I have a weak spot for cigars (cerut or cheroot) even though I don’t smoke them as often anymore.

But old habits do die hard.

I didn’t write this to brag about my obsession because generally, people don’t like to be around cigar smokers due to their strong, unpleasant smell. Second, good quality cigars are just too expensive, unless you are the type that carries around money-clip instead of the regular wallet.

You can still get cheap cigars sold at convenient stores (usually they are either made in the USA or the Netherlands), but they are simply not quite the same both in flavor or texture.

The next few articles on Cigars are about sharing my personal experience who is not a cigar expert. You can treat this as your ‘Cigars for Dummies’ first before joining the cigar connoisseurs club next.

Smoking cigars are totally different from lighting a cigarette because the former involves adhering to rituals that separate cigar regulars from the beginners. Thus, acquiring a little knowledge about this ‘hobby’ can be very useful to at least prepare you before you light up your first stogie; or just in case you come across haughty men with fat-cigs up their mouth.

People always tell me that in order to enjoy cigars (and most of them have never smoked a single stick before) you must not inhale deep, but allow the flavor (the smoke) to linger inside your mouth before you exhale. While this may be true to a certain degree, getting the real kick out this activity requires more than just inhaling or gargling smokes.  

Let’s just consider a few pointers before we delve deeper into the subject:

-Cigars in Malaysia are significantly more expensive due to high import tax and tobacco tax imposed by the government.

-Top quality cigars usually come from the South American continent, with the top five cigar makers in the world belonging to the Cubans with brand names like the Cohibas, the Montecristos, Romeo y Julietas, Partagas and Hoyo de Monterrey.

-They are of course hundreds of other cigar labels produced in many countries and sold in various price categories.  We have our own Made in Malaysia cigars too if you are interested.

-Some brands are intentionally produced with cigar aficionados in mind. For example, demand for the Dominican Republique handmade cigar called Fuente Fuente Opus X is 300 times the supply which is only about 60,000 sticks a year; making this the most sought after cigar brand in the world today, which fetches between RM180-RM300 per stick. That’s a hefty RM3,000 for a box of 10 cigars folks!  

-You can still purchase authentic Cuban cigars for as low as RM30 per stick and enjoy more or less the same quality hecho a mano (made by hand) cigars either by purchasing online, in bulk quantities or wait for the stock-clearance announcement from your local tobacconists.   

-There are tools required to achieve maximum benefit from your top dollar cigars. Humidors or cigar tube casing to preserve your cigar freshness, to cutters or punchers to achieve optimum draws; or choosing between a jet-butane-torch lighter or a cigar matches to achieve uniform burning embers. where-to-cut-torpedo-figurado-cigar-with-guillotine-straight-cut.jpg

Enjoying a cigar session is all about capturing the whole experienceTo the connoisseurs, smoking cigars are a lifestyle. But to me, it is about celebrating occasions.  So if you are curious and want to know more please like this article.

Next:  Lesson #1 – Selecting The Right Cigar for Your Occasion.