AS AN AVID CIGAR SMOKER you’ve probably heard a lot about FDA regulation of premium cigars. The fact is that earlier this year, the Federal Drug Administration was given the authority to regulate tobacco products. According to a recent report from Cigar Rights of America (CRA):
In the July 7 Federal Register, FDA restated its authority to issue regulations deeming ‘other tobacco products’ to be subject to their domain [when the legislative intent was cigarettes and smokeless products]. They further stated ‘The scope of the proposed rule deeming cigars to be subject to FDA’s jurisdiction that was previously included in the Unified Agenda is being broadened to encompass products that meet the statutory definition of tobacco product.
Therefore, unless action is taken quickly, the FDA plans to start their new timetable for such regulations this coming October.
Fortunately, House Bill H.R.1639, the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act, was introduced. This bill seeks to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to clarify the Food and Drug Administration’s jurisdiction over certain tobacco products, and to protect jobs and small businesses involved in the sale, manufacturing and distribution of traditional and premium cigars. At last count H.R.1639 had at least 45 co-sponsors in The House. Recently, added support of the bill is due to the fight not only from CRA and The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR),
but from concerned citizens like you who have taken the time to write your representatives in Washington.
Thankfully, another major hurdle was cleared when co-sponsors Senators Bill Nelson (D) and Marco Rubio (R) of Florida. introduced S1461, the companion bill to HR1639. S1461, like HR1639, seeks to separate cigars from cigarettes and other tobacco products in order to keep them safe from FDA regulation. Like The House version of this bill, it is called the “Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2011.”
Should the FDA regulation include premium cigars under their umbrella here’s what will happen:
- You’ll pay extremely higher prices for premium cigars.
- Flavored cigars will disappear.
- New blends would be subject to inspection, testing, and approval by the FDA, virtually tying the hands of manufacturers.
- Cigar box artwork will be disfigured by health risk warning labels.
- Marketing of premium cigars and in-store tasting events would be muzzled, nor would cigar stores be permitted to have walk-in humidors, and finally…
- NO MORE MAIL-ORDER CIGARS
And that’s just for starters.
Please contact your U.S. Senators today! The last thing you want is the FDA having a say in how your favorite premium cigars are blended, imported and sold. In the meantime, we will continue to keep you updated on any further developments about these bills that come our way.
Cigar retailers including Famous Smoke Shop desperately need House and Senate support for and co-sponsorship of HR1639 and S1461 respectively, and we need you to urge them! It’s the best thing you can do today to help save your cigars from being regulated by the FDA; and believe me, as if government wasn’t big enough already, the last thing you want is the FDA having a say in how your favorite premium cigars are imported and marketed.
Right now is the perfect opportunity to tell your Senators about how FDA control of cigars will affect you as a consumer. To do so, simply follow these steps.
- Go to IPCPR’s Legislative Action Center
- Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and on the right side of your screen, you will see a text box for entering your zip code. Enter it and click “Go.”
- On the next screen, you will see your two U.S. Senators and under them you will see a pre-fab letter you can use or edit to add your own wording.
- Finally, preview your message, and if it’s satisfactory, click the “Send Message” button.
Luckily, Congress is listening to us. We have a great opportunity to nail this one down, so don’t delay, and pass this blog on to your cigar smoking amigos.
After taking the cigar world by storm several years ago with the introduction of two unprecedented “firsts” for premium cigars, Sam Leccia has struck out on his own with a new line of cigars produced and distributed through his new, aptly-named Sam Leccia Cigar Company.
Gary Korb: What was the first cigar you ever smoked, and what do you remember most about it?
Sam Leccia:. I actually remember my first cigar quite well. I was in 10th grade. Me and my two buddies, Vince and Tom, pitched-in and bought a box of Phillies blunts. I can remember opening that box when we got home. I had cigar boxes around the house with baseball cards and matchbox cars in them; this was the first one that I had with actual cigars in it. We were so pumped to smoke them. Then we got into other cigars, like hand-rolled cigars. I remember my first hand rolled. It was a Macanudo and I spent $6.00 on it, which on a 15 year-old’s budget was insane, but I felt like I was on top of the world smoking it. I used to always go into the cigar store at the local mall just to enjoy the aromas of the walk-in humidor. I was hooked. The funny thing is, growing up my Dad always insisted that I didn’t smoke or drink, and yet my career has been both in the liquor and now tobacco industry. Sorry Dad.
GK: How did you decide on the name “Debut” for your first release?
Sam: Names are not easy to come up with, and usually are more important to the company using it rather than everyone else. I gave a lot of thought to various names. Some I will probably use down the road, but this is my first solo release, so what better than Debut?
GK: Where is your company and factory based?
Sam: My company is based in Pittsburgh, Pa, still out of my garage, but the factory that’s making Debut is in Honduras.
GK: Can you give us some background about the tobaccos used in Debut blend and how you developed it; for instance, when you knew it was ready, etc.?
Sam: I am excited about the blend. It’s the most fun of the entire process. The blend consists of tobaccos from Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Santo Domingo. The wrapper ages well and the oils really rise to the surface after some aging. I love a good oily wrapper, and this truly delivers beyond my expectations. As far as ‘when I knew it was ready,’ just like finding your soul mate, you know when you know.
GK: Why did you decide to go with 60 gauge ring sizes for two of the three Debut frontmarks?
Sam: Well it’s no secret that I like a 60 ring. I wanted to put my twist on traditional sizes. I didn’t want to come up with some new name for a size, I like the length of both the Robusto and Churchill, I just gave them more tobacco. Though, the figurado is a traditional 6 ½ X 52 Torpedo.
GK: How much of a part will social media sites like Facebook and Twitter play in marketing your cigars?
Sam: I enjoy Facebook and Twitter. I have reconnected with so many people: old Navy buddies, school friends, and I can stay in touch with people I meet in my travels. I don’t really build a strategy around using Facebook or Twitter, rather, I just use it like everyone else does to update my friends on my life. It just so happens my life is cigars, so it turns into to some form of marketing, but that’s not truly why I use it.
GK: The cigars that brought you to prominence were true “firsts.” Does the Sam Leccia Cigar Company have plans for producing something just as unique in the future?
Sam: You know, I look at things differently now. I am different. I am a nonconformist by nature. I like to try new things and have fun. The goal is to just bring some excitement to an industry that I am excited about being in. I could easily make traditional blends in traditional sizes but that’s just not who I am. I honor tradition by creating new cigars. I have lots up my sleeve.
GK: Since going rogue, what has been the most surprising thing that has happened?
Sam: Your question makes me sound like some kind of Sarah Palin (laughs),
but the answer is, I enjoy the freedom. It’s liberating.
GK: What do cigar smokers seem to misunderstand about you?
Sam: I can probably write a book based on this question alone. Some people expect me to be a 6-foot 6-inch hard-ass, but I’m a soft spoken, 5-foot 7-inch regular Joe. I’m a creative thinker and I’m kind and generous. I certainly don’t think of myself as any sort of ‘celebrity.’ I say this all the time but, I have no paparazzi on my lawn; no one bothers me in grocery stores or the mall; and I highly doubt anyone tells Kid Rock that he “looks like Sam Leccia”. I’m as real as it gets and I enjoy meeting and hanging out with the cigar smoking nation.
GK: Will you be introducing Debut at the upcoming IPCPR show in Las Vegas this summer and doing other major cigar events?
Sam: I am currently taking pre-orders and plan to start shipping before the show. I’m in kind of a difficult situation, as my first run looks to have already been pre-sold. I know that sounds like a good thing, but I want to meet the demand without sacrificing quality. I will be at the IPCPR, and I can’t wait to hit the road and reconnect with all of my cigar smoking friends.
GK: I heard that you are not using a traditional wood box for your cigars. How will they be packaged?
Sam: I am using a box made from thick chipboard. It is made from 100% recycled materials and manufactured here in the USA. I don’t profess to be ‘green’ but I can sleep better at night knowing that I am not responsible for one tree cut down in the rain forest to make my boxes. Central America’s rain forests are being depleted; I am proud not to have a hand in that. I’m very excited about the boxes; they look amazing and I hope others follow suit.
GK: If you could compare yours cigars to one of your favorite bands, which would it be, and why?
Sam: Wow. That’s a tough question. I love music to no end – I am an amateur singer and lyricist, but to compare what I do to any of the music and bands that I love, I just can’t do it.
Pre-orders and general inquiries about the Sam Leccia Cigar Company: SamsDebut@SamLecciaCigarCo.com
You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.”
- Marie Browning (Lauren Bacall) in To Have and Have Not
A while back I blogged about cigar lighting techniques. In the article, I referred to one of the methods as “The ‘Overkill’.” “…using this method, the smoker keeps hitting the blackened areas of the foot with the torch flame until they glow like a branding iron. All this does is cause the tobacco to produce more tars, which may turn the cigar prematurely bitter,” I wrote.
As a cigar smoker, one thing you need to remember when using torch lighters is that the flame is highly concentrated. Moreover, the reason torch lighters are so effective is that the blue inner cone (about 1/16 of an inch inside the flame), is the hottest part of the flame, and therefore, much hotter than the white flame of a match or “soft flame” lighter. That’s also why you should be even more careful when toasting your cigars.*
The secret to properly toasting good premium cigars is to hold the flame from a torch lighter just shy of the tobacco until it turns black. You want to do the same during the lighting stage, until you see the core tobaccos glowing. Note that you may only see a portion of the core glowing. At this point you would normally blow gently on the foot to spread the fire throughout the entire width of the foot.
Here’s where the torch flame overkill usually comes in. If after blowing on the cigar, the remaining core doesn’t catch quickly, many a cigar smoker will hit it again and even hold it until they get the aforementioned “branding iron” effect.
The reason not all of the tobaccos take right away usually has to do with the amount of moisture in the tobaccos, and/or how much ligero is in the mix. Ligero is the oiliest of the leaves and it’s one of the reasons the more combustible binder leaves are part of the blend; they help get your cigars started and keep them burning evenly. Therefore, if you absolutely have to hit it again, you may be better off concentrating on the ring where the binder is, just inside the outer wrapper leaf.
Suffice it to say that, rather than holding the foot to the fire (so to speak),
continue blowing on it. If it’s a well-made cigar, eventually the entire core will take. You don’t need more flame; what you need is more patience.
* Author’s note: When I first published this blog, I incorrectly stated that the white part of the flame from torch lighters was the hottest.
If you’re a cigar-smoking Mom or Dad, I want to hear from you.
Like any good father, I want what’s best for my kids. With my oldest still under 4, they’re still pretty far removed from chats about sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll. But sooner or later, they’re going to start asking material questions about cigars and why I smoke them. The issues surrounding cigars and fatherhood are complex, and they’re going to receive a lot of information from a lot of different sources about cigars and tobacco products in general.
My oldest already knows what cigars are. He saw a cigar in the ashtray and asked me what it was, and I answered him frankly. I’m not about to insult his intelligence by pretending not to hear his question, or by spouting off some falsehood.
I guess the bottom line is this: I’m not interested in indoctrinating him in any way, but neither am I about to hide my cabinet humidor.
I DO consciously abstain from smoking in their presence. While I’m not ashamed of cigars, smoking is not a behavior I wish to normalize in their worldview. Besides, with few exceptions, actually enjoying one when they’re about is near-impossible.
Do I look forward to sharing a cigar with my kids someday? Sure, when they’re 18 and old enough to know the difference between occasionally enjoying a fine cigar and chain-smoking cigarettes. I plan to teach them about enjoying cigars responsibly, and make sure they’re aware of the health risks associated with tobacco. I believe that adults have the right to make an informed decision about tobacco use, and when it comes to cigars and fatherhood, I plan to help inform my children so they can make their own choice when the time comes.
How do/did you handle the smoking question vis-à-vis cigars? Are there any tips on cigars and fatherhood that you can give to a relative rookie Dad? Thanks in advance.
One of the more familiar elements of smoking cigars is that some tend to taste bitter in the late innings. Bitterness can be caused by any number of factors. It could be the blend itself, or it can come from drawing too hard or too often on your cigar while smoking. The latter tends to draw the tars up the length of the cigar, which can lead to bitterness. So, as I’ve noted in previous posts, take it easy when you draw, and let your cigar rest for a minute or so between puffs.
Another thing that often happens when you’re smoking cigars is they will go out on you. Speaking for myself, even when my cigar goes out, perhaps just out of habit, I tend to pick it up and draw on it. Moreover, those first few draws are usually a bit harder just to see if there’s any live smoke still in there. After that, I tend to let it sit in my mouth until I realize nothing’s happening, and at that point I put it in the saddle of the ashtray until I’m ready to relight. For lack of a better term, I’ll refer to this as “dry drawing” a cigar that’s already been lit, as opposed to “cold drawing” or pre-drawing on a fresh, unlit cigar.
When I relight, sometimes I find that the cigar tastes bitter, even if it went out in the first inch. My theory is, by pacifying on a cigar after it’s gone out, you could be drawing tars into the core. One solution may be to cut the cigar far enough behind the ash to expose fresh tobacco. But to be perfectly honest, sometimes I just don’t feel like shortening the cigar, or I’m just too lazy to bother and I’ll take my chances.
So, for those of you who also do this, I’ll put the question to you. Would you agree that sucking on your cigars between relights has a negative effect on their flavor? Please let me know by leaving a comment.
Yes! Depending on the color of the wrappers on your cigars, their character can shift from a small to even a significant amount of flavor. Read the following excerpt from an article written for the old version of CigarAdvisor.com.
First, Hendrik pulled three of the same type of cigars out of the humidor…The cigars that were chosen were cigars with a fairly mild blend and were identical, in ring gauge, length, filler, binder and wrapper. He then called down to the factory floor and asked one of the supervisors to bring up a few wrapper leaves of different types.
Eladio took the wrapper leaves off of two of the three cigars and replaced them with two different ones…The first cigar, had the original wrapper leaf, which was a Connecticut Shade grown in Ecuador. This cigar exhibited grassiness and a light spice. The second wrapper, which was a hybrid of Cuban seed and Connecticut seed also grown in Ecuador, displayed rich tobacco sweetness and had medium spice. The third cigar wrapper was a Cuban seed grown in the DR. This cigar was very full in spice and had woody flavors and aromas. All three were very different, even though the filler and binder were identical. I never expected that the differences would be so dramatic, but it was clear that, when the filler blend is fairly light, the flavor of the wrapper leaf will be able to assert itself more easily.
Not only will the color and origin of the wrapper affect the flavor of the cigar, but even the same wrapper leaf can impart a different flavor depending on which part of the plant the leaf was grown. Leaves higher on the plant (high primings) get more sunlight, therefore they grow darker, produce more sugars and tend to be fuller in body and flavor, whereas leaves from the lower part of the plant (low primings) tend to be milder in body and flavor.
This latter phenomenon may be noticed by more experienced cigar smokers who have a developed a taste for specific blends. For instance, if you take two boxes of the same cigars and place them next to each other, you may notice a slight difference in the color of the wrapper leaf. That’s because the cigars are sorted by color in the factory so they look uniform when you open the box. Though it’s generally imperceptible, lighter or darker wrappers can affect the flavor of the smoke. You either have to have an extremely sensitive palate, or know how the cigars should taste based on your experience. Moreover, some customers actually call Customer Service insisting that the manufacturer changed the blend, and in some cases, will even return them.
Finally, lest we forget that we are smoking a naturally-grown, handmade product. Though cigars in every wrapper shade can vary from box to box by a shade or two, a little difference in flavor is usually not enough to warrant a return. At the end of the day, it’s all part of the cigar-smoking experience.
I found myself stuck in the bottom of a ravine. I had decided to hike, alone, in the area of Apache Junction near the Superstition Mountains. I am an experienced climber and made the fatal mistake: Arrogance.
I had slipped on some shale and fell forward and then my body swiveled and I went straight down a ravine. Looking up, it seemed like at least 20 feet. I was covered in cuts and bruises.I gathered my senses and began to climb up. I had risen 5 feet when a large rock dislodged and I fell again, this time with the rock lodging my forearm between the wedged rock and the wall of the ravine.
I couldn’t move my arm. I struggled for over an hour. It seemed like a
good time to stop and think and come up with a plan. I pulled a cigar out of my pack with my good hand. An Alabao. Made by Nick Perdomo for Famous-Smoke only. It was one of my regular go-to’s.
The prelight aroma was wonderful, under the circumstances, with a faint espresso going on. It helped me block out the pain. Distraction. I had no way to pop the cap. So I bit off the end.
At first light, I tasted cedar and a mild sweet tobacco flavor. Very mild. Huge billows of white smoke emitted from the end. As I smoked, I could taste coffee bean and cocoa. Every now and then I tugged my arm to see if I could dislodge it. No way.
The sweet spice stayed with me. But at the half way point, it became more medium in body while the flavors began to spread out. My nerves were shot but the Alaboa had a calming effect.
I could taste the Criollo wrapper. Always tangy. Delicious.
I love it when cigars provide a creaminess to the back of the mouth. Like suckling on mother’s milk.The stick portrayed some hint of nuts…alomonds and cashews…with that creaminess swirling around it.
As the cigar wound down, it ramped up in flavor and strength but never getting harsh or hot. The sweet spice and nuts kicked in big time. I smoked it to the nub. And then reality set back in.
It was late in the afternoon. A small rodent was at my foot. It was gnawing at my boot. I shooed it away. And then more congregated. I began to panic. My obituary would read I was eaten by rodents.
I grabbed another cigar and ripped it apart and spit the pieces to the ground. The rodents started chewing on the pieces and seemed to like it. Then, when they finished, they stopped and looked up at me. Laughingly, I asked them if they could get help? Several nodded up and down. Obviously, I was hallucinating. I asked the others to start chewing my right arm off just in case the other rodents forgot what their mission was. I read the other idiot that did this to himself waited for about a week before he decided to saw his hand off. I wasn’t going to wait that long. Hygiene issues.
Maybe 7 or 8 climbed the rock and started chewing my flesh. I screamed out in pain. One of the rodents ran away and returned with a strange looking cactus flower and stuck it in my mouth. I chewed it and the pain lessened. Before long, I felt pretty good.
I sang the entire Rogers & Hammerstein song book followed by Billy Joel, Billie Holliday, and Rush. It was getting dark and no sign of help.
I smoked another Alabao and it helped calm me but then, whatever I took ,started to make me chatty. I asked the rodents, who I named, Moe, Curly, Larry, Zeppo, Dick, Beyonce, and Irving about their lives. “How’s the family? You guys doing alright?” I heard one say, “I do alright, but try and find a decent bagel.” I nodded.
The bone was exposed. The rodents spread out as a very large rodent, who I named Mongo, sauntered towards the exposed bone. I heard him ask if I was ready? I told him I could use a little more of that cactus flower. He turned his head and was handed the flower and then he stuffed it in my mouth. He waited a few minutes for it to kick in.
And then I heard him and a smaller female rodent sing “I know I stand in line until you think you have the time to spend an evening with me. And then I go and spoil it all by saying somethin’ stupid like I love you!”
Holy crap. They were doing Frank and Nancy Sinatra. I gotta’ bring some of this cactus home. And with that, I heard a crunching sound as Mongo went to work on my bone.As he finished, I heard human voices above, yelling, “Katman! Can you hear us? Where are you?”
They found me!
I yelled out my location. Flashlights flooded the ravine and my rodent friends scattered.
“Yeah…a bunch of funny looking rodents came and got us. They scratched out a map with their noses and we followed it. Are you alright?”
I waved my stump and yelled. “I’m just peachy! Owie.”
“Mongo…I love you!”
The Bottom Line:
- Country of Manufacturer: Nicaragua (Tabacalera Perdomo)
- Size: 7″ x 54
- Strength: Medium
- Wrapper: Criollo
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Box of 20: $89.99 (SRP)
- Flavor characteristics summary: Creamy, mild spices, well-balanced, nutty flavors with notes of coffee and cocoa on the finish.
I was sitting at a Taco Bell in Sherman Oaks, California. A man approached and introduced himself as Carlos Castaneda. I introduced myself as Katmancross. He sat.
He had a small leather pouch wrapped around his mid section. Carlos said he was sent here to find me. Don Juan wanted to meet me.
So we jumped into my 1974 Bentley. Our destination was Terminal Island Prison where Don Juan was being released after 6 months for eating peyote and running through the streets of UCLA screaming that he lost his peanut butter sandwich. The security guards tased him and took away his pouch.
We pulled up to the prison. He was waiting for us. He wore hot pink short shorts and a Madonna type bra.
He slipped into the back seat and directed us to a place on the Sunset Strip in Beverly Hills. It was the Playboy Club.
There were beautiful girls everywhere. We found a booth and sat down. Carlos said he had a real problem. He had written books about Don Juan and if his behavior was made public, it would go up in smoke.
I grabbed some Vueltabajos. “This should redirect his focus.”
But at the moment, Don Juan was fondling a Bunny by chewing on her fuzzy tail. Carlos grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and pulled. The Bunny walked away with Don Juan’s uppers and lowers still clinching to that cute little tail.
I handed a Vueltabajo cigar to each of them.
I put the long cigar to my nose and let its aroma waft gently. I could smell a nuttiness and a creamy woody aroma.
I lit up, and the flavor of spice, nuts, and cream came together quickly, as if these flavors were designed to burst out of the gate like a fine racing horse.
I turned to Carlos and told him that this was something special. As I turned to say the same thing to Don Juan, I looked in horror as I saw him putting salt on the business end of the stick and then taking bites out of it. I pulled the cigar away.
He grabbed the cigar out of my hand and continued to eat it.
Apparently, I would have no listener in Don Juan so I told Carlos about the Torano family going back to 1916 when Santiago Torano moved from Spain to Cuba. He loved tobacco and became the biggest broker on the island until the day arose when he decided to make cigars as well as sell fine tobacco.
The waitress arrived with our glasses of rum, straight up. As we puffed, the tastes were more intense. After a few more puffs, the spiciness was tamed and replaced with a tart orange peel flavor. The creaminess was the dominating flavor for the first half of the cigar. It had such a well rounded and balanced taste.
I tasted vanilla bean and leather. The complexity began to ramp up, but not the power. It remained medium body. The construction was perfect..and the burn unequaled. My ash stayed attached half way through the 7″ cigar. At that moment of ash release, Don Juan leaped up and then underneath the table to get my ash. I could hear him mumbling something about nonordinary reality.
Carlos asked if I knew of a way to heal one of the greatest minds in the realm of the unknown.
I told him that this guy was now crawling on all fours, singing “White Room” by Cream.
Carlos told me that Don Juan Matus was a fraud who allowed himself to be used in Carlos’ fictional books about Indian shamans and the power they possess.
Carlos was only approaching his half way point in the Vueltabajo. His eyes got big and he looked at me and said, “Jesus! This cigar is a motherf****r! Screw Don Juan. You got any more of these?”
I told him that I would certainly share what I had when I looked down and Don Juan was picking lint off of my pant leg and eating it.
I explained to Carlos that the Toranos worked very hard using Nicaraguan filler and binder. Finding the right strengths was crucial. They tried different wrappers but finally decided on an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. It was the perfect touch. After completion of the first batch, they put the cigars to sleep in their aging huts.
I called Charlie Torano on my cell phone and said, “you have to listen to this”…I then put the mouthpiece next to Don Juan’s lips and Don Juan yelled out “Who are you? Are you wearing underwear? Beatles or Stones?”
I told Charlie that I was sharing a Vueltabajo with Carlos Castaneda. Charlie replied that Carlos died in 1998. I looked at Carlos and said, “You’re supposed to be dead.”
“I know, I know. Publicity stunt to make the books sell better. I moved to Tijuana and opened up a melon cart. Didn’t make much but I scored with the ladies a lot!” His head was bobbing up and down like a typical braggart.
I got back on the phone. “Yeah, he’s dead.”
“But damn fine smoke, Charlie!”
As dictated by tradition, cellos should be removed from your cigars before placing them in your humidor. The primary function of cello wrappers is to protect a premium handmade cigar’s often delicate wrapper during packaging and transit to the retailer. Moreover, they help keep greasy fingers off the merchandise while customers are inspecting them in a cigar store. Yet, there is a belief among cigar smokers that by storing your cigars this way, the flavors in the tobaccos will “marry” causing your cigars to taste differently.
I’m not sure if it’s the main reason a Cigar Advisor survey showed that cigar smokers keep the cellos on their cigars by a margin of almost 2-1. It could be as simple as they just don’t want to take the time removing the cellos every time they buy a box of cigars. Fair enough (though it would be interesting to learn why most of them do).
Some cigar smokers may feel that the likelihood of all the different tobacco flavors marrying with the other cigars in their humidor is reason enough to keep the cellos on. I can only go by my personal experience, which is to say that I remove almost all of the cellos from my cigars and have never noticed a significant flavor shift. If anything, the cigars improve in flavor with age by being “au natural,” and some of my cigars have been in my humidors for years.
There’s a very simple way to test this “myth” of marrying flavors. The next time you buy a box of cigars, if they have cellos on them, remove the cellos from at least five of them and place them in your humidor with your other cigars. Let them sit there for a good month or two. In the meantime, continue to smoke the balance of the cigars at your regular pace. After about two months, smoke one of the un-celloed cigars from your humidor and compare. Chances are they’ll taste better just from having aged-up a couple of months, but they should have the same core character as the celloed cigars. The point is, most cigar smokers keep all of their cigars together, with and without the cellos.
For the record, your cigars will age-up nicely over time even if they are kept in their cellos until lit. I believe that if there was any truth to the “marrying” myth, at least from a negative standpoint, you’d hear a lot more about it. Yet, so far I’ve only heard the sound of silence.