Spending a week away in Havana with El Jeffe got us thinking.
Just like anything else in this wonderful, rich, varied existence we lead, people have their preferences, their idiosyncracies, their quirks and personalities.
And when it comes to smoking cigars, things are no different.
Take Laurence’s love of a morning cigar. And when we say morning cigar, we mean a 6am blockbuster. That’s pretty hard core, even we have to admit. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea to spark up a 60-ring stogie from Hiroshi Robaina’s farm before even a sip of Darjeeling has passed your lips. But that’s El Jeffe for you.
Most cigar people, we reckon, are more likely to enjoy a smoke in the evening, after a good meal or a night on the town. Somehow, a post-dinner smoke just feels so right. Of course, the same could be said for a post-luncheon smoke, too.
To even long-time cigar lovers, the thought of a cigar first thing in the morning is enough to turn the stomach. Many of us need a good feed, a swig of coffee and time to wake up – at least until the sun is over the yardarm – until we can contemplate the delights of a handrolled beauty.
And be warned – if you are delicate of stomach or a newbie cigar smoker, don’t be tempted to emulate Laurence. If you do, you’ll almost certainly make yourself sick as a dog. High levels of nicotine absorbed that early in the morning with little in the stomach or sugar in the blood will make you greener than Kermit in double quick time. (Incidentally, if you do ever find yourself with the sweats and nausea caused by a dose of nicotine poisoning, immediately pop a sugar cube on your tongue – it’ll take the edge off and allow you to recover your composure).
Many cigar folk like to ease their way in gently, with a light, mild cigar to warm up their palate before tackling anything heavier. We don’t all have the iron stomach of Laurence Davis, don’t forget. Good choices here include many of the wonderful Hoyo de Monterrey range, or perhaps the beautiful Choix Supreme from El Rey del Mundo.
You can, if you’re feeling feisty, begin to bounce the big boys around in the afternoon – a smaller Partagas perhaps or a solid Montecristo (the Edmundo is currently back on cracking form).
And of course, when you’ve dined well and fortified your stomach, the beasts await. Bolivars, Partagas, Cohibas et al. The preference is entirely yours and via a mistake or two, some judicious experimentation and a lot of fun, you’ll find the right sort of cigars for you, whatever your preferred smoking time of day.
Alternatively, take the battery out of the smoke detector, open the windows and spark up with the lark like Laurence. It takes all sorts to make the cigar world go around.