Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Tom Selleck, Winter 95/96
(continued from page 3)
St. Marys, Ohio
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I got married on June 24, 1995, and I promised my best man and ushers the best cigars to celebrate the occasion. They are used to smoking the machine-made brands purchased at any drugstore or gas station.
After a few calls and a bit of road time, I obtained six Cuban Hoyo de Monterrey double coronas--three for me and one for each of my guys. They were quite expensive but well worth the money. After the wedding, I taught them the ritual of a good cut and a good light and we sat and enjoyed our stogies. I could see the enjoyment and satisfaction on their faces. Now they know why I spend so much money on good cigars. I think I have spawned a few new cigar aficionados.
I saved two Hoyos for the honeymoon. Although my wife does not smoke, she sits with me while I enjoy my cigars. She (like many readers' wives) sees the enjoyment and relaxation I feel when smoking. We sat on the hotel balcony in Myrtle Beach and I enjoyed my Hoyo. It was a great moment!
Although my budget does not dictate Hoyos on a regular basis (I am a robusto smoker-- usually Don Carlos, Fonseca 5-50 or Ashton Magnum), I look forward to getting all the guys together periodically and reliving our wedding in Pinehurst, North Carolina. I love my wife and I love my cigars. I know I will cherish both for a long, long time.
Nashua, New Hampshire
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In September 1944, I was part of the first contingent of SHAEF personnel to be flown into Paris after it was liberated. We were transported to Camp de Satory, next to the Palace of Versailles. SHAEF took over all the offices and barracks used by the German Army command during its occupation of France.
We had nothing to do that week so we did a lot of sightseeing in Paris. I also took the time to check out all the carriage houses on the grounds of the palace. In one of them, I found a huge cone-shaped mound of cigars, about 15 feet high. They were not boxed, nor were the cigars individually wrapped. Obviously, the Germans did not have the materials to do this during the war. Although the cigars I could see were in perfect shape, I wondered if those at the bottom of the pile in the middle were crushed.
The following week, the PX opened, but it did not have any cigarettes available. So I told the sergeant in charge of the PX about my find. He took a look and had thousands of cigars moved. For the next two weeks, the PX substituted cigars for cigarettes at the rate of ten a day (if you wanted that many).
The cigars had a tan wrapper and were all-tobacco. They were firm and had a mild taste. They were about 4 1/2 inches long with tapered ends. One end was open; the other, closed, which we had to bite off (we didn't have any clippers). They were the best cigars that I can ever remember smoking.
I assume only the officers could get them after our cigarette rations caught up with us. We enlisted men never saw the cigars again.
For more than 20 years, I have smoked a box of 50 King Edward Imperials a week. I find that they not only invigorate my thinking but also help me relax. They are the closest I can find to those German cigars. Although my family doctor and cardiologist know how many I smoke, neither has suggested I stop. I guess they figure that quitting would do more harm than good.
Little Silver, New Jersey
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Here is a letter I sent to the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco:
To: Herve HumlerWest Coast Vice PresidentRitz-Carlton, San Francisco
On Saturday evening, August 12, 1995, my wife and I and two friends stopped by the Ritz-Carlton for drinks, dessert and a cigar in the small bar adjacent to the dining room. Much to our disappointment, we were informed that cigar smoking in the hotel is now prohibited.
I am writing to register my dissatisfaction with your new policy. As a longtime customer of your hotel and a cigar smoker, I have come to appreciate the Ritz-Carlton hotels throughout the United States, particularly for their forward-thinking point of view concerning cigar smoking. In fact, I have come to respect the Ritz-Carlton as a leader in the cigar smoking renaissance.
I can only assume that customer pressure and possibly the [San Francisco] Chronicle restaurant review of a few weeks ago, which included a snide comment about walking through the smoke-filled bar to get to the dining room, have caused this change in policy and thinking. If this is true, maybe you could reach a compromise by allocating some other space in the hotel for cigar smoking rather than the extreme measure you have chosen banning cigar smoking, and hence cigar smokers, from your fine establishment.
I am certain that you are aware of the number of people who frequent your hotel primarily because of its historic "cigar friendly" policy. The sold out cigar dinners should serve as a reminder.
Please reconsider your decision to ban cigars at the San Francisco Ritz-Carlton, and please feel free to contact me if I can be of assistance in any way.
Richard E. Blumberg
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Since my first letter to Cigar Aficionado appeared in the Summer 1993 issue, I've found a wonderful woman, Shawn-elyn, who now shares my new home in Charlotte, North Carolina, and who is gradually becoming a cigar smoker. Something happened recently which I wanted to relate to you.
A year ago, we celebrated the first anniversary of the day we met, like many couples do. Armed with a couple of shopping tips from a cigar smoking co-worker of mine, Shawn-elyn showed up at our favorite restaurant with a pair of very fine Macanudos.
Last weekend, our second anniversary came along, and so we were set to visit our favorite restaurant again. Shawn-elyn made plans to head to the same cigar store, McCranie's, to again buy me cigars to mark the occasion. However, a tie-up at work made her late getting to the store, and she pulled up in the parking lot to discover a locked door and a couple of gentlemen standing around outside talking. One of them (I can only assume he worked there) asked, "Is something wrong?" to which Shawn-elyn replied, "Well, it's our anniversary, and I wanted to get my boyfriend some cigars. But I guess I'm too late--the store's closed!" With that, one of the gentlemen walked over to his car, saying, "I don't want you to leave empty-handed," and handed Shawn-elyn an Arturo Fuente Classic. When my girlfriend tried to pay the gentleman for the cigar, he flatly refused, saying instead, "Just do something nice for someone else, and that'll be payment enough."
Needless to say, I enjoyed the cigar immensely. I reflected that night that sometimes, a cigar is indeed just a cigar, but a free cigar is a smoke! Just goes to prove that there are a few kind souls in the world, and they usually have stogies clenched in their teeth. My heartfelt thanks to the unknown fellow who might read these words.
Charlotte, North Carolina
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