Cigar Aficionado

An Open Letter to a Brother-In-Law

Dear Thatcher,

Thanks for the invitation to bring my family to your place for Independence Day weekend. It's not every brother-in-law who is so generous to his extended family, and I would like to offer some small token of my gratitude.

It is a modest gift of something I think your otherwise lovely home is in sore need of. I've observed that because of its proximity to the water your property tends to be infested by hordes of insects during this time of year. I've discovered a product that can remedy this. It comes in cylinders of leaves rolled around each other. It comes in various lengths and widths, according to your needs. Don't worry, the composition is purely organic. I'm told the product is made from specially raised tobacco leaves that have been carefully aged and cured. When slowly burned they create an exhaust that repels insects quite effectively.

Some user-participation is required, however, as the product tends to burn out when left alone. Happily, this problem can be easily avoided by occasionally drawing air through the unit's unlit end to keep it smoking. I suppose that you could use some kind of bellows contraption for this purpose, but I find it easiest to resuscitate the unit orally.

From my own observations with this outstanding product, I can conclude that if we were to dutifully keep two of them operating on your outdoor deck from sundown into the evening we would be able to lay down a smoke screen that would effectively protect your house and its inhabitants from harassment by insects.

The repellent works best when used in conjunction with a dedicated glass vessel that is held in the unused hand and filled with alcohol (and ice if the weather suggests). The liquid I use has been carefully treated through years of containment in wood casks. As fumes are released from the wide mouth of the vessel, they combine with the smoke and, for reasons that science does not yet fully understand, further ameliorate the repellent function of the first devise.

The cylindrical repellents I am bringing were manufactured in Nicaragua. Would you prefer the liquid component come from Scotland or Kentucky?

Fond wishes,

Your brother-in-law,


"peter chechotko having read your take on bug repellant. leads me to report on an interesting phenom. when smoking an aromatic cigar of good quality, 60 to 70 per cent, of the time a large bumblebee, will cruise by as if attracted to the aroma. this happens at work as well as home." —September 24, 2011 11:23 AM
"Genius !!!" —September 14, 2011 19:21 PM
"Just finished reading Manhattan Transfer in the Wine Spectator. I liked the article but needed to add another variation. Barrel Aged Gin. Is it a Martini, a Manhattan or a Martinez? Ransom Gin, Carpano Anitca Formula Vermouth, orange or lemon bitters (4:1) ratio. I discovered this one last year and I have not found a better combination. Your thoughts?" —September 14, 2011 18:33 PM
"Has he responded positively or simply told you to "bug off"/" —September 14, 2011 15:48 PM
"Well done sir." —August 30, 2011 23:57 PM
"My wife and I loved this. Great!" —August 19, 2011 17:30 PM
"A fine Kentucky bourbon or even some shine would do well" —July 25, 2011 21:34 PM
"Great Blog - laughing and nodding in agreement throughout my reading of it" —July 14, 2011 21:34 PM
"Anyone who can work "resuscitate the unit orally" deserves an invitation to drop by my house and drop off products from Nicaragua, Kentucky, Scotland, Ireland and, may I suggest, Guatemala and Venezuela. I will resist from commenting further on steps on oral resuscitation of any units." —July 8, 2011 18:34 PM
"Love the Blog. Keep it up." —July 5, 2011 11:22 AM
"I agree with Thacher...the bugs are pretty bad so far this year on Long Island. Windshield constantly looks like an Insect Disaster Area." —July 2, 2011 23:47 PM
"Brilliant it works on Dutch mosquitos as well, thanks so much! Harold" —July 2, 2011 14:58 PM
"I was delinquent in not also offering a liquid from Ireland. I will bring some of that as well in case we encounter some of those fearsome British mosquitos." —July 2, 2011 14:16 PM
"Jack, Thanks for the considerate offer. The bugs are thick on Long Island this weekend...we'll need liquid components from both Kentucky and Scotland todo the job right. Thatcher" —July 2, 2011 14:07 PM
"Jack, Thanks for the considerate offer. The bugs are thick on Long Island this weekend...we'll need liquid components from both Kentucky and Scotland todo the job right. Thatcher" —July 2, 2011 14:07 PM
"Very fun read, I've noticed this cylindrical contraption is a very good insect repellant, I usually use the ones made in cuba, but I do appriciate a good nicaraguan or DR one also." —July 2, 2011 09:48 AM
"Thanks! Feedback always welcome, especially when's positive--and so insightful." —July 2, 2011 08:26 AM
"Well done! Your blog meets my sentiments about life and cigars on multiple levels. if only everyone could appreciate/grasp what the finer things in life contribute to the human condition. It is rare to see it so artfully expressed." —July 1, 2011 16:48 PM