Any good poker player will tell you that one simple decision, made before a single card is dealt from the deck, is one of the most important elements to having profitable session. That decision is the table and game the player selects. I draw a parallel to the cigar smoking experience – the smoker’s choice of which cigar to smoke at a particular moment is an essential to creating a positive smoking experience. A poor cigar selection decision can doom you before the foot is cut or a torch is sparked. Conversely, if you’ve chosen wisely, nearly any other unexpected hurdle can either be overcome or rendered unimportant.
Isn’t The Smoker’s Choice an Easy Choice?
How do you make sure you make the right choice every time? It seems pretty easy – open up the humidor, pick out a cigar that looks good, and fire it up. Right? Well, it’s not quite that simple. A smoker’s choice for their cigar has a variety of factors that go into it. Maybe the most obvious and easiest to consider is time. How long do you have to smoke the cigar? If you only have an hour or so, select a size that can easily be consumed during your time allotment, and be realistic. Putting out an awesome cigar before it’s finished is never fun, and rushing to finish has a negative impact on your experience as well. You want to be relaxed. On the flip side of the coin, if you’re settling in for a marathon session, go big and seize the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of larger cigar sizes that require extended smoking times.
What Else Influences The Smoker’s Choice?
A smoker’s choice can also be heavily influenced by the time of day, and going along with the time of day, what food and drink are being consumed during/before/after the cigar. For heavier smokers, a cigar later on in the day is not always the first cigar of the day, which adds yet another consideration to the smoker’s choice. While it is an outstanding blend, you wouldn’t want to fire up a Joya de Nicaragua Antano 1970 first thing in the morning with your coffee. The cigar is too strong for an empty stomach, and the heavy flavors would not mesh well with the coffee flavors. Later on in the day, the choice of something like a Davidoff Millennium Blend, another terrific cigar, could go wrong. Pairing the Davidoff with a strong drink like a craft IPA beer or whiskey could completely overpower the more subtle and mild flavors in the cigar, and either a heavy dinner or other cigars smoked earlier in the day could leave your palate in less-than-prime condition to appreciate the subtle nuances that make it such an outstanding cigar.
The smoker’s choice also needs to take the company you’re smoking with, the occasion for the smoke, and even the mood you’re into consideration. Some cigar smokers choose to enjoy their most expensive, rare, and/or exclusive cigars alone, so they can concentrate fully without distraction, and don’t have to feel guilty about not sharing if they only have one. If two serious enthusiasts are smoking together, they may wish to select the same cigar so they can compare notes and experience the same blend simultaneously. There are a number of terrific examples of blends created for an occasion, like smoking the Alec Bradley Filthy Hooligan on St. Patrick’s Day or enjoying a cigar from My Father on Father’s Day. Special days, birthdays, weddings, funerals, or other significant anniversaries or accomplishments can all be great reasons to take a little extra time and to enjoy something extra-special from your collection.
Why Is The Smoker’s Choice So Important?
If it weren’t for the wide variety in our smoking settings, the smoker’s choice would be easy. We could all just find our favorite cigar and smoke it over and over again. I think it’s much more exciting having the variety, and being able to fully appreciate the unique experience of many different types and styles of cigars. I always say there is the perfect time and place for every cigar on the market, from the little cigarillos to the oversized smokes that push over a full inch in diameter. From budget bundles to the most expensive limited editions, from flavored and infused to mild blends to the strongest nicotine and spice bombs you can find, there is a time when each one is the absolutely perfect cigar for that given moment. Knowing that fact and accepting that it is true will help your cigar collection be ready when the moment occurs, and will help you make the correct smoker’s choice every time.