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Commentary: The Brotherhood of Cigars

7 Jan 2014

I had multiple people send me this article from the National Review. In it, conservative write Jonah Goldberg describes his fondness for cigars and the democratic nature of cigars and cigar smokers:

NR-cigarshopI can often be found on the twelfth-floor balcony of the American Enterprise Institute, also with stogie in hand. A friend and former colleague and I gave this balcony a nickname, “The Remnant,” in homage to Albert Jay Nock’s notion of an irreducible sliver of right-thinking humanity separate and apart from the “Neolithic” masses.

Nock’s was a thoroughly elitist conception, which is ironic, since smoking cigars may be the most democratic thing I do. At the cigar shop, the clientele is mixed in nearly every way, though you wouldn’t say it “looks like America.” A large proportion of the African-American regulars are D.C. cops. In terms of professions, the crowd leans a bit too heavily toward lawyers (as does the nation’s capital). But there’s no shortage of contractors, manual laborers, college students, and retirees.

Politically, there are all types. As far as I can tell, the most ideologically conservative regular (me included) is a federal employee. The gender mix is thoroughly lopsided, of course. Women do occasionally come into the shop, but when they do, all eyes go up as if a unicorn had sauntered into a library. Dennis Prager, another gentleman of the leaf, has written that cigar shops may be the last place in America where men can congregate and talk as men.

It’s worth a full read, even though I’m sure there are aspects – especially the political parts – that some readers will disagree with. (Personally, I’m not sure I’d agree his opinion on who is “the capital’s best tobacconist” but that’s really besides the point.)

The quoted passage above characterizes one of the best parts of cigar smoking. It’s not simply the enjoyment of the cigar, there’s much more to being a cigar smoker than that.

Quite simply, cigar smokers are a community. Even if you smoke alone, you’re flying a flag that says other cigar smokers are welcome to stop by for a chat.

Cigar smokers regularly approach other cigar smokers they’ve never met before to strike up a conversation. That doesn’t happen anywhere else these days. I may be a NY Giants fan, but I wouldn’t walk up to someone wearing a Giants jersey and strike up a conversation, unless he was also smoking E.P. Carrillo.

And that brotherhood of cigar smokers is one of the reasons we enjoy cigars so much.

Patrick S

photo credit: National Review

6 Responses to “Commentary: The Brotherhood of Cigars”

  1. Marc Sinden Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 5:39 am #

    What an interesting article (although I too do not agree with Goldbergs politics) and I love the idea of a "community of cigar smokers" and I thank you, as I had not come across this site before. Fortunately, being in the UK and so, Europe, we can all have the added pleasure of enjoying genuine Cuban cigars. Please do all you can to get the iniquitous & illegal US Cuban embargo lifted so that you too can enjoy the pleasures of a REAL cigar!

  2. Guy Buscema Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 6:48 am #

    I just saw some horibble fakes ,coming in from MEXICO aimed at the large Americn population in that country ,and It made me sick to know they will find thier ,"CUBANS", so so. Now I know why you think that Cubans are not so great. No Wonder.

  3. Marcus45 Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    Are there a lot of fake Cubans in the U.S.? Absolutely. But many of us are adept at spotting a fake — that's usually very easy — and/or have reputable sources for Cuban cigars. To assume all Americans are all smoking fake Cubans is silly.

    Further, it's equally silly to assume Cubans are the very best, just because they're from Cuba. Many of the reviews on this site that are not favorable of Cubans point out (rightly, in my opinion) inconsistencies and sub-par construction. There are many good Cuban cigars, but there are also many overpriced, overrated ones as well.

    For my money, the stuff coming out of Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic is superior to the stuff coming out of Cuba today.

    • Marcus45 Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 11:38 am #

      That said, to each his own. Smoke what you love, and love what you smoke.

    • Guy Buscema Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

      I would rather be smoking a "PESO" cigar from Cuba, then any high end N.C. . That's for sure,It would taste better. If N.C.'s were "superior' to Cubans, the world would know by now,but It seems like the only country that thinks different , seem to be the U.S.A and the N.C. maker's..

      • JimmyS Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

        I think it's worth pointing out that there's probably an American taste profile, and a European taste profile. This is generalizing, but I think Europeans prefer more subtle, complex smokes, whereas Americans tend to favor the rich, bold tastes that are found in Nicaraguan tobacco. This may help explain why the world doesn't know by now… The world is not homogeneous.