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Commentary: Cigar Values

23 Jan 2013

What does a cigar smoker value? His stash of cigars, first and foremost—especially those rare sticks he’s saving for special occasions. Maybe also an expensive torch lighter, a fancy travel case, or a personalized humidor engraved with a significant date.

Aside from these obvious choices, the other day I was thinking of my other cigar-related treasures, be they tangible or intangible. The first that came to mind was my cigar sanctuary. As I write this, I’m holed up in the sealed-off den in my condo that’s equipped with a makeshift ventilation system. It’s toasty warm. Several stories below, I can see my fellow Chicagoans walking briskly on the sidewalks in a hurried attempt to reach their destinations before frost bite sets in. I observe them comfortably while enjoying a fine cigar and listening to the radio. Rest assured I value the heck out of my den in the winter.

More of a fleeting commodity, time is something I never take for granted. Cigar smoking is all about relaxation, slowing the pace of life, and taking a restful break from the day. This requires a serious investment in time, which is my single biggest constraint. I would no doubt smoke many more cigars if time were not a factor. So I definitely appreciate what time I can make. I guess time is a limited resource for all of us.

Not to get overly wistful, but I value my cigar smoking friends and the memories we’ve created. When I think of the best cigars I’ve had, I’m usually not remembering specific flavors. I’m recalling the conversations and celebrations. Perhaps the world’s best cigar was the one I smoked during my wedding reception on the steps of the Union Depot in St. Paul, surrounded by great friends and family. Which cigar was it? Doesn’t really matter.

Finally, I would be remiss to fail to point out how much I value perfect pairings. The more I smoke cigars, the more I understand that beverage pairings are more of an art than a science. For me, depending on the cigar and the time of day, my winning combos include coffee (in the morning with a Connecticut-wrapped cigar), bourbon (in the winter with something full-bodied), rum (in the summer with any cigar), red wine (milder smokes), and some beers (particularly IPAs). I’ve seen others pair up cigars with anything from orange soda and Guinness to iced tea and hot chocolate. Whatever your preference, value it—and remember that the pairing is greater than the sum of its two parts.

-Patrick A

photo credit: N/A

Drew Estate