When do you like to smoke?
All day, every day? Once in a blue moon? Christmas special? When you’ve just had a baby?
Everyone has a different perspective. How many cigars do you smoke is an interesting question – some are open and willing to tell you (Sir Terence Conran smokes three Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No.2s a day, his favourite spot to enjoy them being his greenhouse) and yet others might be more inclined to tell you to mind your own business.
But aside from bland numbers, perhaps the more pertinent question is what time of day do you like to smoke?
A big old cigar is not something to take lightly. For most of us, they come into their own as the sun goes down and thoughts turn to evening revelries. Surely there is little in man’s great devising that comes close to a wonderful cigar after a wonderful dinner?
But there are those hardcore cigar people among us who look to genuflect at the altar of Nicotiana tobacum somewhat earlier in the day. Take Laurence Davis, for example.
The Sautter owner and ‘industrial cigar smoker’ (his words, not mine) is often firing up his third hefty cigar of the day when many of us are wondering whether our palates and stomachs are ready for a coffee.
Laurence – and others like him I’ve spoken to over the years – maintain that the first cigar of the day remains the pinnacle. It’s an interesting concept. First cigar of the day intimates there are many more in the offing. Not everybody consumes luxury products at such a prodigious rate; but the concept is intriguing.
Firing up a cigar before you’ve even popped the toaster on seems more than a little hardcore, but the argument that your palate is fresh and ready for new adventures carries weight.
For the rest of us mere mortals, wiping the sleep from our eyes and breaking our fast is a pre-requisite to smoking. Mind you, I’ve had exquisite breakfast cigars myself – one such memorable stick alongside Henke Kelner in his tobacco plantation in Dominican Republic. But after a hearty breakfast and a gallon of coffee, one is usually ready to take on the world.
A post-prandial smoke – that is, after lunch – is wonderfully decadent in today’s time-obsessed society. Something light and sweet, with a balance of flavours is ideal – say, a Hoyo or a Qui D’Orsay, perhaps.
But whatever your preference, I maintain that it’s hard to beat that end of day, after-dinner cigar. You can absorb the lessons of the last gathered hours, mull over questions and decisions in your mind and generally set the world to rights before sleeping the sleep of the righteous.
This is why cigar people tend to be happy, optimistic and stress-free folk, I reckon. Like yoga, cigars require that you look inward – contemplate a little soul searching; don’t take yourself too seriously.
And as an added bonus, you don’t have to carry a mat around with you to practise your cigar technique; or wear Lycra.
You can if you like, of course. Whatever floats your boat.
Just get your Cigar Zen on.