A cigar smoker is an individual who smokes cigars. Cigar smoking is often seen as a sophisticated or leisurely activity, and thus, can be associated with celebration or relaxation. Cigar enthusiasts often appreciate the different flavors, aromas, and types of cigars available, and may spend time and money collecting and trying different kinds. There is a community and culture around cigar smoking, with some enthusiasts attending cigar events or visiting cigar lounges to enjoy cigars in a social setting.
What Makes Someone Want to Smoke a Cigar?
People smoke cigars for a variety of reasons, both personal and cultural. Below are eight common reasons why someone might choose to smoke a cigar:
Reason #1: Cultural or Social Rituals/Traditions
For many adults, smoking a cigar is a time-honored tradition associated with specific events (sporting or non-sports related) or celebrations. It's not uncommon for cigars to be offered at weddings, birth celebrations, graduations, or business deals. Sharing a cigar can be seen as a bonding experience among friends, family, or colleagues. Hence, cigars can be given as gifts, thus showing appreciation, friendship, or camaraderie.
Reason #2: Networking and Socializing
Smoking cigars can be a communal activity. Cigar lounges and clubs provide a space for individuals to gather, converse, and bond over a shared experience. And, in some circles, cigar smoking can be a networking activity where business or personal connections are essentially made.
Reason #2: Appreciation for Flavor and Craftsmanship
Like wine or craft beer enthusiasts, many cigar aficionados enjoy the diverse flavors and complexities (ranging from mild to bold) that different cigars offer. They take pride in learning about the origins, tobacco blends, and craftsmanship that go into creating each unique cigar. Basically, aficionados often relish the opportunity to savor and dissect these flavors. Different regions, notably Central and South America, have distinct methods and histories tied to their cigar production. Engaging with cigars can deepen understanding and appreciation of these cultures as well.
Reason #3: Relaxation and Meditation
The act of smoking a cigar is often slow and contemplative. Many people find it relaxing and use it as a way to de-stress. The ritual of preparing, lighting, and smoking can be a form of meditation, allowing the individual to disconnect from the stresses of daily life and focus on the present moment.
Reason #4: Status and Prestige
Over time, certain cigar brands have positioned themselves as luxury items through sophisticated marketing campaigns, associating their products with a high-end lifestyle. So, for some people, smoking a cigar is seen as a symbol of luxury or success. High-end cigars can be quite expensive and are sometimes associated with affluence and sophistication.
Reason #5: Curiosity and Experimentation
Some might try smoking a cigar out of sheer curiosity or as part of experimenting with different experiences. For instance, they may want to understand the different types of tobaccos, the processes involved in making a cigar, the regions where the best tobacco is grown, and the historical and cultural significance of cigars. It could also be due to peer influence, exposure in media, or personal inclination to try new things. Trying out different brands, sizes, and flavors of cigars to understand and appreciate the nuances in taste, aroma, and smoking experience is important, as it’s through experimentation, a cigar enthusiast can find out which stogies they prefer and appreciate the vast diversity in the world of cigars.
Reason #6: Collecting and Connoisseurship
Just as people might collect wines, cars, art, memorabilia, or other items, many enthusiasts enjoy collecting different types of cigars – particularly rare and vintage ones, and even becoming connoisseurs. So, cigar collecting and connoisseurship refer to the art and science of appreciating, acquiring, and preserving cigars based on their unique attributes, origins, and other qualitative factors. Now, when it comes to collecting cigars, here’s what usually goes into it:
1. Shapes and Sizes:
- Parejo (These are straight-sided cigars):
- Corona: Standard size, often used as a reference.
- Robusto: Short, stout cigar, often 5 inches with a 50 ring gauge.
- Churchill: Named after Winston Churchill, these are typically around 7 inches.
- Toro: Similar to the Robusto but a bit longer, usually 6 inches.
- Lonsdale: Longer than a corona but thinner.
- Panatela: Long and thin.
- Double Corona: Longer than the Churchill, it’s often around 7.5 to 8 inches.
Figurado (These are irregularly shaped cigars):
- Torpedo: Tapers at one end.
- Pyramid: Broad foot and sharp taper to a closed head.
- Perfecto: Both ends are closed.
- Culebra: Three slender cigars braided together.
- Diadema: Very long with a tapered head and foot.
- Belicoso: Shorter torpedo.
2. Types Based on Origin:
- Cuban Cigars: Produced in Cuba and known for their distinctive flavor and history.
- Dominican Cigars: Produced in the Dominican Republic, these cigars vary in flavor profiles.
- Nicaraguan Cigars: Produced in Nicaragua and known for their rich and bold flavors.
- Honduran Cigars: Produced in Honduras and tend to be full-bodied.
- Mexican Cigars: Produced in Mexico and made using San Andrés tobacco, which is known for its sweetness.
- Ecuadorian, Peruvian, Brazilian, and others: Cigars from these regions have unique flavor profiles influenced by their respective terroirs.
3. Filler Types:
- Long Filler: Uses whole tobacco leaves.
- Short Filler: Uses chopped up pieces of tobacco leaves.
- Mixed Filler: Combination of long and short filler.
4. Wrapper Types:
- Connecticut: Grown in Ecuador, the U.S., or Honduras but originally from Connecticut. Light in color and mild in flavor.
- Maduro: Dark and sweet. The color is due to the extended fermentation process.
- Habano: Spicy and strong, originally from Cuba but now grown in various countries.
- Oscuro: Very dark, almost black. Fermented for a longer period.
- Candela: Greenish color due to a quick drying process.
- Cameroon: Distinct toothy texture, grown in Africa.
- Corojo and Criollo: Originally Cuban varietals, now grown in various countries.
5. Machine-Made or Hand-Rolled:
- Machine-Made: Made by machines and often use short fillers.
- Hand-Rolled: Crafted by hand, and typically using long fillers, they’re considered superior in quality.
Reason #7: Historical or Personal Significance
The art of cigar making has deep roots in history, dating back to the indigenous people of the Americas. Hence, that rich history and tradition of cigar smoking might appeal to individuals who appreciate certain historical practices. Other figures, more in pop culture like Al Capone smoking a cigar, had really attracted people to it. To expand upon that, some individuals might have personal or historical reasons for smoking cigars, such as continuing a family tradition or emulating a figure they admire who was known for smoking cigars.
Reason #8: Personal Identity
Finding a personal identity with cigars—or any other hobby or activity for that matter—refers to the process of self-discovery and self-definition that can arise from engaging with that hobby. Some individuals might see cigar smoking as part of their personal identity or lifestyle. They become a way to connect with history, culture, and other enthusiasts. It’s about the journey to simply discover oneself.
Remember: Each person’s reason for smoking a cigar can be very personal and may encompass one or more of the above factors.