Wood For The Trees
Sometimes we forget to observe and enjoy the obvious.
In our constant striving for something more, our attention tends to get focused on the exciting, the glamourous. The simple, little things get overlooked.
And it is often those simple, little things where the real joy lies.
This train of thought came the other day during a lovely cigar. It was lovely for a host of reasons, but most of all – because of the little ones.
It was lovely because of the beauty of the simple, golden wrapper, which smelled like fresh hay. It was lovely because of the excitement it generated in the ceremonial clipping and lighting, too. Never forget these seemingly obvious, but key elements to cigar smoking, by the way. The clipping of the head and the gentle lighting of the foot should be something reverential, almost sacred. ‘For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful, Amen.’
That cigar was lovely for a host of little reasons, but none of them ones we talk much about. We tend to be obsessed with the manufacturer; who made it? Where from? What leaves? How old?
Boil it back down to basics and focus forensically on your cigar and your experience as you smoke it. Watch the smoke curl from the tip; see how the volume of it changes depending on how you draw on the cigar. Feel the weight of the barrel in your hand; is it slightly spongy to the touch or firm? How does the cigar perform? Is the draw how you like it? Does the burn stay razor sharp or does it burn slightly quicker down one side than the other?
These minute observations are crucial to understanding cigars and will also aid your palate enormously. Knowing how a cigar is likely to react under certain parameters is all about experience and wisdom.
Don’t fail to notice the ‘room note’; how is the aroma, what does it remind you of? Does the stick have a long and memorable ‘finish’ or taste that lingers on the tongue?
In a world of wrappers, binders and fillers and where cigarmakers sometimes act like movie stars, it’s easy to forget what drew you to cigars in the first place. You don’t like cigars, we would respectfully suggest, because you think the manufacturer looks good in a Panama in his latest cigar magazine full page colour ad; we doubt that you fell in love with the leaf because you thought Mexican San Andres wrapper was too cool for school.
It was something else; something fundamental; something that reached out and touched you on a primordial level. Get back to it; it’s where the heart of the matter lies.