If It Makes You Happy, It Can’t Be That Bad…
If there was one piece of cigar advice you should clutch close to your heart it’s this; there’s no such thing as right or wrong.
Sure, there are etiquette issues and cigar manners – like don’t sniff, slurp, lick and squeeze a cigar before deciding you don’t want it and bunging it back on the shelf.
There are also a few basic primers which you’d do well to heed – eat well before herfing a strong cigar; don’t tell your wife the whole truth about the extent of your latest cigar purchase, that sort of thing.
But what you should really take to heart is that however you like your cigars – fat, thin, long, short, strong, mild, sweet or spicy – and however you like to smoke them – clutched between forefinger and thumb, chomped between the teeth, delicately sipped or hoovered up in double-quick time – is entirely up to you.
You’ll find a way that just feels right for you and you’ll also find cigars that hit the right spot, too. And don’t let anyone make you feel bad about your choices whatever they are.
There are, we’re afraid to say, some cigar snobs about. Those who like to instruct others in the ways of the cigar. By all means listen to them politely, thank them for the advice – and then take it or leave it.
The wonderful thing about this hobby is that you can take from it what you will. Are you a geek, who likes to collect and hoard, note sizes and blends and remember every de-listed vitola that Romeo y Julieta has ever produced? Fine, you’ll have plenty of ammunition.
Or maybe you’re a documenter, who likes to keep a note of every smoke you’ve ever had, keeping the bands and comparing vintages year on year. Perhaps you like to chew big fat cigars on an hourly basis, or enjoy a pencil-thin elegant size a couple of times a year. It matters not. The only thing that matters is your happiness and fulfilment.
The same goes for flavours and nuances. Websites and magazines are packed with eloquent and flowery descriptions (cracker, liquorice, hazelnut, red onion). Pull the other one.
Cigar smoke can be sweet, spicy, nutty or earthy; it can remind you of certain other broad sweep flavor profiles. But it’s not a tasting wheel of millions of distinguishable notes, in our humble opinion – it’s dried and rolled vegetable matter, at the end of the day. You’ll either like it, be indifferent or not be keen on the taste of any particular cigar and the level of satisfaction and enjoyment you get from it will be inextricably linked to the general flavor profile you find most satisfying – added to where you are, who you’re with and what you’re doing while you smoke it.
Put it this way – if you’re sharing a smoke and a hot tub with Marilyn Monroe, it’s a fair bet that the machine-made, gnarly cheroot you found down the back of the sofa will taste like something hand-rolled for Jesus himself. See what we mean?
Enjoy the journey; try cigars from all over. Don’t listen to the snobs – and have fun.
That, after all, is what got you here in the first place.