Cigar Aficionado

A Christmas Tale

I am ready for Christmas. I thought that I should leave a nice Cuban smoke for Father Christmas when he comes down the chimney on the 25th in San Diego instead of the normal milk and cookies, which my dear parents taught me to do at a very early age. I admit that the milk and cookies were changed to a good glass of vintage Port about two decades ago while living in London. But the idea is essentially the same.

I am just wondering where in the world will dear old Saint Nick smoke his prized gift from yours truly? You know that the People’s Republic of California is about as anti-smoking as you can get—at least with tobacco products! If only someone would come up with a bogus reason to smoke cigars for health purposes. I would be more than willing to register my name with the FBI, or whatever police organization it would take to allow the pleasure of smoking a great cigar in my home state.

I am probably already in their computers anyway for bootlegging Habanos into the land of the free. I am sure that that there are folks in Maryland who have a computer file on me for being in Cuba on a regular basis for the last two decades. But let’s think about something a little more festive with Christmas upon us.

I was passing by the cigar shop in the Duty Free of Heathrow Terminal 3 before flying to Los Angeles on my Virgin Atlantic flight. I was eyeing a cedar box of 10 Montecristo Petit Edmundos. They were 82 quid (about $130). I thought that was not too much to spend, considering one was going to the great man of Christmas. Santa has been giving me presents on Christmas Day for almost a half a century. Man. I figured it was about time I returned the favor.

I was reaching out for the box on the shelf when I noticed something else below and off to the left. It was a cedar cabinet of 10 Montecristo D Edición Limitada 2005. What? How could these smokes still be lying around unsold? Were they rejects from Hunters & Frankau, the U.K. Cuban cigar importer? Were they cigars that the head of the company, Jemma Freeman, first wanted to smoke but then had second thoughts and dumped them in Duty Free?

Naw. They were just forgotten smokes. Ones that people just didn’t think about smoking. And I was sooooo happy. Father Christmas will be too!

I paid about $180 for the box of 10. I squeezed them into my messenger bag and boarded flight VS007 to L.A. I couldn’t wait to get out of the freezing cold weather of Europe, and feel the warm and love in LA. As you know, I am born and raised in the heart of the great city and my parents still live in Southern California. Nothing beats being with your parents and friends over the holidays. Just a few days left before the festivities begin.

So, when I leave one of the Monte D’s for Father Christmas this Friday night next to the fireplace at my dad’s house, I will think of all of you. And I will do the same when I light up a D myself after Christmas dinner in Palm Springs at my mother’s house.

Happy Christmas.

"Merry Christmas James. Head down to TJ for a smoke, we might run into each other.Jose" —December 24, 2009 00:41 AM
"Well put about smoking cigars "for health purposes," aluding to the ridiculous double standard for pot in Cali. Merry Christmas, James. Enjoy your time with Mom!" —December 24, 2009 14:47 PM
"Happy Holidays Jimbo." —December 25, 2009 09:12 AM
"Dear James,Fortunately I bought the same cigar (box of ten in a 3-4-3 format) about three years ago in St Marteen. These babies have smoothed out throughout the years, a beautiful smoke. What a present for St. Nick!!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year." —December 27, 2009 07:55 AM