Today I purchased my first copy of Cigar Aficionado-because Emeril Lagasse was on the cover-even though I've been enjoying cigars for nearly two years. I just happened to glance down at the cover while waiting for a photo submission for your "Moments to Remember" page to upload when I read "The Good Life Magazine for Men" and took some offense. Why is it just for men? Aren't women the fastest growing segment of cigar smokers? I'm sure it has been your slogan for years, but it seems a bit outdated to me. Those who are connoisseurs of the finer things-like cigars, wine, food, golf and travel-aren't divided by gender or even race or social class. I'd love to see that slogan updated for the twenty-first century with something a bit less discriminating.
I am a big fan of your magazine. I live in Manitoba, Canada, and work for Cornerstone Youth for Christ. I am the director of a youth drop-in center where we work with young people ages 12—20, helping them to live right and make positive life choices. We encourage them to stay in school, stay off drugs, that crime isn't the way, and that there are many people that care about them. It is the best job I've ever had, and can't imagine being anywhere else. I write you to share what cigars mean to me. I am 33 years old and weigh 562 pounds. I blame no one for my weight but myself and I take full responsibility. I have been overweight my whole life and have decided in the last six months to really put an effort forth and lose some weight, roughly 300 pounds. I know this is a massive task and undertaking, but one I must do to have better health and to do my job even better. I look at these young people who come to the center as my own children, partly because my wife and I are unable to have any of our own, and partly because they have little parental influence from their own homes. I want to be an example to them, that they have the ability to change their situations in life, no matter how daunting they may be. It just takes work. I want to show them that I can go from 562 pounds to 250 pounds with hard work and determination.
Niverville, Manitoba, Canada
It has been over three months since Hurricane Katrina devastated my community. I never dreamed I would see the day that my beloved city of New Orleans would lay in ruins struggling to survive. I was overcome with emotion when I received my recent issue of Cigar Aficionado magazine and learned of your efforts to help the people affected by this tragic nightmare. I always knew that cigar smokers were some of the kindest and most generous people on the planet, and this act of generosity only confirms my beliefs. There are hundreds of people who will benefit from your generosity, people who will never know the source of this precious help and will never have the opportunity to say thanks. On their behalf, I thank you and everyone who has donated to this Katrina effort. I just realized that my September/October issue of CA drowned along with the tons of mail that fell victim to Katrina's floodwaters. Ironically, I see now that Emeril Lagasse graced the cover of that issue lost in New Orleans.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Love your magazine; have every issue. I was just pondering the scope of articles you have run over the years and was wondering if you ever considered running "Silly Cigar Stories" as a humorous feature. If so, I have a lulu. At the height of the cigar fad, I was enjoying a smoke in the now gone Armstrong's Saloon. (It was the late Jimmy Armstrong who first told me about Cigar Aficionado magazine.) In came four young guys, maybe mid-20s. They each ordered a single-malt Scotch, then took out their cigars. And fine cigars they were, too. The bartender slid several large ashtrays their way and then it happened. Each of the smokers removed the cigar band and then peeled away the wrapper leaf! They tossed the wrappers into the ashtrays, then smoked just the filler and binder. I had to ask them why they did that. "Well, it's the wrapper, right?" one of them said to me. "So, you think you have to 'unwrap' the cigar before smoking it?" I said. "We don't?" another asked. I explained the purpose of the wrapper to them and even went so far as to ignite a piece of wrapper in the ashtray for them to smell. They got the point. Apparently they had been smoking for a couple of years and had always done it that way.
New York, New York