Reserve Cigar Company – Torpedo

If you follow my blog page, you have seen my new company spotlight piece on Reserve Cigar Company and my interview with owner Alexis Webber. Now it’s time for me to see what the cigars are all about. Alexis told us the story behind how the blending process went and I have been very curious to try these. Let’s dig in and see what we get.

Wrapper: Undisclosed (Sun Grown)

Binder: Undisclosed

Filler: Undisclosed (Dominican)

Torpedo 6.5 x 54

Appearance: This torpedo is wrapped in a dark brown coffee bean colored wrapper with medium veins and tight seams. The band is very simple and elegant with a deep blue band with white lettering and a gold R. It really works well against the wrapper. Clean and elegant.

Pre-light: The cigar feels light in the hand but well packed. It feels firm with no soft spots. The barrel provides notes of earth, hay, pepper and light wood notes. The foot gives more of the same with hints of barnyard. I use a Xikar straight cutter and the cold draw reveals a nice open draw with a slight resistance. I pick up notes of earth, hay and light cedar. I am not sure what to expect from this cigar but I am ready to get this going. Let’s try it shall we?

1st Third: Once I get the foot nice and toasted, the first draw really catches me by surprise. A big blast of sweet cedar, grassy notes, hints of pepper and spice. I get some earthy notes and a sweet mocha work into the mix. I wasn’t sure what to expect but this is really a unique blend of flavors. The draw is nice, the burn is slightly wavy and the ash is holding nice with some flakes. The grassy/floral notes in this cigar are reminiscent of Jamastran tobacco I have had in a different brand. I am intrigued as I make my way through the first third of this cigar. Strength is a nice medium and this is a very smooth smoke.

2nd Third: Making the transition I pick up a bit more pepper, earth, cedar mix well with the grassy notes. I pick up a touch of coffee bean bitterness that ever so slightly works into the blend. The draw is still nice, the burn is a bit off. (I think I should have given it a bit more time in my humidor after a cold trip and stay in front of my door in freezing cold temps. This could have contributed to the burn issues I am seeing.) I will say that this blend is very well done and brings a lot of complexity and flavors to the table. As I get past the halfway mark, other than an uneven burn, I am really enjoying this smoke. Strength is still medium and smooth.

Final Third: Moving into the final stretch I am getting more earthy notes complimented with the familiar grassy notes, sweet cedar, leather and coffee bean mentioned. There weren’t any major changes in the transition. For a cigar that I knew very little about, this one has kept it interesting throughout. The burn issue has straightened out to a much better burn with a little wave. I did have one minor touch-up between the 2nd and final third. Nothing serious and it was mostly for appearance (and probably a touch of OCD on my part, don’t act like I am the only one.) I burn this one down to less than a half inch with no bitterness and no real heat issues.

Final thoughts: The Reserve Especial Torpedo really took me by surprise. Not knowing much about the blend I wasn’t sure what to expect. Alexis and team put together a very enjoyable cigar. This is a elegant looking stick with great branding, nice presentation and unique blend. This was an enjoyable smoke from start to finish. This is a medium strength cigar that is complex enough to make it worth trying for experienced smokers to enjoy and mild enough for novice smokers to try. The price point makes this a very nice choice in any situation. For a brand new cigar company, I was very impressed with the complexity of the blend and the overall experience from this stick. I am very interested in trying the rest of the sampler.

I recommend picking up the sample pack and one nice thing Reserve offers is the his/her combo for couples that enjoy cigars. I received very good feedback on the Mova from a friend I let review it. For a $12 price point for the 2, this would be a nice Valentine’s gift guys. Now 33% off

https://www.reservecigarco.com/shopreserve/His-%26-Hers-Pack-p95922543

https://www.reservecigarco.com/shopreserve/The-Reserve-Blends-6-Cigar-Sampler-p95444398

So there you have it. My first look at the Reserve Cigar Company Especial Torpedo. I hope you enjoyed it. Until next time, long ashes and full glasses friends. Leave your questions, thoughts and comments here. Don’t forget to follow us on social media and share these reviews. Thanks for the support!

Interview with Garrett Johnson of Smooth Draw Cigars

Today we are interviewing the owner of Smooth Draw Cigars, Garrett Johnson. For those that don’t know, Garrett reviewed ultra boutique cigars on this Smooth Draw Reviews site and recently expanded to an online store selling these ultra boutiques, some of which he is the only distributor for. Hope you enjoy the interview and will check out his site and cigars.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Oklahoma Native. I have a beautiful wife and two dogs. I’m an identical twin. To add more of a whoa factor, my dad is a triplet—no joke!

When did you get into cigars?

My dad gave me my first cigar when I turned 18. I remember not knowing anything about them but being very curious how they make them, the details and processes involved, and what makes a great cigar.

What was the first cigar you smoked?

I believe it was a Macanudo Court Tube.

Were you immediately hooked or did it grow on you?

Oh yeah! I smoked cigars on special occasions and occasionally with my dad and brother.

Before you opened your store, you did cigar reviews at Smooth Draw Reviews, what are some of the top cigars you have reviewed?

I’m going to sound like a typical business owner and say that all of them are top cigars to me. Going back to the brand recognition and exposure goal, I’ve had a lot of fun sharing Kolumbus Cigars—from Spain, Om Mani Gold Label, and Gloria Bendita from the Domincan Republic. These three are dear to me because of the relationships with the business owners. More importantly, they aren’t sold ANYWHERE else in the USA. That makes them very special to me as a business owner knowing the level of trust with the brands and their owners.

Exclusive cigars only at Smooth Draw Cigars. That’s awesome.

You are known for reviewing ultra-boutique cigars. How did that start and how do you find out about these brands?

The internet is full of cigar reviews. At that time, all of the reviews I was reading and watching on YouTube were all what I call “main-stream” cigars (the popular and well-known brands). Curiosity got the best of me a few years ago as I tried to search rare and unheard of cigars. One day after speaking to a few small batch cigar companies, I decided I wanted to review some rare cigars. My goal was two-fold. 1. I set out to discover amazing unheard of cigars. 2. I wanted to be able to provide more exposure for them. Build recognition and familiarity they might not otherwise have.

I literally just researched rare cigars online. I love the ease of Instagram and would often message these small brands, tell them about my blog and reviews, and tell them I’d love to review some of their cigars.

I knew I was doing something right after just a couple of months when I no longer had to reach out to these brands. Instead, they contacted me.

What made you decide to open your own online business?

After reviewing rare and ultra-boutique cigars for about a year and a half, I discovered several of these businesses relied on retailers. Many of whom did not sell their own cigars on their website. Several of the business owners encouraged me to become a retailer. We had developed a high level of trust and support for one another and it only made sense to take what I was doing to the next level. Reviewing the cigars was great, but I knew I could provide even more exposure and sales if I sold the cigars myself. Another huge factor was definitely the support from my friends, followers, and viewers. As I spoke with them, they were all very excited for me and probably more enthusiastic about the idea of me starting my own online store than I was! Many of them smoked the cigars with me and wanted to have an easy outlet to get their hands on the cigars.

When did you open?

The website officially opened June 1st, 2017

Tell us about Smooth Draw Cigars.

We are an online cigar store that specializes in the sale of rare, exotic, and ultra-boutique cigars. You won’t find any main-stream selections on our site. We are the only retailer in the United States that sells the following cigars: Kolumbus Cigars from La Palma, Spain, Om Mani Gold Label, and Gloria Bendita of the Dominican Republic. Unlike many online cigar companies, quality customer service is our #1 priority. All cigars we sell are 100% handmade, have long filler tobacco, and are shipped after being properly humidified to ensure they are in smoke-able conditions.

What makes your online store unique?

3 things:
Our Prices: One aspect of our company which all of our customers appreciate is our prices. Most companies who sale boutique cigars have bogus margins—that’s a new economic term 😊) They understand that what they have is rare and increase their prices and make you spend a minimum per order. My goal with our company was to offer super affordable prices and allow our customers to purchase single cigars—so they can mix and match and try new ones. In my mind, that puts my customers first.
Our selections: As mentioned before, we don’t offer any mainstream cigars. Our goal is not to compete with your local brick and mortar stores. We simply want to provide a new experience for them.
Our customer service: Two years ago, I purchased a cigar sampler on a very popular cigar website. The order came in the mail and the cigars were extremely dry, cracked, and not smokeable. After several attempts trying to rectify with their customer service line which just constantly rang and an email address that probably was never checked, I gave up. When I opened SDC, I vowed to have the best customer service. Sure, we’ve messed up—we’re human too, but we’ve been sure to correct the mistake plus one.

What are some of the brands you currently carry?

Alpha Cigars, Kolumbus, Gloria Bendita, Om Mani, Opalo 1979, Isabela, ChaliceGod13th, Providencia Cigars, and Monte Blanc. More recently added the Lincoln Bourbon by BattleGround Cigars and the Cala Habano by Cala Cigars.

The Alpha Cigar Company Absinthe Infused that you carry really made an impression on me. I had no idea about Absinthe and never really reviewed infused cigars. Do you have any cigar/s that caught you off guard like that and made a lasting impression on you?

That’s great to hear, Scott! The Absinthe Infused Maduro certainly caught me off guard as well. I want to have as authentic of a review as possible so I do not read anything about them prior to the review. So, experiencing that many notes and flavors in one cigar was quite a ride! The cigar has 15 different herbs and notes which is a pretty fun experience for the first time.
Isabela Guerrila had the same shock value for me. It’s a bigger ring gauge and packs a punch, flavor wise.

Some of these cigars are super rare in terms of U.S distribution. Can you talk a little about that?

I’d love to. We are thrilled to have three brands on our “shelves” so to speak that are not sold anywhere else in the US. That means no other store carries them and they are exclusive to SmoothDrawCigars.com. I’m not speaking for any particular brand, but something I found out early on in this business is that a lot of small batch brands don’t want to sell their cigars in stores. As crazy as that sounds, it makes sense if you think about it. Think about your personal experiences in a shop. Most consumers go to their brick and mortar store to pick up cigars they are familiar with. Even folks who don’t smoke on a regular basis typically don’t buy cigars they’ve never heard of before. This is the advantage we have as an online store. Many of our [future] customers have never heard of the brands we sell. We are confident that once they try them, they will fall in love and want to try them again.

Any cigars out there you are looking to try?

I’m always willing to try new cigars on a regular basis. I have a list of some cigars from Battleground Cigars that are in the que for reviews. I also have a few really rare cigars from Felipe Gregorio Cigars such as the Pelo de Oro Torpedo and the 1957 Series FG56 that are calling my name in my humidor.

What are some cigars you enjoy on a regular basis?

If I say all of them, am I a cop-out? Haha. I regularly smoke several of the brands we carry. Aside from boutiques, some of my go-to cigars are the Liga Privada #9, anything my buddy Jorge Nichols rolls from JNV Cigars, La Gloria Cubana Series N, and Nubs.

How have you been received in the community?

Let me ask my mom…. J I think most spectators are very skeptical. It’s challenging selling cigars no one has ever heard of before. It’s even more challenging selling rare cigars and competing with the mainstream brands. However, there is nothing more satisfying than having a customer contact us to let us know how much they enjoyed the cigars they purchased—which I can confidently say it happens all the time!

You have done some recent live events, care to discuss some of those?

Definitely! To create more exposure of our rare cigars, events are key. I’ve recently attended a clay shooting tournament for a local organization here in Oklahoma. They had nearly 300 shooters in which a sponsoring company purchased several cigars and allowed me to pass them out and talk to attendees about our cigars. Most recently, I teamed up with a local winery for a Cigar and Cabernet pairing event. We’re always looking for opportunities to get involved with the community. My goal is to get connected with a few golf courses in the near future to provide cigars for tournaments and charity events.

That’s great stuff. Wine and Cigars never really crossed my mind until I paired them and often I find myself pairing a great red wine with a nice cigar and it’s always been good.

What do you see happening in the future for Smooth Draw? Any projects you care to talk about?

We are currently working on a referral program that I’m extremely excited about. As a consumer myself, I love being rewarded for promoting businesses. So, we are working on a program that we think our customers will really love and truly benefit from.

We’ve also recently joined forces with a non-profit organization called Warriors for Freedom. They host events to help service members, veterans and their families reconnect with their community, provide peer to peer support and camaraderie. I’m really excited to announce we’ve added a way for our customers to donate cigars to the troops on our website. We are also assisting with their annual fundraiser in February. We’ll donate several boxes of cigars to hand out and allow all attendees to have a relaxing and enjoyable evening with a cigar.

I am personally looking forward to trying many of the cigars you carry. I have been intrigued by many of the cigars you carry for some time. What are some must try cigars in your opinion?

Definitely the ones you can’t buy anywhere else. I’d recommend trying all three of the Kolumbus Cigars. You can’t go without at least trying all of the Absinthe Infused and Defuser series from Alpha.

I appreciate your time and before we go, do you have anything else you care to discuss?

I’d encourage everyone who reads this interview to go to our site. Take some time reading the reviews, seeing what others have to say about them. If you have any questions, I encourage you to contact me. Our contact information is on our website. We love answering questions for beginners or providing suggestions based on your personal preferences. As always, thank you for supporting us and all of the small-batch and boutique brands we work with.

I encourage all of you to visit www.smoothdrawcigars.com and check out the rare boutique cigars available. I want to thank Garrett for his continued support and doing the interview.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them here or contact Garrett on his site.

I hope you enjoyed the interview. If you have anyone that you would like to see an interview with, let me know. Until next time, long ashes and full glasses friends!

The Dark Lord has arrived

I have been a fan of Felix Assouline Cigars for some time now and I have reviewed one of every brand he has put out. During this time I have developed a friendship with Felix and we communicated back and forth months back about a new secret project he was working on. Of course I was completely intrigued because I know how good all of his cigars are. This one was going to different. Just from the vague info I was given you could just tell this was going to be a special project and cigar. As things got closer I was able to get little bits and pieces, a few pics of the packaging and more details. I was super excited as the release got closer…and then life happened. A job move, having to maintain 2 households, being apart from my wife, etc. I got super busy and did not get an opportunity to purchase a box ahead of time. Fortunately I was able to get my hands on one that I have been waiting to review. Today was finally that day. I was able to get a room at my local lounge before anyone else got there and set up to do this review. Without further ado, let’s take this one out of it’s coffin and see what the Dark Lord brings shall we?

“Ego Black is a labor of love since it is one of the first blends we created from our Tobacco farm in Jamastran Obraje, Honduras. Felix wanted to create a blend totally from one farm, with no other leaves from other regions. Ego Black comes in five box pressed sizes, from The Dark Lord, a Perfecto of 56×6.5 which comes in a box of 12 individual coffins. Ego Black is also available as The Twisted Mind, a 56×6.5 Gordo, The White Nights is a Belicoso size at 56×6, the next size is Amigo Fuerte Robusto at 50×5 and finally The Perfect Black is a Perfecto of 52×5. Ego Black is an extremely limited production and will only be available once per year.” Courtesy of Felix Assouline

Felix Assouline EGO Black – The Dark Lord Box Pressed 6.5 x 56

Blend Profile

Wrapper: Ligero Jamastran Obraje, Honduras (Top 1%)

Binder: Jamastran Obraje, Honduras

Filler: Jamastran Obraje, Honduras

Appearance: The Dark Lord has a medium – dark brown leather colored wrapper that has very tight seams, a few bumps and veins. The box press is symmetrical and feels firm with no soft spots. The cap is pointed and widens to a nice box press coming to a squared point at the foot. This is a unique looking cigar. The EGO band is black and gold metallic that really pops against the leather brown wrapper. Each cigar is presented in a black cedar coffin the The Dark Lord by Felix Assouline painted nicely on top.

Pre-light: I pick up mostly hay, pepper, and natural tobacco from the barrel. It is difficult to get much else from the foot due to its pointed shape. I use a straight cut to remove the pointed cap and the cold draw offers some resistance but not tight. I pick up notes of hay, natural tobacco and some faint hints of pepper. The moment I have waited for is now upon me. Time to put flame to this one.

First Third: After I get things toasted, I take my first draw. Immediately I get a lot of cedar, grassy notes, cocoa and a subtle touch of pepper. There is a sweetness here that is totally unexpected and provides an amazing flavor profile. This is a very unique blend. There is an explosion of flavors that cover the palate and a little bit of pepper that lingers on the tongue and lips. My mind scrabbles to unravel what I am tasting. The sweetness from this cigar is incredible. I am trying my best to pinpoint it but I cannot find the right description. I am getting good smoke production as it moves from the narrow pointed tip to the body of the cigar. The draw offers resistance without being tight. The burn is taking shape as it moves from the pointed foot. As I get further in the burn is a little uneven. I attribute this to the ventilation above me, the ac and fans in the lounge creating a lot of circulating air. This is a smooth medium-full strength, full flavored cigar.

Second Third: The transition from the first third doesn’t bring much change. Very consistent flavor. There is a very familiar, distinct flavor that I have found in all of the FAC brands. I believe it has to do with the Jamastran tobacco that is used. The valley in Jamastran, Honduras is known for its flavorful tobaccos which feature strength and sweetness. This is something I enjoy greatly about FA cigars but it is amplified in the Dark Lord. Felix told me people have told him “it’s a chocolate bar wrapped in Ligero” and I 100% agree. I pick up notes of natural tobacco, grass, cocoa, and pepper. The burn is a bit uneven and I did have to touch it up once (I had to take a phone call and let it sit for a bit). I am finding it very hard to put this cigar down. The strength has increased to full but remains smooth and creamy. A lot of smoke production and the ash holds nicely until I set it down and the ventilation plays havoc on it. (I didn’t get pics throughout the review. My apologies)

Last Third: Some subtle changes as I enter the final portion of this cigar. A bit more of the grassy notes appear in the front, cedar is still present with notes of natural tobacco. The sweetness had toned down a bit. The strength is certainly full at this point. As good as this cigar is, take your time with it. I did require another touch up and the burn is still a little uneven but nothing concerning. I still feel as if I smoked this cigar in a less ventilated environment this would be a non-issue. I take in the last few puffs and regret that I do not have more of these available to me.

Final Thoughts: This is a next level cigar in terms of flavor. I was simply blown away by the sweetness found in the blend and while it is full strength, it is very smooth. The previous comment of “a chocolate bar wrapped in a ligero” could not be any more accurate. This, in my opinion, is the crown jewel in an already terrific portfolio. The Jamastran tobacco is distinct and unique and this cigar showcases this wonderful tobacco in a blend that puts this cigar in the Top 5 cigars I have tried. Because it is high medium to full bodied, I would not recommend it for new smokers unless you really take your time with it. I think more experienced smokers will find this cigar to be on a different level. The Dark Lord is an impressive, delicious, unique cigar that is sure to impress anyone that smokes it.

Rating:

Appearance / Construction: The overall look and construction of this cigar is really nice. The box press, the wrapper and band really look nice together and the coffin packaging really work well together. There were no soft spots and the seams were nice and tight. I score this a 19/20.

Performance: This one will be tough to score accurately as I have to consider the heavy ventilation in the room I was in. There were a couple of touch ups needed and the burn was a bit off. I think in a different situation this would probably change the performance for the better. I score this a 23/25. (*This factor will be retested when I have the opportunity to smoke another one because this will alter the final rating)

Flavor: Off the charts in regards to flavor. This was unlike anything I have ever had in a premium cigar. I am not sure my palate did this review much justice as I struggled to identify the complex flavors I experienced. Complex, rich and smooth. I don’t see how this cigar gets better. Perfect score of 25/25.

Overall Experience: The anticipation I had for trying this cigar was really high and it did not disappoint me. Take away the touch up issues and this cigar scores higher. I really enjoyed my time with this one and I didn’t want to put it down. This is a cigar I could smoke time and time again and I feel it would only get better each time. If you have the opportunity to try this one, you need to do so. All of the Felix Assouline Cigars are good, but this one takes the crown. The Dark Lord is KING. I score this 28/30.

Final Rating: 95

96 – 94: Excellent cigar. I would add this to my collection of must haves.

Mbombay Cigar Company

I have seen Mbombay cigars featured on social media sites and across the web but I never had the opportunity to experience them until recently. I did some research and found that the company was started by a former IT professional (Mel Shah) turned cigar store owner turned cigar maker. I read some reviews of the cigars online and it seemed as if people really like the cigars being produced. I stumbled upon them at JR Cigars here in North Carolina and decided to grab a couple. I am really glad that I did. Beautiful band artwork, nice construction and appearance, perfect draw, lots of complex flavors and near perfect burn and performance.

I enjoyed my first one while I was at JR’s and decided to pick up some more. I shared one with a local shop owner in my area and he was so impressed with it that he wants to start carrying them in his shop. Much to my good fortune, I was back at JR’s a week or so later and managed to score the others that I had not tried yet and the last one of the original cigars I had tried. My intent is to review each of them at some point very soon and see how they do. In the meantime, feel free to check them out for yourself. You can visit their website (click the link below) and find a retailer near you. Below is a little bit about the company taken from their website.

“Cigars, for us, are a way of life. The philosophy is simple – use the best tobaccos to make cigars of the highest quality.

Our cigars aim to emulate the fabled cigar culture of Cuba. From selecting prime tobaccos to controlling the intimate details of the aging process, we take multiple factors into consideration to help produce a truly unique smoking experience. Our cigars are hand-rolled in Costa Rica by some of the most experienced hands in the industry and feature intricate bands representative of the artistic nature of our craft.

MBombay was born at the hands of a former IT professional turned cigar store owner with a passion for tobacco. We apply that same attention to detail to each and every cigar, and have spent countless hours working to procure the finest tobaccos and produce a unique line of high-quality products.

If asked why we began this journey, simply put – we felt something was missing. At Bombay Tobak, we concentrate on aging, proper fermentation, and the importance of patience. Using prime tobaccos and a process of experimentation, we’ve discovered creative processes to produce impeccable cigars at a reasonable price point. In a world of online discounts and freebie offers, we decided to walk a different path.”Source: http://www.bombaytobak.com/

Once you have one of these cigars, I think you will find the above statements to be very truthful. These really are impeccable cigars for the price point.

One of the great things about their website is the description of each cigar and blend. I am sure everyone can find something they will enjoy from Mbombay. I have had them with coffee in the am and it is a perfect pairing. I have also had them with wine and bourbon and both were equally stellar. I can easily see these as a regular rotation cigar in my humidor.

Their impressive lineup includes:

Mbombay Classic: Churchill, Robusto, Corona, Belicoso

Gaaja: Robusto, Torpedo, Toro, Toro Maduro, Torpedo Maduro

Mbombay Habano: Churchill, Robusto, Corona, Belicoso, Gordo

Mbombay Corojo Oscuro: Double Corona, Gordo, Perfecto, Robusto, Belicoso

Mbombay Kesara: Pyramid, A, No. 2, No. 4, Robusto Larga, Saloman, Toro

Mbombay Mora: Lancero, Toro, A, 585

Be sure to check back soon as I start to work my way through this impressive line up and review these beauties. Until next time…long ashes and full glasses friends.

The beauty of cigars

Cigars. Say that word around different people and watch the reaction you get from them. I find it fascinating to see the differences. It’s often the upturn of the nose or the look of disgust. I also get the comment of how much they stink, they are gross, they will give you cancer, etc etc. On the flip side, you may get the “I love the smell of a cigar” or “it reminds me of my grandfather/father”. And then you get the Brothers and Sisters of the Leaf that really light up (pun intended) and can’t wait to enjoy a smoke with you or just talk about it. The other type of people that I spent some time with this week in Dallas are the curious, eager, and clueless but willing (and I do not mean that as a negative, we were all there once).

I went to Dallas for training this week and people that work with me or have been to other meetings and training classes recognize me as a “cigar guy”. A couple I have smoked with before and others are true “cigar guys” that I had the opportunity to smoke with this time. Of course it was “hey man, did you bring any cigars”? Of course I did. No turning back now…my stash was about to be raided, I just didn’t know how hard. My travel humidor containing 10 beautiful works of art (more to come on that) was reduced to 2 cigars faster than a Donald Trump tweet going viral. Now some people would have an issue with that but I welcome it.

There was a mixed bag of players in this crowd and I welcome the opportunity to share with all of them. Some dabble in cigars, some were really new and others are frequent smokers as I said. One of the beautiful things about cigars that I am fascinated by and truly love about the culture is that cigars unify and equalize everyone. Think about that for a minute. With all the diversity in the crowd I was in (white, black, male, female, younger, older, colleagues at my pay grade and those up the chain) all brought together by a single item…a cigar.

For those that were new to cigars I had the opportunity to make or break the experience for them. For me it was about the proper selection of what I had available and taking the time to teach them just a little bit about it. Overall I received no negative feedback and the next night we took a trip downtown to a local B&M shop in Dallas that will remain nameless because the experience was absolutely laughable and terrible. Any request to know so you can steer clear of them can be asked privately but I will not bash them here. I will however ask the question here, and please feel free to leave your comments…Have you ever asked a shop owner or worker about their house blend and were told “I can’t tell you that. We have an agreement that we won’t discuss who makes our cigars”? Call me crazy and maybe this happens, but this was a first for me. Needless to say, I left laughing and without a purchase. I appreciated the people I was with wanting to replace the cigars from the night before but I won’t spend a cent in a place like that. Sorry. I am a huge fan of supporting local business but not this one. Moving on.

One major thing I consider when I bring cigars on trips with me is selection. Is this a trip that I will have time to really take my time, study and enjoy the cigar or will I be more focused on conversation, interacting with people, and having the cigar more of an accessory to the event? I consider this because as I have evolved into cigars as a passion and not just a thing I do from time to time, it matters to me. I have made a point to bring cigars I never had before on trips where I can take my time and I bring cigars I have had before when I know I won’t be able to sit and enjoy it. Doesn’t mean that I rush through it or don’t enjoy the experience but it’s more of a familiar taste that I don’t have to wonder about. It has proven to be something I enjoy. I also consider it for the exact situation I was in this week. I brought cigars with me that I knew other people, even new smokers could enjoy.

The thing often lost to many cigar smokers I meet and observe is the lack of appreciation for cigars. I see people light up a cigar and puff away and never fully understand what exactly they have in their hands. This isn’t necessarily true for more advanced smokers but I imagine it still happens. Whatever works for you is fine by me. I prefer to take it all in and savor the experience. After all, I will never get to experience it ever again. “What the hell are you talking about? Buy another one or get one out of your box”. Yeah sure, no problem right? Nope. No cigar is the same. Not one. That is the beauty of cigars. Each one is individual and unique, much like people. They should be treated as such. Cigars, much like people, fall into different categories. They can be beautiful, ugly, flawed, wonderful, interesting, disappointing, refreshing, and some I never want to experience again. Some you fall in love with and want to surround yourself with frequently, and others you prefer in short, limited engagements. Others just linger and are there in a pinch.

From a single seed, grown in soil often on foreign lands, the are grown, harvested, handled many many times using a variety of techniques and selected for their quality and traits. Ultimately they are combined with other leaves and skillfully blended and crafted into a single, unique work of art that will be consumed once and only once in its journey. This is a wonderful process that seems to get lost most of the time. When you select, cut and light a cigar, you are becoming a part of the story behind that cigar. Sure this is a much deeper thought into the process but its relevant to me therefore I choose to enjoy it. I am probably one of the slowest cigar smokers in any lounge on any given day and this is the reason. This is also why I choose to do reviews. It started as a detailed way for me to remember the experience.

Next time you get ready to light up that cigar, take a second to appreciate it. Think about it’s journey and the people behind it. You will never get the opportunity to do it again so enjoy the ride. I hope you enjoyed the article. Please leave your thoughts, comments, or questions here. Until next time, long ashes and full glasses.