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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Ron Perelman, Spring 95

(continued from page 8)

As is my custom, I also brought a few cigars in a traveling humidor, which I intended to enjoy during the course of the afternoon. With that thought in mind, I purposely arranged my chair so that no one would be sitting directly downwind from me. I am fully aware of, and have been subject to, the wrath of the occasional non-cigar smoker who feels compelled to demand that you extinguish your cigar and then proceeds to lecture you on what he or she believes is a totally inappropriate and unhealthy practice. Needless to say, I try to avoid such confrontations whenever possible.

On the field, a spirited match between two high-goal teams kept the group thoroughly entertained. Going into the final chukker, only a single goal separated the two squads.

After finishing lunch, I proceeded to light up one of my favorite cigars, a Davidoff 4000. Within a few moments, a few of my companions asked if they too could partake. Since I am usually the designated cigar provider at such events, I had anticipated the demand and planned accordingly. In no time, the group of us were enjoying a truly memorable afternoon--good food and drink, wonderful weather, close friends and, perhaps best of all, truly outstanding cigars.

The close-fought polo match came to an end, and our group began to pack up its belongings. I was still in a beach chair, attending to one of the baskets, when I noticed a distinguished, middle-aged couple walking purposely in my direction. I immediately stiffened in anticipation of the tongue-lashing that was sure to follow. They stopped directly in front of my chair and stared down. The woman said, "excuse me." I looked up sheepishly.

The woman said, "I would like to talk to you about your cigar smoking." I immediately cringed. She then thanked me for smoking during the polo match. At first I thought she was being sarcastic. However, she went on to explain that she and her husband are avid cigar smokers but had spent the afternoon with a group that would not have appreciated such activity. The woman explained that during the match, she and her husband had occasionally caught the scent of our cigars. The scent of distant cigar smoke had apparently provided them with a certain degree of satisfaction and made their afternoon that much more enjoyable. She asked what brand I was smoking. The woman smiled and nodded in appreciation when I showed her the band. They thanked me again, turned and walked across the field.

I watched the couple depart with a smile on my face. It had truly been a wonderful afternoon. This unexpected exchange with the stylish and appreciative couple, obviously true cigar aficionados, provided a memorable ending to the day's activities.

Kirk Edelman
Darien, Connecticut

* * *

Dear Marvin,

My husband is an appreciative subscriber to Cigar Aficionado, and I am an appreciative admirer of his taste in fine cigars. At times I am drafted into supplying specimens of the more difficult sort (you will understand why I request that you do not print my name), and I am happy to do this in the course of business trips outside the United States. Usually my quest for the local purveyor of fine cigars leads me to very elegant and charming surroundings, as on the Avenue Victor Hugo in Paris, where two excellent caves aux cigares can be found. However, a recent trip to Ottawa reminded me of the wisdom of not judging things by first appearance. Asking my hotel concierge for a nearby shop where Cuban cigars could be found, I was rather laconically directed to a store called Mags and Fags. After I remembered that "fags" is British for a smoke and not a derogatory comment upon sexual preference, I looked up the place. It was not encouraging: from the outside, it looked like a rather seedy convenience store with a jumble of poorly printed signs in the window and a general lack of tidiness. However, a small hand-printed note in the window said havana cigars, so I went in. Inside it was even more discouraging: several small boys were huddled over X-men comics, and a man in the corner was displaying all the signs of a casual consumer of soft-core porn. Two women in red jogging suits appeared to be the shopkeepers, one of whom was occupied with straightening out a lottery machine and its takings. I knew I wasn't in Alfred Dunhill. But having come so far, I bravely asked if they truly did have Havana cigars. I was glad I asked. A counter covered with expired magazines was instantly cleared, and I realized I had been leaning on a fully stocked humidor. One of the women opened the humidor and, taking my husband's carefully annotated list, promptly found Cohiba Robusto, Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona, Romeo y Julieta Churchill, and Montecristo No. 2. Not only that, she offered a running commentary upon his selections and noted her regret at not having Por Larrañaga to sell me.

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