State Of Mind
We’ve all been on holiday abroad and enjoyed a carafe or ten of local wine.
Sun, sea, sand and sangria is a well-worn theme, but why is it that when that delicious bottle of local vino is home and uncorked for a spiritual return to the sun-kissed memories of your trip, it tastes more like a Sarsons vintage than the rich, heady mixture you recall?
For years, we shook our heads and said; ‘wine doesn’t travel.’ Rubbish. Wine travels around the world and always has done. Why do you think English pounds built the fine city walls of Bordeaux and financed the fleet of ships that brought claret to these shores?
It’s you that has changed, not the wine (as long as you’ve treated it respectfully). Back then, you were clad in flip flops, shorts and a sunhat and enjoyed your flagon with your toes in the sand and octopus on the menu.
When you drank it at home, it was raining and you were wearing slippers and your gardening trousers. And you were digging in the freezer for that second-hand shepherd’s pie you know you put in there in 1986.
The point being that time and place are everything when it comes to taste. Non-smoking, cigar-curious people will often ask you what your favourite cigar is. Connoisseurs meet this humble query with a mental sigh, for it’s a tough, multi-faceted one to answer.
Do you mean which is my favourite, every day, after-work, cooldown cigar, the one I’d pick for a desert island if my parameters were reliability, consistency, ease of smoke and familiarity?
Or do you mean which is the most mind-bending, memorable, life-enhancing handrolled I’ve ever smoked?
Two very different questions.
Your most memorable smoke ever is often one which, in the cold light of Monday morning, could never be described as a stick of the century. More likely, it’s an old-friend, a surprise outsider or just some old dog rocket you found in the pocket of your blazer at a very opportune moment. The key factors are where you were; what you were doing; who you were with; and what your mental state was.
An example. If Nelson Mandela was a cigar smoker (and, proof to the contrary withstanding, we have no reason to believe he was) do you think the gnarled and bitter Toscano he theoretically sparked up as he first set foot in Cape Town from Robben Island was more memorable or the Cohiba Robusto he enjoyed from the Presidential Palace? No question the former.
The thing to remember is this; life’s moments are its gifts. Special times, with special people, in special places. And your cigar is like a highlighter pen for the moment, a freeze-frame that will place a crystal sharp memory in your files for pleasant retrieval whenever you want it.
Don’t smoke a cigar when you’re in a bad mood, or in a bad place, or nervous or upset. The cigar – regardless of its provenance – will be a disappointment. But when you’re in the moment, truly living and enjoying life for what it is rather than what it might be, any cigar is like a gift from the Gods.
Keep this in mind and your smoking life will be transformed. All your life, actually. They pay gurus millions for that kind of advice, you know.