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Stogie Commentary: Don’t Go Untreated

1 Feb 2011

With a self-diagnosis the other day, I discovered that I suffer from two cigar maladies: extreme aging disorder (EAD) and specialosis occasionism (SO).

These conditions can induce feelings of confusion and indecision, create overcrowded humidors, and limit smoking enjoyment. Perhaps you, or someone you know, is afflicted by one or both of these and may not even be aware of it. But don’t despair. There is hope. These infirmities can be cured.

Bear in mind that EAD and SO are related and can strike individually or in unison. And, like many dangers, they often start with good intentions, only to later develop into full-blown maledictions.

First, let’s look at EAD. Those who are afflicted often say something like this: “Oh, no, I can’t smoke that. It’s aging.” This despite the fact that the cigars in question have been in the humidor since Jimmy Carter was in the White House.

Aging cigars, of course, isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. However, what happens with a person suffering from EAD is that the part of the brain that recognizes cigars are supposed to be smoked becomes crippled.

This change can be charted with brain scans and sometimes leads to the individual morphing from a cigar smoker to a cigar collector. Their humidors are often stuffed with names such as Opus X, Cuban Montecristo, and Padrón Anniversary.

Sufferers of SO usually have a far-off look in their eye as they anticipate something like a wedding, anniversary, or special birthday. Such occasions are the only time they’ll light up a high-quality stick. “Oh, no, I’m saving that one,” you may hear them say when they open their humidor.

Just like their brethren beset by EAD, those with SO sustain brain changes, too. It’s just in a little different spot, the area that controls the capacity to enjoy the 350 or so days each year that have no major significance.

Now, let’s talk about cures. They can be simple and effective, especially when applied consistently.

When faced with EAD, the first step is to ask forcefully: “Which one do you want to get too old to smoke first: you or your cigars?” Then point out that some cigars don’t improve with age. Finally, lift a cigar from the box and gently say, “Even as you smoke this one, all the others are still getting older.”

For those with SO, the prescription is considerably simpler. Apply and repeat as necessary: “A great cigar makes any day a special occasion.”

Though EAD and SO can be serious conditions, in most cases they can be treated successfully. And, of course, success should be celebrated with a cigar.

George E

photo credit: Wikipedia

13 Responses to “Stogie Commentary: Don’t Go Untreated”

  1. Ethan K Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 2:06 am #

    Last special occasion that I attended w/smoking allowed anywhere, was in the parking lot. Only 3 guys out of over a hundred people went for a smoke. So, gifted a well-aged real R&J a couple of months back, I only waited until I was taking an hour-long drive to be the special moment. It was delicious.

    Weddings etc. are already special anyway, don't best cigars there.

  2. Dave in Ashburn Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 4:15 am #

    I wish I had EAD. Every so often I buy a keeper or two – sometimes even a box – that I say I won't touch for 7+ years. Eventually my supply starts running low or gets too homogeneous and I start digging in the bottom of the humidor. I think my real problem is that I'm smoking too frequently. My one or two a day is starting to look less like a hobby and more like an addiction. 🙁

    I do have a couple dozen cigars, including a box of 2009 Oliva Serie V Maduros, that I've been good about. Ideally it would be a few hundred.

  3. Chris V Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 4:44 am #

    There's been big discussion on the forum I frequent about EAD with Padron Annis in particular. Beware, a number of people think certain cigars can actually get WORSE with age. The Padron Annis are one of the ones on the chopping block. I've heard it for Padilla 1932s, Don Lino Africas, etc. too.

  4. Frank Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 6:20 am #

    I see no reason for not smoking special cigars on special occasions. You can smoke a Pirate's Gold after your birthday dinner, I'll stick with the Diamond Crown as planned.

  5. Marc E. Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 7:13 am #

    Amen, amen!

  6. Chris V Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    I don't think he's saying "Don't smoke special cigars on special days" Frank. I think he's saying, "Don't ONLY smoke special cigars on special days… smoke them whenever you feel like having a special cigar. There's no requirement."

  7. Frank Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    I like plenty of cigars. I have plenty of cigars. I have relatively few "special occasion" cigars. I'll smoke them on special occasions.

    Maybe you guys have full boxes of Davidoff Anniversary perfectos, I have one left. I'm not smoking it tonight, because as nice of a cigar as it is, it will still be a weeknight, after work, with beans and rice for dinner, with work the next day.

    I have to say, there's no cigar good enough to change that.

    So what, you wouldn't like to smoke a Punch Champion? Maybe just a plain old Henry Clay like I've been getting plenty of enjoyment out of for 20 years. But I'll tell you, no $22 cigar for me tonight.

    The writers here are generally bigger belivers than me in ambience. Man cave? Smoker's den? Puh-leeze. An occasion creates its own special ambience which heightens the experience of a fine cigar.

    on't believe me? Smoke your next Ashton ESG while changing your oil. Won't that be special?

  8. blane Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    I suffer from both.I have about 3000 cigars and only smoke about 4 a week.I think the advice is eye opening and makes you think. Just that we have our health,family,our friends etc.Those are special occasions we may take for granted.

  9. TriMarkC Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    Thank you for showing me my affliction! I've recently acquired EAD (Oct/Nov 2010), so I hope that I've caught it early enough that I can do something about it! Thank you again!

  10. Ethan K Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    Frank, The most that I have paid for a cigar is $14; and, unless I win a lottery, won't do it again. Rules & customs are not the same everywhere; so, the few special occasions that I go to, don't include a good place to smoke, nor many people w/ whom I could share the experience. Being the "nicotine addict" or whatever that my friends or relatives don't want their children to emulate, in a remote spot, is not the way for me to enjoy a great cigar. I'd love to be at events where many guys lit up while dancing etc., but that is not the way it goes…

  11. Brian E Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 11:06 pm #

    I think the point of the article is the fact that a lot of cigar enthusiasts have a significant number of cigars languishing in their humidors because whatever opportunity that presents itself to smoke a cigar is never deserving enough, in their minds, to warrant lighting up that premium smoke. Sometimes they don't even have to be super-premiums or limiteds or anything… just cigars that you have (consciously or not) elevated in your mind to a status above "yard gar" or "everyday smoke". I myself suffer from SO and I suppose I realized this a few months ago when I noticed my occasional purchases of Fuente limiteds over the years was amounting to "too many" because I was only buying a few at a time, but smoking only 1 maybe 2…. per year. Meanwhile my el cheapo cigars were being smoked regularly. As soon as the weather warms up I'd like to balance out my smoking better and smoke more of my "good" cigars.

    I do not think the idea is that lighting up a super-premium cigar while, say cleaning out your gutters, will magically transform that moment into a special occasion, but rather the *opposite*. You stop what you're doing (maybe finish the gutters first…), set aside some time, and commit yourself to a little well deserved relaxation with a good (or great) cigar. You create the special occasion. On really awful, soul crushing days I've found this can help a lot… it's one of the reasons why I started cigars in the first place.

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