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Stogie Commentary: Random Thoughts from the Humidor

27 Dec 2010

In the latest issue of our “Random Thoughts from the Humidor” series, we ponder humidor maintenance, cleanliness, advertising, and blind reviews:

When I say OCD, I mean it in a good way. Lots of cigar smokers worry about summertime temperatures increasing the chances of a beetle attack. But you’re more likely to see your sticks ruined in the winter from extremely low humidity drying them out beyond repair. Even if you have mild winters, humidity levels will be low and the heat will drive them down even further. Check the hygrometer in your humidor frequently—every couple of days isn’t too often—and add distilled water when necessary.

Brush, brush, brush. I’m no dentist, but I’ve been told by more than one that smoking can lead to an increase of tartar and its associated problems. So, it’s always a good idea to brush as soon as practical after smoking. I don’t know how much it will lessen the buildup, but, hey, it couldn’t hurt. Any dental professionals out there feel free to weigh in.

Cleanliness is at least next to freshness. Whether you smoke inside or out, get rid of the ashes and butts when you’re done. Huge ashtrays are great, but no excuse for collecting tobacco detritus. It creates that unpleasant barroom-at-4 a.m. odor far more than the smoke.

Just wondering. Why are there cigar ads these days in nearly every magazine that aims at an upscale audience except Wine Spectator, the larger sibling of Cigar Aficionado? Aren’t fine wine and premium cigars considered one of the ultimate pairings?

I’m not sure I see the point. I’m always intrigued by cigar reviewing that’s done blind. But does anyone ever smoke that way? Knowing at least a little about the cigar you’re smoking is part of the experience—whether picking up a stick you’ve never heard of or laying out big bucks for a highly regarded limited edition.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

3 Responses to “Stogie Commentary: Random Thoughts from the Humidor”

  1. Christopher Monday, December 27, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    I am very interested in blind tastings, and would like to see many more of them. It's clear to me that our prior expectations have a big affect on how forgiving we are about a cigar, or wine, or anything else that involves our senses (read this:…. I've smoked a lot of cigars this year since regaining my interest in them, and a majority haven't been that great (I keep going because of the ones that were, of course). With the "fancy" ones that cost a lot more, or with very well-reviewed cigars, I have found myself trying harder to see what the fuss is about. I agree that the whole experience is part of the fun, but when I'm at home having that experience, it is after having read reviews (every day…), and I'm not doing reviews as part of the experience. Obviously, I want cigars that are truly delicious, so blind tastings seem like a great way for reviewers to find them.

  2. Aaron Monday, December 27, 2010 at 7:07 pm #

    Personally, I don't believe cigars and wine should be paired together. Most cigars over power the wine and bring out the tannins making it taste very bitter. There are a few types of wines out there that pair fairly well. The bombastic, high alcohol, highly extracted shiraz' and grenache's from Australia or California, and high alcohol Zinfandels from Cali could pair pretty well. Otherwise I recommend sticking to port, sherry, Banyuls, Sauternes, or Madeira. My personal favorite pairing is the Illusione Epernay cigars and a not too sweet sauternes,… will change your world! But to be truthful, the best pairing with cigars is orange soda! Try it you will be surprised.

  3. Jake Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    RE: Blind reviews.

    I have to agree with Christopher for the most part. I tend to buy samplers that contain cigars I've never tried. While I don't "review" a new cigar while I smoke it, I do make mental notes. I keep a Rolodex of cigars I've smoked and write down details such as size, wrapper and flavor notes and give it a 1 – 10 rating after Ive smoked it. To me, this is my own handy-dandy way of keeping track of which ones I liked and which ones I don't. It's not a "1st third tasted [blank], 2nd third tasted [blank], etc" type of review. Just enough to where I can go back and assist my aging memory.

    After each new cigar I try, I THEN go and read reviews of it to see what other people's thoughts on it were. And, most of the time I think to myself,

    "What the hell were they smokin'?!"