CIGARS May be Weird, But Man do I LOVE ‘Em!, by Tommy Zman

Now I know that if you’re reading this blog, you must be a pretty decent fan of cigars. We’re such a passionate bunch and we love everything there is about this wonderful pastime. But as much as we do love it, you’ve gotta admit that the whole concept is pretty weird.

You really have to wonder what prompted the Indians to roll up leaves, stick them in their mouths, light them on fire and then suck on the hot smoke and then blow it out. Seems incredibly bizarre when you put it that way, doesn’t it? Really, what the hell made them think that was a solid idea? Did they have a good scotch they needed to pair something with?

Admittedly, a lot of things we humans do are pretty wacky. I mean what sadist thought of roller coasters and bungee jumping? And who the hell ever came up with the idea for Gummy Bears – damn those things are friggin rancid. But the invention of smoking is a wacky one, for sure.

Okay, I’m not here to complain, I’m here to praise those early natives who thought it would be a good idea to take the leaves of the Cohoba plant and turn it into one of the most relaxing pastimes any of us have ever known.

I think it would have been cool to see the evolution of those crude early rolled plants into what we would have called the first real cigars. What the hell made people hundreds of years ago think, “Hey, I know, we’ll let the leaves age a bit on the plant, then we’ll pick them, let ‘em dry out and we’ll age ‘em some more before we smoke ‘em.” Was it some kind of accident where the dude in charge was sick for a few months and when he came back he inadvertently invented the aging process? I guess you can say, “who really cares” as long as we get to enjoy the fruits of others past screw ups.

Back in 2009, I was fortunate enough to have visited General Cigars facilities in Honduras and the Dominican Republic. I stayed in Santiago in the DR for a couple of days, then it was onto the one-time Villazon factory in Cofradia for the remainder of the week. It was a spectacular trip, something that will always remain with me. Former JR chief Lew Rothman told me, “Zman, you THINK you know about cigars… but you don’t know SQUAT until you take this trip.” And of course, he was right. I thought being a fancy shmancy writer for Cigar Magazine gave me some kind of elevated tobacco status, but after my week long journey – being taken through EVERY SINGLE step in the cigar making process – I was nothing short of born again. I had a whole new lease on cigar life and an incredible appreciation for what the people in this industry do, all to create a good smoke.

What I was most blown away by on my trip was the massive amount of collective effort it takes to produce a finished cigar. From the planting of seedlings, to picking the crops, drying, sorting, aging, etc, there is a mountain of time and effort that goes into the process long before the roller gets his hands on the tobacco.  Then it’s banded, celloed, boxed and put into a deep freeze for a few days as a preventive measure of killing any, insects, mold, or other nasties that could eventually end up on our palates. And then it’s boxed aged until the master blenders and plant managers feel they are ready for you and me to smoke.

So, while we may agree that the act of cigar smoking is indeed a bizarre concept in theory, I think we would ALL agree that it’s totally cool to enjoy our weird behavior and light up our favorite sticks on a regular basis.

I urge you to PLEASE SUPPORT Cigar Rights of America as they continue to deal with congress, the senate, and all US legislators who need to be made aware that our cigars are the best friends we know of and we will fight like hell to keep them in our lives! >>

As always, stay smoky my friends,


 JR Cigars Blog with the Zman

 > CLICK HERE to Check out this week’s J•R CIGARS Weekly Special

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!