I recently overheard a dubious piece of advice to a budding cigar smoker: “Pick a cigar that matches your body type,” the would-be advisor pontificated, “this way you won’t look silly. Big people should smoke big cigars, and small people should smoke small cigars.”
This is terrible advice. It’s nearly impossible to make every shape taste exactly alike, not that this would even be a good thing. Different shapes have different flavors; they feel different in your hand; they can even vary in strength. Don’t believe me? Head over to our Test Flights cigar samplers page and see for yourself!
If I heeded the aforementioned advice, I’d be stuck smoking Flor de Oliva Super Giants. But I LIKE that a Lancero generally produces more of the wrapper’s flavor in a stronger-tasting smoke, while a fat 60 ring Toro will burn cool with a more balanced, milder flavor. There’s a time and a place for every vitola available today.
As you buy more cigars, you’ll probably find yourself gravitating to a particular vitola, regardless the brand. For me, it’s Corona and Corona Gorda. Others appreciate the way a torpedo concentrates the flavor. Still others prefer the myraid transitions of a Double Perfecto.
Whatever your preference, it’s important to remember that each vitola has its own merits. Short on time? Try a Petite Corona. REALLY short on time? Go for something even smaller! Need an all-day burner for the golf course? Reach for a Double Corona or Presidente. After dinner drinks? A Churchill offers exceptional balance in hand and an inimitable elegance. Just closed a big deal? Try a fancy figurado like a Pyramid, Salomon, or Diadema.
Robustos have somehow come to dominate the American cigar-scape. And I know many a cigar smoker who will stick to Robusto, because they’re the default. But if you’re serious about enjoy cigars…and let’s be honest, you wouldn’t still be reading if that weren’t the case…branch out and try a new vitola or two – even in a blend you’re already familiar with. Odds are, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Please bear with me while I climb on my soapbox and rant for a minute or two to give you my two cents on how to properly extinguish cigars
On occasion, while enjoying a cigar in mixed company, my nostrils have suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous odor. This is a direct result of stubbing out of a cigar like a cigarette, a process that transforms the intoxicating aroma of even the finest cigar into a malodorous, offensive affair. That stench is capable of turning-off even the most die-hard aficionado. It’s also terrible form.
An office-mate of mine (who really ought to know better, mind you) has a habit of not using the proper technique to extinguish cigars. When he finishes smoking, he dutifully grinds it down
into the ashtray before walking out of the room, thus escaping the foul stench he has just created. I’ve since brought the matter to his attention, and I’ll admit he has seen the error of his ways.
Good form dictates than when one is finished with his cigar, he lays it down in the ashtray to die a dignified death. This method of simply laying it down is the only proper way to extinguish cigars, and is just common courtesy and good cigar smoking etiquette. After all, hundreds of hands have worked together to produce your beloved vitola; it is a product born of the earth and enjoyed in a moment of leisure and relaxation. Surely it deserves a kinder fate than that of a cigarette.
But perhaps more important is that the gases and tars contained within a cigar are mashed up and expelled when ground out. Cigars that are stubbed out aren’t going to go out any faster than those that are left to go out by themselves, so unless you’re doing it for dramatic effect, leave the stubbing out to cigarette smokers.
Opus X BBMF Maduro. Tatuaje T110′s. Well-aged Padróns. Original-release Padilla Miami 8 & 11′s. Various regional-release (ahem) “contraband” cigars. These are all smokes we might consider “special occasion cigars”.
These are but a few of the cigars I may never smoke, though they slumber comfortably in my humidor. Which begs the question: “Why in the world would anyone hold on to cigars he has no intention of smoking?” Pondering this always makes my head spin.
On one hand, we’re not promised tomorrow. Some once said we should “live every day like it’s going to be our last,” because we’re living on “borrowed time.” You know, Carpe Diem and all that. In other words, don’t waste your time hoarding cigars, because you may not live to smoke them. Besides, cigars are for smoking, not for being conspicuously displayed in a humidor…right? Why save cigars for a special occasion? Why not turn a regular day into a special occasion with a terrific rare cigar?
On the other hand, isn’t it appropriate to save your truly rare treats for truly rare occasions? You wouldn’t break out the vintage champagne to celebrate some mundane victory, would you? Nor should an extremely precious vitola be smoked on some mundane afternoon, or after a mundane meal…right?
I acknowledge that, on some level, fear is at play. Fear that I’ll never smoke that cigar. Fear that I will smoke it and hate it. Fear that I’ll smoke it in the wrong setting and be disappointed by what could have been. Fear that I’ll enjoy it immensely, but never have another.
All of which forces the conclusion that there’s no right or wrong answer. Every factor in the equation is relative…the cigars, the cigar smoker, and the given occasions one deems appropriate for torching such rarities.
What special cigars do you have tucked away? Are you planning on smoking them? If so, will they serve to punctuate a memorable moment? Or will the cigars themselves be the focus of the moment?