Firstly, let’s pause to thank our compadre Christopher Columbus for bringing the tobacco leaf to Europe’s medieval shores following his 1492 voyage from the New World. Its popularity rapidly spread from sailors to soldiers all the way up the chain to Conquistadors and Kings (not to mention Churchill). The smoking of a cigar has subsequently become something of a rite of passage for many men, a sort of initiation into the world of gentleman’s clubs, velvet smoking jackets and long pensive hours spent in sombre, indulgent smoking. Although not quite as popular as in their heyday, the cigar remains a potent symbol and affords its loyal user a certain panache not easily acquired elsewhere.  Such confidence comes only after a few, perhaps embarrassing, attempts so here’s what you need to know – right now.

In Cuba alone there are over 33 brands and 240  varieties of cigars that you can smoke and savour, ranging in size taste, colour and width. Remember, if you’re after the real deal, look out for the label ‘Habanos’ which is a mark of authenticity.

So our first tip is to start small. The most popular and widely available cigar is the ‘Petit Corona’  or ‘mareva’ cigar measuring a respectable 5 inches with a 42 ring gauge. A Petit Corona will give you a respectable half hour smoking time. At the other end of the spectrum are Gran Coronas, measuring a mighty nine inches and are best enjoyed throughout a quiet evening. The size is always written on the box but we think you’re always best to ask for help in the cigar shop. Don’t be embarrassed, they do know better and besides you’ll learn fast. What’s more, a good cigar merchant can always match you with a cigar that matches your tastes and style. We’re just here to get you started.

To get a closer experience, breath out through your nose to taste the cigar better.  A final point of cigar etiquette, never butt out your cigar – it’s just not on. Let it die on its own once you’re done and please don’t inhale.

18 August 2011
Shirt Tales
The Journal Of Pugnacious George
Discoveries, Musings, Misadventures

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