A Year to Remember

| By Marvin R. Shanken | From Winston Churchill, Autumn 93

I recently reread my editor's letter in the Premier Issue of CIGAR AFICIONADO. It was filled with excitement about the magazine and its prospects. But between the lines, there were some questions. Would readers support a book dedicated to cigars? Would there be enough business to keep the magazine alive?

One year later, the answers are in. In a word, it's yes to all of the above-and then some. This is our first anniversary issue. That's right. We're launching year two of CIGAR AFICIONADO. Guess what? It's going to be bigger and better than before. There are no more doubts about its chances for success. More and more people are coming to CIGAR AFICIONADO to read about cigars and also for the range of lifestyle topics we explore in our editorial pages.

Let me tell you a little bit about this first year. Some of it may be repetitious, but it's worth repeating. When I embarked on the development of CIGAR AFICIONADO, it was a hobby, not a business. There was no business plan. There was no budget. There weren't even any expectations. Maybe it's best described as a search for personal fulfillment. And what I've gained personally in the first year has filled my life with more than I ever thought possible.

I've been overwhelmed by the expression of brotherhood from all of you. Cigar smokers are a community. We share experiences, almost all positive, that create a common ground where we meet to find the joy in smoking a fine cigar. I've attended cigar dinners all over the country as well as in Canada and Europe. Each is the same in one simple but vitally important aspect-there, we are all friends; we all share in the joy that our cigars bring.

I've been touched, too, by the outpouring of appreciation from CIGAR AFICIONADO readers who have written thousands of letters. Much of the correspondence you have read in the magazine, but we simply can't print even a fraction of the letters that arrive each week. Standing in the midst of 1,500 of you at the Big Smoke last May, I wasn't left alone for a minute. You wanted to talk to me, thank me, and just let me know that you love the magazine; that it is a wonderful passion you feel-a passion for cigars.

It's not just cigar smokers who've been affected. Look at the number of restaurants that have begun to accommodate cigar lovers in some way. And have you noticed how many famous people are finally willing to acknowledge that they like to smoke cigars? In the course of the past year, cigars have emerged from the closet and have begun to occupy a respected place in the world. That phenomenon is a direct response to your love for cigars. The world is finally listening to us and reversing its long-standing antagonism toward cigar smoking.

I must take this opportunity to thank you. You've helped create a success beyond my greatest dreams. It's a success that is recognized in the world of publishing. From the quantity and quality of our readers to the quantity and quality of the magazine's advertising, CIGAR AFICIONADO defied all industry expectations. We successfully launched an upscale men's magazine during the heart of the 1992 recession when we were, in fact, supposed to fail. And we owe our success to you, the readers.

Marvin R. Shanken
Editor and Publisher