If you’re a cigar hobbyist, enthusiast, lover, aficionado and admirer (let’s face it, you really can’t be just one of those things), you’ve discovered that you’re really one part hobbyist and one part ambassador, and at the same time constantly persecuted by what we “lovingly” here at Stogie’d call the PC Patrol.
Don’t believe us? Let’s quickly break them down:
Hobbyist: A hobbyist is a person who pursues an activity in their spare time for pleasure. As a cigar hobbyist, you collect cigars. You purchase accessories to enjoy them: cutters, lighters, humidors … even high-tech toys like indoor air cleaners and electronic humidification devices for your humidors. Even cigar-industry professionals tend to be cigar hobbyists.
Ambassador: By being an ambassador, you show that being a cigar lover doesn’t mean you’re the stereotypical stogie-chompin’, fat-cat businessman who does nothing but takes peoples’ money and blows smoke in their faces. No, you’re always happy to talk about cigars and why you love them, and yet not in a way where you might appear that you’re “recruiting” someone into the hobby. After all, cigar hobbyists believe enjoying cigars is a personal choice; because of that position, we don’t take away that choice for others by pressuring them into smoking one.
Persecuted: How are you persecuted? Scowls from people on the street, in parks, at the beach, and so on. The PC Patrol. High cigar taxes. Smoking bans in every shape and form. Need we say more?
As you can see, all of those points make up why being a cigar enthusiast can be a real balancing act. That’s why we put together our Top 10 tips for cigar enthusiasts. Give each side of your cigar-ness, for lack of a better term, the attention they deserve, with these tips (not in order of importance):
10. Clip the head of your cigars with something other than your teeth. Whether you use a hole punch, a guillotine, a v-cut, scissors, or … well, that’s about it, actually … use something other than the pearly whites God gave you for your cigar-cutting purposes.
9. Season your humidor. Don’t stick your sticks in a dry humidor. You need to “season” it, or make it humid enough inside to start working the moment you put your cigars in there. Here’s a great 10-step process to ensure seasoning success.
8. Use a humidor. Probably more important than #9, if you keep a supply of cigars around the house, car, office or wherever, have some kind of area or device where your cigars can stay humid, temperate, and happy. We use the term “humidor” loosely here, too. If you want to stick a sponge in a jar that has cedar strips in it, that’s okay … kind of. Just know that there’s all kinds of inexpensive humidors out there; if you think finances may be a problem, there’s a good chance you might be able to afford one.
7. Dispose of your cigar properly. One of the big justifications behind all of these ridiculous outdoor-smoking bans is the litter factor; in other words, what happens to a person’s smoking stick after they’re done. Some (many?) cigarette smokers are the worst offenders, which is why you see so many cigarette butts laying around. Don’t add fuel to the PC Patrol’s fire against us — toss your stick in the trash when you’re done (after it’s out, of course). While this tip can go into #2, this one’s big enough to warrant its own mention.
6. Support the CRA. We mean the Cigar Rights of America here. CRA is at the forefront of fighting all of these ridiculous laws and proposals to snuff out cigar smoking throughout the U.S. They’re very small and very under-funded; very unlike our opponents who receive hundreds of millions of dollars from both private and public groups. So join and do as much as you can to support the CRA.
5. Be ready to explain why you love cigars. There’s no doubt that a member of the PC Patrol will approach you at some time in your life — probably when you’re enjoying your favorite stick — and give you s*** about you and your cigar. Your mission isn’t to convince them that they’re wrong; they’re usually hysterical when they confront you, and there’ll be no way to do that. Your only move here is to just tell them why you love cigars. Since those reasons are highly personal, we’ll let you decide what to say. Just don’t incite them any further. Don’t look them straight in the eyes. Don’t get water on them. And the most important rule of all: Never feed them after midnight.
4. Light your stogie the right way. With fire, of course. When it comes to lighting, there’s only three ways to do it: With a butane-filled lighter (no oil lighters .. we’re looking at you, Zippo, along with your gas station-purchased friends). With a cedar spill that’s lit with a match, only when you don’t have a proper lighter. Or when all else fails, a match. But make sure all of the sulfur is gone before you bring it up to the stick to light. Both oil and sulfur will impart their own tastes into your cigar … not good tastes, either. If you’re looking for a butane insert for your Zippo lighter, here’s one. Zippo also sells its own butane lighters, called ZippoBLU.
3. Expand your cigar horizons. The cigars of today are much, much better in quality than in years past. There’s all kinds of great flavor profiles within the entire spectrum of cigar weights, meaning mild, medium and full. You owe it to yourself to check ‘em out. Use our video reviews as a starting point, as well as the blog posts and videos from all of the other people in the cigar community who discuss their own impressions about individual sticks. There’s a ton of information out there … tap into it!
2. ABC – Always be courteous. Whenever one signs a CRA petition to fight the various attempts by the PC Patrol to limit our rights as cigar smokers, that person also pledges to be courteous with her/his stick. That’s a good way of thinking for every cigar smoker; CRA petition signer or not.
1. Don’t inhale your smoke. Even though there’s lots of controversy about second-hand smoke, we all know that there’s risk in the actual act of cigar smoking. We’re not sure how much it increases when you inhale the smoke, but it’s pretty safe to assume it does go up … probably big-time. So one word on this one: Don’t.
Do you agree with our list? What would you add or subtract? Let us know in the Comments section.