I am a consummate people watcher. One of my favorite pastimes at the cigar lounge is to observe other smokers as they converse, pure a glass of wine, light a cigar, or even walk across the room (stop acting like I’m weird, we all like to people watch). I observe how they cut or punch their cigar, if they have a nice lighter or not, if they prefer a cedar spill, and if they use a leather case or a zip lock bag. But that is not enough to truly form any idea of who they are--oh no. I need more empirical data.
What is it about a cigar that draws us in? Is it the euphoric high of the nicotine, the cheerful banter of other smokers in the lounge, pairing a puro with a single malt, or the feel of a balanced lancero between your fingers--you name it but I certainly lean to the latter. I believe it's the flavors of the cigar mostly but also a combination of the others with no exception for the relaxation normally associated with the cigar experience. I call it “slowing down the world” or “smoking the moment” and in case you are wondering how can it be this serious then I will remind you that cigars are a lifestyle.
On a very popular cigar blog I recently made an egregious mistake by stating an unequivocal position (as a productive American adult I wagered that doing so was ok). Like many discussions online the subject was amorphous but during the long tail of the thread the subject of flavored cigars reared its ugly head (always a touchy subject). I was relatively new to the community but considering the pedigree of the forum and its participants I thought I was in mature company (this is about cigars for Christ sake).
Its an excruciatingly hot day (9/2/14) in Union NJ but I am braving the heat in anticipation of meeting Jonathan Drew and Willy Herrera of Drew Estate Cigars. While not a fan of the flavored cigars I’m all in when it comes to Drew Estate’s premium line. In 2013 I rated the Nica Rustica the best new cigar of the year and the Liga Privada is one of my go to smokes. I admire DE’s approach to blending cigars with huge flavor profiles and complexity but now I am really liking the idea of making special batches of cigars (e.g. Tienda Exclusiva) for select retailers (great idea).
Many make the mistake of lumping cigarette smokers and cigar smokers into the same group which is intuitive but most importantly a false equivalence. Cigar smokers differ from cigarette smokers like gourmet food differs from fast food. This is not an elitist rant but one cannot mistake the meticulous complexity of preparing and enjoying gourmet food for the time sensitive process of filling a paper bag with the worst meat and fried concoctions ever produced by corporate America.
I frequent about 10 cigar bars in NYC and Northern New Jersey and while they all have similarities (good people, great cigars, and service they also have their own flavor and characters). They have different structural dimensions, the humidors are designed differently, some have more cigars, some have lesser but more premium cigar
We do it all for the love of the leaf the grape and the peat. "BillieBLVD"