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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Rush Limbaugh, Spring 94

Dear Marvin:

Let me begin by stating, "I don't smoke; I never have." Then one day the president of our company allowed me to borrow the premier issue of your magazine; ever since he has promptly passed each issue along to me. I read each issue from cover to cover and have come to find cigars, as well as the magazine, fascinating.

My boyfriend smokes cigarettes and had never shown an interest in smoking cigars, but one day, while at the local mall, I took him to the Tinder Box, and we chose a cigar. Now, five months later, after reading your magazines, which I keep out, he is experimenting nightly with different cigars to choose his favorite. Every evening after dinner we sit back, and he lights a cigar, pours some brandy and has all the issues of Cigar Aficionado set out before him. This is truly my favorite time, and the highest quality of time that we spend together. I relax and enjoy the aroma of each cigar as he enjoys the smoke and describes to me the different flavors that he experiences. Who would have thought that choosing a cigar, and the anticipation of lighting each cigar would be as exciting as the anticipation of a sexual revelation.

Thank you for opening up a whole new world to both of us, one that has brought us closer together and has taught us to appreciate the fine art of smoking a cigar.

Kelly S. Ruenz
Clemmons, North Carolina

* * *

Dear Marvin:

I'd like to express my appreciation to you for rescuing the self-image of the cigar smoker. While the uninformed masses may still recoil from the sight or aroma of my leafy passion, at least I am now secure in the knowledge that mine is not a solitary persecution.

Can't smoke in the house. Can't smoke at work. Hell, people even complain in the ballpark now. Lucky the man who finds a restaurant with cigar tolerance; blessed is the man who can then purchase one there!

Vigorous legislation and self-righteous carping have narrowed the venue of enjoyment to the golf course and that glorious hour in my yard astride the John Deere, when the mower's engine drowns out the disapproving "He's smoking another one of those dog turds!" Ah, the four-cycle sonata with a fine cigar!

I find I have to read your magazine in small portions. Properly rationed, I get more frequent reminders of what a good life this truly is, and conversely have time to recover from the disappointments of not being able to enjoy some of your published pleasure. When I was a lad, it was perusing the toy section of the Sears catalog at Christmas--now it's wondering what it would be like to smoke that vintage Cohiba in Paris. And what fun the Big Smoke must be! Not likely to find out in a town where a fresh cigar is only available by mail order.

Michael D. Washington
Rochester, New York

* * *

Dear Marvin:

I thought you might appreciate this story. Recently I was attending the graduation of my youngest son at Harvard University. The event is held in Harvard Yard, and that particular day experienced the worst weather of Harvard's long history. My wife and I arrived early to obtain a vantage point where we could watch the procession of graduates. We were originally in the first row standing along the path. By the time the ceremonies began, we were in the sixth row of spectators as a result of the invasion of late arrivals forcing themselves in front and pushing us back.

I decided that one way to quell my nerves and possibly obtain some breathing space would be to light up a Te-Amo Churchill. Much to my wife's distress, I proceeded to do so, whereupon one of the late intruders turned to me and demanded that I "put that thing out." I responded that, to my knowledge, even in the People's Republic of Cambridge, it was permissible to smoke outside. This lady, and I use the term loosely, was further supported by her male companion, who threatened to punch me in the nose. I responded that it was my opinion that if he tried to resort to such action, it would result in much greater bodily harm to him than my fine cigar could possibly do, and further, that it had cost me approximately $100,000 to stand in the mud of Harvard Yard for this occasion, and I fully intended to continue enjoying my cigar. My retort must have had a sobering effect on him; he and his companion promptly moved away. To his credit, I must say that at the conclusion of the ceremonies he sought me out in the crowd and apologized.

I feel I made a small statement for the rights of cigar lovers, and I commend your publication for doing the same on a much broader scale.

Ernest C. Caggiano
Winthrop, Massachusetts

* * *

Dear Marvin:

Your recent editorial concerning the smoking of cigars in the White House stirred up some old and valued memories. If the current occupants of the White House were familiar with the story I am about to tell, they might change their minds.

It concerns the late JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Strange as it may seem now, it is true.

I was a network news correspondent for ABC-TV at the time. I was in Washington trying to make arrangements to go to Guantánamo Bay--I would eventually get the assignment as pool correspondent. While waiting for my assignment to come through I was asked to back up Bill Lawrence, our White House correspondent.

At this point in time, Cuban cigars had become a rare commodity because they had been contraband since the Bay of Pigs fiasco. One of my favorite off-duty pastimes in New York, or any city to which I was assigned, was to wander about looking for small cigar stores in search of any leftover Cuban stock. Wandering along K Street one afternoon, I hit it lucky. I found 18 Por Larrañagas. They cost me a buck a piece--just about double their usual price. Not a bad buy. I figured ABC could afford it.

With my inside jacket pockets all plumped out with cigars--the feeling of them was comforting--I headed back to the White House. Back in the press room (a ridiculous arrangement of cubbyholes, each no wider than a phone booth), I sat back and lit up.

"Jesus Christ," Bill Lawrence calls out, "What do I smell?"

"What do you think you smell?"

"If I smell what I think I smell," he replies, "you've already made it to Cuba and back."

I give Lawrence the facts. If nothing else, Lawrence is a direct man. "Give me some!" he demands in his gravelly voice.

"No, Bill, remember your heart condition."

"Just two," he now pleads. "You won't be sorry."

How can I turn down this famous former New York Times reporter, a golfing partner of General Eisenhower and confidant of the current president? Easy, I think--but what the hell!

Bill grabs the two cigars, clutching them in his hand as if he were running the last leg of an Olympic mile relay and disappears in the direction of Pierre Salinger's office (the president's press secretary).

Lawrence reappears about 15 minutes later with a big grin on his beefy face.

"OK, you son of a bitch," I say, "how'd Salinger like 'em? I hope they did you some good."

"Oh, Pierre liked his fine, but the president is really enjoying his!"

"You're too much, Lawrence. You mean to tell me the whole world may go to war any minute over the Cuban situation, depending on whatever decision Kennedy makes, and the president is in there now smoking one of my contraband Cuban cigars?"

"Why not?" he answers.

Why not, indeed. After all, what better way for the president to relax his nerves and do some serious thinking than with a fine Havana cigar? I fantasize--the irony of it--that JFK makes the right decision because one of Castro's cigars, which I have supplied him, puts him in the right frame of mind and helps save the world from nuclear destruction.

"Har-r-rumph!" goes Lawrence.

"What, Bill?"

"I think they'd really like some more--how many you got?"

The son of a bitch has been reading my mind. Now he's got me. It would be against the national interest, nay, against humanity, for me to refuse at this point.

"Would you believe six, William?"

"I'll settle for eight," he replies.

"Look Bill, this isn't my beat, and I don't want to cramp your style," I say, "but I would like a little acknowledgment. I know I can't go in there--just give me your word that he knows who's supplying them."

"Scout's honor," says Bill, and he's off to the president's office looking like a cigar-store Indian come to life.

Fade to the next morning when the president has a meeting scheduled with the National Security Council just prior to a national announcement of a blockade of Cuba. I am standing in the corridor alongside the Rose Garden as the president comes striding down the hall, his back and shoulders stiff and erect from the brace that makes him look taller than he really is. He looks a little tired and drawn, puffy around the eyes. But he is smiling as I say, "Good morning, Mr. President."

He stops for a moment, looks quickly, almost surreptitiously, over his shoulder before looking back at me. JFK pats his breast pocket gently, raises his right hand to his mouth, takes a puff from an imaginary cigar and exhales. His face breaks out into a big grin and he makes an A-OK sign by forming a circle with his right index finger and thumb, extending the last three fingers. He tops it off with a wink and is off down the hall.

"Good luck, Mr. President," I call after him. "And thanks, Bill," I say to myself. "There are some honorable newsmen left."

Ed Silverman
Riverdale, New York

Editor's Response: I know that President Clinton loves cigars. I hope that he comes out of the closet this year and joins in the tradition of world leaders like JFK.

* * *

Dear Marvin:

After reading letters from fellow cigar smokers around the globe, courtesy of your fine publication, I feel compelled to share my somewhat unique viewpoint.

As a twentysomething graduate student, I am far from what your magazine and the media in general present as the typical cigar smoker. I have helped many of my generation to discover the joys of a fine H. Upmann, Ashton or Henry Clay, to name just a few. I feel confident in reporting to you at Cigar Aficionado that there is an entire generation of young cigar smokers ready to carry on the fight against those who would keep us out of restaurants, offices and other venues. We are looking forward to a long life of sampling the world's finest cigars and many more issues of Cigar Aficionado to guide us along the way.

A. William Dowdy
Indianapolis, Indiana

* * *

Dear Marvin:

In reading Diana McLellan's piece, "Is the Air Any Cleaner?" I could not help but recall our happy days at the now-defunct Washington Star, where we were journalists together in the 1970s, when reporters were allowed to smoke cigars in the city room. But more to the point, I refer to her recollection of food writer Judith Olney demonstrating at a Washington dinner party how a cigar should be served to a gentleman. The tale inspires my own recollection. To wit:

I was having dinner at the Taipei Hilton in 1980 and ordered an after-dinner Habana cigar and a bowl-sized snifter of excellent brandy. Waiting for this treat, I saw my waitress off in the distance pushing a rolling table toward me. A little lake was set up on this table, and, floating in the middle of this lake, surrounded by tiny floating candles, was an Oriental boat. In the middle of this boat, in a cedar box on a cushion of velvet, was my cigar. The waitress lifted the cigar out of the box gently and handed it to me for inspection, as one would handle a bottle of fine wine. I fondled it, sniffed it, and pronounced it fully acceptable. She then took it from me, snipped the end of it, and ran the tip of her tongue (not a flame) gently up and down the length of it. It was a somewhat erotic moment. She then lit it, carefully and professionally, took a few puffs and blew a lovely smoke ring. She handed it over with a smile. I will not go into what I did later that evening after I had finished that cigar and then another, except to say that it was a most memorable night. And all fired up by the small favor of a cigar.

Jack Sherwood
Annapolis, Maryland

* * *

Dear Marvin:

While I purport to be the greatest fan of fine, hand-rolled, long-filler cigars in the valley of the sun, there are many cigar lovers living in the desert Southwest. I recently decided to display my great passion for the leaf by means of ordering personalized, automobile license plates (reading Cigars) for my Porsche 911. As you can see from the attached photographs, I am a driving billboard for those of us who relish cigars.

I would like to encourage and challenge the readers of Cigar Aficionado to apply for similar personalized, automobile license plates in their respective states or provinces. What better way is there to demonstrate one's affection for fine cigars than this?

Mark Cary Edwin
Scottsdale, Arizona

Editor's Response: Dear Readers, if you have a cigar-related, car-license photo, please send it to me. It would be great fun to publish a collection of the photos.

* * *

Dear Marvin:

I have, since your premier issue, read with some wonderment, the trials and tribulations faced by your readers in their quest to savor a gentle cigar in peace. I have repeatedly been shocked and dismayed by letters from your loyal readers and contributors.

I, too, have been subjected to condemnation for simply leaving my leather cigar case on my desk at the office. The mere sight of your outstanding magazine conjures up all sorts of froth from associates. It is because of this constant abuse, this shared persecution, that I feel compelled to relate the details of a recent excursion to you.

Recently, I drove for nine hours through freezing rain to Algonquin Provincial Park. I counted nine serious car accidents as I made my way north, working around closed highways. A local resident just outside the park told me that if I made the last 83 kilometers down into the woods, I wouldn't be able to get out for three days, if the roads melted.

The Petawawa River was raging. Massive boulders were covered with ice. It was nearly impossible to jump from one to the next. The water was colder than anything I had ever tasted. That first dark, wet evening, alone in the freezing tent, my mind wandered to the newspaper reports of two campers killed by a bear in the park the year before. The bear would not give up the half-buried bodies. A ghastly rarity, I thought, sipping aged Canadian whisky and watching my breath blow across the tent.

In the morning, I was unable to light a fire or my propane burner. A rabid fox followed my hike for 20 minutes. The ambition of my trip, the 300-foot cliffs, was no less challenging. When I reached the top, after snapping a few photos, I reveled in the view. It was literally breathtaking. Gravity and fear pressed me into the rock ledge. The yells and singing of long-dead lumberjacks seemed to drift through the mist of the canyon. I imagined ancient Huron and Mohawk braves coming to that place to settle old feuds.

There, in subzero weather, I pulled out my Zino cutter, wooden matches and a Cuban Romeo y Julieta No. 1. A fine place for lucid thought and perspective. My only concern at that point was whether it been damaged by the cold.

Invariably, my friends, family and associates ask me, what would possess me to risk life and limb on such a dangerous solo excursion? Truthfully, I must reply (you guessed it!), "I wanted to enjoy a cigar in peace, with no fear of anyone staring down their nose at me."

Daniel B. L. Patterson
Whitby, Ontario, Canada

* * *

Dear Marvin:

Los Angles residents are the better for the recently imposed, restaurant smoking ban. California residents would benefit from a similar statewide ban in restaurants and public places. Yes, even a ban that extends to private functions such as cigar din-ners is appropriate. After all, why should waitstaff catering the function be forced to serve you in a noxious environment.

Steven J. Bastian
Studio City, California

Editor's Response: One of the foundations of this country's greatness is the right to enjoy yourself. Read the Declaration of Independence: it establishes the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You don't have the right to tell anybody what to do at a private function. If you took half a minute to think about it, you'd realize just how wrong you are.

* * *

Dear Marvin:

While reading your Autumn 1993 issue, I was quite moved by your Editor's Note entitled "A Year to Remember"...and then I got to the last paragraph. Your reference to your then fledgling publication as a "men's magazine" nearly jolted me out of my chair. While I acknowledged the fact that cigar smoking is a hobby where the majority of participants are men, and that many women consider it a disgusting habit, I count myself among the women who are not offended by cigar smokers and just so happen to consider myself among the cigar aficionados of the world. I understand that you must cater to the majority of your readership and present advertising (I happen to enjoy many of the advertised products that appear in your magazine) and features to suit a male subscriber, how-ever, I would appreciate it if your publication would cease mentioning cigar smoking as a "men's hobby" that should be enjoyed exclusively by men.

Please do not assume that I am another one of those radical feminists who wants to break down the doors of every fraternal organization in creation. I happen to consider myself a very secure woman and do not have a problem with "men only" social clubs and events, however, I found your comments on page 170 in the article about cigar dinners quite disturbing. I have read so many letters from your readers who write in to thank you for bringing cigar smoking out of the closet. Please understand that many women are no longer defining themselves by conventional societal expectations and would like to experience new and different things, even if they are privileges traditionally meant for men to enjoy (we never used to be able to vote either, remember).

From the sincere tone of your Editor's Note, you seem like a gentleman with class, someone with whom I'd love to share a smoke. I would like to think I am a welcome member of the cigar-smoking community, but if you, as the editor of Cigar Aficionado and a person of significant stature in cigar-smoking circles around the world, cannot accept the inclusion of women, we will continue to endure prejudice and discrimination. You have the ability to in-spire tolerance and acceptance for female cigar enthusiasts, and I hope that my thoughts on this issue can begin to illustrate our desire to be considered serious members of the community.

Kim Politano
San Francisco, California

Editor's Response: You are right. I would never exclude a devoted woman smoker like yourself.

* * *

Dear Marvin:

My firm represents actor Joe Pantoliano who starred in the box-office hit The Fugitive. Joe is currently starring with Joe Mantegna and Brian Haley in the new 20th Century Fox/ John Hughes film Baby's Day Out, which is filming in Chicago and will be released this year.

I received a call from Pantoliano, Mantegna and Haley telling me to get your magazine. I went to Davidoff and promptly picked one up. It's a fantastic magazine. Well, as boys will be boys, they proceeded to tell me about their "bonding" jaunts to Iwan Ries in Chicago during the filming. Mantegna, asmoker of 20 years prefers a sweet wrapper like Arturo Fuente, Pantoliano has a taste for Davidoffs, and Haley enjoys nothing better than a Cohiba.

I have also enclosed a photo taken on the set of the three guys with their cigars.

Susan Patricola
Los Angeles, California

* * *

Dear Marvin:

I am a 19-year-old student at Texas A&M University and a cigar smoker for nearly two years. I enjoy Dunhill Peravia, Temple Hall and the Macanudo No. 1 from its Vintage Cabinet selection.

In June 1993, the campus officials decided to make the entire campus smoke-free. There is not a university building, vehicle or outdoor stadium seat available to smokers. The move was made to limit the exposure of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke from cigarettes. Unfortunately, cigars and pipes are also lumped in under the new regulations, and they, too, are banned. As you can understand, the regulations are extremely inconvenient and irritating.

When I do go out for a cigar, I often don't enjoy it very much. It seems as though every time I light up, I get snide remarks from people as they walk by. I can't even sit outside in a grassy field without someone approaching to tell me to quit my "nasty" habit. Though I have learned to ignore many of the comments, I still find myself getting angry from time to time. Recently, however, I have started smoking at late hours in the evening. Any-one up at four in the morning is either too drunk or too tired to complain about my cigar smoke.

In an age when students are stressed to the breaking limits, it would be nice to know that there is something else besides narcotics or excessive amounts of alcohol to reduce tensions and induce relaxation.

Smoking a cigar is one of the greatest pleasures I set aside for myself. After a day of classes and exams, it is nice to know that I have something I can unwind with. It's nice to know there are still those in the world who remember what we work so hard for in our everyday lives, that life is not about being politically correct and appealing, but about enjoying oneself and enjoying the pleasures of life.

A student in Texas
College Station, Texas

Editor's Response: You may be 19 years old, but your letter suggests many more years of wisdom. No doubt you will be a great success in life.

* * *

Dear Marvin:

Your magazine is one of the best publications to come to the market in a long time. As an avid cigar connoisseur for the past 25 years (at the ripe old age of 43), I really appreciate the information you print and find great pleasure in knowing there are other people in this world who enjoy a great cigar as much as I do.

However, recently something has happened in my company that will prevent me from enjoying one of my great passions. I realize that people have been anti-cigar-smoking for some time, but as we all know, the new anti-smoking movement has really picked up momentum. And due to this bias, my firm decided to go smoke-free on January 1 of this year. This is a unilateral decision based on their facts that secondhand smoke causes cancer, and therefore, they do not want to be legally liable for any lawsuits that might be brought against them.

I am a stockbroker, and I have my own office. Four years ago, when I joined the company it was well known that I smoked cigars. Now I will have a big problem along with many others in the organization who smoke. It seems unfair that if I am in my own office with the door closed, that I will be treated like a child and not allowed to smoke a good cigar because they know better what is good for me.

So the real reason I am writing to you is that perhaps there is an attorney who subscribes to Cigar Aficionado who would be willing to take on a major corporation that is infringing on my rights and my own personal pleasure. Someone has to stand up and fight. After all, this is America, but it seems that the freedom to do as we please is becoming restricted more and more.

So if anyone out there understands my predicament and knows of a way to stop this insanity, please feel free to call or write me.

J. E.
Metro, New York

Editor's Response: If anyone out there is interested, write to Cigar Aficionado, and we'll pass along the letter.

* * *

Dear Marvin:

Some years ago while cruising the Caribbean with the attorney general, his wife and several other close friends, I purchased three boxes of exquisite Cubans. While preparing to dock at the port of New York, my dear friend reminded me that contraband was subject to confiscation by customs officials. Having little knowledge of international law, I decided to reveal all, and the customs officer quickly saw the dreaded and possibly illegal contraband in one of my cases.

The customs inspection was carried out in our cabins before we departed the ship, and I humbly explained to the most competent federal employee I have ever met that indeed, I had no intent of violating any laws of our country. With understanding, which can only come from years of experience and a large dose of common sense, the customs officer permitted me to take three boxes onshore as soon as I agreed to his subsequent condition that "you must destroy this contraband by fire."

A tip of the hat to the long life and common sense among public officials.

J. Edward Davis
Towson, Maryland

* * *

Dear Marvin:

I first want to thank you for the magazine--it's perfect. Second, I want to recount two experiences I have had with the anticigar crowd.

The first occurred last summer when my wife and I were vacationing on Fire Island. Since I like to smoke after dinner, we went early in the day to make sure we could get a table outside at one of Ocean Beach's best fish restaurants. In fact, at the appointed hour we were lucky enough to be seated at the rail of the deck overlooking the Great South Bay. At just before sundown we enjoyed a wonderful lobster dinner. As the sun sank into the bay and the light wind picked up just a bit, we ordered our brandies. I then lit one of my preembargo Montecristos; I bought a box during a visit to Prague a few years ago. These cigars are exquisite, as you know, with thick, chocolate aromas and a smooth taste enhanced only by Remy XO. After two draws and one swallow, an impolite, boorish waitress showed up and said that I had to put the cigar out, since a number of people were complaining. "How is that possible," I asked, "since the breeze is blowing away from the other tables?" "Dunno--you just gotta put it out," she said, with an air of indignation. I said, "Fine, give me the check." I paid the check with plastic and gave no tip. On the slip I wrote, "Close, but no cigar," and kept smoking huskily as I walked across the deck and out.

The second event happened more recently. I left the office early on Wednesday before Thanksgiving to beat the rush hour. I stopped at a red light at East 95th Street and York, heading toward the FDR Drive. I took out a Griffin's to smoke on the drive home, when I noticed a cab pulling up next to me. While opening the window to toss the match, I noticed the passenger in the cab. He had a look on his face that in a better world would be reserved for a child molester. He rolled down his window and scolded, "put out that stinking cigar." I smiled and, while blowing smoke toward him, I wished him the Thanksgiving he deserved. The light changed and I drove off happily smoking my cigar.

Howard B. Gold
New York, New York

* * *

Dear Marvin:

Two salubrious cigar anecdotes, true ones.

I was finishing a late Sunday lunch at an Al Fresco Cafe on Sunset Plaza when I expressed to my guest a strong desire for a good Cuban cigar. A gentle tap on my shoulder caused me to turn around. There in front of me was held a Bolivar! The presenter smiled and said, "enjoy."

It was a late Friday night after a San Diego opera. I returned to Coronado and to the Meridian Hotel for a late, light supper. Upon entering the lounge, I immediately searched for a comfortable obscure place enabling me to smoke a cigar. Unable to find one, I semi-reluctantly chose a table a few feet from a group of four or five people. Amongst them was a woman in her late '70s. I glanced over to their table in an attempt to ascertain what the likelihood of their objecting to my cigar was. To my amazement, this elderly woman took a small, long cigar from her purse and began smoking it. What a delight!

It's nice to know all restaurant cigar stories are not unhappy ones.

Michael H. Sukoff, M.D.
Santa Ana, California

* * *

Dear Marvin:

I have been a practicing physician for more than 20 years (urologic surgeon) here in Los Angeles. The joint arrival of Cigar Aficionado and news of the "Big Smoke" coming to Los Angeles are like a breath of fresh air in our smog and fire-smoked city of Angels.

I have been a cigar smoker (usually Cubans when I can get them) for more than 25 years, and it is a rare day that I do not enjoy a good smoke after my evening meal. There is nothing I can think of that is as consistently pleasurable, reliable and relaxing as my nightly Cuban cigar.

I am truly delighted that the "Big Smoke" will be coming to the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, California in October, and I can hardly wait to be a part of that event in this city, which is so insanely and irrationally anti-smoking-oriented.

Keep up the good work.

Dudley Seth Danoff, M.D.
Beverly Hills, California

* * *

Dear Marvin:

I just finished reading the latest issue of Cigar Aficionado while enjoying a Cohiba Robusto from the box that my wife gave me for my recent birthday. Life doesn't get much better! I recently visited a friend who had undergone a heart-bypass operation. Having been a cigarette smoker for decades, he was having a rough time trying to quit as per his doctor's orders. I suggested that he try a good cigar. I also left him with a copy of Cigar Aficionado. Needless to say, it worked. His spirits have soared, he's feeling great and his doctor is happy. Certainly this is not a prescription for everyone. However, my friend is working again and enjoying life. Now, what was the old saying? "A cigar a day keeps the doctor away?"

Jeff Kinzbach
Richfield, Ohio

* * *

Dear Marvin:

I would love to tell what a first-class operation you are running. Few publications have the ability to bring not only intellectual pleasure but a firm pat on the back to all cigar smokers. Worrying about being politically correct has often curbed the beliefs of individuals, and Cigar Aficionado defies that expectation. Standing up for one's interests and morals takes courage as well as integrity.

As a high-school senior, I am in awe of your publication. I am at the age of self-exploration and identity. Cigar Aficionado has helped me understand what I want out of life and the kind of life I wish to lead. Smoke-filled rooms, tradition, respect and character are all aspects portrayed in your periodical. Thank you for this. These have helped me define both what maleness is and the likeness of success in America. My congratulations to you for exemplifying originality, respect and luxury.

Please keep in mind that your audience is broad and diverse, but don't worry about stepping on toes, because the patrons of your magazine are secure in themselves and generally don't get p.o.'ed at every little thing. Keep up the good work and speak your mind. Thank you.

Brandon T. Peele
Hinsdale, Illinois

* * *

Dear Marvin:

The point of my letter, aside from accolades for your fine publication, is to chide you for the Winter 1993/1994 cover, "Magic of Maduros." I wonder whether you would adorn your cover with a bare-chested man (or otherwise scantily clad male) posing with a cigar? I am somewhat offended by this seemingly sexist ploy to attract readers.

Marvin, I can sense you are better than this, and obviously unintentionally placed this fine young "naked" lady on your cover. I, like other of your female readers, will forgive this slight stumble. I will give you a chance to make amends. In the interest of equal time, please put a similarly posed man on the cover of an upcoming issue. May I respectfully suggest my husband, Joe, who, given his passion and advocacy for your editorial content, would make the consummate "poster boy" for Cigar Aficionado. Marvin, we await your call!

Jane F. Kringdon
Hingham, Massachusetts

Editor's Response: Thank you, but no thank you.

Zino Davidoff 1906 - 1994

Zino Davidoff, one of the most respected men in the cigar industry, died on Friday, Jan. 14, 1994, in Geneva, Switzerland. He was 87 years old.

Davidoff began in the tobacco business in the 1930s working at his father's shop in Switzerland, which was started after the family fled Russia in 1911. He participated in the development of the "Chateaux" series of Hoyo de Monterrey cigars in 1947, naming them after the first-growth wines of Bordeaux, and in the 1970s began to market Davidoff cigars made in Cuba. After selling his shop to the Oettinger Imex in 1970, he continued to work on building Davidoff into one of the finest cigar brands in the world and one of the most respected trademarks in luxury goods.

Davidoff advised the rich, royal and famous on the pleasures of smoking. He always had suggestions for cigar lovers, whether in person or through his books: "If your wife doesn't like the aroma of your cigar, change your wife." "The greatest cigar to smoke is the one you are currently smoking."

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