Sharing is Caring
Who among you is known as the ‘Cigar guy’ or ‘Cigar gal’ within your friend or work groups? I know that I definitely am. For me, it’s a source of pride that my cigar enthusiast-ness is out there. In my part of the Canada, cigar smoking is not very common, so I am usually the one introducing people to cigars if they are interested in trying them.
But early on, before I knew about the Small Batches, Ford on Fifths, and BNB’s out there my humidor inventory was quite low. I was always faced with the decision: if I offer someone a cigar, and they want to try one, which one am I going to give?
Pardon me sir, but you have dropped your cold sore in my peanut butter
I had to start to think about this because I was starting to notice a trend when I would only have one cigar with me at different social events. Being a bit of a germaphobe and not particularly liking people anyway, I was faced with a serious problem. One that I am sure you have experienced also. Picture this, Sicily 1942; sorry, that was my Golden Girls moment of the day.
But tell me if this has happened to you: you are quietly enjoying you cigar at some family/friend event. Someone that may or may not know you walks up and asks to ‘have a puff’ of your cigar, like you are in some high school smoking pit. Now, the Canadian in me doesn’t want to disappoint anyone, at anytime, ever. But my brain is screaming at me – ‘I don’t know where your mouth has been!!! F$@k No!!’ or ‘ If your cold sore was not full of pus I would, bud’. So to elevate the stress of this request ever being asked again, I better start having cigars on hand that I could offer instead.
Cigar Noise App for the Win
So, faced with this question of, what cigar should I have around to give to first timers, I threw out the question on the Cigar Noise App a little over a year ago: “what do you usually give out to someone who wants to try a cigar for the first time?’ Ted was quick to respond with something to the effect of (I’m too lazy to actually scroll back through my post history haha) ‘ you want to give someone something good for their first cigar. If it is something that you like, that is what you should give. You want to give them something that may get them interested in the hobby’.
As usual, pretty wise words from Ted. So I got to thinking, what would that cigar be for me? Now at the time, I was just starting to branch out from the CAO and Don Tomas brands that seem to populate the very tiny smoke shops in my area. One shop brought in some Flor De Las Antillas from My Father Cigars. They priced in under $15 CND so I bought a couple of the Robusto and smoked them both within a couple days. I loved this cigar. I know it isn’t the boutiquiest of cigars, but it has become my baseline cigar for pairings and what I give to first timers. It hits medium smack on the head, and the boxed pressed gives great flavours and smoke.
I seriously do not know how many of these I have given out over the last couple years, but I always keep a handful around my humidor and usually have a couple in my travel humidor in case I happen to be in a place where someone may want to try a cigar. Part of this selection has to do with proximity. Since I have started to buy these cigars at the little shop in town, they always have them in stock. When I flipped this question out to the Cigar Noise crew I got back some amazing answers for what they give to a first timer.
In no particular order some of the suggestions were:
- Herrera Esteli
- Perdomo Lot 23
- Anything Cuban – if they are looking for a particular experience
- Anything from Warped
- Padron Natural
Shoulder Shugging Emojie #nowwhat
So up to the top of this internal monologue, my original premise of being the ‘Cigar Guy/Gal’ within your social groups. Has this ever caused the opposite effect, where you feel like you are being taken advantage of? In my experience 89% #science of the people I have met through the Cigar Noise App or on Instagram have been awesome. This community tends to find each other quite easily with all the social media platforms out there, and is very helpful and generous.
But dealing with real humans sometimes can be frustrating. So now the question I am faced with would be similar to Elaine from Seinfeld when she needed to decide if her potential lover was “sponge worthy”? Do you ask yourself; is this person “cigar worthy”?
I try to keep close to Ted’s advice around providing someone with a good first experience, so they may take up the hobby or pay it forward at some point. I’ve only really been burnt once when I was meeting up with some dedicated enthusiasts and I brought a half dozen of my fav Cubans. There is something about and RyJ Short Wide Churchill, always a winner.
I walk in to where we are meeting and there are like 10 people there not the 3 or 4 I was expecting. Some I know, some I don’t. My friend and I each break open our herfadors. He is packing some Cohibas, a couple Punch cigars and maybe a Montecristo or two. The cigars get snapped up and we are herfin’. Within a couple minutes a couple of the people I don’t know start hacking and coughing. They are sucking back on these beautiful Cuban cigars like they are pre-teens behind some bingo hall smoking menthol cigarettes, trying to get a buzz.
After we try and explain to slow it down a bit, let the smoke roll around, don’t try and inhale, they start complaining that the cigars are harsh and are about to drop them on the ground and stomp them out. I was about to go John MacClane, and Hans Gruber this guy, but got ahold of myself and asked them to hand over the cigars. What has this Cohiba ever done to you man? You were going to stomp it after only about a third was gone!
We are about 30 minutes in and I am smoking 4 cigars, because I just can’t let them be tossed aside. By the end my head was swirling, but at least these cigars didn’t go to waste. #winning
Herfin’ Is Where the Heart Is
At the end of the day, even after the events of that day, I still like being the person to introduce friends and family to cigars. I have found in large part that folks have a lot of misconceptions around cigars, and if they are willing to give it a chance, have a sit, have a smoke and chat, those misconceptions usually fall away. Personally this approach has brought my brother and I closer together. Even though we are half a world apart, our enjoyment of cigars keeps us very connected. We belong to the same cigar of the month club and pick one of the selections each month and video herf together. That came from a simple cottage night, me asking him if he wanted to try a cigar. Giving him a Flor De Las Antillas and us chatting and smoking into the night.
Throw us a comment on what you usually break out for a first time cigar smoker in the comments below!
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