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Cigar Lounge Etiquette: 4 Don’ts of the Lounge
We all love going to the cigar lounge. It’s a truly relaxing experience when you can sit down with others who share the same passion for cigars, and simply chill out. There’s no topic of conversation too heated, and no glass half empty.
But there’s a select few people that scream into the lounge and blow away the social atmosphere with more explosiveness than a sidewinder missile rocking into an enemy stronghold. They can, in one fell swoop, ruin everyone’s cigar lounge experience, and it simply grinds my gears to no end. Luckily, I listed four personas that are constant cigar lounge etiquette violators…
It’s great to share cigars with friends. Whenever I have a favorite cigar, I usually pick up a fiver and dish a few out to my closest friends back home in Jersey. They’re always thankful for my generosity. Of course they’re mild bodied smokers and I’m a full bodied smoker, but they still appreciate the generosity, and I appreciate watching them squirm on the floor with a good case of nicotine overdose, screaming “Hahaha, lightweights!” However, this doesn’t mean I’m always in the position to hand out cigars to the masses. If I did that, I would be bankrupt. That’s why, although asking for a cigar from a friend on occasion isn’t a massive deal, expecting cigars every time you hit the lounge makes you a terrible mooch.
Picture it: You head to the lounge and your friend meets up with you. You’re perusing the lounge’s large selection of cigars, trying to find a sampler or a 5 pack that you love. Finally you stumble across the sampler you want. The sampler you crave. Up to the counter you go. With a smile from ear to ear as the scent of cedar and tobacco dances merrily upon your nose, the employee asks if you found everything you were looking for. Obviously you have, and the planets seem to be aligning for this to be a great day at the lounge. Then you hear him. Your friend is behind you, mouth-breathing heavier than a semi-pro boxer who took one too many shots to the nose going into the 10th round and salivating like a Great Dane staring at a full food bowl. He leans in and says “I can’t wait to try one of those Liga Privadas.”
There are two roads you can take. Down the first is a scenario where you slowly turn, glare at him with a ferocity that could silence the torturous screams of the damned in the seventh ring of hell, and deck him into next Tuesday. The second path leads you to succumb to the Moocher’s will. After all, he’s your friend. But you’ve been keeping track lately, and his tab in the past month alone has reached well over $50, making this road nearly impossible. Perhaps a more passive road will be built where you explain how you cannot keep supporting his cigar smoking hobby. Undoubtedly, these pleas will fall on deaf ears and a good beat down will ensue.
To the Moocher, please keep in mind, for the love of all that is right in this crazy world we live in, stop expecting your friends to hand out cigars to you. I’m more than happy to trade cigars and hand out cigars I think someone might like, but this does not mean I’m your personal cigar ATM and neither are your other cigar smoking buddies. Do not place undue burden on those who enjoy this hobby if you’re unwilling to pass along the generosity. Cigars can get expensive, and no one in this economy is in the position to support your hobby.
My Uncle Jack drops words of wisdom on me every other sentence through hilariously wise sayings. Of course not all of them stick, but like a shotgun blast, a few pellets are bound to get a head shot. One saying that pegged me right between the eyes and has stuck with me for years now has been “Always follow the 6 P’s: Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.” In the case of cigar lounge etiquette, always prepare to hit the cigar lounge with the proper equipment. Bring your cutter and lighter with you.
Now, I understand if you forget your cutter and lighter here and there, Forgetful Frank, and by no means do I always carry my equipment with me everywhere I go. Borrowing the proper tools every once in a while certainly won’t shift our solar system into a perilous journey towards a black hole. But if you’re a constant violator, get out of your chair, go to an employee and ask for theirs. That’s part of the reason they’re there. If you lose your seat in the process, it’s proper penance for your constant forgetfulness.
Since when did I become your traveling minstrel, accompanying you to far off lands and lounges to merrily cut and light your cigars? For that matter, if you’re too forgetful to bring your own stuff, and the last person I hand a cutter or lighter to is you, what are the chances I will ever see them again? I have a better chance of running through an ISIS stronghold wearing an American flag suit, blasting “Born in the U.S.A.” and coming out alive on the other end.
Here’s a solution to this never ending problem, Frankie boy; get a lighter with a punch cutter attachment so you only have to remember one thing. They’re practical and almost every lighter manufacturer makes them nowadays. They’re actually extremely useful products and it helped me get over my constant forgetfulness in the lounge. That’s right, ladies and gents… I was a forgetful Frank. But the lighter/cutter combo allowed me to repent for my previous sins.
Opposite the Moocher sits the Inane Babbler. This guy is one of the worst people you can meet in the lounge He only exists to brag about anything and everything cigar related in a fairly incoherent way. The only person that hangs out with the Babbler at the lounge is the Moocher, only because there’s a small chance a free cigar flies into the Moocher’s lap from the Babbler’s mouth.
To the Inane Babbler: I don’t care how expensive your cigar is, what year it’s from, who makes it, or how big your cigar collection is.
Allow me to put the Inane Babbler in his place: I work at a cigar company where I see and can smoke cigars in any price range, from any year we carry, from any manufacturer, with literally millions of top shelf premiums resting in our warehouse. Add that to the fact that I get to hang out with almost every cigar manufacture in the business every time they come in. I have the ultimate setup here at work, and it is far better than what you have. To be frank, your shit is Bush League compared to me.
See how annoying that is? My bragging right now probably made you think I’m the biggest, most stuck up pinhead that ever deserved a roundhouse kick straight to the suck hole. But that’s exactly my point. Stop bragging. No one cares.
Now sure, if you bought a box of rare cigars, you’re more than welcome to divulge this information to your friends. But don’t go on about how you bought the box and you’re now planning the life or death decision of whether you should store it next to another box of amazingly rare cigars rolled by blind Mayan priests, or the box of cigars blessed by the Pope in the year 1458. At that point, you’re being a jerk and simply babbling, or should I say showing off, about your cigar setup. Trust me, everything you say is going in one ear and right out the other.
If you want to brag along with a bunch of other blowhards, join an exclusive cigar club, far away from normal society. Then you can all brag to each other about how much you spend every month to be able to afford such high end luxury. Enjoy paying through the caboose for that membership, champ. Or maybe you’re paying through the mouth. It doesn’t matter since both spew the same thing.
I’m taken to my brother’s bachelor party at the Macanudo Club in NYC this past summer. I was mid-speech about how I had just finished a video for Cigar Advisor explaining why smashing your cigar in an ashtray when you’re done with it is bad practice, when my friend Keith all but stomps his cigar out in the ashtray in front of me. I’m pretty sure he let out a long and lingering maniacal laugh, staring me straight in the eyes as he did it. Of course he had to do this after I just spoke to the adorably cute waitress about how I’m in the cigar industry and had a discussion on cigar etiquette with her. Thanks, Keith.
Despite Keith’s actions, I’m actually not going to go off on a rant about the Smasher. This guy is typically new to cigars and simply doesn’t know proper cigar etiquette yet. The Smasher is guilty of only one thing. He’s not a Mooch, a Forgetful Frank, nor is he experienced enough to be the Inane Babbler. No my friends, he is only guilty of smashing his cigar into the ashtray when he’s done with his stogie. This, while an innocent practice, is poor cigar etiquette nonetheless.
Sorry, Keith. I had to tell the story. It’s pretty funny.
When a cigar is simply let to rest and goes out naturally, the aroma of the cigar continues to fill the room until it’s fully out, thus rounding out the full cigar experience. When a cigar is mashed, it cracks open at the lit end which allows oxygen to pour into the stogie and burn the tobacco very rapidly. When tobacco burns too fast, it becomes bitter and harsh, not only in flavor, but aroma as well. This leads to the entire lounge smelling something like a mix between a forest fire and sweaty gym sock.
It’s an innocent mistake. But the experienced cigar smoker who enjoys the company of his cronies in the lounge will not take too kindly to the Smasher. It’s a matter of simply learning proper cigar etiquette. As I said before, simply let the cigar go out naturally. You won’t set the place on fire unless you throw your nub onto a hardwood floor or huck it at the curtains. Rest it, and forget it.
There are a few more rules to follow in the lounge, but if you break these main rules, you’re breaking the biggies. With proper etiquette comes a mountain of opportunities to meet new friends in the lounge so you can swap stories, talk sports, and more importantly, enjoy cigars together. By becoming one of these buffoons, you’re only setting yourself up for failure. Break free from the shackles of ignorance and start following these rules on proper cigar etiquette for a better smoking experience.