This morning I took a few moments to update my cigar band book. It’s a little Moleskine Square Notebook Pocket. Basically what I do is remove the band(s) from a cigar as carefully as I can and then use my glue stick (usually the Elmer’s Purple Glue Stick since it’s easier for me to see the glue — I’m getting old) and then write in the day it was smoked, any relevant info about the cigar (shape, size, etc.) and a short, quick note as to whether I liked it or not (highlight kind of thing) along with a rating out of 10. The rating is more for me to remember whether to try them again. Sometimes a person can get a bad stick even if the rest are good. The nice thing about this is that if my girlfriend wants to surprise me with a gift, all she has to do is “snoop” in my band book and find something I like. Most of the cigars I enjoy range from $3-20 USD. My recent Georges Reserve Corona purchase put each stick at about $1.60 each (pretty cheap given how good they taste — although this particular cigar does better when aged).
In fact, my recent purchases have me pondering building a temporary Tupperware humidor (basically any container that can have an airtight seal, to prevent humidity from coming in, can be used along with a Boveda packet and you’re set). It’s amazing to me how easy it was to get into this hobby and how much I enjoy it. Up until this January 2008, I was an avid non-smoker. I didn’t think that if someone wanted to smoke something they should be stopped but I personally didn’t like it, particularly cigarettes. Oddly enough I found the smoke of cigars and pipes still very inviting. I didn’t mind non-smoking sections and found that if I was near too much cigarette smoke it’d trigger an asthma attack (very odd). But I didn’t think that someone should be denied their right to enjoy what they wanted.
That said, it was easier for me to justify the rights of the non-smoker to those of the smoker because a smoker had the choice of inhaling if they wanted whereas a non-smoker doesn’t. So now being a smoker that view hasn’t changed. What has changed is that cities and other governmental bodies should allow smokers to carve out their own environments that allow them to enjoy their “vice”. We have bars that are designed to just enjoy drinks (in Canada, they are often referred to as “pubs” — minimal food and lots of variety of alcohol). Why can we not allow more “smoking bars” — with minimal food and a variety of alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks available — to be created and enjoyed without having to turn them into private clubs. There are only about two “cigar bars” I know of in New York and they are rather expensive. That makes it hard for an average Joe like myself to go and enjoy a smoke. I don’t mind paying an enterance fee or something like that but a cutting fee of $5 per cigar (or more) seems rather steep. It also plays up the idea of an “old boys’ club” and I’m many things but an “old boy” I ain’t. I’m far from that and would feel rather uncomfortable.
Maybe one day I should open up my own cigar bar with a humidor to choose from and nice chairs to relax in. When I was in Vegas, I managed to get to the Casa Fuente shop. It was a very enjoyable place that didn’t have that “old boys’ club” feeling. It was in the open (as open as one can be in a non-smoking mall-like environment under Caesar’s Palace), there was a sports channel on and there was a nice selection of drinks with a pretty and very friendly waitress to serve them. This is the kind of environment I’d love to find (maybe I just haven’t found the right place) but what I do wish is that people wouldn’t sneer at me as I smoke a cigar or make rude comments. I do things to avoid inconveniencing others when smoking (e.g., don’t blow smoke in their face, watch the wind, avoid smoking near children, ask first before smoking, etc.) but if I’m outside or I’m in an environment where smoking is allowed, all I ask is that I’m respected. I do find it odd that often the ones sneering are the ones stuffing their face with fast food, avoid walking, etc. Basically, my singular bad habit/hobby seems far worse than their daily habits they do that do far worse to themselves.
Ah well. I know the deck is stacked against me and probably the only way I’d truly be able to enjoy cigars is to get a house where I can build a smoking room (with adequate ventilation and a nice wet bar) or buy a bar and turn it into a “cigar lounge” with pricing as I want it. In the meantime, I can only hope that I get treated as I treat everyone else: with some human respect.