Cigar Aficionado

Out of the Humidor

Dear Marvin,
It is a pleasure to read a magazine that reads like a book, i.e., the articles do not require a "turn to page …" after each page. The interviews are the best, most interesting and in-depth pieces you will find anywhere. The whole magazine really is very appealing.

I understand the tremendous marketing of these high-end wristwatches, but I am glad the manufacturers are willing to spend on advertising. I know this helps a magazine like yours continue to be able to be published. The day I retired eight years ago, as I walked out the office door for the last time (to never look back), I handed my wristwatch to a coworker who had worked for me for almost 20 years and slipped it on his empty wrist with the words, "Here, I will not need this anymore." And I never have.

Also, do you remember that time I called, the day after the first magazine was published and on the streets, and questioned you about the reason the magazine did not review the bundles of cigars that were being sold at drugstore outlets at the time? The interesting thing about that conversation was that I simply dialed the phone number listed in the magazine and, lo and behold, Marvin Shanken was on the phone with me … just that simple. You took the time to explain to me about the cigar business and I thought that was very cool, indeed.

Daryl Barenholtz
Punta Gorda, Florida

Dear Marvin,
As I write you this letter, I am sitting on the 11th deck of the Viking Crown Cigar Lounge aboard the Enchantment of the Seas cruise ship. The formal dinner is over and I am enjoying the day's find, a wonderful Montecristo No. 2 cigar, with a glass of fine Champagne. Cruising to the Caribbean is usually my vacation of choice. This year is especially memorable because it marks my 10th year as a cigar aficionado.

These past 10 years have certainly had their share of highs and lows, triumphs and tragedies. But one thing that is always a constant is that it's still as wonderful of an experience to light up a fine cigar and sip a glass of wine on this evening as it was 10 years ago.

Cigar Aficionado has been the perfect smoking companion during the past 10 years. Every review, recommendation and article among these pages has made my experience all the more memorable. All of my back issues are as prized to me as the fine cigars that I collect and enjoy. Never before has a magazine influenced an industry so positively as CA. As a reader, you really feel a kinship among the staff, contributors and fellow readers. Your presence is felt and discussed in every humidor, tobacconist and cigar lounge, which, by the way, is filling up nicely tonight despite all of the antismoking propaganda of recent years.

No one may know with any certainty what the future will bring for cigars and the cigar smoker. Tobacco taxes may rise. The embargo may be lifted. But as long as we stand united with a fine cigar in one hand and a copy of CA in the other, the future looks very good. Thanks for 10 great years, and I am looking forward to many more to come.

Alan Hogan
Bristol, Connecticut

Dear Marvin,
As a commercial realtor I have to read a lot of periodicals just to stay current on the industry. So reading usually becomes a chore that has to be done.

However, reading each new issue of Cigar Aficionado is a love I look forward to and enjoy with great anticipation. In your October 2008 issue, which I just finished, your interview with Arnon Milchan was one of the most informative and eye-opening discussions your magazine has produced. Once again, you have provided an in-depth look at an individual who is among the least known people outside of his own close circle of friends and associates. Your insight into his thinking was clearly one of friendship, but also one that lets the reader understand (at least on a basic level) some of his gut-feel reasoning that has produced a brilliant businessman. Thank you for doing this interview and I wish Arnon much luck in fulfilling his latest dream of bringing peace to the Middle East. It seems he has just the right amount of chutzpah to pull it off!

Jim R. Blumberg
Nashville, Tennessee

Dear Marvin,
I have received Cigar Aficionado since the first issue and have read many great articles in it over the years. But unquestionably, Marvin's interview of Arnon Milchan was the most interesting and informative I have ever read, and the reason is that Marvin's approach and his questions were exactly as if I was sitting there wanting to know the same things from this unique and fascinating man.

Leonard Horn
Beech Bluff, Tennessee