A Stogie To Do List For 2009

Drew Estate

It’s been a both an excellent and a horrible couple of cigar weeks for yours truly. As clock ticked away the final days and hours of 2008, I lit up some truly excellent cigars. I also spent around a week’s worth of time sans stogie as wrestled with a sinus infection, and now a chest cold. So when I could smoke, the holidays were great. When I couldn’t, I found Nyquil to be a passable stand-in for Jägermeister. And yes, this means I don’t have a review again this week.

Fortunately for me, and hopefully for you, I came across a fascinating newspaper article called For 2009, a To-Do List for Wine. As I read through it, a couple of things occurred to me. One, I really don’t know all that much about wine. And two, a list like this would be even better if it was about cigars. A cigar to do list would be a very interesting list indeed. And what better person than yours truly to create such a list? (Don’t answer that, it was purely rhetorical.)

So here’s the list your your smoking entertainment:

Herf. With Gusto. Don’t let this year pass you buy without planning (or at least attending) a big get-together centered around the enjoyment of fine cigars. Arrange a box pass for added fun. Bring a lot of cigars and trade, or just give ’em away. Herf virgins (Herfgin? Nevermind.) might be be surprised at how much fun they can be. Veterans eagerly await the next gathering. Oh yeah- don’t forget to smoke a ridiculous amount of cigars.

Visit a new shop and smoke a new smoke. Most people have a trusted local tobacconist, and that’s a good thing. But one time when you’re feeling adventurous, drive a few extra miles to that other shop you haven’t visited, buy a smoke you can’t get at your favorite B&M, sit down and socialize.

Cut your favorite every which-way but loose. You’ve got your favorite smoke, and your trusty cutter. Set that cutter down for a while, and experiment with some other cuts. The majority of people use some sort of guillotine, why not see what it’s like to burn your favorite with a V-cut, a punch or even a cigar knife? You might actually find that a different cut makes your favorite even better. And if not, now you know.

Burn something rare, old or irreplaceable. My recent adventure with tobacco beetles made me rethink my smoking habits. I had a number of special cigars hanging around waiting for some unspecified special occasion to be enjoyed. That occasion never seemed to arrive. Or if it did, I forgot to smoke the designated cigar. How tragic would it be to hold onto that special cigar only to have it savored instead by beetles? Or age so much that the flavor begins to diminish? In between malady episodes, I made a point to smoke some of those special stogies, and loved it.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t hold onto some top-notch smokes for special occasions, just that you should consider having a few more special occasions this year. Besides, given enough time, any cigar will become rare, old or irreplaceable.

Revisit an old friend. If you’ve been smoking a while, you’ve probably gone through several “favorite” cigars as your tastes have matured and changed. Just for kicks, pick up one of those old favorite smokes you haven’t smoked in a while, and see how it treats you.

If you haven’t been smoking quite as long, or just haven’t had all that many favorites, take a walk on the wild side. Light up that first cigar you ever smoked again. If you’re lucky, it was a Fuente or a Macanudo. Otherwise, take heart, Swishers probably come in more flavors now than they did when you started! (What’s a list like this without a dare and a little danger?)

Confront that menace. One thing I hear over and over again is that tastes change with time. I believe it. I’ve experienced it myself. And that’s why it’s worth lighting up a cigar you didn’t like last year, because there’s a chance you will this year.  Especially if your favorite smoke has changed recently, or you’ve really gotten into a different leaf.

Write a cigar review. If you’ve never taken notes on a cigar as you smoke it, try it out. Jot down thoughts on the flavors, the burn, the smoke and anything else that comes to mind. Heck, give it a rating, if you feel so inclined. You might find that you appreciate your cigar differently (dare I say more?) when you’re that focused on it.

Smoke one infused cigar. Or one real one, if you’re all about the flavored smokes. Sure you like it on your side of the tracks, but short adventure to the other side could actually be fun. If not, it will make you appreciate your smokes that much more. (And really, the Java isn’t that bad in moderation.)

Justify at least one purchase with the impending S-CHIP. It’s coming. We all know it. We just don’t know how badly it’s going to hurt when it arrives. For that reason, every cigar smoker should buy some stogies they badly want before S-CHIP rains on our parade. What makes this even easier is that at least one shop out there is running an S-CHIP clearance sale.

Get on the Stogie Review Fan Forum. Yeah, you knew a list like this was going to be a little self serving sooner or later. But if you think these ideas are interesting, I guarantee you’ll find even better in the forum!

Well, what do you think- Did I leave anything out? What would you add to this to do list for 2009?