Cigar Aficionado

Ode to An Unknown Cigar

I wanted a cigar Saturday night. It was one of those evenings that at the end of the summer, people in the Hudson Valley will say, “Do you remember that Saturday evening in mid-June?” It was perfect. Mid-70s. Low humidity. A crystalline blue sky. My wife and I had just finished a dinner of grilled lamb chops, roasted spicy yam frites and steamed asparagus on our terrace. I hadn’t smoked in 10 days because of a knock-you-down- to-your-knees respiratory virus that was accompanied by successive nights of a hacking cough. But I was fully recovered and I wasn’t going to waste the fading dusk hours after sunset without having a smoke on the back patio.

I went to my humidor, and stood there in front of it, pausing to consider what kind of cigar I wanted. I looked in a couple of bins where I have a mix of vintage cigars—like I said, I was ready to go all out. There was a lonsdale, with a Cuban-style cap, and it had a medium, reddish-brown, or colorado color and a silky wrapper. I wracked my brain trying to remember who had given me the cigar; it was a singleton, and without the band I didn’t have a clue what it was or for that matter, with any certainty, where it was from. But I thought it looked good so I grabbed it.

The smoke from the unknown cigar quickly filled the back patio. I was struck by the cigar’s smooth texture, and its full body, as well as its perfect draw and burn. There was a core of spiciness and a rich coffee bean note that lingered on my palate. I realized that it was probably one of the best cigars that I’ve smoked in the last 12 months. My wife exclaimed that the aroma was wonderful, and since she was downwind, that was a good thing because she was sitting amid the swirling clouds of smoke. Since I didn’t actually know what the cigar was, it could still be rated as a blind tasting, but it would be unfair to give too much credence to the final score—the subjective pleasure of an evening like Saturday might have turned a cheap bundle cigar into a 95 pointer. But nonetheless, the cigar was a classic, a 95-point plus smoke.

At one point, I considered coming in Monday morning, and going through our reference books, looking for a cabinet-style Lonsdale from Cuba that could have conceivably narrowed the possibilities of what kind of cigar I had smoked. But that would have ruined the mystery, and some of the allure, of my unknown cigar. I just wish I had a full box of them.

Has anyone ever had an unknown cigar? And loved it?

"Jose,I know, I know. I'm sure we're not the only ones. I actually was hoping someone would read it, and remind me about the cigar they had given me, complete with all the details." —June 26, 2007 08:19 AM
"Gordon funny that this is your topic, today after lunch pull a cigar out of my humi no band no clue who gave to me and I do regret not knowing,a petit belicoso very coplex, full flavor,spicy but not over powering,wrapper could have been Nicaragua, Dominican in the filler, this has happen to me a lot, today I have learn my lesson because it was a great cigar, and the funny thing I could have been one of ours." —June 25, 2007 17:55 PM