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A Star Returns

After years of battling rumors and bad scripts, Tom Selleck, the former Star of Magnum, P.I., is poised for a comeback.
Mervyn Rothstein
From the Print Edition:
Tom Selleck, Winter 95/96

(continued from page 4)

When it comes to his favorite, however, Havana wins, with the Montecristo No. 2, a figurado. "I'd rather hold a Monte No. 2 than any cigar," he says. "I just love its shape."

He is not a heavy smoker--perhaps five or six cigars a month, he says, unless he is on location, when he smokes more frequently. "I love to smoke a cigar and read a script. I have a house with a high ceiling, and I also have a room for smoking. I like the contemplative aspect of cigars, the sheer pleasure of a good one. They're just remarkable, and smoking one is such a relaxing thing to do."

Another reason he loves cigars, he says, is because "they're so wonderfully politically incorrect now. The '60s child in me just loves the fact that I'm fighting against the trend. There are a lot of things about cigars I love because of the anarchist in me. A lot of people are doing that. The cigar business is booming, and it's lovely in that sense."

And the antismoking movement? "I wouldn't smoke cigars if I thought they were that detrimental to one's health. Solutions to problems in a free society are messy. There are no magic bullets, no bumper-sticker solutions. If we want an authoritarian state, we can continue to do the kind of stuff we're doing now about smoking."

He also treasures the fact that women are smoking cigars--"and not just those stupid little petite ones that some women think they have to smoke to stay feminine. I don't like cigars that have small ring gauges, unless I'm looking for a quick smoke. Bigger cigars smoke cooler and taste better. When a woman can smoke a cigar like a Cohiba Robusto with confidence, and enjoy it as much as a man, I find it incredibly feminine."

The actor is also a fancier of the finest Ports--Fonseca, Dow, Taylor Fladgate. "I love the Fonseca '63. I have six bottles in the cellar, as well as a couple of other '63s. A glass of that and a cigar is my idea of heaven. A Hoyo double corona would be just about right. And a good book."

If not a fine Port, Selleck sometimes chooses a good single malt Scotch with a cigar. "A Glenmorangie. A Laphroaig. And the really peaty stuff. It's really hard to beat a good 25-year-old Macallan. Some of them are so good and so expensive I tend not to drink them. Part of me is really this lower-middle-class kid who thinks you should put plastic covers on the couch and not use the good silver."

Selleck also enjoys a good bottle of wine. "I love big, oaky California Cabernets," he says. "I know French wines pretty well, especially the big five Bordeaux, but I haven't been drinking them lately. If I am in an Italian restaurant I will invariably order a Brunello di Montalcino. A lot of my choices are tied to memories. I've had a lot of good Brunello with friends in Italy and in other places. I like repetition. I like a sense of continuity. That happens a lot with wines." He very seldom drinks white wines. "If I'm at a formal dinner and they serve it with the first course, I'll drink it. But I drink red wine with fish. It just doesn't bother me. I know the difference. I can play the game. But red is what I like."

His California ranch, he says, has an excellent wine cellar. "It used to be Dean Martin's ranch. The cellar is a bunker built into the side of a hill. It's also a great temperature for keeping cigars. When I run out of room in my humidors"--he has more than 500 cigars at home--"I keep the cigars in the cellar. The humidity level is not quite right, but it's close enough, and I can put them back in the humidor later and restore them easily."

Also in the cellar is some Château Margaux '82, "and a lot of old bottles I got as gifts. I even have a '74 Mondavi Reserve. I should be drinking it now. Maybe it's even a little past it."

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