I’m not a smoker with a twenty-a-day habit and I was never that kid in school who used to smoke a ciggie behind the bike sheds then douse themselves in so much deodorant – usually Lynx Africa – that there was a real danger of them going up in flames if they got too near the Bunsen burner in double chemistry. I do, however, love cigars. The smell of a fine cigar lingers in the air, the texture and feel in your hand perhaps invoking memories of the time you laid back with friends sipping an eighteen-year-old scotch with a nice view; it’s like something from a Coppola movie. They will always be the distinguishing characteristic of a gentleman who has a certain style, portraying the image of a man who enjoys the finer things in life. As for women who enjoy a nice cigar, they ooze sexiness and danger.
Sadly, I have seen many young and a few older gentlemen attempt to smoke a cigar only to get it all wrong. So here are a few tips to help you lose that pesky cigar virginity in the right way.
Take your time. Savour the experience. Enjoy the quiet decadence.
Don’t go too quickly
You haven’t bought a Ferrari, guys. It’s not a race, and you must take your time in order to gain maximum pleasure from it. I’ve seen many newbies eagerly puff away like they’re trying to suck a strawberry up a straw; depending on its length many connoisseurs say it should take at least forty-five minutes to enjoy a high quality cigar.
“I never smoke to excess”, said Mark Twain. ”That is, I smoke in moderation, only one cigar at a time”.
This is a piece of advice I’ve found to be very helpful in many areas. Savour the experience. I am not a regular smoker of cigars; rather, I find that granting yourself the treat once in a while allows you to enjoy it so much more.
You’re not Gordon Gekko
I know I said earlier that I love sitting out, drinking scotch, but remember, deep down, you’re not in Wall Street, nor an eighties gangster movie; you’re not Tony Montana. One of the finest points surrounding cigars is their quiet decadence. You’re smoking a cigar – there’s no need to be a condescending idiot who treats people like dirt. I would recommend not jumping to the most expensive ones at the start. You should familiarise yourself with the feel and the taste, acclimatise the palate. Don’t be afraid to jump in with a great Cuban – the Montecristo No. 4 is a petit corona widely considered to be a good starting point – but hold off on wading in too far without knowing what you’re doing.
Don’t stick to the same routine; don’t be scared to be a little different.
No two cigars are the same
A simple but important fact to remember: no two cigars are the same. It’s true, so get out there and try as many different brands as you can. Don’t just stick to what you know, experiment with different tobacco leaves, and different types of roll, splash out on the expensive ones, but then also try more reasonably priced ones. There are some brilliant bargains out there which don’t come from Havana. Our lives are enhanced by our experiences, so don’t stick to the same routine.
Opinions are meaningless
Taste and texture are always subjective, making cigars one of the few items where it’s all down to personal taste. Few experts agree on what is the perfect cigar or which brand is better. As a newbie, do take advice from those who are seasoned pros, but don’t be scared to be a little different
And a final piece of advice that my grandfather gave me – along with never trusting the sober person in the room – is to find a quality tobacconist. I’m afraid if you want to try the best you have to pay for the best and certain cigars are far from cheap. But don’t let that put you off; talk to a professional tobacconist and they will always give you the best advice and plenty of sound recommendations