A Cigar Novice
By Denise Wilson
Within the past two years, I’ve embarked on a journey into the world of cigar smoking. You may wonder why, but it’s something you need to experience before placing or passing judgment.
I am indeed a novice at best. I don’t own a humidor, a fancy lighter or a cigar cutter (avid smokers are more than likely gasping at this…). Because I smoke so infrequently, I’m okay with the lounge I choose to provide these devices for me, or there is always a patron who is willing to share.
I am not very well versed in the culture, etiquette, or being an aficionado in nature, but I have found that I know what I like in a cigar and how I like to enjoy one. I certainly have no particular brand I enjoy more than any other, or at least not yet. At this point, I enjoy a medium bodied cigar with a “straight/guillotine” or “punch” cut. I’ve tried a full bodied “Padron 1926” cigar, which was a bit too harsh for me, and I felt light headed after the experience. I’ve also tried a few mild cigars which were flavorless or had a “cardboard” taste in my opinion. Again, because I don’t know very much about cigars, the medium just fits my palate better. I also find that I enjoy smoking in a quiet and or calm atmosphere with not so much going on. In this atmosphere, I can close my eyes, take in a good draw and concentrate on the flavors of the leaf. Lastly, the best and an especially satisfying time to smoke would be after I’ve had a great meal. There is just something so special about that first draw after a nice meal….yum!
I‘ve come to notice most (not all) smokers like to pair their cigars with an alcoholic beverage, such as a fine/premium scotch, whiskey, brandy or wine. Early in my journey I paired a medium bodied cigar with a full bodied Bordeaux and it made my stomach hurt, I felt sick. I was later told that the wine may have been too rich to drink with that cigar or vice versa. I will still pair a cigar with wine, but for the most part, I enjoy with water. I notice if I pair with water, the tobacco taste better, the water seems to cleanse my palate in preparation for the next draw. So choose wisely when pairing your beverage with your cigar of choice.
In the end, when you find your niche, it can be a very satisfying experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I’ve met some wonderful people who have helped me along the way and provided so much information on the basics. It’s an atmosphere I have come to enjoy, and I look forward to learning and experiencing more on the joys of cigar smoking.
If interested, take the leap…you may enjoy as well.
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