If you enjoy cigars, odds are you have a friend or group of friends you enjoy smoking with. One thing I've come to love about the cigar-smoking community is their eagerness to share, and resistance to pettiness.
However, once in a while, you'll find yourself on the short end of the stick, so to speak. You've just given your buddy a Camacho 10th Anniversary 11/18, and he returns the favor with a Famous Buenos Madurito Petite Corona. A decent smoke, for sure, but by no means a fair trade.
In my mind, there are several things to consider when sharing cigars. When done in good-faith, it offers the double-benefit of expanding your cigar horizons while reaffirming camaraderie.
- If participating in an online trade, make sure you're dealing with someone you can trust. Many forums have systems in place that indicate members' trustworthiness.
- Don't confuse a "gift" with a "trade." If you gift a cigar, don't expect anything in return. If you're looking to trade in-kind, make it clear. If it's more of an open-ended trade, don't expect a cigar immediately. As the saying goes, "the best things come to those who wait."
- Don't let MSRP be your sole guide when offering a trade. Instead, take a moment to consider availability, price paid, and whether the recipient will actually enjoy the cigar. Macanudo Vintage 2000 I might be a $17 stick, but it's hardly a fair trade for a Padrón Serie 1926 80th Anniversary, especially if the other party prefers a full-bodied smoke.
- If offered an open-ended trade or gifted a cigar, accept it and thank your benefactor. The time will come when you smoke a cigar he or she would really enjoy, and when it does, return the favor graciously.
Trading cigars shouldn't be about "getting ahead" or "tit for tat," but rather about sharing some great sticks and trying stuff you don't normally smoke. Use this as your ultimate guideline, and remember: always let your cigar-conscience be your guide.