Jack Bettridge

Jack Bettridge
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A Cigar Encounter of a Third Kind

Posted: Aug 28, 2008 1:03pm ET
Most of my interaction involving cigars goes in one of two possible directions: I encounter people who either love and want to have a smoke or people who hate them and want me to put mine out. Recently, I was treated to a third possibility.

I'm Mad, I Tell You, Mad

Posted: Aug 11, 2008 1:43pm ET
I'm stoked at the moment because half of my summertime-guilty-pleasure-television regimen has recently returned to broadcast: "Mad Men."

"Mad Men" is the American Movie Classics series set in the early 1960s in a Madison Avenue advertising agency. Conceived and produced by a "Sopranos" alumnus, it is very true to the time with all excesses of the era intact: plenty of smoking, drinking and carousing, and very little of the now-pervasive Nanny State to be seen. For something that is a bit of a soap opera, it is quite a lot of fun, and I anticipate each new episode (Sunday night at 10 p.m. EDT) with excitement. Is anybody else hooked on this?

A Tonic for What Ails You

Posted: Aug 5, 2008 5:21pm ET
Whenever I feel a touch of the malaria coming on or it just gets hot like it does this time of year, I always think of one thing—or two things actually: quinine tonic and gin (or vodka or rum, you get the picture).

The good news about the ultimate summer drink last year was that Fever-Tree, a maker of drink mixers, had introduced an all-natural quinine tonic water made with quinine from the bark of the cinchona tree, the original and most concentrated source of quinine (most standard tonic water contains the cheaper and less intense Remijia tree bark as its quinine source). The better news this year is that we now have two choices in boutique quinine water with the introduction of Q Tonic, made with quinine harvested from Peru.

Cigar Lounge Etiquette Primer

Posted: Jul 25, 2008 10:17am ET
About the only good that has come from the recent rounds of anti-smoking legislation has been the boon it has been for cigar retailers. Because most areas exempt cigar stores, smokers are driven to them when they want to cop a smoke in the middle of the day. And local retailers have responded in kind by setting up lounges for smokers who want to come in, buy a cigar and then enjoy it on premise at say, lunch time.

Saved By The Cigar

Posted: Jul 8, 2008 3:56pm ET
Here’s a novel form of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Apparently, when Pablo Picasso was born in 1881, he wasn’t breathing and the midwife gave him up as stillborn. A quick-thinking and cigar-smoking uncle had other ideas, however. He leaned over and blew smoke into young Pablo’s face, causing him to cry and, so, breathe deeply.

Cigars, Economics and Cardiology

Posted: Jul 1, 2008 11:12am ET
The irony of my job at Cigar Aficionado and my participation on its tasting panel is that I don’t often buy cigars. I don’t have to. About the only time it happens is when I’m in a country with more liberal policies about selling the bounty of the island nation to the south of Florida. And then I’m always sort of stung by the idea that I have to pay for them.

Scene Smoking  

Posted: May 18, 2008 12:39pm ET
Have Gun – Will Travel rerun, “Show of Arms” (circa 1957).

DAWN in SAN FRANCISCO’s Hotel Carlton, where the TV western’s main character, Paladin (played by Richard Boone), lives out his alter ego as a wealthy dandy (when he isn’t riding the range as a highly principled gun for hire, “the knight without armor in a savage land”).

The Sounds of Silence

Posted: May 6, 2008 9:13am ET
Sunday night was my first great chance of the spring to blow smoke on my new deck. Perfect weather. A day of yard work behind me. It’s a school night so the kids retired early. No sound but that of the cardinal that’s nested in a mountain laurel.

The Dawn of The Beer Chip

Posted: Mar 24, 2008 12:26pm ET
In the universe of Big Ideas some succeed famously, some shuffle along, and others miss the mark. A package arrived at Cigar Aficionado the other day that seemed to bestride that spectrum.

The Big Idea is Beer Chips, or potato chips made with beer. As spawned by Brett Stern, a product designer in Portland, Oregon, the idea is so big that it overflowed into the marriage of two other drinks—the Margarita and Spicy Bloody Mary—with potato chips. Mr. Stern was kind enough to send us all three, and as they arrived before lunch when we were famished, we did extensive, unscientific taste tests on all three, which will be reflected in our blood work at our next physical checkup.

What Price Ecstasy?

Posted: Feb 20, 2008 11:13am ET
By my calculations, I drank about $400 worth of Scotch whisky at lunch the other day.

Before you go jumping to the same conclusion that my wife did—that I must have tied one on pretty hard—let me say that I only had a couple of drinks. It's just that those drams were something very special indeed: the latest iteration of the legendary Black Bowmore.

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