December 20, 2007

Smoke 'em if you got 'em

I think my first experience with a cigar was around 14 or 15. I was going on a retreat for the weekend to the city with thousand's of other 'religious fanatic' teens. None of us were, but it was an excuse to get away for the weekend and pretend we were more adult than we were. Me and my buddy Brad went to the downtown smoke shop and loaded up on essentials. We planned on playing poker into the wee hours and we felt we should be smoking cigars while we did so. Not that either of us knew anything about cigars, but he smoked cigarettes so I trusted his judgment.

We filled our hands with boxes of tipped Swisher Sweets, some kinds of Cohiba'ish cigar in a white metal tube (sealed to keep the cigar fresh), plenty of wooden matches to light our booty when the time came. There were also some other random cigar's thrown into the mix including this incredibly long, thin cigar in a plastic case to show off the goods.

The result of this sampling of tobacco wonders had me thinking that all cigars (unless dipped in something else for flavor) were pretty much like sucking on an ashtray. A belief that would stick with me for years. Including my first Cuban cigar experience in Germany on the 4th of July when I was 26. I remember sitting in the midst of a few thousand souls waiting for the fireworks sucking on this monster cigar while waiting for the fireworks show. I was with a few friends and sat downwind to keep the smoke from bothering them.

It wasn't until a few years later that I had my first 1964 Padron Anniversario box pressed and just the right size for my desire to smoke it quickly and put myself out of misery. Hey, this thing ain't too bad. Not as ashtray like as the afore mentioned Cuban rolled behemoth. I imagined that even though my Padron's weren't from Cuba I was closer to self-actualization for smoking a $10 cigar. They were 'rare' and 'hard to get'. About as rare as seeing Sarah Jane's camel toe in high school as it turns out, but that's another story for another day.

A few months ago I treated myself to a Fuente Opus X. I think it was a Opus XXX, but I don't have the band handy to double check. At a cost between $20 and $60 depending on where you find it, this has to be one of the most expensive cigars on the market today due to it's rarity. Only released a few times a year, this cigar has become almost as sought after as sex tapes of the stars. Let's pretend for a minute that the market was unlimited and availability not so rare. I think I might have to smoke one of these on a daily basis. It pretty much ruined me for my previously amore, the Padron. I doubt I'll ever smoke another of those with enjoyment again.

The Opus not only burned perfectly flat and even (a first for me), but it burned with a rich smooth flavor I cannot begin to describe. After two hours with this lovely beast, I was pretty much ruined for lesser cigars. With this in mind, last week, I was able to sample the Punch Grand Puro and a Macanudo Gold from the 54's Future Classic Sampler. The Punch was very smooth and smoked almost as well as the Opus from months ago. A quite pleasurable experience from a much 'lesser' cigar. The Macanudo although a fine smoke, did very little for me other than remind of my ashtray licking days as a teenager. However, my smoking companion that evening seemed to much prefer the Macanudo. Different tastes.

The Opus X is a rare cigar as I mentioned, but not as rare as the cigar I smoked tonight. The rarest of rarities perhaps in a long time. With less than 800 boxes made, the Fuente Don Carlos 2007 Anniversary cigar could be considered by many the Holy Grail of cigars. At $1300-$1500 a box, they should light themselves, or at the very least give you a reach around when you are finished. Would I pay the price a second time? Perhaps, if the the event were equal in stature. Tonight is a memory I'll never forget, and that makes the cigar pretty much priceless in value. A cigar is a cigar, a lifetime memory is well, my own Holy Grail.


At 11:16 AM, Blogger Think Frustrated said...

So, do you inhale cigars, or just let the smoke roll around in your mouth, then blow it out? I used to smoke cigarettes and never understood cigars. I assume you don't inhale them, but then, what's the joy? My only real experience with cigars was with Phillies Blunts. We used to dump the tobacco and pack them with weed.

At 11:40 AM, Blogger Buffalo said...

Exceptionally well written, MM. Rates at the top of the list. Enjoyed the read.

At 4:32 PM, Blogger Parker said...

When are you going to share the occasion worth a $150 cigar?

At 2:53 PM, Blogger SS said...

Interesting, your words almost make me appreciate cigars when, honestly, they've always struck me as something of an enigma. I now think that perhaps I've just never developed an understanding of how delightful a really good cigar can be... I guess that goes for lots of things. If you've only ever had the crap of the bunch you don't even realize what you're missing.

At 5:47 PM, Blogger JLee said...

I like cigars actually, but one New Year's Eve, I smoked one after another and got a bad cigar hangover! ew

At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



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