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Commentary: A Few Cigar Pet Peeves

20 Jun 2012

I don’t like to be a complainer. I have way too much to be thankful for than to spend my time griping about this and whining about that. As a writer, reader, and lover of cigars, though, I recognize that sometimes grievances need to be aired. Today is one of those times.

In a previous listing of my top cigar pet peeves, I noted that while I consider cigars to be one of the great joys of my life, there are a number of cigar-related problems that continually irk me. Some are trivial, others not so much. In any event, I list a handful of them here:

Cigars with a Poor Draw

The more cigars I enjoy, the more I realize that I’m an enthusiast who wants the smoke to come free and easy. There’s nothing like a great-tasting stick that smokes like a chimney, emitting bountiful tufts of flavorful, aromatic smoke. I have a low tolerance for cigars that are tight, or cigars that draw inconsistently from stick to stick. A straight burn and a solid ash are important to construction, but these days I’m all about the draw.

The Government

The biggest threats to the cigar industry are the meddling politicians in Washington and in state capitals across the country. Tobacco taxes, smoking bans, and the potential of stifling regulations from the FDA all spell trouble for cigar companies, those who depend on cigar jobs at home and abroad, tobacco shops, and every cigar smoker. I believe many of the best cigars that have ever been made are in production today. Yet our so-called “leaders” are doing everything they can to make cigars too expensive, make smoke-friendly establishments illegal, make limited edition blends impossible to roll out, and make boutique manufacturers a thing of the past.

Shops with Bad Customer Service

Is it too much to ask for a tobacconist to have a basic understanding of his inventory? Or to be attentive to his customer’s needs? Or to act like he actually appreciates your business? Even though many B&Ms are average to excellent in terms of customer service, that still leaves far too many with a lot of room for improvement. It’s crummy to have a bad experience in a shop, especially when you can probably buy the same cigars online for a fraction of the price.

Guys Who Only Smoke Cubans

Every so often I run into a guy who says he only smokes Cubans. I can’t understand this. While Cuba produces some fine cigars, I continue to encounter inconsistency issues with many Cuban smokes, and the prices are often too high for what you get in return. Meanwhile, countries like Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic are turning out awesome blends and leading the industry in quality control. This guy may think he’s better than everyone else, but he’s missing out on the best tobacco in the world.

So those are my gripes for today. Feel free to share your feedback, or your own cigar pet peeves, in the comments below. It’s Wednesday, and today is a good day to complain.

Patrick A

photo credit: N/A

15 Responses to “Commentary: A Few Cigar Pet Peeves”

  1. L MUller Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 6:03 am #

    excellent, I agree completely. Poor draw will make me put a cigar down faster than anything else.

  2. Robert Samberg Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 6:53 am #

    Poor draw is a reason to dump any cigar. Not worth the effort. The government will always tell us what is best for us. Like guns and ammo, stock up on cigars before it's too late. Very large cigar retailers pretty much suck when it comes to appreciating your business. Some are downright arrogant. I shared a box of Cuban Fonseca lanceros with a friend and nine of the ten i lit were plugged beyond all relief. Plugs are my pet peeve.

  3. cigarphil Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 7:48 am #

    Preaching to the choir Patrick, good construction can save an average smoke. To the Cuban only guys they need to get out more. Some are very good but the search is expensive and for every great Cuban I'll show you 10 non Cubans that are as good or better. I can count on one hand the B&M who know enough about cigars to be helpful. Tho I do like the guy who shows me his list and asks what should I order. Might need to meditate now.

  4. Chris S Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    I guess this one has to be said, there are people out there who know absolutely nothing about cigars beyond Montecristo and Macanudo. It's one thing if you're new to the hobby, and you ask people for recommendations. It's another thing when you think you're all knowing about tobacco, when you've only smoked a few brands, and think they're the be all-end all.

  5. mighty Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    Obviously plugged cigars are a major bummer. I have also found that cigars that draw like you are drawing through an empty straw are not ideal either. Yes at least you can smoke that type of cigar, but it traditionally burns hot even if you nurse it as much as possible.

  6. Dave Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    Thank you! Finally somebody agrees with me about the Cuban thing! I've smoked cubans. Quite a few actually. Nobody seems to believe me when I say that Cubans are good, great even, but not so incredible as to make other cigars obsolete!

    I view it like runners. The fastest male runner will 9 times out of 10 be faster than the fastest female runner. It doesn't mean a female runner shouldn't run. A weird analogy, but it works. The Dominican and Nicaraguan cigars I've had lately are really really awesome, and you can get them at a fraction of the price.

  7. Tyler Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    Great article guys! Keep it up! 🙂

  8. sluggonauts Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    good article, i totally agree about draw. Dont if I'm alone, but even after aging find many cigars from cigarbid with poor draws, rarely find it from my local shop however

  9. Heavy Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    Ok a few more pet peves. Crummy chairs or not enough chairs to sit in after you buy a quality smoke. Shops that close too early, some of us have to work. I can tolerate someone who works in a shop that doesn't have as much cigar knowledge as me or even not as much enthuisiam but arrogance and crappy attitudes need to go. How about having bottled water or some coffee on the house after I just bought a $12-$16 smoke? Shops gotta create a warm friendly atmosphere for the customers. Also hate when shop sales guy hovers over you while you look around. I also don't want to see too many smokes that I see in mail out catalougs or online, give me some quality choices at fair prices…

  10. Swede214 Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    Thanks Patrick, great thoughts, could not agree more.

  11. jswaykos Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 7:32 am #

    "More is better" guy drives me crazy. Too often on forums I'll see someone write off a smaller cigar as "too expensive for a corona." How does that make sense?!!? Don't you want a good smoke, regardless of size? Yes, a 6×60 is a lot of tobacco for your money, but that doesn't necessarily mean it tastes better.

    Compare it to wine. You can get a $5 bottle of Corbet Canyon that'll last you twice as long as a regular bottle. Or, you can get a $10-$15 bottle that'll have flavors you didn't know were possible in a wine. But, $10 is expensive for a 'small' bottle of wine, better get the larger bottle for cheaper.

    Not saying all small cigars are better than big cigars, or all expensive wine is better than cheap wine, but don't get so hung up ONLY on size.

  12. Iess Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    I'm totaly agree with you, i've been realy deceive by siglo I, Montecristo n°5 and reyes of trinidad and found better casa magna robusto for 2 or 3€ less. Kindest regard from France !!! Stay up !!!

  13. Bill Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    I agree about the tight draw. I don't smoke cigars to be frustrated.

    As far as the Cubans, Montecristos and Macanudos it really doesn't bother me what they smoke as long as they don't smoke mine 😉

  14. scottright Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    It's been my experience that anyone who proclaims they only smoke Cubans…knows nothing about or even really loves cigars. A good Cuban cigar is wonderful – but saying you only smoke them is like saying you only drink French wine. To this person, the Cuban cigar is merely an accessory – the "trophy wife" of cigars, if you will. The reason they only smoke Cubans – is to let everyone know that They Only Smoke Cubans, or Never Flies Coach, or Have Their Shirts Handmade and Monogrammed.

    As for the draw, this drives me nuts. I won't ever smoke a Gurkha again because I haven't had one yet that wasn't like sucking on the end of a broomstick. I'll always allow for the occasional bad stick – if something's made by hand there are bound to be inconsistencies – but there are brands I avoid because they simply charge too much for an repeatedly unsatisfying product.

    • Chris S Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

      I feel the same way about Gurkha's. Every time I've ever had one it was like trying to drink a milkshake through a tiny straw. On top of that, I don't think they have enough of a good taste to convince me to keep trying.

      And spot on with your commentary on the Cubans. I have a close friend from Toronto who has said that he won't smoke Cubans just because of the ridiculous price they charge on them.