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The Cigar Lifestyle: Camaraderie

Submitted by Grant on July 30, 2009 – 11:44 am6 Comments

cigar-lifestyleThere is no simple way to describe the cigar lifestyle! No singular mold, word, or recipe that you can conjure up can come close to encapsulating it. In fact, I don’t even know that I can do it justice in my humble attempt to write about it.

You see it can be as simple as sitting on your front porch enjoying your favorite go-to cigar by yourself, or as complex as big events, shows, and cigar societies. It can be a lazy day or a ritzy night. It seems to bridge social, political, and racial gaps. It can include sports, poker, food, spirits, and celebrations. The lifestyle can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere, and on his or her own terms.

In this article I am focusing on the camaraderie aspect of the cigar life and will dabble toward cigar shops and how they lend to that particular aspect. Future articles will include cigar forums, events, etc. that also fall into the cigar lifestyle.

For me cigars are definitely about the complexity, taste, aromas and the excitement of trying something different. However, and maybe even more importantly, it’s about the social aspect. It’s about slowing life down and enjoying the moment and the company of friends and strangers. My first cigar was enjoyed on the pool deck with a good friend. It opened my eyes to a whole new world. That first stick was sort of like my passage into a new realm, a different place in this world that I enjoy and seems to be ever expanding.

What I mean by that can be summed up by an experience I had a few months ago. My wife and I were staying at a resort and late one evening we went and sat by an outside fire pit. We sat in discussion amongst some other couples, keeping relatively to ourselves. Just some general greetings were exchanged amongst us. After twenty minutes or so I pulled out a cigar and started to toast it when the gentlemen to my right asked if he could borrow my lighter as he too had some sticks. Instantly, we started into deeper and friendlier conversation. The man of the other couple sitting across the way started to join in on the conversation, I offered him a cigar and he obliged. The evening was very enjoyable and the common bond that brought us into discussion was simply that we enjoyed the cigar lifestyle. We all had a moment of enjoyment and a great experience.

A great place to witness and experience the camaraderie is the cigar shop, an iconic symbol and important part of the social facet of cigars. At the moment of writing this I sit in my favorite local shop, Casa Fuma in Gilbert, Arizona surrounded by six individuals engulfed in conversation about baseball and the turbulent economy. On the other side of the shop is a group of people playing some poker, and yet another two guys sitting up at the bar engaged in conversation about cigars. The aroma is magnificent and a light haze of smoke lingers shortly as the ventilation system removes it.

I have heard many arguments about what a shop should or shouldn’t be, but when it comes down to it as long as it is a place where we can sit and enjoy our bond of cigars I think the mission is accomplished. Shops provide an atmosphere that you can’t help but be lured into. Lured into trying new cigars, lured into conversation, lured into slowing down and taking a deep breath. For some it becomes a home away from home. Just ask Walter, a retired gentleman that spends just about every day down here. It’s an environment where men can be men, no facades needed or wanted. The cigar shop is a place to enjoy one of the finer things in life that is easily reached by opening that humidor door.

From the seasoned regular to the new partaker the cigar shop should be a welcoming amicable place for everyone. A place where we can be different ages, come from different walks of life and backgrounds, a place where none of us care about any of that, none of us judge, we simply just enjoy.

As I mentioned the community expands further into cigar events and shows, cigar groups and societies. There are cigar tastings and pairings. All of these lend to what I call the communal part of the lifestyle and deserve individual attention in their own article and will be addressed in the future. For now, if you’re new to cigars, welcome and know there is a communal side of smoking cigars and know it’s for everyone. To you salty veterans and those before you, thank you for contributing to this amazing element of cigars.

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