Sense and Sensibility
The way cigars employs all the senses – including your sixth – is something to behold.
Consider for a moment, how to select a cigar to smoke when the time is right. First, when you walk into the humidor, or open the lid, there’s that delicious waft of well-aged tobacco.
It’s one of the very special things about this wonderful hobby; that smell is instantly recognisable anywhere to a cigar lover. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.
What about the visual? That luscious sheen of an oily, silky, tiny-veined wrapper that is as alluring as a chocolate bar is to a calorie-fiend. There’s a wonderful gamut of colours to choose from when it comes to cigars – there’s even a specific department in each factory with eagle-eyed cigar workers employed to distinguish tiny differences in colour. There are scores of different shades, many of them undistinguishable to the untrained eye.
However, we can certainly pick up a few. Is it that delicious chocolate brown Claro or a darker, redder Rosado? Are we moving into the realms of the mystical Maduro, whose leaves are extra matured? Or are we entering into unknown territory with an obsidian-black Oscuro?
Our eyes can detect problems and defects too, of course; the difference between gentle plume and old-fashioned mould; lumps and bumps in an unevenly rolled cigar.
Touch next. The delicate, stretched silk tautness of good wrapper; the slightly spongy retraction of a cigar barrel that will allow air to draw through it perfectly, giving you an optimum smoke. Hard knots and lumps? Indicative of potential plug problems.
Hearing? Really? Subtle but yes, it can be useful. Simply pick up a cigar and if you listen hard, you’ll certainly hear leaflike rustling if the cigar is too dry. If it crackles and rustles in this way, put it back where it came from and head off to find a cigar merchant who knows how to look after his charges properly.
Taste we know most about, of course. A favoured stogie leaves a long finish on the palate that the brain remembers to try and repeat.
But what about the aforementioned sixth sense? It’s not a stretch of the imagination, we don’t think, to trust that ‘Spidey Sense’ cigar lovers get when they’re in the right place and time to enjoy a fine, handrolled cigar. Sometimes, you just get a feeling for a certain cigar, even if you haven’t picked it up and inspected it or even seen it on the shelves.
You just know that the cigar in your head is going to be the one for today and the one that you want. And despite the helpful cigar assistant telling you what you really need is this, that or the other cigar, your cigar Spidey Sense stubbornly insists on its own selection.
Trust your Spidey Sense – every time. It knows just what you’re after and it knows how to give it to you. Step aside and let it do its business – and it will make sense of your cigar selection.