Are there certain brands you don’t get on with? It would be unusual if their weren’t.
As with all things in life, we have our predilections and prejudices, however well concealed they may be.
I bet you a pound to a penny that while there are regular favourites in your smoking routine, there are also some fairly obvious candidates that never seem to make it. Do you have a penchant for Montecristo, for example, but rarely look on that shelf which houses Romeo y Julieta?
The question you need to ask yourself is why.
Work out the reason for your bias and you may be surprised at the end result. Once upon a time, Cuban cigar smokers had a brand and stuck to it for life, loyal unto the bitter end. Times have changed.
These days, smokers are far more liberal in their attitudes and are, on the whole, keen to try new things, experiment with different blends and give other cigar makers a fair crack of the whip. We at Sautters think this is a good thing.
Variety is the spice of life, after all. There is such a delightful range and scope of flavours, tastes, experiences and sensations out there that limiting yourself to just one or two seems a supreme act of folly.
Now we realise that cigars – and in particular, good cigars – can be expensive. So we understand that of there’s a particular profile of smoke that you really don’t like, you’re loathe to spend your hard-earned folding stuff on disappointing yourself still further.
Ultimately, of course, the decision is yours, but we would encourage you to explore a little around your favourite smokes, for the risk reward ratio is actually not as terrifying as you might think. If, for example, you fell in love with the Montecristo Edmundo – and let’s face it, who wouldn’t; good examples of these can be extraordinary – then perhaps you might be tempted to change it up a little. The Ramon Allones Specially Selected is, on the face of it, an entirely different beast. It’s a different girth, length, colour and strength. And yet it’s not such a leap from one to the other in terms of palate and we think if you like one, you’ll be intrigued by the other.
Similarly, if you prefer something light and mild, then ask the resident Sautter experts their opinion on what you may try next that is akin, but different. These guys are paid to smoke a host of different blends, sizes, strengths and shapes to ascertain how they can be grouped together. You’ll not find many better palates in London and they love to be asked to help. It kinda gives them a reason to live, to be honest, puts a spring in their step and makes that long afternoon in the store suddenly spring to life.
Next thing you know, you’ll be led into the walk-in humidor and dazzled by an array of smokes that you can try. Always ask them what they like – a dead giveaway, that – and remember to make a note of their suggestions. That way, even if you don’t want to splash out all at once on a string of different cigars, you can pop back time and time again, picking up a stick here and a stick there and working out the lie of the land.
It’s all part of the tremendous fun of navigating the Cuban cigar highway.