens from buying, selling, trading, or otherwise engaging in transactions involving illegally-imported Cuban cigars. These prohibitions apply to all goods of Cuban origin, and scofflaws face fines of up to $55,000 per violation not to mention criminal prosecution, which can result in higher fines and even imprisonment. Continue reading
When we think of boutique cigars, a ton of thoughts race through our minds fumbling for an answer as to what “boutique” actually means. This made my job of pointing out the top 10 boutique cigar brands a royal pain in the butt. However, in the great office debate of 2014, we came to agree that boutique is more about the high quality of the tobaccos used, unequivocal flavors presented via an artfully executed blending and rolling process, and size of the company in comparison to the rest of the industry. Continue reading