Bringing Us Together

| By Gordon Mott , Marvin R. Shanken | From Brad Paisley, March/April 2012

Sean Hannity deserves the credit.

After many debates about whether or not to put a country music star on the cover of Cigar Aficionado, one of our writers was
interviewing Sean Hannity when who walked into his Fox-TV studios?—Brad Paisley. Mr. Hannity is a fan of Paisley’s music, and after watching his interview with the singer and guitarist, we realized that here was not just another musician but a really interesting man who also loves cigars. The Brad Paisley story in this issue is an outstanding example of a guy who
understands what it means to share a cigar with friends and colleagues.

In 20 years of publishing Cigar Aficionado, we have put on the cover business leaders, movie producers and directors, chefs, political leaders, commentators, sports stars, just about every Hollywood celebrity of any note, and even TV shows. We have had women on the cover as well as a few notable legends who passed away long before the magazine was created. We even published the last interview George Burns gave before he stopped burning up 10 to 12 El Productos a day.

Some of our cover subjects have just been interesting people, not necessarily cigar smokers. They epitomize the idea that their lives might be of special interest to our readers, a diverse group of men and women from all walks of life who share a common interest: enjoying the good life.

We still look for cigar smokers for our cover whenever we can. We think their love of the leaf demonstrates an even keener understanding of what it means to enjoy life. And, we have found that cigar smokers exist in every corner of the globe, in every profession and from every political ideology. We don’t discriminate based on anything other than our belief that they are interesting.

When some accuse us of being overtly political, either right or left wing, we like to remind them that we may be the only magazine in the history of publishing to have Rush Limbaugh on the cover, followed the next issue by Cuban President Fidel Castro. Both issues, by the way, sold extremely well.

But there is a lesson in those two covers. We believe that cigars bring people together. The ritual of sitting down to light up a favored brand, maybe with a glass of one’s favorite spirit too, is an act that bridges differences and provides a common ground for people to talk openly about whatever it is that is on their minds. We may not agree 100 percent on everything; differences are what make the world go around. But we do believe in the art of debate and discourse—and cigars can provide the moment when people can talk to each other. By introducing our readers to all different kinds of people, we give them a window to lives that may not be like their own but nonetheless where they share one thing in common.

We know there are many walks of life where we still have not searched out all the cigar smokers. But we know that the world of country music is one place where cigars are appreciated, and where we are happy to bring our message of camaraderie.

Thank you, Sean.