Friday, November 21, 2008

Does the cigar make the experience, or does the experience make the cigar?

The other day, I was talking with one of my coworkers, Humberto Gonzalez, about what some of the most memorable cigars we've ever smoked when he raised a very interesting question: What made the cigar so memorable - the cigar itself, or the conditions in which you smoked it? Humberto ascribes more credit to the conditions (IOW, the environment) rather than the cigar, and I'm inclined to agree.

Due to the nature of my job, I get to smoke a lot of great cigars in the office. And although I've enjoyed many of them for their high quality and great flavor, it's just not the same as smoking them at home on the deck with a good friend, or slouching in a cigar store lounge chair with fellow BOTLs. In fact, I often toss some of the best cigars in my briefcase to smoke at home because I know I'll enjoy them more without a computer monitor flickering in front of me, or being interrupted by a riptide of emails.

"It was at the 2005 RTDA Trade Show in New Orleans," said Humberto. "I had a fantastic meal with some good friends at Emeril's, and afterwards we moved to the lobby to smoke cigars. I had a Padilla Miami 8/11 Salomon on me and lit it up. We kicked back, relaxed, and it turned into one of the most phenomenal experiences I'd ever had. Having a brilliantly crafted cigar after a brilliantly crafted meal, everything just sort of came together. You could say it was the best "blending" of experiences."

I recently wrote about a similar experience I had with an Oliva Master Blends No.2. Although it was more a review of the cigar, it was also an experience I like to call "a perfect cigar." In my case, as it was for Humberto, the conditions were ideal. The kids were inside playing Rock Band on the Wii, the weather was perfect, I was with my good friend, Richard-from-up-the-street, we had good libations to pair with our cigars, and the conversation was pleasant. But it was the cigar that tied-it all together, making it one of the most memorable cigar experiences for me.

A good cigar is always a good cigar. But when a good cigar dovetails with a special place and time, it becomes a great cigar.

Your thoughts?

~ Gary Korb

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