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Gordon Mott

A Memorable Cigar

Posted: Mar 20, 2007 3:45pm ET
I’m sure it’s happened to you driving down the road with the radio on. A song comes on, and you reach for the volume knob, turning it up to ear-drum splitting levels. You are reminded of a summer day in high school, however many years ago it was, driving with the windows down, the sweet smells of freshly mown grass streaming in, and the hair of your girlfriend blowing across her face as she looked out into the countryside singing along with radio. You can probably still sing the words to that favorite song, and I know you can remember the incredible freedom you felt at that moment.

When I lit up a Montecristo Especial #1 recently for one of the magazine’s Connoisseur Corner’s contributions, I had an identical sensation. I remembered the first “Monte” Especial I ever smoked. It was in Paris in 1985, and my wife, bless her heart, had responded to my request for a box of cigars by picking up the Montes on her way through a duty free shop as she returned home from a business trip.

I didn’t know much about cigars then. I was fresh out of Mexico and Central America, trying to make a go of it as a freelancer in Paris while she labored away for Citibank in their corporate offices in Paris. Given the fact that every young American freelancer with dreams of Ernest Hemingway or making it as foreign correspondent in Europe, seemed to be there ahead of me, I had opted for the former dream and was working on a novel. My humidor was a plastic bag with dampened paper towels inside. I’d smoked during my days in Central America, but cigars were still a largely unexplored universe for me.

My writing room wasn’t exactly a garret with a window, but it was a classic Parisian apartment with floor to ceiling windows and a roll-up steel window shutter. I could sit there facing my old IBM PC decked out with the newest version of WordPerfect, writing away the morning, and turning sideways occasionally to gaze out across the rooftops of nearby apartment buildings, the round tile chimneys framing the usually cloudy sky. At some point, almost every morning, I would light a cigar.

That day was like most days. But the cigar wasn’t. I lit up the Especial #1 and was immediately taken with its smoothness, and the richness of the smoke. The elegant panatela shape seemed to be perfect. It wasn’t a heavy, or full-bodied smoke, but the length and the thinness provided a long, satisfying smoke.

There would many other cigars during the three years we lived in Paris. The novels, two of them actually, got finished, and eventually and regretfully, relegated to a personal library shelf. But the memories of those first serious cigars remain, always waiting to trigger the visions of those glorious days.

Comments   11 comment(s)

Matthew Caruso — Jersey —  March 20, 2007 5:38pm ET

I feel the same way about the La Aurora Preferidos platinum. On its own face value, it is a wonderful cigar. What makes it so special to me is how I got my hands on it and smoking it on the pool deck on the first night of my honeymoon in Kauai. The pictre of me lighting it with a Tiki torch that my wife took of me is fairly memorable as well. I swore my hair was going to catch on fire. At the very least my eyebrows.


Robert Smith March 21, 2007 1:10am ET

I think that a few cuban cigars stand out to me. The Monte #4, because it was the 1st cuban cigars I ever smoked. I remember sitting on my balcony on a warm spring afternoon. It was probably about 75F and just a light breeze, I remember that cigar because it was everything I envisioned of a cuban cigar. It had that "cuban twang" a wonderful, smooth wrapper and a delicate refined finish. It was unlike any cigar I had smoked up to that point. The Monte Robusto 2006 stands out because I smoked it in Cancun at the Hilton after a fun day and a great meal, with the beach just outside. I also had some Havana Club 15 anos so I was feeling pretty good too. Also my 1st Partagas Serie D #4 stands out as one of my favorite cigars because it was very full bodies yet refined and not the least bit harsh. I suppose that why we smoke cigars as all my memories have been very fond, I still look forward to my next vacation and lighting up a great cigar as a nightcap to a wonderful meal and fun filled day.


Jose Oliva March 21, 2007 4:03pm ET

Good times. My most memorable smoke came late in '95. I had been regularly smoking cigars for about two years. I was sitting outside at my fathers house with my dad and two brothers. He was engrossed in a new blend we were developing. He would take puffs from the cigar and hold the smoke in his mouth with his cheeks puffed like Dizzy Gillespie. Then he would turn the cigar around and blow the smoke at the lit ash. My older brothers and him exchanging comments back and forth. I watched carefully wishing I had a developed palate like theirs.I was certain that I was invisible as I puffed away at an Indonesian wrapped bundle stick. Suddenly my father reached towards me with his cigar. I seemed like slow motion. I set my cigar down on the table nervously and took the his cigar. As I took a deep puff I wondered what I would say about it. I released the smoke onto the cigar as he had done before me. I looked up to see all three of them waiting for my comment. I nodded my head and repeated what had already been said by everyone else. They agreed and quickly continued talking. I knew I had not contributed anything to the discussion but for the first time I participated. I kept the cigar and smoked it to the nub as I listened to the rest of the discussion. Like hundreds of other blends since then, the cigar was never produced, but it was the best cigar I have ever smoked.


Gordon Mott March 21, 2007 4:51pm ET

I love these stories. Isn't it great that each of us has those memorable moments with one of our favorite pasttimes in life? I'm looking to create a few more in the years ahead.


Jorge Armenteros — Princeton, NJ —  March 21, 2007 7:01pm ET

I'm reminded by Mr. Oliva's posting about the first time I smoked/tried a cigar. I must have been 5 years old, on the front porch with my grandfather. It was his ritual to drink a beer and have a cigar everynight on the porch, looking up at the night sky. On this one night in particular he moved his arm toward me with cigar in hand and gestured for me to take it. It was one of those evenings when the sky is dark purple and the stars were lit up like they were on steroids. The memory is so powerful I can still recall the flavor in my mouth. I know it wasn't the best cigar I ever tried, but it was certainly the most memorable.


Jesse Gonzalez — Orange county, CA —  March 21, 2007 7:45pm ET

It's wonderful to read stories of people's lives that pertain to the great pastime of cigar smoking. I've been smoking cigars for close to 10 years but lately I've come to enjoy more and more different highly rated cigars and many of them come to mind. One of my first higher end cigars has to have been an Arturo Fuente "King B"(short for belicoso). I had only bought one and not knowing if I'd ever get my hands on another one again I made sure I enjoyed every puff. Since then there have been many other cigars from all makers from Rocky Patel vintage '90 and '92 to Carlos Torano (1959 gold) to Gurka and Ashtons (aged maduros and VSG's) Some of my biggest suprises have been every day priced cigars like 5 Vegas (red and "A")and the mexican lines (te-amo vintage and A. Turrent) Cubans are like driving a BMW. You can't go wrong with any one you pick. No matter which one it is it will blow you away with the consistent smooth taste, aroma and complete lack of bitterness that makes you realize why they are still considered the best. A box pressed Romeo and Julieta that I smoked in Spain last year was one that I wanted to never end. Many a golf game has been made better because of what I had in my hand after taking a swing that delivered less than great results (macanudo vintage '97 comes to mind as well as a Camacho that I'd been aging for 2 years before I decided to put it into my golf bag humidor). Padron is another brand that never fails to deliver as well as the Romeo and Julieta (anniversario and Reserve Real). I was in heaven a couple of years ago when I decided to go into a cigar shop in Monaco to see if they by chance had some good Cuban cigars and to my surprise and delight EVERY cigar in the store was Cuban. Needless to say my cruise of the mediterranian will be something I will never forget. Cudos to Royal Carribean for having a great cigar lounge with a knowledgeable staff. Life is good but with a good cigar it is better.


John Roberts — Baton Rouge, La —  March 22, 2007 11:05am ET

A big smile came across my face when I readed about plastic bad humidor. Its been a long time since my thoughts went back in time too my first humidor. In the deep South we call it a portable humidor. Thanks for the grinds.


Kevin Zaborniak March 23, 2007 1:43pm ET

My most memorable cigar would have to be My First Opus X. I actually traveled out to RI to see a friend and also search out this cigar. It was in Oct 96.I found a perf #4...slide top box....I smoked while watching the sun set across the lake my friend's parents lived on.Great Cigar.


Warren Miller — Clarkston, MI USA —  March 25, 2007 8:29am ET

Thanks to people such as Mr. Oliva and their dedication to making great cigars (e.g. MB1, 2 & 3), it is nice to know that we don't necessarily need to stock our humidors with Cubans, right? My most memorable cigar tends to be the one that I just finished, although there are some special ones that do stand out. Last summer while in Portugal for my company, I would end each evening on the hotel's restaurant porch overlooking the ocean with a different port and a Monte #2. Not a bad ending to a long day.....


Matthew Caruso — Jersey —  March 26, 2007 4:54pm ET

LOVE THE VIDEOS!!!!! NICE JOB!


Peter Brown — Brussel, Brussel, Belgium,  —  May 21, 2014 4:46am ET

For me, my memorable cigar was MONTECRISTO N 2. The first day of smoking, camping with my brother, that stick blew me away and passionate me for life.



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