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Out of the Humidor

The Editors
From the Print Edition:
Orlando Hernandez, Mar/Apr 99

(continued from page 1)

Finally, the "Kennedy style" has left a significant mark on the presidency. The now famous Resolute desk that JFK retrieved from previous obscurity has subsequently been the desk of choice by his successors (of both parties), including Carter, Reagan and Clinton. In addition, Air Force One continues to be painted in the same striking colors that JFK approved on his watch some 35 years ago. The argument over myth or legend will continue, but it is safe to say that this cigar-smoking president made his mark on the highest office in the land.

Blake J. Greenstein
Atlanta, Georgia

* * *

Dear Marvin,

My wife and I ran into a gentleman smoking a cigar at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington, D.C., last month. I commented to my wife and the other couple that was with us what a fine smell the cigar was emitting. The gentleman overheard us, and graciously offered to put the cigar out if it bothered us. After we assured this person that we were not offended, he offered us cigars to smoke later. Upon thanking him for the ci-gars, we found out this was Tom Selleck! (We didn't recognize him without his mustache.)

Tom, we want you to know we were delighted at what a class person you are. Oh--and the A. Fuente Gran Reserva was indeed a fine cigar.

Tom and Cindy Cochrane
Spokane, Washington

* * *

Dear Marvin,

Next to my marriage to my beautiful wife of five years, Chastity, and the birth of my daughter, Alexia, one of my greatest joys in my life came yesterday. After a hard and very long period of seven years, my day had come for me to receive my college degree. It was a very proud day for me and my family, and though the ceremony was held outside and rain was headed our way, I was determined not to let anything ruin my night. I'm glad to say that the ceremony turned out just fine.

Once we arrived home, my wife and daughter surprised me with a graduation gift: a cigar lighter with a built-in cutter. With my diploma in one hand and my lighter in the other, my first decision as a college graduate was to decide which of my prized selection of smokes in my humidor was worthy of being cut first with my new gift. I'm an avid cigar smoker and have been for two years, so in that time I've had the opportunity to acquire a number of different smokes. My options range from my favorite--a Don Tomás Special Edition No. 5000--to an Upmann, a Macanudo, even a Dunhill. This night was very special, so my choice of smoke had to be worthy of the celebration. I chose a Montecristo No. 3. Not only is this smoke a favorite among Cigar Aficionado readers, but it's one I haven't smoked before.

After putting my daughter to bed, my wife and I proceeded outside to finish the night with a relaxing smoke. My wife doesn't smoke, but enjoys relaxing with me while I enjoy a cigar. Truthfully, I wouldn't want to share that night with anyone else but her. After the first puff I knew this was going to be one of the best cigars I've ever had. My wife and I spent the next hour reminiscing about the good and hard times during my college years.

I want to take this time to thank my friends and family for their help and support, and my parents for the values they instilled in me and for their confidence in my ability to succeed. But most importantly, I want to thank my wife and daughter for their patience, their support and everlasting love, and for placing an eternal smile on my face and filling my heart with joy for the past five years and the rest of my life.

Sam Newman Jr.
Melbourne, Florida

* * *

Dear Marvin,

I am writing you to say thanks for all that you have done to help me in my quest for the perfect cigar. I am 28 years old, a well-to-do professional in Philadelphia, and subscriber to Cigar Aficionado. I have been enjoying cigars for the past five years and consider myself a novice. I currently enjoy Dunhill, Ashton Cabinet, Punch and Bahia Gold, but have stocked my humidor with Fuente Fuente OpusX for those special occasions. I would like to take you back to a moment in my life that has changed my feelings about being called a cigar smoker.

In July of 1998, I purchased a Land Rover Discovery that I promised to get myself several years ago. Prior to my purchase I knew that I needed to have the perfect cigar waiting for me to help me celebrate when I arrived home. I found the Fuente Fuente OpusX Double Corona. On this day, my fiancée, Maria, and I invited my brother and his wife out for dinner and a short drive that evening. After a beautiful drive along the river, we decided to return to my house.

I ordinarily like to enjoy my cigar with a fine vintage Cognac, so I offered a cigar and a taste of Cognac to my brother and his wife, who declined. I knew at that moment that they would be unable to embrace what would take place next. With my Cognac slightly warmed and my OpusX, I began my voyage to euphoria. On occasions like this, I love to enjoy a cigar with my fiancée (she loves La Flor Domin-icana), but she too wanted an OpusX. As we sat back with a little jazz and conversation, Maria and I almost forgot we had company.

I always enjoy a cigar as if I'll never see it again, and after about three hours it's usually gone. I have found that they are all unique and each has a slightly different taste, but all excite my palate. So, about 15 minutes into my Fuente Fuente OpusX Double Corona, I was asked a question which has changed me forever. My brother asked me, as I watched the smoke swirl into the air, "What are you looking at, and what do you get out of that?"

I have a habit of watching my cigar from start to finish. I roll it between my fingers, look at the wrapper, watch how it burns, enjoy the aroma. I totally embrace my cigar. I replied to his question by saying, "Once you've connected with your joy of having a good smoke, there's nothing in the world more relaxing--next to sex." He said, "That's one hell of an analogy, so give me one." He didn't have his cigar that night but he did have it on a later night after a long drive and a little jazz.

I don't like to be called a cigar "smoker" or have it said that those who enjoy cigars just "smoke" cigars. There's so much more to the pleasures of having a good smoke. I derive joy from having a fine cigar.

Mark Williford
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Dear Marvin,

I just finished your February issue. Regarding the letter from Larry Deyab in Brooklyn, New York [responding to another letter about high cigar prices and low quality]: Hey guys! There are many good cigars out there. As far as price, even milk and newspapers have gone up.

Larry was talking about Las Cabrillas. I'm sharing one now with my wife of 27 years. She likes to light them for me. A cigar is like a woman, my friends: you take care of them and they will take care of you.

Yes, the times are changing. But there's more times out there, and many more cigars. The adventure is in the hunt. So sit back, let your women light your cigars, and enjoy both.

Jeff Z. Holand
Lido Beach, New York

* * *

Dear Marvin,

Well, the health police are at it again. Last week, a major weekly newsmagazine on its cover portrayed cigar smoking negatively. Recently, a well-known newspaper advice columnist, citing catastrophic health hazards, saw fit to bemoan the rising popularity of cigar smoking. These are but a few examples of what is a growing sentiment against cigar smokers, no doubt caused from the ongoing fervor against the cigarette industry.

As a responsible adult who is conscious of his health and as a licensed engineer with a graduate degree in environmental engineering who enjoys an occasional cigar, I am insulted by the pervasive "junk science" publicizing health impacts associated with cigar smoking.

Cigar Aficionado recently raised excellent questions and valid points relating to junk science on its online home page that goes beyond what skeptics may think is a smug attempt to counter negativism. As one who takes pride in his health by exercising regularly and eating sensibly (heck, I wonder how many cigar antagonists know their own blood pressure and cholesterol levels?), defending cigar smoking may appear to be a contradiction. I would be the first to admit that cigar smoking is not without health hazards; however, I believe that putting this issue into a proper perspective is important.

I become infuriated when a magazine writer or newspaper columnist, in their powerful ability to reach a wide readership, are quick to denounce cigar smoking by citing studies or reports (many of which may be cigarette-based), evidently with little or no technical comprehension of the very data they claim to understand. To my mind, these writers have no business painting all cigar smokers with a broad stroke if they are unable to provide even simple statistical reference points so that the reader may render an informed, educated opinion for him/herself.

Many questions come to my mind when someone points to a study or data that have serious implications and risks, alarming my sensibilities, but is unable to produce concrete data: What type of distribution was used to establish the population of cigar smokers? What was the sampling size and confidence interval of cigar smokers that showed a high incidence of oral cancer? What is meant by high? What was the frequency of smoking by those cigar smokers that contracted oral and other types of cancers?


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