As I unwrapped the bubblegum stick, I tried to envision a Cohiba or Padrón underneath the funky opaque cellophane. It just wasn’t the same. The redolent aroma of Dominican or Nicaraguan tobacco was replaced with “Sour Blue Raspberry.” Sure, the celebratory intent was on par, but the follow-through left me wanting more. Heck, even the smoke duration of the “quick and easies” known as Backwoods cigars is longer than the flavor of bubblegum nowadays. Instead of woodsy or leathery notes, my palate was assaulted with blue food coloring; nothing less than a cigar aficionado’s Hell. So, there I sat, hiding my anguish as a real cigar smoker, while the men in the family (and a little girl) acted like street hardened mobsters with blue stogies clutched between their pearly whites. Please, someone offer me a cigar I can’t refuse!
With a new birthday freshly penciled in amongst the already hectic holiday schedule, preparations for celebrating the New Year had begun to take flight. Finger foods, music, drink choices and invitation lists all concerned the household, while personally, the only thing worth debating was whether or not I wanted a cigar with a light or dark shade wrapper. I could’ve gone for a bellowing smoke to keep the crowd away, or something more mild and aromatic to please the senses. Since smoking on the patio was the only option, I didn’t want to drive all my friends away just yet.
Since the weather was temperate – in the mid 40’s – why not champagne? A Perdomo 10th Anniversary Champagne Churchill won the debate over the nub Cameroon in the old travel humidor. Nothing but the most buttery-smooth smoke was gracing my picky palette as the great countdown began. Smoking that 7″ x 54 with its elegant, oversized gold and black label, it looked worthy of celebration, too. I planned on starting 2012 alongside my family and friends. And, just in case the Mayans were right and the Earth suddenly exploded, at least I was in good company and had a great cigar before the world went up in smoke.