His father is one of the cigar industry’s legendary master blenders; Avo was his adopted uncle, he knows the cigar business inside and out. He’s also just a really nice guy: Klaas Pieter Kelner, Davidoff Cigars Brand Ambassador, who talks with us about growing up at the heart of the business, the appreciation of a fine cigar, and more
Why Are We Drawn to Cigars?
Is it something in our past that led us to smoking cigars?
Most people who enjoy smoking premium cigars like a Davidoff cigar, may have picked up the penchant either from their father, a friend, or out of plain old curiosity. Yet, I wonder if our attraction to cigars – at least for some cigar smokers – lies deeper than that. Is there something subconsciously inherent in us that has drawn us to the leaf? Possibly.
Once upon a time, I spent my childhood summers down the shore, (as we New Jerseyans say) in Long Beach Island, NJ. One of the things we used to do for fun was buy these incense-like sticks we called “punks.” (I think they cost something like 10¢ apiece.) They didn’t do anything special; all you did was light them and they just burned down. I don’t know what they were made from, but they smelled SO good we couldn’t get enough of them. One night, I was telling my sons about punks when it struck me . . . maybe this is why I was drawn to the wonderful aroma of cigars? Having done several CigarAdvisor surveys on this over the years, I can say with absolute certainty that aroma is a major enjoyment factor to many cigar smokers.
The other thing I remember as a child was when my Dad would light-up a cigarette in the car. Yes folks, in olden days, smoking with children in the family car was not looked upon as taboo. (To my Dad’s credit, his window was lowered a few inches.) He always used the car’s dashboard cigarette lighter, and that first wisp of smoke was so redolent, I actually looked forward to him lighting-up. I don’t know what caused it, the nature of the electric lighter or the cigarette tobacco, but it was only in that first wisp. After that…yuck!
I’ve always had a very perceptive nose. I could smell things others could not, and still do (including some things I’d rather not mention). Since most of the so-called “flavors” we identify in cigars are actually aromas, I’m beginning to think those early aromatic experiences may have subconsciously played a role in leading me to discover one of my most enjoyable pastimes.
Many years later, when I first started buying cigars, I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. There were no cigar magazines or websites, though SCREW magazine publisher, Al Goldstein, an avid cigar smoker, issued a short-lived, but informative newsletter titled, Cigar. After trying a number of different cigars, I ended-up buying these panatelas made in Brazil that fanned-out at the foot. They were nothing close to the cigars I smoke now in terms of quality and flavor, but man, they smelled awesome!