An Introduction To Cigar Smoking

By: teahupoo
Currently cigars are produced in several different countries, including Cuba, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Brazil, and the Philippines. Cuban cigars, while illegal in the United States since the embargo of 1962 by President Kennedy, are considered to be the world's finest. The quality of cigars from other countries has improved dramatically in recent years and in many cases, rivals their Cuban counterparts.

When selecting a quality cigar, there are definite pre-smoking characteristics one should look for, such as construction and aroma. A well made cigar will be smoothly rolled, but should not be too tight. Don't be afraid to ask your tobacconist for assistance or advice. A full-flavored cigar should be consumed with a big meal, not on an empty stomach. A beginner might wish to start off with a mild cigar, such as a Macanudo, before moving on to more complex flavors. Whatever you do, just remember one thing: do not inhale. Simply take a puff, letting the flavor circulate within your mouth, and then blow out the smoke.

After you've made your cigar selection, it is vitally important that you keep them properly humidified. A cigar that has been allowed to dry will burn unevenly and too fast; a cigar that is over-humidified will be tough to draw from. A humidor (a humidified storage receptacle) will maintain your cigars for months, and sometimes even years, to come. Humidors vary in size and price, and are an excellent investment for anyone who truly enjoys the pleasure, and not the fad, of cigar smoking. If you are to be a serious cigar aficionado a good quality humidor is a must.

Mark Twain coined the phrase, "If I cannot smoke in heaven, then I shall not go," Many have adopted his philosophy. It's been hard to ignore the phenomenon. The industry was dormant up until a few years ago; cigars have made an incredible comeback. Cigar manufacturers are now reporting record sales and they can't keep up with the orders. Investors have been eagerly putting money into public offerings from cigar companies. A humidor previously owned by John F. Kennedy fetched a whopping half million dollars at an auction last year.

Why the sudden resurgence in popularity? Most industry experts attribute the growth to a number of factors. Hollywood stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mel Gibson, among others, have adorned the cover of leading magazines, smoking their favorite "stogie." George Hamilton successfully launched a line of cigars under the H. Upmann label, and recently opened a cigar bar in the New York, New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas bearing his name. Even women, who in the past were chastised for the practice, have developed a passion for cigars and are consuming them in record numbers.

All facts and numbers aside, what is it about cigars that makes them so popular? To put it simply, they taste good, and like a fine wine, the flavor characteristics vary from cigar to cigar, and even within a particular brand. Cigars can range from smooth and creamy in flavor, all the way up to spicy and peppery, as with Cuban cigars.
Exactly how long the cigar fad will last is anyone's guess, but most industry experts agree that there are at least another three or four years before popular interest wanes. Expect prices to increase as more-and-more consumers join the party and even more fluctuations if and when the Cuban Embargo is lifted.
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