I was Once a Tobacco Virgin

As a regular guy, I think about regular guy stuff quite often. Chicks, sports, steak, chicks, beer, wings, chicks, you know, the typical man-pig stuff. But I also think about premium hand rolled cigars… a lot. I mean a lot. And on a – 5 degree morning in New Jersey, I know I won’t be smoking outside today (ya think) so I just sit and think about rich, tobacco goodness.

For some reason, this morning I started thinking about my very first cigar, ever. Not sure why, but I guess this brutally cold winter has me jonesing like a maniac. Ah, my first stogie… 1995… my brother in law’s wedding… the now gone Wayne Manor in Wayne, New Jersey.

7421I was in the wedding party and as the reception started, the best man broke out the heavy artillery. He cracked open a box of Partagas Number 10’s and the guys flocked to the table like wolves on a kitten. Those were ’still’ the days when a man could spark up his favorite cigar during time of celebration. But I was a stogie virgin and a bit intimidated at those baseball bat sized smokes, as the contents of the box began to dwindle. But best man, Matt grabbed one from the remaining few and said, “Tommy, it’s time you grew a pair and joined good men everywhere.”

Well, I agreed. It was smack in the middle of the cigar boom and smoking was absolutely all the rage. I wanted to try them for quite a while actually, as my dad was a longtime cigar lover, but this was indeed now the opportunity to join the revolution and there was simply no turning back.

cigars_ireland_lonsdale_partagas_898_2I remember somebody had a cutter as the group took turns snipping their sticks, then the wedding matches were put to a good cause. And I vividly remember puffing those first few puffs and tasting the aged tobacco, turning to Matt and nodding in approval. And while my wife has fond memories of that day, she also curses it for introducing me to the ’smelly habit’ that stinks up the laundry basket to high heavens to this very day. It kind of sucks a whole lot having a wife who hates cigars when they tend to pay the bills each month, but I’ve learned to live with her disdain, as my personal pleasure is what’s important here.

Back to the story… the group of us smoked those big-ash Partagas for a good 45 minutes, while guzzling champagne and oogling the eye candy throughout the room. I couldn’t believe how much I was enjoying my first cigar (never a cigarette smoker) and I knew as that hefty gar dwindled down, I was hooked on the craze that was sweeping the world. In fact, there were five sticks remaining in the box and when no one was looking, I stashed them into my tux jacket and enjoyed them on my deck for the entire following week.

Man, that is such a great memory and just thought you guys would appreciate the story and share your first experience with a great premium smoke. I am simply going to HAVE TO make a trek up to JR in Whippany, NJ, today and reacquaint myself with the good ole Number 10, a cigar I haven’t put my lips to in a few years.

Okay, I’m long from my virginhood (I know that’s not a word, it’s poetic license, okay?) but sometimes when I spark up a great smoke, it almost feels like the first time if the mood is just right. And after this brutally long winter, it’s gonna feel mighty sweet to sit and enjoy a handmade happy stick in the warm weather once again.

So share your good times and let’s get all nostalgic and stuff. Damn, my first cigar…I think I’m gonna cry.

Tommy Z,

JR CIGARS Blog with the Zman


Handmade DR
Wrapper: CAM    Binder: MEX    Filler: DR/MEX
Medium Bodied

PARTAGASExpertly crafted, Partagas is one of the finest cigar brands available in the US. This Piloto Cubano blend is medium in body and has tastes of wood and coffee. Its toothy African Cameroon wrapper adds a great note of spice to this very flavorful, smooth cigar. And let’s not forget, the Zman’s very first entry into the world of finely aged premium cigars… nice!


Handmade DR
Wrapper: CTMT    Binder: DR    Filler: NIC/DR
Full Bodied

PARTAGAS BLACKThe Partagas Black is the same in namesake, and well-made in the same factory, but that is where the similarities end. Wrapped in a unique “medio tiempo” sun-grown Havana-seed leaf from the Connecticut River Valley, this is a very robust blend of Nicaraguan and Piloto Cubano ligeros. Flavors of earth, dark chocolate, and dark roasted espresso will overwhelm your senses – this is not a cigar for the timid.


Handmade DR
Wrapper: HON    Binder: CTBL    Filler: DR/MEX/HON
Medium-Full Bodied

PARTAGAS SPANISH ROSADOThe Spanish Rosado name is derived from the wrapper that is grown exclusively for General Cigar in the San Agustin Valley in Honduras. This cigar’s unique flavor starts with Honduran-shade wrapper which offers a rich, oily appearance with a dark reddish-brown color. It is followed by a spicy taste from the Connecticut broadleaf binder that wraps the fillers blended from the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Honduras, resulting in a medium to full-bodied smoke. These cigars are for the serious cigar smoker.

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