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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Laurence Fishburne, Jan/Feb 00

Editor's Note: We knew our list of the twentieth century's top 100 cigar smokers would elicit its share of controversy. But we didn't think we'd be called into question about everything from our intelligence to our friends. We admitted it at the outset: ours was a subjective list. We love it that way. We chose people who are identified with cigars, not who should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. We also knew that after about the first 25 honorees, the next 75 or so could have been a dramatically different list. But don't ascribe evil intentions to us, please; we're just trying to have fun and get you all talking about the world of cigars. It's clear we accomplished that goal.

Some readers also questioned our placing the World Wrestling Federation's Vince McMahon (and his massive employees) on our cover. Yes, the choice was a departure for us. A fun one, and one that is about as topical as we can get. Trust us, the divisions in the office over the choice were about as intense as the reactions from our readers. But love or hate it, the WWF is a real phenomenon in the United States. (And not just in the arenas--the WWF's initial public offering in October brought in more than $1 billion in stock value for McMahon.) If you love the WWF, you'll love the story. If you hate it, read the story and you may, like some of us, understand the phenomenon a little better.

It's great to see so much attention being directed at our editorial choices. "Out of the Humidor" is revitalized by all your e-mails and letters. That tells us one thing: we're taking some chances that are stirring up your thoughts and opinions. But don't for a minute think we are abandoning our original charter. We are committed more than ever to telling you about the world around us, and what is best or most interesting about it.

As we say in this month's editorial, being a cigar smoker is about having a certain attitude about life. One of our loyal readers told us recently that he loved the expanded editorial coverage because as a longtime cigar smoker, it's the same transition that's happening to him. The magazine has served as a guide for the best and most interesting subjects the world has to offer. With your help, we'll continue to do so. You can now e-mail us directly, so keep those letters coming.

Dear Marvin,  

Were you really serious or just blowing smoke with your December 2001 Cigar Aficionado "gag" issue that "with honor and great pleasure" you recognized Al Capone and Fidel Castro on your list of "great" people because they shared a common trait, a love of cigars? May these creatures of the devil be relegated to the ashtray of history! In case you forgot, in 1962 Castro pleaded with the Russians to launch nuclear missiles from Cuba. I wonder, if you were a member of the ASPCA, would you have honored Adolf Hitler because he was kind to his dogs? 

If you were serious in listing these two miscreants in the company of Churchill, Horowitz and Kennedy, you and your editors should get brain scans to check for lasioderma serricorne [tobacco beetles].  

John Scott Washington, D.C.

Dear Marvin,  

I rarely find myself at odds with your magazine. However, I must take issue with your placement of President Clinton in the Top 100, much less at number 13. My reasons are not due to my feelings about him politically, as I can find others on your list that I may have philosophical differences with, but nonetheless respect as a cigar smoker.

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