Tis the Season to be Smoking!

Just picture it; the Christmas pud is slowly sliding down to the bottom of your achingly full tum after a gargantuan Christmas dinner. Auld Lizzie, aka The Queen, has just had her 10mins of fame on the telly. That weird uncle of yours has fallen asleep in a chair in the corner of the lounge. It’s about now you begin to wonder just when you might regret having that third helping of roast tatties or polishing off the extra couple of dumplings nobody else wanted. This is when you reach for a wee dram “purely to aid digestion” *cough cough*. What would complement this liquid nectar sat before you? Why, a cigar, of course! Here’s some tips from Cigar Box’s Jamie, our resident cigar expert, on cigar shopping this Christmas.

Tiger

cigar-box

Most gentlemen who have a female partner probably have to hide to smoke their cigars for most of the year. However, come December 21st, not only are gentlemen allowed to smoke as part of the festive celebrations but ladies get the urge to draw back on one of those fire sticks. Tobacconists are suddenly swamped with customers in December, especially female ones, all hoping to get their hands on a good cigar for their loved ones or even just their party buddies.

Here’s a short list of things which may come in handy when purchasing cigars:

1) Ask where the shop sources their Cuban cigars from. If they do not say Hunters & Frankau, beware that their Cubans could be fake or from the grey market. Grey market products could be kept in poor conditions or have higher counts of weevil eggs in them. Hunters & Frankau is the ONLY company that can legally import Cuban cigars into the UK. They have a long history with the Cuban cigar market which predates the Cuban revolution.

2) When are the cigars being smoked?  Hand-rolled cigars should be kept in humidors in the shops. Naked ones should be smoked within a week once bought and kept outside a humidor. Therefore, if it is for Christmas or New Year two or three weeks away, you should opt for cigars that come in a metal tube with a tight lid. These will keep the cigar fresh, but be aware this won’t last forever. You should aim to smoke it within 2-3 weeks and until that time comes, keep the tube closed – you don’t want to let the moisture out until you are ready to smoke the cigar. Some folks in the industry say the tubes should keep the cigar fresh for months, but in my experience, I have seen them dry out!

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Even the big fella is a fan…

3) If you just want a fun, but good, casual smoke with friends, or don’t want the time pressure to smoke the cigar before it dries out, then simply opt for machine rolled cigarillos. Choose ones that are kept dried, come in packets and are placed on open air shelves. These are cheaper due to lower manufacturing costs. They are often made from the same leaves as the more expensive hand-rolled cigars, but only part of the leaves are used rather than whole leaves.

4) Lastly, if you are buying it for someone who smokes cigarettes, beware that they will have a natural reflex to inhale the smoke. If they do, they will go green! Depending on the size of the cigar, it could contain more tobacco than 10 cigarettes. Therefore, inhaling cigar smoke could potentially be like inhaling 10 cigarettes at once! Therefore, you might want to buy them a milder cigar – ask the specialist in the shop for more advice on which cigars may be more appropriate.

Merry smoking to you all!

Jamie

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