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I will start by saying, that after smoking cigarettes for 33 years, I finally came home to cigars again. I am writing this with the average cigar smoker in mind and feel that I can provide some insight into the cigar world…at least a little….for the newcomer, and if you have been around for a while you may learn something new. I smoked Cigars on and off since 1978 when in the army but never felt that much interest, though I enjoyed them, you have to understand that also smoking a non-filtered Camel did not bode well for the seductive sweetness and calming effect that comes with a fine cigar. About 1986 I tried to find an alternative to cigarettes and again turned to cigars, but it was not to be. I found a Royal Jamaican Lonsdale to be to my liking but not to my wife's, who also smoked cigarettes. I didn't return until about 1990 and again it was short-lived, however, I did make up my mind to become a closet cigar aficionado and thus began my hidden quest for the best cigar for me. I tried a number of premium sticks, ranging from an Onyx or an H. Upmann every so often, always outside the house and never around friends or really spending the time a good Cigar requires, and deserves. Then, in March 2005 I quit cigarettes for good. One of the hardest things I've ever done, but I managed to do it without killing anyone. My second wife was made sick by cigar smoke so needless to say I almost never had a chance to enjoy one. I left her November 2005 and started looking for a new way to enjoy smoking again later in 2006. I found a fairly high end stocked humidor at a local liquor store here in Birmingham and began my quest again. The battle ensued with the sad discovery of how expensive it can be. I know, I know we must pay for our pleasures and believe me it is a pleasure to light up a nice creamy Ashton and just let the day drain away. This is just the beginning of my journey I know. I have found that the differences in good cigars and great cigars can vary widely and to accommodate tastes you may find a mild smoke is appreciated more often than a medium to full strength. I have found that I go more and more often to medium cigars such as Carlos Torano Maduro's, or maybe my current favorite the A. Fuente 8-5-8 Maduro. Though I really enjoy a fine Ashton Churchill natural as well. Diversity is what it's all about in the cigar world. As for the newcomer out there looking for a good everyday Cigar. I highly recommend a fine Dominican or Honduran that you can easily find online at Famous Smoke or try out any of the house brands at JR Cigars, or you can join a Cigar of The Month club such as the club at, as well as numerous others. But don't be too hasty to settle on one for now. I have, and still do, try a lot of different brands often, and I seem to be drawn to that sweet smell of a fine cigar every evening after dinner. So, long live the Torano's and Fuente's and may we always have a large selection of great smokes to choose from, I think I'll go relight that Thompson now.
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