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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Danny DeVito, Winter 96

(continued from page 11)

It all started when some Arab friends of mine wanted to introduce me to a very famous legend, who unfortunately will remain nameless, as he is not the key to this story. It's just that he, too, loves cigars. I was invited to his home for lunch. As I awaited his entrance, my palms soaked from nerves, I wondered what he was doing prior to my arrival. Then I heard his voice as he
apologized for the delay; he was finishing his mid-afternoon cigar and wanted to put it out before he met me. I thought it a gracious gesture, as I will now admit I believed it to be a nasty habit and thought that all cigars were disgusting! We proceeded to have lunch and a meeting that now ranks as one of the most memorable days of
my life.

A week or so later, I had a "chance" meeting with an incredible man. He is fascinating, very adventurous and I believe that we are truly soul mates. It was love at first sight. But for your purposes, his true attribute is that he is a cigar aficionado.

On our first evening he hosted a group of five to dinner. At the close of the meal, he asked if I objected to him smoking a cigar. Unlike the previous gentleman, he wanted to test my reaction. For some strange reason, I nodded my approval. He lit up an Avo No. 1. I was ready for the worst. Maybe it was him or just the way he handled the situation, but it was heaven. I had never experienced such a beautiful aroma. It certainly could not have been a cigar (remember, I thought they were disgusting). It was captivating, and so was he. Unfortunately, the restaurant asked us to leave. We moved to the lounge in the hotel and ordered an after-dinner drink and he (or we) continued to enjoy his cigar. We talked until dawn, mostly about cigars, and I was hooked.

Now the adventure begins. During the conversation he, not knowing my character, proposed a challenge. He began by telling us (yes, we still had an audience) about his favorite cigar, one that is impossible to obtain. One so difficult, he said, that Castro himself could probably not get it. Yes, it was a Cuban cigar, an Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona. It had to be a double corona. None of this meant anything to me, only the challenge. Then he sweetened the deal. He said, in front of the now much-appreciated witnesses, that he would marry me if I could get one, no, not one, but a box. He then laughed. Mind you, he was not being pretentious, he was merely emphasizing the fact that these cigars were special, very special. Well, to me this man is special, very special.

I began my quest for this rare cigar. I put out feelers to my resources in London. They said, no problem, we will get them for you. Great! Easy. Three days later the call came, "No cigar! These things are impossible!" Now what? I wasn't sure where to turn. I called the Arabs; they laughed. Now I was desperate. I was left to my own devices. Should have done that in the first place. I opened up the Yellow Pages and started dialing for dollars. I must have spoken to everyone in the country connected to cigars, even someone at your publication. Again, no cigar...

After spanning the globe, I began to search locally. I met my new best friend, who will also remain nameless for obvious reasons. Finally, he said, "Yes," I can get this cigar for you. Within hours I, not Castro, had a box of Hoyo de Monterey Double Coronas in my possession. The details on how I actually got them is enough material for another letter.

So what happened to Mr. Right? He does not live in the same city as I. We have spoken on the telephone and he knows (or thinks) that I have the cigars in question. It is an understatement to say that he is in shock!!! We will be meeting next week in an undisclosed location to celebrate. I will let you know how things develop. He has promised to now teach me the other side of cigars, smoking them.

I ask you, how many MEN does he know that would go to such extent to capture the essence of a fine cigar without even a puff? Maybe women learn the value of something fine before they acquire a taste for it. When I do take my first puff, I will have already a "unique" appreciation for the fine art of cigars. And a new friend, a "unique" man who introduced them into my life.

I look forward to finding my own special brand and hopefully it will be easier to obtain. Yes, after two weeks I am hooked and fascinated by the world of cigars and aficionados. I will end this saga by quoting something from your pocket guide (yes, I bought that, too) that I believe to be true: "Sharing a cigar with a friend becomes a stimulus for civilized conversation, a common ground where shared experience builds a bond."

A Cigar Aficionada
Las Vegas, Nevada

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