I had no idea. I thought cigar smokers were a dying, passé lot. Then I got hold of your magazine. I read, reread and proudly displayed the issue. I had no idea there were so many of me out there.
So at 45 and the owner of a company so straight-laced we don't tolerate even strong coffee, I have come out of the closet. Your magazine lies open on my desk. Tonight my wife and I will invite my dear old mother to dinner, and later I will watch her swoon as I light up a Partagas #10.
I had no idea.
Zeta U. D. Corp.
* * *
Being a young, single male, I often find that the women of my generation have been brainwashed concerning cigars. I find it difficult to pursue a relationship with a woman who has no appreciation for one of life's truly fine things. It may be unorthodox to request, but your list of cigar friendly restaurants has inspired me: perhaps a list of cigar friendly WOMEN in your next issue? (I find I have several like-minded friends.)
Paul T. Kelleher
2019 East McKinley St.
South Bend, Indiana 46617
Editor's Response: Paul, we are bending the rules just for you. If there are any cigar friendly women living in your area, no doubt they will get in touch with you. Please let us know if you strike it rich.
* * *
I was gleefully driving home on the Garden State Parkway the other day, celebrating the closing of a major deal with a double corona. A car drove adjacent to mine with the driver frantically vying for my attention. He was also smoking a fine one. We exchanged repeated salutes, pulled into the next rest area, traded cigars and stories and ended up discussing a possible deal.
Congratulations on a wonderful innovative publishing idea whose time certainly was overdue. Cigar smoking is a wonderful avocation. Much to my delight, it is also profitable.
Old Bridge, New Jersey
* * *
You have by now received my subscription to your magazine. It is a great magazine except for one problem: There should be some sort of warning label, such as there is on tobacco products, affixed to the front cover. The reason is that when I received my latest issue, I took it off to my den, selected one of my best Havanas and sat down to enjoy both my cigar and my magazine. As I read, I became so involved in every page that I read it from cover to cover. When I had finished, it dawned on me that I had also finished my Havana, but for the life of me I could not remember when or how I had enjoyed it. I looked at what was left in the ashtray and considered legal action or tears. On further consideration I decided the price had not been too much for the pleasure I received from the magazine. However, I think in all fairness to your readers, my idea of a warning label should be considered, i.e. Reading this magazine may affect your ability to pay attention to anything else.
Thanks for a great magazine.
Manhattan Beach, California
* * *
Congratulations on the unprecedented success of your new publication. Perhaps most striking is the extensive letters section--very appropriately titled, I must add--which shows beyond a doubt that CIGAR AFICIONADO already possesses one of the most dedicated readerships of any magazine on the stands.
My impressions concerning this phenomenon are twofold. First, an unknown number of viciously suppressed human beings have suddenly discovered that there exist others of their kind. Yes! CIGAR AFICIONADO functions as a kind of support group for these persecuted individuals who know in their hearts that they are not the criminals and blasphemers our "enlightened" society labels them but, rather, connoisseurs of fine natural products which are lovingly made by some of the finest craftsmen on earth. We do not merely wish to create additional suffering for our spouses, friends and the occasional self-righteous bystander (although at certain moments this can have appreciable value); no, it is simply that we are in love with something we find beautiful and, somehow, true. What punishment for this is that?
Second, you must realize that your original demographics have proved inaccurate. The bank president or CEO-god bless them, it's a free country as they say-- who consume four $5 cigars a week when their wives are out is no economic competition for someone like myself, a relatively low-income artist who requires 180-200 quality cigars a month. Let your advertisers take heed! Even the impecunious may be possessed of taste and style, as you are quickly discovering.
Last, I wish to confirm the experience many readers have attested to--that your magazine makes me...yes, happy!
I just grin from ear to ear as I peruse each issue. So my personal thanks to you for starting the only club I have yet exhibited an interest in joining.
New York, New York
* * *
I picked up your publication while on vacation in Denver, and I can't remember when a magazine has brought me so much pleasure! I submitted my subscription card immediately, and I'd like to know how to obtain the first copy.
As one of life's most adamant nonsmokers, I never even permitted smoking in my home. However, I did observe that the only smokers I felt really enjoyed their habit were cigar and pipe smokers.
When I turned 40, 1 developed a taste not only for cigars but also for another of life's delights--a Martini. Discussing this phenomenon with a friend, he astutely observed, "You never needed a Martini--or a cigar--until you were 40!"
As a single mother, the practical side of cigar smoking is that it affords me genuine time to relax. When I smoke a cigar, I can't do anything else except read or watch television. It becomes a reward at the end of the day, and I do took forward to it.
Unfortunately, there are very few public places where I can enjoy a cigar, so I really appreciate the listing in the back of your magazine of restaurants specifically devoted to "cigar aficionados."
While most parents discourage smoking for their children, my teenage son and I enjoy comparing notes on cigars. He enjoyed your magazine more than I did because he loved the article on poker playing.
Keep up the good work--we both look forward to our next issue.
New York, New York
* * *
I know President Bill Clinton reads your magazine. I'm hopeful he'll give consideration to my request. Here is my letter:
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20335
Dear President Clinton:
I know my tax increase this year would be much more palatable if I could light up a Cuban Cohiba, Hoyo de Monterrey or Ramon Allones the night I sign my tax return.
The world has changed so much since President Kennedy initiated the trade embargo against Cuba. Considering who the United States has been willing to do business with, the trade embargo against Cuba sticks out like a discarded cigar butt at a tea party. It has no place in today's political or economic world. Besides, unlike President Kennedy, I was unable to stock up on my favorite Cuban cigars the night before the embargo went into effect.
You have presented us with a challenge and burden that, as good Americans, we will meet. Please help ease the pain of April 15, by making it possible for us to enjoy a good Cuban smoke.
Very truly yours,
E. Melville McKinney
[The above was sent to the White House, and then Mr. McKinney sent us a copy.]
* * *
I was at my girlfriend's house the other day, and I was amazed to find a copy of your fine magazine on her father's coffee table. Upon inquiring, I was told he did indeed enjoy smoking cigars and that he was given the magazine as a gift. Well, I just had to open it up and check it out.
The one thought your magazine left me with was, "Boy, are these people insensitive!" Why do you assume that all people should enjoy the odor of a smoke-filled room? Personally, I find the odor of cigar smoke disgusting. This is not to say that I think ALL people should find cigar smoke disgusting; it's my opinion. Regardless, I'm entitled to my opinion, and I'm also entitled to enjoy breathing air that has not been contaminated by cigar smoke.
Please have some consideration for those of us who don't smoke. As a college student, one who aspires to become financially successful in the future, I understand that many of your readers have worked very hard to attain the levels of success that they have and that cigar smoking may be one of the few pleasures that they allow themselves on a daily basis. I am asking you to understand that breathing clean air is something I enjoy and to please respect that right.
Northern Arizona University
Editor's Response: I, like all cigar smokers I know, refrain from smoking when it infringes on nonsmokers who object. However, too often, nonsmokers are too aggressive in denying me the right to enjoy a cigar when it is not an infringement, such as when I'm sitting on a park bench and they are walking by. I only wish nonsmokers were as courteous as we cigar smokers are. On a much more serious note, Jay, instead of writing to complain about "clean air" to a cigar lovers' magazine, why not write to the mayors of most cities in the United States? Have you ever driven behind a municipal bus? Every time a bus changes gears a huge black mass of smoke billows out of the tailpipe. One billow equals 10,000 cigars. Now think about how many times a bus changes gears as it drives down a main street? where the sidewalks are filled with people. And while you're at it, throw in a few trucks taxis and cars for added spice. Perhaps you are crusading against a small fish when there are whales swimming in your own back yard.
* * *
Today, with all of life's stresses, we all need a good friend. Besides my wife, my cigars fit that bill. They are cooperative, agreeable, don't talk back to me and offer a few moments of tranquility that seem to be very hard to find these days. Then, as I continue to enjoy one of my favorite Partagas No. 10s, I peruse your wonderful magazine, which has become my new friend. I do it over and over again in sheer delight. In effect, I have two friends during these moments of meditation and relaxation.
Michael D. Kaufman
New York, New York
* * *
While your readers, correspondents and advertisers seem to indicate that cigar smoking among women is becoming more and more acceptable, my experience refutes that claim. My former boyfriend introduced me to the pleasures of fine cigars seven years ago, and while the relationship with him ended not long thereafter, my relationship with cigars has continued to prosper. This, however, in spite of an unwillingness on my part to smoke them in public following too many stares, snickers and comments from those who found it strange for an attractive (I'm told) young woman to be seen puffing on a double corona. I now enjoy my indulgence in private or in the company of a few enlightened friends. Some men I've dated have been put off by my enjoyment of a good cigar after a fine meal and have never bothered to call again, but others have told me that they find it increases the attraction, so I guess there is some justice after all!
Halifax, Nova Scotia
* * *
I have a story to tell you about my trials and tribulations of smoking a cigar in peace.
My wife and I have been going to a well-known hotel in Maryland for many years. We stay at the hotel three or four days of every month from March through November. Both my wife and I are great seafood lovers, and we go down to breathe the fresh air and eat the bountiful seafood from the Chesapeake Bay.
Last year we stayed at the hotel in March, April and May. In June, we again went to the hotel, checked in, went to our room and changed into swim attire. I arrived at the outdoor swimming pool, in God's own fresh air, and posted all around the pool were signs, "No Smoking." In all previous visits, there were no signs. So, as a person respective of nonsmokers' rights, I went to the person in charge of the outdoor pool and asked where I could smoke my cigar without offending anyone. This young lady's reply was, "No smoking allowed." I said, "This is outside in an open area, and there couldn't possibly be any laws prohibiting smoking." She said, "No smoking allowed."
As the signs imposed unreasonable restrictions on my rights, I went to a corner of the pool, relaxed and lit my cigar. Within a few minutes, the lifeguard came over and stated, "No smoking allowed." I then said, "I have been coming to this hotel for eight years. I guess I am considered a good customer, and I will not put up with ridiculous anti-smoking signs." I continued: "You can call the police, you can call security, you can call the manager. I am not putting out my cigar."
Whereupon this dutiful lifeguard picked up the phone, and within a half-hour a burly security guard came walking down from the hotel to the pool and said, "You will have to put that cigar out. No smoking is allowed." I retorted, "Why are there signs posted by an outdoor pool? I have been coming to this hotel ... etc., etc." He then replied: "Maryland has a law against smoking by pools." I said, "Show me the law, and I'll put out my cigar, check out of this hotel and never come back again." I waited all day, continuing to smoke cigars, and no one came and showed me the law.
On my own, I called the State of Maryland Department of Health and the city (where the hotel is located) health department, and neither one had any laws on the books about prohibiting smoking in outdoor areas, in or out of a pool.
The next day, I retrieved my isolated corner at the pool and continued to smoke a cigar. Again, the lifeguard came, and again I told her to call the police, security, call whomever she wanted. This time, no one came.
On the third day of my stay, the food manager of the hotel, whom I became friendly with over the course of my stay at this hotel, came down to the pool and sat down alongside me. I said to him, "Bob (not his real name), don't tell me they sent you down here to tell me to put out my cigar?" His answer was, "No, they didn't, but I already know about the problem, the manager knows about the problem and pretty soon, if you continue to smoke your cigar, the whole world will know about the problem." I said to him, "Don't you think it's ridiculous to post no-smoking signs outdoors?" He said, very quietly, "If I were you, I would pay no attention and continue to smoke my cigar." I agreed with him and, after a long conversation with him on other subjects, he went about his business.
When I got back to my office in Long Island, I had my secretary find out who owned this hotel and I wrote the owners a letter detailing my dissatisfaction. Within a short period of time I received a reply from the general manager of the holding company that owned this hotel and other hotels in nearby states. He stated that he would look into the and matter find out what happened.
In July I spent four days at the same hotel with my wife, my 19 son and his family.
When I arrived at the hotel (I usually check in first) I went to the pool and--as if a miracle had occurred--the signs were no longer posted. I then checked in and went to the pool and smoked my cigar in peace and quiet. Later that evening, I ran into "Bob" and asked him what happened to the no-smoking signs at the pool. He stated that the general manager came to the hotel, spoke to the manager of the hotel and, after inquiring about an outdoor smoking law, found out there was none and had the signs removed. "Bob" further stated that the general manager thought this was a ridiculous event and that he would send me a box of cigars.
Some time after my July stay, a small box of cigars arrived at my home with a little note apologizing for any inconvenience I might have had at this hotel. This hotel chain is one of the premier chains in the U.S. and it certainly lived up to its reputation with this gesture. The cigars were from the Canary Islands and very mild. (The person who purchased them obviously is not a cigar smoker.)
So you see, you can fight city hall and win and not be obnoxious about it!
East Islip, New York
Editor's Response: Stanley, your spirit and tenacity are to be admired. On behalf of all cigar smokers, please enjoy a box of special cigars I am sending to you. You certainly symbolize the phrase "We shall overcome."
* * *
On this matter of second-hand smoke: When I was employed by the National Geographic Society I drove to my office each day through Rock Creek Park [in Washington, D.C.]. Cars often crawled bumper to bumper, our idling exhaust spreading an acrid blue pall over the morning. On the pedestrian path beside the road I would watch a steady stream of joggers pass by, their chests heaving as they took deep breaths of pollution-laden air in their pursuit of physical fitness and longevity. Yet I'm sure these same people would insist that I was risking their health if I were to light a Macanudo or Hoyo de Monterrey in their presence. So just who is blowing smoke here?
Keep up the good fight.
* * *
I took my wife (then girlfriend) Amy to Paris for the first time four Christmases ago. We were on the street at 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve, having decided we would spend the evening in our room at the Ritz with room service, Armagnac and a view of the Eiffel Tower, when she turned to me and asked, "Don't you want a cigar tonight?" That was it. I've been hers ever since.
Beverly Hills, California
* * *
I add my voice to the chorus of accolades for a magazine that caters to the tastes of a conspicuous minority. A well-to-do, high-achieving, stubborn minority, perhaps, but a minority after all.
I will not add my anecdotes to the litany of abuses to which cigar smokers are regularly subjected. Suffice it to say that in my 40 years of cigar smoking there are few rude remarks and acts which I have not experienced. So what? They have all been minor inconveniences next to the pleasure that cigar smoking has given me. My wife knows this is so. It was she who gave me my subscription last Christmas. I don't smoke in the house for her sake. Her allergy to scents is so acute that she hasn't worn perfume in years. Yet she is pleased when she sees my pleasure from smoking a good cigar, and she has never begrudged the small sums "gone up in smoke."
I wish you good fortune with CIGAR AFICIONADO. Your success will add to my pleasure.
Culver City, California
* * *
I had recently returned from the Persian Gulf and was in my office at Camp Pendleton (California) enjoying an Arturo Fuente Hemingway. A Sergeant Major (an avid nonsmoker) who worked in an adjoining office came in and announced: "lieutenant, you're going to have to smoke that somewhere else." Just as he was about to deliver the final assault on my smoking pleasure the battalion commander poked his head in the door. The Colonel interrupted him and said, "Hey Mike, that cigar smells great, can the Sergeant Major and I have one of those?" I said very tactfully, "No problem, sir, my humidor is always open to you and the Sergeant Major." As the C.O. was walking out I seized my opportunity to attack by asking, "Sir, you don't mind if I smoke in the building, do you?" The Colonel replied, "Hell no! It gives the place character." Hearing this the Sergeant Major simply executed a right face and promptly marched out behind the Colonel. I was never bothered again.
Michael P. McCrane
* * *
For most of the years between 1950 and 1960 I was Chairman of the Executive Committee and major stockholder for Cia Litografica de la Habana. In that capacity I exercised primary policy, as well as most day-to-day control and direction over the company's affairs. It was, by far, the largest commercial printing company in Cuba--had thousands of stockholders (the stock was listed on the American Stock Exchange) and had 400 to 500 year-round employees. By Cuban standards we were a big and important part of the economy. Amongst our many customers we knew all the cigar manufacturers of Cuba. I personally knew many of the owners and enjoyed smoking their products immensely.
Someday, at another time, I could fill you in on many anecdotes, stories and interesting facts about being the printer--from cigar bands to the embossed, colorful artwork inside and on the boxes--for the Cuban cigar industry.
Now, I'm more concerned with your naive, obviously ignorant and completely frivolous attitude on lifting the embargo on Fidel Castro and the Cuba he has virtually destroyed.
Our company was taken away--in fact, stolen--by the Castro government in October 1960, along with 300 to 400 other companies. Even the Catholic Church was taken away. There were no payments, nor have there been reparations of any kind, to recompense what was taken. We could not call the police about the theft. The stockholders of our company lost many millions of dollars. I'm sure that the losses suffered by the other companies which were taken over were up into the billions of dollars. And you want me and others like me to forget all that because some cigar smokers feel that they're deprived because they can't puff on Cuban leaf?
I smoke many of the other cigars available throughout the world, and I would throw up if I put a Cuban cigar in my mouth as long as Fidel Castro and his government are still in power.
Francis J. Sorg Jr.
* * *
It's 4:15 a.m. and time for a cigar! As a morning-drive radio personality with a 25-minute one-way trek to work, I can usually get through a Punch Rothschild or something similar before I get to the station. (If I'm late getting on the air, it must have been a particularly good cigar.)
Back at the station, it's become my happy duty to, whenever possible, spread The Gospel According to Marvin to my listeners. Reverend Marvin, keep preaching the Word, and may you not wind up like other evangelists--caught in a seedy hotel with a bunch of cheap cigars with their wrappers off.
Best wishes for a long and prosperous run.
Greg "The EggMan" Moore
Shannon and the Egg Man Show, KRXO-FM
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
* * *
Enjoying your magazine along with a great cigar is now and will always be one of the few diversions that makes life great. I, too, do not fit the profile as described in the premier issue. But who cares? Just the fact that I love the good life and always aspire for more should be enough. It's too bad that some took it the wrong way, but you can't reach everybody.
I am 26 years old and have been enjoying cigars for the past five or six years now. I must say that I have become a kind of snob on that issue, but it sure is fun. My license plate frame says, "Life is too short to smoke cheap cigars," and Marvin, you'd be happy to know that my love of wine is only challenged by that of cigars. They do, in fact, go well together. As I write this I am enjoying a cigar whose origin I won't mention, along with a ten-year-old Tawny. Life sure can get good sometimes.
* * *
We would like to congratulate you on the success of CIGAR AFICIONADO. As cigar lovers we look forward to each issue with great anticipation. It has heightened our appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of cigars, one of life's great yet simple pleasures.
We have seen much written in the first three issues of CIGAR AFICIONADO regarding the United States' economic embargo of Cuba, mostly in favor of lifting the embargo. While we feel the embargo is the right policy, we respect differing viewpoints. We were offended, however, by a letter to the editor written by David Crowley, a political science major at the University of Montana, who opposes the embargo [Vol. 1, No. 3]. Mr. Crowley's lack of perspective is apparent, where he says, "I think it is an atrocity that I can't get a Cuban cigar in this country." Mr. Crowley's choice of words is unfortunate.
While we, too, would love to smoke Cuban cigars, we recognize that the cause of a free Cuba is more important. If truth be told, however, there is great ignorance in this country about the reality of the Cuban situation. For this reason, we would like the opportunity to express to you and your readers why we support the economic embargo against Cuba.
There is no question that the totalitarian Castro regime is one of the most repressive governments in the world today, where the rights of the Cuban people are repeatedly and systematically violated. The United Nations recently published a report documenting the Cuban government's abysmal human rights record and appointed a special envoy to investigate the situation further. The Castro government has refused to allow the United Nations representative into the country.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the decrease in subsidies from Eastern-bloc countries, the Castro regime is struggling to remain in control. Most experts agree that a lifting of the embargo would first and foremost provide Castro with the funds necessary to reconsolidate his position in power.
Living in Miami, we have the opportunity to speak frequently with recent arrivals from Cuba. The vast majority of these people not only favor the U.S. embargo against the Cuban government, but also call for an international campaign similar to the one organized against the Republic of South Africa during the darkest days of apartheid. These recent arrivals tell us that the people of Cuba view the embargo as a symbol of hope, as someone standing up to Fidel Castro, something they cannot do in Cuba without fear of beatings, imprisonment or worse. If the embargo were lifted, it would be viewed by the Cuban people on the island merely as an expression that the United States has lost interest in Cuba.
What we want is for the Cuban government to recognize basic human rights and democratic freedoms. Castro will not do this if he can help it because he knows it will mean the end of his regime. International pressure, however, offers the best chance to give the Cuban people the freedom that they so richly deserve.
* * *
My husband was delighted when he found the premier issue of your marvelous magazine. Out of curiosity I picked it up and read through it. I'm not a regular smoker, but I've often heard men rhapsodize about cigars. I wanted to know what the real allure was. The article that most caught my attention was David Shaw's startling story on the abuses he's suffered as a cigar smoker ["Where Can I Smoke in Peace", Vol. 1, No. 1]. I was outraged to learn so many people would so readily censure and even bodily attack a man for the simple act of smoking a cigar.
Up until very recently I was one of those women who prefers her husband to smoke outside. After reading Mr. Shaw's article I was so incensed that I felt like taking up cigar smoking as a weapon against the people who want to destroy individual freedom of choice.
An even better reason presented itself in the form of a major step forward in my career. I told my husband I wanted to celebrate with brandy and cigars. He took me to our local tobacconist where we decided on two that suited us, and then I was initiated into the pleasures of a good cigar. As I write this I'm finishing off an H. Upmann Demitasse. Thank you so much for helping me discover a new pleasure and a pleasant act of political defiance.
* * *
For as long as I can remember while growing up, I was always surrounded by relatives who smoked cigars. It was a tradition in my family that, after dinner, there was a mass exodus to the patio of our backyard of my dad, grandfather, great uncle and me.
We would all kick back on this patio after consuming a wonderfully delicious, huge meal prepared by my mother and grandmother. I would watch in amazement as the men would leisurely light up their cigars and blow smoke rings into the beautiful, balmy summer evenings of L.A. I would turn on the radio, and we would all listen to the magical, mesmerizing voice of Vin Scully calling another Dodger baseball game, as only he could. I remember my grandfather would let me take an occasional puff or two of his cigar (and I liked it!) as he, my dad and my uncle Herman would talk about the great enjoyment of lighting up a great tasting, sweet smelling cigar after a super meal.
Even as a part-time cigar lover, I appreciate that we have a magazine now such as yours to look forward to.
Los Angeles, California
* * *
The most recent CIGAR AFICIONADO (Vol. 1, No. 3) came in handy on my way to Houston Intercontinental Airport last week, to catch a plane for Lisbon, Portugal. The listing of a cigar friendly restaurant in Lisbon on page 122 caught my eye; and since my business in Lisbon did not start for a few days, I decided to treat myself. When I arrived, I asked the staff at the Hotel da Lapa to make a reservation for me to dine at Tagide [Largo da Academia].
After a wonderful dinner I finished off the evening as a CIGAR AFICIONADO reader should, with a cigar. I smoked one of my own Hoyo de Monterrey Sultans (I brought along several types, not knowing what to expect). This big, 54 ring gauge cigar was precisely right for the size and spice of the meal. I smoked without reprimand or bother while enjoying several glasses of Port .... Well, what did you expect?
Yes, smoking is allowed in the dining room. Yes, my cigar was even encouraged. Yes, I would go to Tagide again in a minute, but I wouldn't have known about it if CIGAR AFICIONADO hadn't listed it.
Thank you, friends, very much.
Richard Laurence Baron
* * *
I am a pianist and have been performing professionally 23 of my 34 years. I subscribe to three magazines: Air & Space Smithsonian, The Piano Stylist and CIGAR AFICIONADO. I am a charter subscriber, and yours is the only magazine I have ever read cover to cover. My next recording project will be in the mail for you and your staff to enjoy because every time I look down at the keys of my piano, I see 36 maduro coronas on a field of white.
Newport, Rhode Island
* * *
I'd like to tell you a short story regarding my cigar smoking. My wife says that the smell of cigars makes her physically sick. Well, this presented quite a problem for me, so we have compromised. After a cigar I must brush my teeth, take a shower, brush my teeth again and use mint mouthwash. I have been doing this procedure for over a year, but she still complains. As the old saying goes, "Maybe it's time to change wives." (I am KIDDING--hopefully this will not end our relationship!)
John E. Ready
* * *
Purchasing the premier issue of CIGAR AFICIONADO brought a smile to my face for it brings back fond memories of when I was a child growing up back in the old country (Portugal) and my father, after a long day's work fishing, used to come home and pour himself a healthy-sized cup of Port and then light up one of his strong-smelling cigars. I could see that this made him happy and I always wanted to join him in smoking, but I was only nine years old at the time, obviously too young to smoke. But my father was a very generous man and allowed me to take sips of the Port wine. When doing so, I remember he used to pat me on the shoulder, making me feel as much as man as he was.
It almost brings tears to my eyes writing this down and remembering those good old days of youth.
Thank you for bringing that special moment back into my life.
Vancouver, British Columbia
* * *
Ever since I purchased your fine publication and placed it on my college dormitory coffee table, I've been the toast of the building. Friends wander into the room and eagerly peruse the pages of this beautiful quarterly. The pleasure of gaining insight from fellow cigar aficionados falls just short of indulging oneself in an evening of fine cigar smoking.
On many a weekend night, fine cigars have broken through the stuffy academic atmosphere and brought friends closer together here in rural Minnesota. Thank you for your commitment to promoting this noble pastime.
Nels C. Elde
* * *
This evening, while enjoying a Mario Palomino Royal Corona and my second issue of CIGAR AFICIONADO, I decided to write a letter to introduce my fellow cigar lovers to a relatively large, but hidden, portion of our population who enjoy a good cigar. I also felt that the irony of my current position might provide a few wry chuckles for some of your readers. So without further ado, on with the tale....
The segment of the population I refer to is the officer corps of our nation's military, in particular, the U.S. Marine Corps. I am currently serving as a Captain in our nation's corps, and from my experience, almost 10 percent of my fellow Marine officers enjoy a good cigar on a regular basis.
Throughout my career, I have encountered a large number of my fellow officers with whom I could enjoy a good smoke. In fact, cigars play an important role in one of the oldest traditions of the Corps. At the conclusion of a mess night (a formal dinner for all of the officers in a command), cigars and Port are passed as the fitting conclusion to a night of fellowship and camaraderie. Perhaps it is the inherently dangerous nature of our chosen profession that causes us to truly appreciate the finer things in life, including fine cigars.
The ironic situation I find myself currently in is that, while I am stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the absolute best cigar I can purchase locally is the Jamaican Mario Palomino I mentioned earlier. As a cigar devotee, the true meaning of the old expression "so near yet so far" has become graphic indeed during the last year and a half that I have lived in Cuba.
It is wonderful to sit outside under a Cuban sunset, enjoy a decent cigar, a good drink, an outstanding publication and realize that things really could be a whole lot worse, couldn't they? Keep up the great work. I eagerly look forward to my next issue.
Captain, U.S. Marine Corps
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba