Out of the Humidor

| From Robert De Niro, September/October 2015

Dear Marvin,

Thank you for the great article on Barry Melrose [August 2015]. My wife and I were season ticket holders while the Kings played at The Forum. The years with Wayne Gretzky coached by Barry were magical in the team's history. Barry said he would love it if a husband turns to his wife and says "I'd love to have a beer and cigar and talk sports with Barry Melrose." Well, I am one of those guys. I have the beer (and a wine cellar) and a humidor with aged OpusX cigars if you and Barry want to come over and drink and talk sports. I'll even show you my Kings memorabilia. One thing that was unintentionally left out of the article was Barry's sense of humor, which is incredible.

Ken Westbrook
San Diego, California

Dear Marvin,

As a female cigar smoker, I love the magazine and the information your provide around the cigars and owners. I would love to see more information around women cigar smokers in today's business world. I recognize that this is a man's hobby: however, my experiences show there are more female smokers out there than are realized. 

Liz Welch
Tampa, Florida

Editors' Response: Cigar smoking is more than just a male hobby, and we know many women who enjoy fine cigars. Women are also a major force in today's cigar world, running cigar factories, making blends and marshaling sales forces.

Dear Marvin,

This is in response to the gentleman who wrote in expressing his view that we shouldn't normalize relations with Cuba because they don't enjoy the same freedoms that we [Americans] do.

I wanted to say that this has never stopped us before. I would be willing to bet my next cigar that this gentleman has never made the same complaint about China (from whom we get most of our cheap goods) or Saudi Arabia (from whom we get about 60 percent of our oil), despite the fact that, from all reports, these countries are far worse human rights violators than Cuba.

If we are going to start using human rights violations as a yardstick for our relationships, and for a reason to stay away from Cuba, then let's sever relationships with China and Saudi Arabia first. I'm all for that.

Randal Schaffer
Altus, Arkansas

Dear Marvin,

I've been an avid reader for a year now, but a cigar aficionado for a much longer time. I've always enjoyed a fine smoke at the end of a hard-worked day paired with a fine rum. I look forward to your cigar ratings and comments before I read it cover to cover. After every issue I always make an effort to go out and purchase five of each: One for me and one for [each of] my buddies and one to put away for a future date. We then smoke them and form our own opinion. Quite often we agree with you and sometimes not, but it's always a good time spent with friends and smoke.

Cigar Aficionado is like Playboy from the ‘70s: Great articles, great photography and I can't wait until the next issue.

Lou Lucatelli
East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Dear Marvin,

Having just returned from a week in Havana, I wanted to express to you what a tremendous resource the recent issue on Cuba was to our explorations. From late nights at El Floridita and La Bodeguita del Medio to casual dinners at Café Laurent, Cigar Aficionado became our constant guide as we made our way throughout the winding maze of Old Havana.

In Cuba, it's not about the country, it's about the people. Their spirit, like their music, is profoundly free and perpetual. Their humanity is on display everywhere; particularly at the seawall on the Malecón, where long evenings are passed with local rum, music and far away dreams of what lies beyond the sea. The beauty of the Cuban people is unlike anything I've experienced in my travels abroad. Their pride, good-natured humor and genuine affection for others in the face of economic struggle will stay with me always. One cannot visit Havana and not wish the very best for the people in the years ahead, for to know Cuba is to know the heart of mankind.

Steve McGuire
Louisville, Kentucky