Any cigar smoker has, at one time or another, been asked why they smoke cigars. Most of us come up with our own little excuses, usually just to pass the subject in conversation. “I do it because it gives me time to relax.” Or “At least I’m not smoking cigarettes.” For some of us that is true. But, why do you, or I, smoke our cigars. There is another reason, and to be truthful, there are many.
We all smoke cigars for many different reasons on many occasions. But one thing that I would hope we all agree upon is that smoking a cigar is an occasion upon itself. We all go through the dance, and an elegant one at that, of our preparation. We inspect the cigar, with all of our senses. How does it feel? How does it smell? Does it look fit to smoke? Maybe you give it a little pre-lit taste. I know a cigar may not be so audible before you light it and hear some slight or light crackles as it burns, but it definitely tells you a story of its journey.
From the little seed that was tended and sheltered into a larger plant to be transplanted into the fields. From that larger tobacco plant tended, again by hand, until harvested, again by hand. Then the long process of aging and fermenting to relieve the leaf of most of the harsh chemicals, like ammonia and nicotine, and to achieve the quality taste and aroma we all love. Then the skilled hands of a Torcedor, or cigar roller, to create that lovely package that is aged once again to allow the flavors of the different tobaccos blended to marry or join in to make one consistent flavor. Once aged again that tobacco could have made a journey that has taken it halfway around the world, or just within one country as with a puro, or cigar made from only one country, or one regions tobaccos.
Now that we have heard this cigars story we go ahead with the rest of our dance. We all find a way to cut our cigar, and there is no real right or wrong way, just the way that we feel like maybe the most elegant, or the most readily available. So, we grab our guillotine cutter, or whatever is most readily available, and have at the cap, or head of the cigar. Now we are ready to light up the foot and almost any flame would do, but we are aficionados and we chose to use a flame that will not impart its own flavor on our precious cigar. So we reach for a wooden match, or a cedar spill, (a thin piece of cedar cut small to allow for lighting and holding) or a butane lighter is completely acceptable. As we toast the end of the cigar and then fully light it we can now once again go through the senses as they may have changed. What new aromas do you smell? A new taste is brought by the smoke. The smoke and cigar look different as well. Feel the slight heat from the lit end and listen to the faint crackle as the cigar burns.
As we continue along this path, we now know that smoking a cigar is an occasion in itself, and the only occasion we need to fully appreciate it. But we still didn’t answer why we smoke. Maybe that answer still is as simple as “At least I’m not smoking cigarettes.” Or, “It gives me time to relax.” But I’m sure there is more to it.
The reason I smoke cigars is for any occasion, and maybe the occasion of the ‘cigar dance’ is reason or occasion enough, but there is more than just that cigar. There is also the company you’re with or the occasion to light up that expensive cigar you’ve been aging for the last three years, waiting for the perfect time to smoke it. Maybe you find yourself in the corner cigar retailer or your favorite website (like cigarsdirect.com) after completing that big project or closing the big sale and want a little treat. Maybe you need a box to accommodate the next poker game you attend or maybe you are going to be a proud father (or mother) and want to celebrate. But, there is still another reason, or occasion we smoke cigars and some you may not have thought of yet. Why not smoke a good cigar to calm the thought of losing the big account. Maybe you’re saving one of your favorite cigars not just for your anniversary this year, but you’re aging one for, God forbid, the passing of your spouse so that after the funeral, that cigar floods the memories of all the times you passed over that one for another cigar. And those memories in which that smoke holds will help remember the good times. Maybe that smoking buddy is your best friend, so why not celebrate his life by smoking his favorite cigar? Why not just celebrate life itself? And the time spent being able to appreciate that cigar and the ‘cigar dance’ with occasion enough just by your self in meditation and ‘stealing away’ a couple of hours from work and the hustle of life.
I will say that the time that I’ve spent smoking a cigar with my wife or my good friends in conversation; that couple of hours that I can steal away from the speed of work or the rushing of the rest of life. Those couple of hours I’d gladly spend any price, let alone the price of that cigar. Whether it is a 3 dollar cigar or that elusive one that you spent 30 bucks or more on, the price of that cigar doesn’t matter one bit to the price of that time spent creating memories.
Maybe there is no perfect reason, or maybe there are just too many good reasons, or occasions, to mention. But the fact remains that there is no occasion too big or too small and the time spent with good friends and good conversation, or by your self in reflection. That time and memories created are worth 10 times, or 1000 times the price of that cigar.
So keep enjoying those cigars, whatever your reason.