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Out of the Humidor

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A true cigar smoker knows what torture it is to run out of cigars, especially in as quiet and lonely a place as the Mexican town we were in. I finally asked Wayne if he had any cigars. "Nope," he replied, "Ran out. And you're out too. We're wrapping this up in a day or so, or else I'd send Bud to Texas and get some." We wrapped it up and I hastened to get home to the brand I smoked.
Bill Noble
Lake Orion, Michigan
Editor's Note: I received mail, both negative and positive, regarding the India Allen story in the Spring 1995 issue of Cigar Aficionado. As always, Cigar Aficionado readers were thoughtful and articulate in voicing their concerns or praise.
It has never been our intent to make nudity an integral part of Cigar Aficionado. That having been said, Cigar Aficionado is a men's magazine. Given that it is 1995, the article was, in our view, well within the bounds of good taste. The black-and-white photographs were presented as art. And, the article was intentionally not hyped on the cover. Here are a few sample letters:

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Dear Marvin,
In the autumn of 1992, a cigar-smoking associate of my husband presented him with the premier issue of Cigar Aficionado and a subscription to your unique new magazine. What a thoughtful 50th birthday gift for my cigar-loving husband! As each new issue arrived, a ritual was formed: He finishes dinner, sets up a fire (in upstate New York fireplaces are used 10 months out of the year), and settles into his favorite chair next to his humidor and oversized ashtray. He then lights his cigar, our 18-year-old cat climbs into his lap, and my husband savors Cigar Aficionado along with his cigar. While he is reading, our daughters, ages 12 and 14, and I are encouraged to read certain articles he feels we will enjoy--only, of course, after he's finished reading.
One of our family priorities is education. My husband and I confess to our friends that after having three children complete college and two in private schools, we have become "education poor." Our girls are excellent students and voracious readers. They have learned about George Burns, Groucho Marx and more in Cigar Aficionado, while I have appreciated the articles on antique posters, pocket watches and Tiffany glass. Cigar Aficionado had become a family magazine.
I realize that this magazine was purchased for my husband, not for myself and certainly not for the girls. Should there be any reason why all of us could not enjoy this upscale gentlemen's publication? I didn't think so, until my husband received the Spring 1995 issue. Unfortunately, my daughters will not be reading about Mr. Television, Babe Ruth or cigar store Indians.
Marvin, after more than two years of presenting a wonderful magazine that was read by our entire family, why must you display a former Playboy Playmate in the nude? Aren't there enough magazines that cater to those expecting nudity on their pages? Isn't a provocative teddy or a sensuous evening dress enough to get the point across that Ms. Allen has a beautiful body? Couldn't Ms. Allen enjoy her cigar clothed, as do all the gentlemen and other ladies in your magazine?
My husband finds nothing wrong with the Playmate layout in "his magazine" and believes it is foolish for me to protest. He's probably right; after all, it is "his magazine," since it can no longer be enjoyed by all of us.
Marlene Kabza
Syracuse, New York

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Dear Marvin,
I received in today's mail my Spring 1995 issue of Cigar Aficionado. Since it is Saturday, our home is the neighborhood and family "hang out." Upon seeing the new issue in my mail, I passed by all the other items and pulled open the poly bag. My mother, father, friends and children already knew they had lost me from the conversation for the next hour due to the magazine's arrival.
To my great displeasure, I found the photographs of Ms. India Allen. She is a beautiful human being, but her pornographic photos have no place in my home. I understand that you are still searching to expand the niche of your magazine to a broader readership and advertising base, but I do not agree with this type of photography without prior warning to your readers. I surely hope you warned your advertisers, newsstand wholesalers and staff of this negative change in the magazine.
You have done an excellent job of broadening the appeal of the cigar niche with first-class, high-end male-oriented products and with upscale advertisers. Do not blow it by adding pornography.
The Spring issue will not be proudly displayed on my coffee table in either my home or office.
William E. Forster, Jr.
Lititz, Pennsylvania

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Dear Marvin,
I am very glad to be subscribing to Cigar Aficio-nado; it gives me the kind of articles and information about the world that I just can't get elsewhere. Thanks.
I am disappointed, though, in the Spring 1995 article on India Allen. I had come to think of your fine magazine as something different and apart from the ordinary. I would like it to continue that way.
The article was, in a word, pandering. It was indistinguishable from anything in Hustler, Playboy or any other magazine devoted to an adolescent crowd. The only difference was you took more time and space to tell us about "Indie's" turn-ons (conservative men! How surprising!) than a more self-respecting girlie mag would.
Daniel A. White
Minnetonka, Minnesota

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Dear Marvin,
I have been a subscriber to Cigar Aficionado since the premier issue and have read each issue with the same relish I save for vintage wines and fine cigars. The Spring 1995 issue arrived in my office today and I was drawn to the magazine as usual. However, as I began reading Mervyn Rothstein's interview of India Allen, I quickly realized this was not going to be the usual Cigar Aficionado feature. All I can say is, this magazine just keeps getting better and better with each issue!!!!
Keep up the good work and let's try to find a way to drop the embargo on Cuban cigars.
Scott A. Wickman
Oak Brook, Illinois

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Dear Marvin,
To quote a classic of American cinematography, Paint Your Wagon: "Until you've had a good cigar and a shot of whiskey, you're missing out on the second- and third-best things in life."
After reading the Spring issue's interview and pictorial of India Allen, I see your magazine now includes the best thing in life, as well as numbers two and three.
Philip Burrus
Atlanta, Georgia
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