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The Legends Speak

We take the words right out of their mouths as Cigar Aficionado imagines what it would be like to have a face-to-face with history’s most famous cigar smokers.
P.J. O'Rourke
From the Print Edition:
Cigar Aficionado's 20th Anniversary, September/October 2012

(continued from page 3)

KIPLING: We quarreled about Havanas—we fought o’re a good cheroot, and I know she is exacting, and she says I am a brute.
CA: So Maggie takes a tough stance on the trade ban with Cuba? Does she think importing Cuban cigars would help keep the communists in power and prolong the suffering of the Cuban people?

KIPLING: Open the old cigar box—let me consider a space; in the soft blue veil of the vapor musing on Maggie’s face.
CA: Giving weight to each other’s opinions is important in a marriage.

KIPLING: Maggie is pretty to look at—Maggie’s a loving lass, but the prettiest cheeks must wrinkle, the truest of loves must pass. There’s peace in a Larrañaga, there’s calm in a Henry Clay; but the best cigar in an hour is finished and thrown away.
CA: I gather you think that “maturing” a cigar is overrated. Por Larrañaga, by the way, has made something of a comeback. Their Lonsdales are great. And you mention Henry Clay, a good, solid day-to-day smoke.

KIPLING: Thrown away for another as perfect and ripe and brown. But I could not throw away Maggie for fear o’ the talk o’ the town!
CA: That would be a problem.

KIPLING: Maggie, my wife at 50—grey and dour and old—with never another Maggie to purchase for love or gold! And the light of days that have been, the dark of the days that are, and love’s torch stinking and stale, like the butt of a dead cigar.
CA: I’ve found that if you lay them in an ashtray and let them go out, instead of stubbing them, there’s no unpleasant odor.

KIPLING: The butt of a dead cigar you are bound to keep in your pocket, with never a new one to light tho’ it’s charred and black to the socket!
CA: A good dry cleaner is a cigar smoker’s best friend. I gather that the pleasure of smoking a cigar is something that you take personally.

KIPLING: Open the old cigar box—let me consider a while. Here is a mild Manilla—there is a wifely smile.
CA: I’ve found Alhambra and La Flor de la Isabella to be two of the better Philippine brands—somewhat bitter finish, but good value.

KIPLING: Which is the better portion—bondage bought with a ring, or a harem of dusky beauties, 50 tied in a string?
CA: That’s a good question.

KIPLING: Thought in the early morning, solace in time of woes, peace in the hush of the twilight, balm ere my eyelids close, this will the 50 give me, asking naught in return, with only a Suttee’s passion—to do their duty and burn.
CA: I think I see what you mean.

KIPLING: The furrows of far-off Java, the isles of the Spanish Main, when they hear my harem is empty will send me my brides again.
CA: Do you find Java and Sumatra tobacco a little dry and peppery on the tongue?

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