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Author Topic: Do You Smoke After Sex?  (Read 3780 times)

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Offline Lord MayerlingTopic starter

Do You Smoke After Sex?
« on: December 11, 2012, 01:09:10 PM »
Do You Smoke After Sex?

A cigar smoking blog by amateurs, for amateurs.

We all want a piece of the good life. Is there any symbiotic image that instantly signifies class, status, sophistication, and prosperity moreso than a cigar? Over the course of writing this blog, Kyrsa and I will be exploring and learning about cigars and smoking, and share what we learn with you, our readers. We will mostly cover cigar flavors of particular cigars, but we’ll also cover other cigar-related topics as we have time and drive to do so. In this introductory article, we’ll be introducing the basics of cigar smoking. Cigar smoking is similar to wine, tea, and coffee tasting in that there are a plethora of varieties, tobaccos, smokes, shapes, and countries of origin that all affect flavor and quality in a cigar. We’ll be including that data in every cigar that we review.

There’s a stigmatism out there that cigars start and end with Cuba; anything not from Cuba isn’t really a cigar, and can’t shake a stick at a real Cuban cigar. Personally, I don’t subscribe to this truism. I’ve smoked several different Cuban brands, and none of them have been better than the best cigars I’ve smoked from other countries. It wasn’t like I skimped either. I’ve spent the equivalent of $35USD on a Cuban cigar, and it didn’t blow me away. In truth, it’s not even in the upper half of all the cigars I’ve smoked in terms of overall enjoyment. Certainly, though, it was the most expensive cigar I ever purchased. In this blog we’ll be exploring cigars that are readily available in the United States, which means Cubans (probably) won’t even be covered. Worry not, there are excellent non-Cuban cigars out there.

First, you’ll need some cigars. You can procure cigars a lot of places. Tobacconists typically have the best prices, knowledge, and selection on individual cigars, but you can also get cigars at liquor stores, bars, cigar bars, and even some convenience stores. You can also buy cigars online, which is how I typically buy them.

You can spend quite a bit for cigars, but you don’t have to to get a quality cigar. Most of us will spend $15 on a bottle of wine to go with a nice dinner. You can get 2 cigars for that price as well, and turn your nice dinner in to an experience you’re not likely soon to forget, and may turn into something you do regularly. Because tobacco is a regulated substance, its price can also vary widely from state-to-state from taxes that dramatically affect the cost. A cigar that costs $7 in Virginia costs $15 in New York City.

Apart from the general flavor characteristics of a cigar, you’ll want to choose a cigar that is fresh. Whenever possible, buy cigars that have been stored for sale in a humidor. A lot of liquor stores and convenience stores sell cigars from an unconditioned case. Stay away from those, even if the cigars are individually wrapped or sealed in cellophane. They’ll be dry and taste like bark. Some cigars are sold individually in a metal or glass tube. Metal tubes are semi-sealed, and glass tubes are typically airtight. Cigars sold in solid glass tubes are great for someone that doesn’t have a humidor at home in which to store the cigars as they’ll last a little longer. If you buy cigars that are in a metal tube or wrapped only in cellophane, ask for a ziplock bag to store them in. You’ll want to smoke your cigars within 48 hours of buying them if you don’t have a humidor to store them in. Tobacconists will also have inexpensive one-time use gel packs that will keep your cigars moist for up to two weeks if you keep everything zipped up in a ziplock bag.

Cigars are typically open on one end (called the foot) and closed on the other (called the cap or head) with a rounded tip. Before you smoke a cigar, you’ll need to get through the cap. This is usually done with clippers of some kind, but can also be done with a cigar punch or a bite. Often, the proprietorship where you obtained the cigars will clip them for you for free upon request. Some places, cigar bars in particular, will charge you a fee for doing this. You should always clip the cigar perpendicularly, and cleanly. If you cut at an angle, your cigar won’t burn evenly, and some of the most flavorful tobacco may not burn at all. Some people use a cigar punch to punch a small hole in the cap that’s smaller in diameter than the cigar itself. I’ve never done this, nor seen anyone do this, so I don’t know much about it, or what effect it has on the overall smoke. You can also bite off the end with your teeth, especially if you’re smoking in a spaghetti western, but I would never recommend it to anyone, ever.

You need a source of flame to ignite your cigar. A lighter usually does the trick, but keep in mind that you need more heat to ignite a cigar than a cigarette. A cheap BIC lighter or matches (either paper or wood) will likely burn your hand before the cigar is fully ignited. A butane lighter is my personal preference, but grill lighters also work well, as do butane torches and gas burners on a stove. Always test the flame height of your ignition source before attempting to light your cigar. Safety first, please.

Time & Space
Moreso than cigarettes, you need to have time to smoke a cigar, anywhere from 30-90 minutes, depending on the length of the cigar. The whole point of smoking a cigar is taking time out to relax and enjoy the flavor of tobacco and your smoking company. A cigar should never be rushed, nor should it be lit more than once. Because they take so long to smoke, it’s difficult to plan a smoke on a rainy day if you want to smoke outdoors. When you smoke outdoors, make sure you smoke in a place away from non-smokers, and don’t be a douche and smoke in a traffic area where people have to walk through your smoke to get where they want to go. This is the difference between smokers and cigar smokers. When smoking inside, I prefer a large room that can be enclosed but also ventilated to the outside. I put a fan in the window facing outside, and close the other doors and windows. This will funnel the smoke outside, and keep it out of the rest of the indoor space as much as possible.

Ash Receptacles
Especially when smoking indoors, you’ll need an ashtray or some other receptacle to collect the burnt ash from your cigar. Ash is hot and can start fires. An ashtray in which you can actually put the cigar down without either end touching anything is ideal in case you need to free both hands. An ashtray will also provide a place for your cigar to burn out on its own rather than stamping it out. This is a much less smoky way for a cigar to extinguish, and it’s also a lot less messy. For some, stamping out a cigar is bad etiquette. Know your company. Outside, I also prefer an ashtray or ashcan for the simple reason that cigars create a lot more ash per smoke than cigarettes do, and it’s also a courtesy to those with whom you are sharing the outdoor space. Again, it’s a practice that separates smokers from cigar smokers.

This is all you need to get started in a wonderful smoking experience. Having a cigar of which you enjoy the flavor is the foundation of great smoking, but it’s the experience itself that will bring the most enjoyment. It’s a great setting for talking to loved one, making new friends, or simply reminiscing around a warm fire under a blanket of starred sky. If you’re alone, it’s an opportunity to put your phone down, step away from the computer, and enjoy an hour or so of relaxation amongst complex aromas and flavors. For me, the experience is analogous to sex. It’s an hour spent in intellectual intimacy (as opposed to physical) that leaves me feeling satisfied and refreshed.

Offline Lord MayerlingTopic starter

Re: Do You Smoke After Sex?
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2012, 03:40:04 PM »
Do You Smoke After Sex?


Cigar: Cariños (Natural)
Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: 5 in, 50 gauge (Robusto)
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Jalapa Seco
Binder: Brazilian Sumatra
Filler: Panamanian/Honduran Jamastran blend
Strength: Medium
Price: $5

Initial Impressions: I have to admit the image on the ring convinced me to buy this cigar. It made me think of some post-coital hottie finding me smoking out on the veranda and joining me for some pillow talk. Maybe it reminded me of one of my favorite smoking experiences ever. Who knows? It worked.

Appearance and Construction: Handrolled cigars generally have minor imperfections, although the fewer the imperfections the better. There were numerous soft spots on this cigar, which result when the filler leaves aren’t rolled in a uniform way, or the filler itself isn’t meticulously managed as it’s rolled within the binder. The cigar was particularly soft up near the head to the point of being almost spongy. That’s bad.

Flavor and Notes: The pre-light draw had a wonderful flavor with mellow notes of sweet and wood. The first few draws were very peppery, giving a lot of raw spiciness flavor. A quarter of the way through the cigar the woody taste was back and mixed very nicely with the spicy. This was the best part of the smoke for this cigar. After getting halfway, the woodiness was gone, being overpowered by spiciness. The spiciness got stronger as the smoke progressed, until by the end it was like licking black pepper. Another review of this cigar I read noted a nutty taste, but my novice tongue didn’t taste it. 

Burn/Ash/Draw: Due to the somewhat poor construction, the cigar didn’t burn as evenly as I would have liked, but it wasn’t crazy and did not require micromanaging. White ash is a trait cigar aficionados like to see in a cigar; in this cigar, the binder burned light grey, and the filler burned dark gray. It bound together extremely well, and I only had to ash the cigar three times over the entire smoke. The draw was easy and smooth throughout, making the actual act of smoking non-laborious and quite enjoyable.

Aftermath: I usually feel a little lightheaded and euphoric after I smoke a cigar. In this instance I was so lightheaded I felt impaired. I would go so far as to relate the feeling to being drunk. That’s really more impaired than I want to feel after a smoke.

Other Comments: All-in-all this is a decent cigar, especially for the price. I’ve smoked this cigar several times, and spiciness is always the most prominent flavor. The spiciness comes from the binder: Sumatra tobacco is known for its spiciness. Unfortunately, the binder is what you typically want to have the lowest impact on overall flavor. It makes me wonder if they were literally trying to spice up a lackluster filler. The wrapper and the filler are made from two very similar varieties of tobacco (the Jalapa and Jamastra valleys are very geographically close along the Nicaragua/Honduras border), and yet they were still overpowered by the Brazilian Sumatra.

This cigar is also available in a dark Maduro wrapper, which in theory would give it a sweeter taste.

Overall Grade: C

Offline Lord MayerlingTopic starter

Re: Do You Smoke After Sex?
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2012, 07:06:40 PM »
Do You Smoke After Sex?

Anatomy of a Smoke:

So you have your cigar, you’ve clipped the tip, you have your trusty lighter in-hand and perhaps you have a glass of your favorite evening beverage. You’re ready to enjoy a smoke. In this article, we cover how to get the most out of your smoking experience with some easy tips and techniques for the first time cigar smoker. Cigar smoking is significantly different from cigarette smoking, so if you’ve never smoked a cigar before, hopefully this will help with the intimidation factor.

There are several things you want to do before you actually light the cigar. First, sniff the cigar. Don’t be shy, wear it like a mustache and really smell it. Before it’s lit, tobacco smells nothing like smoke, and it has a very natural, earthy fragrance. Much like premium coffee beans that are simply shelled and roasted, premium tobacco leaves aren’t adulterated before being rolled into cigars; they’re just dried and de-veined. Some cigars have other flavors, fragrances, or essences added to the tobacco, and you’ll be able to smell them as well.

Address the Ring Question. There’s a big debate on the etiquette of taking the cigar ring off before you smoke it, or leaving it on. I take it off, personally, because I usually smoke past its point on the cigar, and you don’t want it to ignite while you’re smoking the cigar. If you want other people to know what you’re smoking, leave the ring on.

Next, take the still-unlit cigar and draw through it as you would as if it were lit. This will give you a taste of the raw flavor of the (mostly) filler tobacco. The flavor is more intense before you light it than after, when the smoke and other chemical reactions add complexity to the flavor. It can give you an idea of what kind of smoke you’re in for, though not necessarily the intensity of the smoke itself. If you really like the flavor, feel free to repeat the draw, but pass the damn lighter already.

Finally, test the flame height on your ignition source before lighting the cigar so that you don’t accidentally singe your face. Remember that cigars require a higher temperature to ignite than cigarettes do. This means more heat for a longer period of time near your face. Plan accordingly.

Lighting the Cigar
Lighting a cigar can be kinda tricky, especially because it can take longer than expected, and creates a lot of smoke. Additionally, there’s a pretty standard etiquette that you never light someone else’s cigar, or give one that is already lit. Hopefully this thought process will help until you really get the hang of it.

1.   Close your throat. You never, ever want to inhale cigar smoke into the lungs, and this is the most likely chance for it to happen.
2.   Put the lighter in your dominant hand, and ignite it. Put the flame to the foot of the cigar and pull as long a draw into your mouth as you can.  This first pull is likely where you’ll inhale smoke if you’re not careful.  It can be an unpleasant experience if you’re not paying attention.
3.   Rotate the cigar and take additional puffs as necessary. This is the trickiest part, as you will have a mouthful of smoke before starting this step. Expel the smoke from your mouth quickly as you rotate the cigar with your fingers and take a new draw, keeping the lighter ignited the entire time. Repeat this process until the entire foot of the cigar is ignited all the way to the outer edge of the cigar.

The whole ignition process takes a full 10 seconds or more, and it takes a while to get the technique down without inhaling smoke while doing it. 

The Smoke
You’ve reached your destination. Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy your cigar. Here are some tips to help you make the most of it:
  • Again, never, ever inhale cigar smoke into your lungs. It’s a really crappy experience.
  • Take a draw of smoke into your mouth, hold it there for as long as you like, and expel it. You may expel smoke from your nose as you like as well. Separate your draws by about a minute.
  • When you draw in, try to have your teeth out of the way; this will make the cigar burn more evenly. If one side of your cigar is burning faster than the other, put the unburnt side facing skyward. This may be difficult to control if you’re smoking and it’s windy.
  • Try to keep the head of the cigar as dry as possibly as you draw on it. Too much saliva saturates the head and turns it into a spongy, disintegrating mass, and will likely result in getting bits of the wrapper in your mouth.
  • Hold a cigar between your thumb and index finger, not between your index and middle finger. This is yet another etiquette debate. I find it easier to use my thumb and index finger towards the end, but the other position is more comfortable otherwise.
  • Frequency of ashing is up to personal preference. Aficionados like a cigar to “hold” its burnt ash as long as possible; the longer the hold, the better quality of the tobacco and the cigar roller. Mostly ashing comes down to a safety issue. Burnt ash is hot and can cause burns or start fires, and easily fall on your clothes or skin. Treat it as you would any flaming object.
  • Eventually you’ll get to the point where it feels like you’re inhaling fire, or there is no longer a place to hold the cigar with your fingers without burning yourself, about where the ring is/was on most cigars. Time to call it quits. Put your cigar in an ashtray, but don’t stamp it out. It’ll extinguish on its own in a few minutes. Make sure it has extinguished before disposing of it, however.
  • If you liked the cigar, keep the ring. It’s the easiest way to find that cigar again when you’re shopping. It sounds more complicated than it is, remember to experiment safely. This is the best way we’ve found to light and smoke a cigar, but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily the best way for you. Weather conditions, tobacco quality and personal preferences can all play a part in how a cigar smokes from beginning to end.

Offline Lord MayerlingTopic starter

Re: Do You Smoke After Sex?
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2012, 06:19:49 PM »
Do You Smoke After Sex?


Cigar: Punch Rare Corojo 10th Anniversary
Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: 5.5in, 50 gauge (Robusto)
Wrapper: Connecticut Corojo
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Dominican/Honduran/Nicaraguan Piloto Cubano blend
Strength: Full-bodied
Price: $7

Initial Impressions: The vintage look along with the double banding make the look of this cigar really stand out. Punch Rare Corojo cigars are typically wrapped in a distinctive red Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper. For the 10th Anniversary edition, they went with a propriety Connecticut-grown Corojo wrapper. The binder is also Connecticut broadleaf. The cigar didn’t have much fragrance out of the humidor. The pre-light draw was rich and creamy, and surprisingly easy considering the stiffness of the cigar.

Appearance and Construction: This cigar is box-pressed which creates a uniform rounded square shape along the entire length of the cigar. It was very stiff and tightly rolled, and only one spot I would call a little squishy. It was so stiff I thought it was going to be difficult to draw through. However the overall appearance and construction are excellent.

Flavor and Notes: Right from the get go this cigar had an awesome spiciness to it. The spice was never overpowering, allowing a complex, aromatic flavor to emerge. The earthy creaminess from the pre-light draw stuck around for the entire smoke. There was also a nice leathery note consistently present. The aromatic flavors mixed with the nuanced spice made for an overall lovely flavor.

Burn/Ash/Draw: Despite the stiffness of the cigar, this cigar was very easy to smoke. The ash bound together well, and burned a medium gray. One side of the box wrapping consistently burned faster than the rest, so I had to be a bit careful as I smoked it.

Aftermath: The mellow flavors of this complex cigar are still in my mouth, and they aren’t smoky or stale, reminding me how much I enjoyed it.

Other Comments: This was a great smoke that I really enjoyed, and a great example of how a full-bodied strength can still have a mellow, complex flavor. This was a fantastic cigar. I would happily enjoy smoking this cigar again and again.

Overall Grade: A

Offline Lord MayerlingTopic starter

Re: Do You Smoke After Sex?
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2012, 09:27:09 PM »
Do You Smoke After Sex?


Cigar: Liga Undercrown (Maduro)
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: 5 in x 54 gauge (Robusto)
Wrapper: Mexican San Andreas (pretentiously called Otapan Negro Último Corte)
Binder: Connecticut Habano (pretentiously called T52 stalk cut & cured)
Filler: Brazilian/Nicaraguan Mata Fina blend
Strength: Medium
Price: $7

Initial Impressions: This cigar came in a pack of the “Best Rated Cigars of 2012” that I recently procured. Furthermore, it’s from ultra-trendy Drew Estate, a relatively new manufacturer in the cigar industry. They’re known for making complex-flavored cigars with essences and flavors never before used in making cigars. As a result, I had high expectations.

Appearance and Construction: The cigar looked immaculate, especially for being hand-rolled. There were no soft spots at all, and no imperfections in the wrapper. Unfortunately, this was the best aspect of this cigar.

Flavor and Notes: The pre-light draw had a wonderful creamy sweet flavor, with a coffee note. It was one of the best pre-light draws I’ve ever experienced. Once lit however, the flavors were gone and there wasn’t much of anything beyond smoke. There was no spice, no wood, no sweet, no anything. It was a real disappointment in this regard.

Burn/Ash/Draw: This cigar burned very evenly with a very light gray ash verging on white. The ash also held together well. I only had to ash it three times over the entire smoke. The draw was smooth and easy, if essentially flavorless.

Aftermath: Really, I was so disappointed in the lack of flavor I was happy to just be done with it. It didn’t leave a lasting impression. This is the second Drew Estate cigar I’ve had, and I haven’t liked either.

Other Comments: I can only hope that this cigar might be better in a Natural instead of a Maduro. Maduro wrappers are dark and add a note of sweetness to the flavor, but it didn’t do much for this cigar. I can’t recommend this cigar, especially for the price. You’re paying for the Drew Estate label.

Overall Grade: D
« Last Edit: December 22, 2012, 09:30:59 PM by Lord Mayerling »

Offline Lord MayerlingTopic starter

Re: Do You Smoke After Sex?
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2012, 03:29:15 PM »
Do You Smoke After Sex?


Cigar: Romeo y Julieta Havoc Magnum (Natural)
Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: 6 in x 60 gauge (Gordo)
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: 2-3-year Aged Nicaraguan/Honduran blend
Strength: Medium-Full-bodied
Price: $6

Initial Impressions: This cigar is huge! It’s probably the biggest cigars I’ve ever smoked. This cigar comes from Romeo y Julieta, one of the most famous cigar brands, if not the most famous. They've been marketing cigars since 1875. This was the brand Winston Churchill smoked (but wait…Churchill didn’t smoke a Cuban brand? More on this in an upcoming article). He smoked so much they named a cigar length after him…the Churchill. This cigar is listed at Medium strength, but for a cigar this size it’s pretty much a given that it will have Full-Bodied complexity.

Appearance and Construction: This cigar was well rolled with no soft spots, although by the end of the smoke the head had gone soft, but this was probably my fault more than the cigar’s. At the finish the head was soggy and soft.

Flavor and Notes: Large gauge cigars have the most potential for complex flavor because they have a lot of filler tobacco, and this cigar didn’t disappoint. The pre-light draw had a wonderful creamy vanilla note on top of fresh tobacco. The initial flavor was quite harsh, but after just a puff or two a complex, smooth flavor developed similar to the pre-light draw. A lovely hint of black pepper and coffee added to the flavor after the first quarter. The overall flavor was tasty, but suffered from how the cigar burned.

Burn/Ash/Draw: The cigar was extremely difficult to light due to its thickness. I had to resort to a stove burner to light it, as my lighter couldn’t cover enough surface area to get it to light evenly. After the first quarter the cigar began burning unevenly, forcing me to micromanage the smoke. This really takes away from the relaxed smoke I want to experience. The problem became so bad that the wrapper stopped burning about halfway, and I had to cut off the end and relight the part that wasn’t burning. That didn’t solve the problem, and by the finish a significant portion of the wrapper and even the binder wasn’t burning.

Aftermath: The aftermath of this cigar was just what I like: a lightheadedness that finishes a lovely smoke. I was sitting in front of the window with a setting sun and watching the ball game, rounding out the whole smoking experience.

Other Comments: This cigar typified the pros and cons of smoking a thick cigar. The flavor was complex without being harsh, and provided over ninety minutes of smoking. However, it was extremely difficult to keep it smoking evenly, making me concentrate on how it was burning instead of the flavor. It provided a new respect for those who perform fellatio. Incredibly, this cigar is available in an even larger size: a 7in x 58 gauge Fat Churchill.

Overall Grade: B-
« Last Edit: December 23, 2012, 03:32:16 PM by Lord Mayerling »

Offline Lord MayerlingTopic starter

Re: Do You Smoke After Sex?
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2012, 12:26:54 PM »
Do You Smoke After Sex?

Revolution Brings Evolution to the Cigar Industry:

“A smoke in times of rest is a great companion to the solitary soldier.” – Che Guevara, Marxist Revolutionary

In the past few reviews I’ve covered cigars from two of the most famous cigar brands in the world, Punch and Romeo y Julieta. Both of these brands have existed since the 19th century, and continue to be among the top selling cigars worldwide today. We owe the Victorians to making cigar smoking popular in the 19th century, but it was always an activity that was exclusive to the upper classes of society. It’s hard to believe that something as ubiquitous today as the banana was virtually unknown to Europeans and North Americans until the late 19th century. It was the same with other tropical products: sugar, coffee, and of course, tobacco. As global trade started to flourish towards the end of the century and into the 20th, products from the tropics became more popular in Europe and North America because they could be mass produced and imported to Europe and North America inexpensively. Cigar factories sprang up all over the New World, even as far north as Montreal, a hub of cigar manufacturing at the turn of the last century. But perhaps more than any other product, the politics of the 20th century dramatically changed how tobacco was grown and marketed.

Europeans, usually with no horticultural knowledge, often saw opportunity for profit in the exploitation of the tobacco crop. These were always men with capital: bankers, industrialists, tycoons, etc. With no tobacco growing experience, investors relied on locals to be their experts in the cultivation of tobacco, and upon torcedores, highly skilled tobacco workers familiar with drying and rolling the tobacco into cigars. With the introduction of mechanization into the cigar industry, production exploded, and quality disappeared. Instead of being rolled as whole leaves, tobacco was now processed and cut into a mince. The cigars were filled with the minced leaves and rolled into a reconstituted wrapper, and marketed very inexpensively. Most cigars are still manufactured this way, China being the largest manufacturer of machine-made cigars. Additionally, another industrialist had the idea of rolling the mince into paper instead of tobacco, and the cigarette was born, making smoking even cheaper. By the mid-20th century, cigarette smoking surpassed cigar smoking as the chief way to consume tobacco. Fortunately, there remained a strong market for premium, hand-rolled cigars made from unadulterated tobacco leaves, and this is probably why we associate cigar smoking with the upper class today. Everyone else (and it really was close to everyone) smoked something cheaper. 

Tobacco for cigars was originally cultivated on the island of Hispaniola, in what is now the Dominican Republic. But the Caribbean was a mélange of imperialist holdings and colonies, and the natives were starting to become fed up with subjugation and subversion from their European masters. This was especially prominent on the island of Cuba, a Spanish colony. Colonial wars were almost constant through the last quarter of the 19th century, culminating in the Spanish American War in 1898, the result of which Cuba (along with the Philippines) became a US Protectorate. It was during this time that various Europeans and Americans were almost constantly at war with natives in the Caribbean, one of the secondary effects of which was while they were there they began smoking cigars. Winston Churchill was among those who travelled to Cuba as a soldier, and fell in love with cigars from that country. While war continued to rage in the Dominican Republic disrupting manufacturing of cigars, the relative peace in Cuba after 1902 resulted in Cuba emerging as the dominant producer of tobacco for cigars. Cuban cigars became so popular that premium tobacco (that is, tobacco grown for use in making hand-rolled cigars) virtually disappeared outside Cuba. Tobacco cultivation centered around the family unit, with members of the family becoming experts in growing tobacco as well as the local environment and microclimate.

Famous brands flourished through the 19th century into the mid-20th century. Punch, first sold in 1840 by a German investor, became popular in the UK. In 1844, a banker named Herman Upmann invested in a cigar factory in Havana and began marketing H. Upmann cigars. This became John F. Kennedy’s favorite cigar. Partagas was born in 1845 from a Spanish investor. In 1875 Romeo y Julieta, Winston Churchill’s favorite, came onto the scene, actively personally marketed by Pepin Rodriguez Hernandez, who mingled with the who’s who of Europe and America, and owned a racehorse aptly named Julieta. Nellie Tayloe Ross, the first ever woman to be elected Governor of a US State (Wyoming) also enjoyed the Romeo y Julieta brand. All of these brands, among others, still exist today.

However, in the post-WW2 era political upheaval again began to shake the island of Cuba. Marxists led by Fidel Castro and Argentina-born Che Guevara overthrew the US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959. During the 1950s, many of the tobacco cultivating families of Cuba could see the writing on the wall, and began to emigrate from Cuba. Some came to the United States and Europe, others went to elsewhere in the Caribbean. Castro’s Revolutionary Government immediately began nationalizing industry, including the all-important cigar industry. The cigar industry was consolidated under a state-owned monopoly named Cubatabaco. This company began producing cigars under the exact same brand names that had existed before the revolution, even though the families that produced the cigars were no longer there, and still owned the labels for their own cigars.

In 1962, the Kennedy administration created and enforced a trade embargo upon Cuba that is still in place today, 50 years later. It prohibited Americans from importing and selling any Cuban product. While the rest of the world still snickers about the wisdom of keeping the embargo in place, its effects impacted the tobacco industry more than any other. This is somewhat ironic considering Kennedy wanted to exempt cigars from the ban, and only did so because of political pressure from cigar manufacturers in Florida, who knew the embargo was going to make them a lot more money. Legend has it that Kennedy had 1200 boxes of his favorite H. Upmann cigars purchased before he signed the enforcement order of the embargo.

The United States was by far the largest market for cigars at the time, and the displaced Cuban tobacco growers perceived an opportunity to get back into the business. They sought climates that were similar to those in Cuba in which to restart tobacco cultivation. The Dominican Republic and Nicaragua became the most popular choices, but Mexico, Ecuador, and Brazil among others also started growing tobacco to serve the US market. In addition, cigars came to the US market under the same brands that existed prior to the embargo. As a result, two identical brands exist under different ownership. H. Upmann, Partagas and Romeo y Julieta moved to the Dominican Republic; Punch moved to Honduras.

The second half of the 20th century saw so much evolution in cigar manufacturing and marketing it’s difficult to compare to the previous era. Under nationalization in Cuba, the old brands are produced without the effects of market competition, and other than who tends the fields not much has changed from the pre-Communist era. Outside Cuba however, free trade and market forces has resulted in a diverse diaspora of tobacco and cigars. New tobaccos were cultivated and mixed, and new investors entered the market. As a result, cigars in the US became much more diverse than they had been, and gained popularity worldwide against Cuban cigars, even where both were available. This is why, in my opinion, the thought that the best cigars come only from Cuba is dated. There is likely no chance that a cigar manufactured by a monopoly is going to be superior to a cigar that is made as a result of competition and market forces.

In response, Cubatabaco came up with the “Puro” designation in order to affirm the preeminence of the Cuban cigar. This is a cigar in which the filler, binder, and wrapper of the cigar are all grown in the same country. Most countries aren’t able to grow tobacco of high enough quality that a Puro cigar is any good. Cuba only makes Puros, Nicaragua produces some Puros, and in Mexico Puros are the only cigars that can be legally sold domestically, which has served to virtually kill the market because they aren’t any good.

Revolution again rocked the cigar industry in 1979 when in Nicaragua, a bloody conflict led to the deposing of the Somoza dictatorship as a result of the Sandinista Revolution. During this period, many tobacco growers moved to neighboring Honduras, where the major problem was lack of infrastructure to support trade. An extremely poor country, Honduras had failed to build any roads in rural areas, and it was tobacco cultivation that spurned economic growth in the region.

Today, experimentation and diversity brought about by market forces dominate premium cigar marketing in the United States. New entrants to the industry such as Drew Estate have been rewarded by consumers for risk-taking in an otherwise traditionalist industry. The premium cigar industry will continue to evolve with consumption choice, experimentation, and agricultural science. Thus, the best cigars are going to come not from Cuba, but from manufacturers who embrace the idea of market evolution.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2012, 08:39:40 PM by Lord Mayerling »

Offline Lord MayerlingTopic starter

Re: Do You Smoke After Sex?
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2012, 04:16:52 PM »
Do You Smoke After Sex?


Cigar: Baccarat Rothschild (Maduro)
Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: 5 in x 50 gauge (sold as a Rothschild)
Wrapper: Honduran Connecticut Broadleaf (sweetened)
Binder: Honduran Mexican Dulce
Filler: Honduran Habano
Strength: Mild
Price: $5

Initial Impressions: This cigar is rated as an easy cigar to smoke, and is recommended for beginners because it’s mild and has a sweet wrapper. A few places I’ve found it targeted to women because of these characteristics. I’m not usually a fan of mild or sweet cigars, and this is a low priced cigar as well, so my expectations for enjoying it are pretty low. This is a Honduran Puro, which means all three of the cigar components are grown in Honduras, even though the tobacco varieties are originally from Connecticut, Mexico, and Cuba.

Appearance and Construction: I love the label, and I’m surprised at how good the construction is despite the low cost. There are virtually no flaws in the dark Maduro wrapper.

Flavor and Notes: The pre-light draw is creamy and aromatic, and the wrapper isn’t as sweet as I expected, which is a good thing. The initial draw wasn’t very good, but very quickly a soft aromatic vanilla note developed. As the smoke went on, a mild spice note developed, and worked very well with the sweetness of the wrapper. This is also the first cigar I’ve ever smoked that I really enjoy the smell of the wafting smoke in the room. 

Burn/Ash/Draw: This cigar was very easy to smoke. It burned even with a nice draw resistance. The ash held well on the cigar, and burned a light grey. 

Aftermath: As the cigar smolders out in my ashtray, I can still taste a hint of the cigar on my lips. The scent of the smoke hovers in the room. It was really a great smoke all around.

Other Comments: I can easily describe this cigar in one word: surprising. The mellow, evolving flavor mixes well with the sweet wrapper. It’s value in terms of price is excellent, and I can heartily recommend this cigar for newcomers. If you’ve never smoked a cigar before but want to try it, smoke this cigar.

Overall Grade: B+, A if you’ve never smoked a cigar before.

Offline Lord MayerlingTopic starter

Re: Do You Smoke After Sex?
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2012, 08:40:20 PM »
Do You Smoke After Sex?


Cigar: La Aurora Escogidos
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: 5 in x 50 gauge (Robusto)
Wrapper: Cameroon
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Strength: Medium
Price: $6

Initial Impressions:This cigar is also known as “The Chosen Ones”. It used to only be available from the La Aurora factory in the Dominican Republic, but now they’ve decided to inflict bring them into the US. When I snipped off the cap the wrapper began to unroll. Ok. I can deal with that…nothing a little spit can’t fix. But that was only the beginning.

Appearance and Construction: The cap was not well attached, it was loosely wrapped and there was a squishy spot in the middle. The wrapper also wasn’t well veined before the wrapping took place, which meant it had a rough surface.

Flavor and Notes: The pre-light draw smells and tastes of pure tobacco. After lighting the smoke was very harsh, and never let up. It was like smoking a piece of charcoal briquette. In a word: awful.

Burn/Ash/Draw: The ash burned a black to dark grey, again like a charcoal briquette.

Aftermath: I’m very light headed and very happy it’s over. I didn’t get as far as I usually do with a cigar.

Other Comments: The best part of the smoke was stopping. I can’t recommend this cigar in any way. It’s a hard-to-find cigar they tell me. I say count your blessings.

Overall Grade: F