Cigar smoking has never been trendier than it is today. One might even say it’s become downright sexy.
Celebrities from Halle Berry and Jennifer Lopez, to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Madonna have all been photographed enjoying fine cigars. And where would guys like Mark Twain, Fidel Castro or George Burns be without their trademark stogies?
But if you’re new to the world of cigars, it’s hard to know where to start. Walk into any cigar shop and there are almost too many choices. Cohiba or a Montecristo? A Punch or a Mini?
“Look for the country first,” advises Sutha Nada, Director of Express News & Smokes tobacco shops, the top cigar retailer in the Lower Mainland. “The best cigars, and the cigars of the highest quality are those coming from Cuba, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. That is where ‘real’ cigars come from. Not these flavoured things.”
Sutha explains how, as a cigar smoker himself, and Director of the top tobacco shops in British Columbia, he often travels abroad to learn more about the products so he can pass that knowledge on to his employees. He also brings in experts to teach the stores’ staff how cigars are produced.
“The best cigars are made from the top leaves of the tobacco plants,” he says. “They get more sun, and are much softer, offering a superior flavour and smoke. Every different leaf has a different taste. That is the big difference between cigarettes and cigars. Cigars are just the pure leaf, whereas cigarettes add a lot of chemicals to the tobacco, believe it or not!”
Sutha said cigar smokers should remember Bill Clinton’s famous response about marijuana.
“You don’t inhale cigars, usually,” he explains. “Rather, you ‘buff’ it in your mouth—that is, you feel the smoke and taste in your mouth. Some cigars go well with wine, and some go better with a sparkling water, or with red meat. And, of course, you also have to know how to store them properly.”
It’s a lot to know, but well worth the effort, he says.
If you want to know more about cigars, or are looking for something in particular, drop by any Express News & Smokes in the Lower Mainland and ask their knowledgeable staff, or peruse their selection online.