Under most circumstances, I don’t like smoking a cigar outdoors. Every now and then I’ll walk a cigar on the Ocean Parkway path near my house in Brooklyn, but it’s not the same as lighting up inside. The open air literally sucks some of the enjoyment from a cigar, as it allows the aroma to escape. And, of course, any sort of wind will wreak havoc on the burn.
Counter to what my boss says, though, there is one outdoor location that I believe is perfect for lighting up: the campfire.
This past Labor Day weekend I took a trip upstate for a little camping trip with a few friends. A mutual friend had invited us all to what is essentially his family reunion, held for the past 40 years at a site in upstate New York that is normally reserved for Boy Scout excursions.
The trip included all the trappings of a good weekend camping trip: great food, s’mores and alcohol. We even were able to muster up the energy for a spirited game of ultimate frisbee in addition to a pretty serious cornhole tournament. (For the record, my teammate and I came in second place. No big deal.)
Like on many camping trips, though, the most enjoyable moments occured while sitting next to the campfire, bullshitting with friends. Each night we would gather around and watch the flames dance into the starry sky, hypnotized by the sizzling pops and whistling hisses as the wood burned.
Knowing I was going to be outside for a few days, I had packed some serious cigars for the trip, figuring it was as good a time as any to go big. My bag included a few Padrón Serie 1926 No. 35s, a Fuente Fuente OpusX Chili Pepper and PJ, some Partagás Serie D No. 5s, a Diplomaticos No. 2, a Montecristo 80 Aniversario, and a Tatuaje Avion 13 that had been resting since 2013.
Coincidentally, there was another cigar enthusiast in my group, and so we’d light up our choice of smoke and talk cigars while enjoying a dram or beer. The night weather was perfect for smoking: about 60 degrees with little to no wind. This meant the aroma actually lingered a bit and would combine with the pleasant smell of the campfire.
Soon other members of the group caught a whiff of our cigars and began asking us for a puff or two, especially of the Cubans. Some even asked to light up their own smoke and joined in on the fun.
So while it may be a good rule of thumb to avoid smoking a cigar outdoors if you want the full experience of the smoke, I’d argue a campfire is the exception to the rule.