Out of the Humidor

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When I was recently introduced to the art of smoking cigars by my friend at work, I moved to another level of appreciation: their exquisite taste. My first cigar was an Arturo Fuente maduro, and I will always remember its subtle and rich flavors. Healso introduced me to Cigar Aficionado, and I have since been learning about the fine tradition of cigars and sampling many of the better cigars available.
Belushi claims that women are "fashion-oriented," and that they will start to knock something after two or three years. Yet I agree with Joseph Leonard in his letter, which states that more negative comments about cigars come from men than from women. I also take heart from his statement that he enjoys smoking a cigar with both men and women and that many of Cigar Aficionado's readers feel the same way. I would hate to think that most of the male cigar smokers feel as Jim Belushi does.
Oh yes--in a couple of weeks I will be sharing my first cigar with my father, who greeted my newfound enthusiasm very warmly. That will be a truly priceless father-daughter experience.
Linnea C. Brush
Diamond Bar, California

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Dear Marvin,
It was a great pleasure to meet you at the New York Big Smoke in November. A good time was had by all would be an understatement, to say the least. I was impressed by many things that day, but two observations I'd like to bring to light, as they are positive prognostic indicators for the future of cigar "apprecianados" in this country.
First, the relative youth of the attendees. You can back me up on this or dispute it, but it seemed that upward of 80 percent to 90 percent of smokers in attendance were under age 60--and half of these were probably under 40. Is that a perception clouded by one-too-many Johnnie Walker Blue Labels? If true, it appears that your magazine is reaching a whole new generation of cigar lovers, lovers of the finer things in general.
Second, and maybe more important, was the ethnic, racial and sexual diversity of the crowd. In a world filled with conflict, it seemed that for one-and-a-half precious hours, we all looked alike. Any gripes about a lack of racial, religious or sexual equality literally went up in smoke--albeit a huge blue cloud of smoke. Let's hope that the next Big Smoke is enjoyed by even a larger proportion of "minorities," especially women. Cigar "apprecianados" need not be men only, or white, or Republican, or Ivy League educated. Your magazine is the tangible truth of this idea.
Marvin, thank you for a great time.
Michael DePaolo
Wind Gap, Pennsylvania

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Dear Marvin,
I am a 43-year-old money manager whose livelihood depends on my judgment of the moment-to-moment gyrations of securities prices. Although my family is most dear to me, nothing relieves the stress of my occupation more than a fine cigar. In good times and bad, those precious moments provide a sense of well-being as well as the opportunity to contemplate life's travails. Cigar smoking and tension cannot coexist; the cigar always triumphs over tension. And nothing makes life's triumphs more triumphant than a good cigar.
Yet perhaps the sweetest part of the cigar experience is the connection that it gives us with others. There is a bond that naturally exists between cigar smokers. When you discover that someone is a cigar smoker, you cannot help but feel a little bit closer, as if you are part of some brotherhood.
Barry Schrager
Belleville, New Jersey

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Dear Marvin,
You should know of the awareness level that the under-two crowd has for your splendid publication. On a recent driving vacation, I made a pilgrimage to the Havana House in Windsor, Ontario. While I was in the humidor at the back of the store, my wife and 22-month-old daughter, Amy, waited up front. As you walk into the store, on the right, next to the register, is a display of all of the issues of Cigar Aficionado. Amy was sitting in her stroller facing the display when she pointed at it and blurted out, "My daddy reads that magazine all the time." My wife told me that two men in the front of the store with her were awestruck. Needless to say, we will be talking about this one for a long time to come.
Edward A. Phillips
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Dear Marvin,
I want to thank you for making my 43rd birthday such a success. My lovely wife, knowing my appreciation for fine cigars, arranged for myself and four close friends to attend the Big Smoke in Los Angeles on October 11, 1994. What a treat! As we checked into our suite at the Regent Beverly Wilshire, my friends were waiting with Champagne and Cuban cigars (Montecristo No. 2). I was presented with a Dunhill lighter (what a pleasant surprise to find a lighter that actually keeps on working) and a box of La Gloria Cubanas.
After this wonderful start, we dressed up and attended the Big Smoke downstairs, where the brotherhood and sisterhood of cigar lovers was in full swing. We were each given a Cigar Aficionado bag and coupon book, and we joyfully made our way down the aisles sampling and tasting the finest in food, wines, Cognacs and, of course, cigars. I left replete with shared pleasures and enough cigars to more than pay for the cost of attending.
The next day while walking down Rodeo Drive, I entered the Dunhill store. What a wonderful place. I bought a box of Macanudos and learned how to refill my new lighter. I felt very much at home as I discussed cigars and purchased back issues of Cigar Aficionado. I then joined their cigar club and was fitted for a complimentary custom-made shirt. While all this was happening I noticed a gorgeous humidor with Cigar Aficionado in gold across the top. I asked the purchase price of this humidor and was told $5,000. "Well worth it," I said. "It's not for sale," the owner said.
Tom Herrera
Reno, Nevada

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Dear Marvin,
A beautiful wedding ceremony is memorable, but a good cigar is positively irresistible.
Minutes after my lovely bride, Linda, and I exchanged our vows before 130 friends and relatives, the urge to celebrate the momentous occasion could no longer wait. As the gathering moved outside for the traditional postnuptial waves and photographs, there wasn't a moment to lose.
I eagerly pulled out of my vest pocket a lovely Arturo Fuente Lonsdale, which I ever so carefully stored away for safekeeping. As all prudent grooms do, I had carefully double-checked my list: ring, tuxedo, best man, limo...and of course, the celebratory cigar.
Prior to the wedding, I was delighted beyond description after receiving the news from our minister, Dave Eksdale, that Winnipeg's Crescent Fort Rouge United was a cigar-friendly house of worship. Perfect!
Later that evening at the reception, held in the comfortable setting of a local golf club, a good friend capped the day when he presented me with a package of Macanudo coronas. A group of us enjoyed our postdinner drinks and smokes under a beautiful sky and balmy temperatures.
It was truly a wonderful time to share good conversation and cigars with friends. There's nothing quite like a cigar-friendly wedding to ensure a lifetime of good memories.
Brian Smiley
Winnipeg, Manitoba
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