Charleston, SC — Tinderbox and the Enchantment of the City

I had arrived in Charleston, sans luggage. This about freaked me out since I had about 10 nice cigars in there that I wanted to review — never mind that I had clothes for the week (I’m here until Saturday morning). I checked into my hotel and got a shuttle into the city core. One of the things that’s evident about the city is that people are proud of it and it’s heritage. As I walked through the old parts of the downtown, I realized I wanted a chance to relax. I stopped first for a plate of pasta and then walked door to the Tinderbox.

And it was like I walked back in time. It was almost as if I could hear my grandfather, talking about all the things he had opinions on (he was an American who lived in Canada for most of his life). It was the smell of pipe that brought back a flood of great memories. I looked through the variety of cigars that were available and perused the selection. I decided on a Don Tomas Cameroon Collection Rothschild. The draw was great and it burned consistently. So much so that if I wanted, the whole cigar would have been a single, solid block of ash. As I sat in the back, relaxing with the cigar I looked around at the various tobacciana that graced the store.

Tins of pipe tobacco. Old cigar signs. Antique ashtrays. It was a feeling of tradition, of family. Not surprising since this place has been around since 1928. In fact, above the Tinderbox is Club Havana, the last bar you can smoke cigars at in the city. It was grandfathered and protected to have that ability. This Friday they are having a Hallowe’en celebration. While I won’t have a costume, I’ll likely go so I can have a good memory to go home with about the city. Before leaving, I purchase about a dozen cigars since the tobacco tax is considerably lower here compared to NY. Once at the hotel, I discovered my luggage had been found. To celebrate I had two cigars. The first was an Ashton Benchmade (I had purchased this when I was in Baltimore). Very reminiscent of other good Ashton cigars. It was a smooth cigar with what seemed to be the best of the bits from other Ashtons.

As I write this I’m enjoying a nice Asthon VSG Enchanment, which seems to signify what the city is about: the enchanment of the South, traditions and a life enjoyed. This was one of the cigars I brought with me (the intent was to free up my humidors a bit more so I could get more single cigars and do more reviews). The Enchantment is almost large a larger version of the Mystique but has more flavour to enjoy. The interesting shape ensures a nice slow enjoyment of the evening and forces one to relax. It was something I needed after the stress of dealing with airports, lost luggage and airlines.

By the way, the Quality Suites hotel near the airport seems the last hotel that has smoking rooms (they also have balconies and a happy hour from 5:30-7:30 where guests of the hotel get free wine and beer). Not a bad deal. 🙂

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