Reading Time: 3 minutes Looking for a “true Corojo experience” like cigars made during the “Golden Age” of cigars? The Punch Golden Era line alleges it can deliver it. See Gary’s review of the Robusto for the real deal on this Honduran puro.
2021 CA REPORT: The Introvert’s Guide to the Cigar Social Life
Five Reasons Why Solitary Cigar Smokers Should Hang Out More Often
Do you usually smoke cigars by yourself? If you do then you’re not alone.
You’re actually part of a pretty sizable group, including Yours Truly here. Without question, cigar smoking can be a reflective, even meditative experience when savored in solitude. Yet, especially since the advent of the 90s Cigar Boom, smoking premium hand-rolled cigars has become a social experience for most passionados. How often do you see cigar smokers playing golf, tailgating, smoking at a cigar lounge, or mingling at some other venue—right?
For the more solitary cigar smokers out there, the question is: Is it a personal preference, a lack of places to meet other cigar smokers, or are they just naturally shy? It could be all of the above. Certainly, the Covid-19 lockdown of 2020 and beyond didn’t help. But whatever the reason, it’s good to get out of the house and share your experience with other cigar smokers. Here are a handful of ways to break the habit.
Know That Cigar Smokers Are a Brotherhood
If you’ve got a fair amount of cigar smoking experience, you know what happens when you meet another cigar smoker, sometimes referred to as a BOTL or “Brother Of The Leaf.” (Yes, there are SOTLs, too.) Suddenly, a lively conversation ensues about the cigars you love, the cigar brands you like, the cigar sizes you both smoke, and so on. Do you see what’s going on here? And that’s just between the two of you. Regardless of your race, creed, religion, country of origin, what-have-you, cigar smokers have an instant, fraternal-like bond that amounts to being a great equalizer. We’ve got each other’s backs.
This is particularly important if you’re a beginner cigar smoker. Never feel intimidated to reach out to more experienced cigar smokers if you have a question or want an opinion on a particular cigar.
So, try to share a cigar smoking session with another BOTL when you can. You might even want to smoke the same cigars so you can compare notes. Even just having someone else to shoot the shit with over cigars is worth a call or text message to get together.
Visit a Cigar Store Lounge or Join a Cigar Club
This might be difficult for some introverts, not just because they may prefer smoking alone, but in some parts of the country the places to smoke cigars are few and far between. As a result, many cigar enthusiasts have to order cigars online.
But if there is a cigar store with a lounge or a local cigar club, it’s worth checking it out. I recently paid a visit to a cigar store lounge in my neighborhood just to see what the vibe was like compared to the store I usually frequent. At first I was a little nervous in this new environment, but I was immediately made to feel at ease by the staff and a few of the other customers. And as I always do, I bought a cigar before sitting down. What made it even more genuine was that most of the people there didn’t know me. Once I sat down and lit up, I was presented with several choices. I could watch the game that was on the TV, I could find a spot to enter a conversation, or I could just kick back and enjoy the company of other cigar smokers.
There are also private cigar clubs you can investigate. Note that some clubs may have annual dues, but it may be worth it. One club of which I’m a member has plenty of comfortable seating, pool and poker tables, TVs, private humidors, etc. They also have poker nights, cigar dinners, outdoor activities and more, making for an even more collective experience.
Obviously, some cigar lounges and clubs are run better than others. Regardless, these venues are all an extension of what I noted above. No matter where you are or who you are, the Welcome mat is always out.
Go to an In-Store Cigar Event
OK, maybe you don’t feel the need to hang out at a cigar store lounge on a regular basis. But many cigar stores also have in-store events with a variety of manufacturers. For example, Fuente Friday is a popular event where cigar smokers gather to buy and smoke their favorite Arturo Fuente cigars. If you happen to like a particular brand, it makes sense to attend the event. For one, these events are free. Secondly, you’ll get to meet the cigar manufacturers themselves or their representatives. It’s a great way to learn more about the brand and especially what’s new. Additionally, you’ll find in-store deals on event cigars that aren’t available online, so you’ll save some cash, too. And of course, you’ll get to meet other cigar smokers who share your affection for the brand, and more.
Take a Cigar Factory Tour
Taking a cigar factory tour isn’t just a good way to get out and meet other cigar smokers, it’s a great way to see the cigar making process in action. And I guarantee you’ll never look at premium cigars the same way again.
Some factory tours are promoted by the brands themselves. One of the best examples is Cigar Safari hosted by Drew Estate Cigars in Nicaragua. It’s more than just a walk-through of their La Gran Fabrica de Drew Estate. It’s an “eco-tour” in which you learn about the culture and country of Nicaragua.
Other well-known cigar makers such as Rocky Patel—who were among the first to do factory tours—and Nick Perdomo, among others, also have excellent tours of their facilities and then some. If you’re planning a trip to the Dominican Republic, you should definitely take a tour of the Arturo Fuente factory.
Closer to home, another enlightening and fun event that Drew Estate does is the Drew Estate Barn Smoker. Hosted annually in various parts of the U.S., you get to see how cigars are fire cured among the environs of a local tobacco barn and much more. You also get to meet Drew Estate Cigars head honcho, Jonathan “J Dizzle” Drew, and that’s an experience in itself.
Share your cigar session even when you can’t go out
So, what if you just can’t find it in yourself to get out and socialize with other cigar smokers? Or what if certain conditions make it impossible? There’s always the internet. And if you’re a shut-in, odds are you’re already doing this.
There are literally hundreds of cigar groups on Facebook and Instagram you can join and interact with. Some are even specialized. You’ve got Cuban cigar groups, groups geared toward pairing cigars and whiskey, groups for bikers, coffee lovers, wine aficionados, sports fanatics, and practically every other activity that includes cigars.
If there was at least one positive thing that emerged as a result of the pandemic, it’s been the cigar herf via Zoom or other virtual video and audio conferencing app. I belong to a small group based in California. Once a week we get together online to smoke cigars and it’s been a great experience. I’ve had the chance to meet new people who share my passion for primos, and it’s not just cigars we talk about. It’s become such a regular thing for me, I actually feel guilty if I miss it.
Beyond that, there are so many cigar events now taking place online by the manufacturers themselves as well as a large number of groups. If you have any social media presence online at all with regard to premium cigars, you’ve certainly seen ads for them or received an email or text notification about some of them.
If you’ve got a number of cigar smoking friends you’ve met online, why not be proactive and start your own weekly chat with them.
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Now that you’ve seen some of what’s available in terms of mixing with other cigar smokers, consider adding them to your social calendar. Even if you smoke your favorite cigars on your own most of the time it’s nice to know that there are plenty of others out there who can help you come out of your shell.