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Commentary: Optimal Conditions for Cigar Smoking

22 Sep 2014

Assuming time is one of your biggest constraints—as it is mine—you likely face a similar tradeoff: smoke more cigars more often, but forgo the ability to seriously appreciate every stick; or smoke almost every cigar under great smoking conditions, but smoke less.


As a husband, father of an infant, and occupant of a demanding job that requires regular travel, it’s really tough to find the time to smoke a cigar under (what I consider to be) optimal circumstances. But I think such circumstances are necessary if I’m going to be studying, writing about, and reviewing many of the cigars I smoke. So, when faced with the aforementioned tradeoff, I’m usually erring on the side of smoking less, but smoking under solid conditions. That’s how things have played out over the past few years.

What exactly are these optimal conditions? Like so many things when it comes to cigars, I’d imagine the conditions vary by individual. And that’s OK. For me, though, I tend to get the most enjoyment out of a cigar—and I have the greatest ability to appreciate its flavors and performance—when the setup is as follows:

• A comfortable piece of furniture
• An agreeable temperature, either outside or inside
• No wind
• Little else to draw away my attention
• A carefully chosen drink

Right away, you can probably see that these requirements aren’t easily met in full. Unless, of course, you have a smoking sanctuary at your home, or you frequent a well-run cigar lounge. The kind of conditions that don’t make the cut for deep cigar appreciation include the golf course, the car, a BBQ, or even going for a walk.

Now don’t get me wrong. Do I find myself smoking cigars on the golf course, in the car, at BBQs, or on walks? Yes. But more often I’m on my back patio or (when the weather is less agreeable) in my den. True, some of this is a function of my work for, which requires a lot of careful consideration and writing. But I tend to think I’d still fall into the habit of smoking a little less and smoking more attentively even without this website.

That said, in preparation for this article, lately I’ve consciously smoked more often, many times under less-than-ideal conditions. I’ve enjoyed it. And frankly it’s kind of liberating to fire up a smoke at times when I typically wouldn’t.

I’ve learned that, in terms of the tradeoff, it’s probably ideal to have a more balanced approach. After all, some cigars are built for the golf course, just as some demand my unwavering attention.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

4 Responses to “Commentary: Optimal Conditions for Cigar Smoking”

  1. Wayne C Monday, September 22, 2014 at 8:12 am #

    I've actually been thinking a fair amount about this topic lately. These days, I'm smoking less (i.e., not smoking for the sake of smoking) and smoking more attentively. I think this is more rewarding.

    Of course, for me it may also be a result of the fact that, years ago, I couldn't really afford nice cigars. Now I can, and I choose to smoke them under conditions similar to what you describe as ideal.

  2. kabaraka Monday, September 22, 2014 at 8:45 am #

    I find it best to smoke inside an air conditioned room where I can appreciate the smoke more. As in my country it's very hot and humid to enjoy a stick on a house patio or garden. So I'd like to know if you guys also smoke inside and aircon room too as I feel it's unhealthy to smoke inside?

  3. Dave Monday, September 22, 2014 at 8:46 am #

    While I agree that it is a truly great time to be able to sit with a special cigar, complementary beverage and no distractions, that is the exception rather than the rule. Equally rare are times when I would smoke just to smoke, like while mowing or fishing. That leaves the majority of smoking opportunities as OK conditions, moderate distractions and unplanned pairings. For that, I have a core selection of good, enjoyable and economical cigars (but are by no means "yard gars"). I do pay attention to them, enjoy the flavors, but don't worry about extracting every nuance. Luckily there is still a good variety available with various internet specials to keep that supply well stocked.

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