By BillieBLVD for Puromaduro.com and Leaf-and-Barrel.com
Many make the mistake of lumping cigarette smokers and cigar smokers into the same group which is intuitive but most importantly a false equivalence. Cigar smokers differ from cigarette smokers like gourmet food differs from fast food. This is not an elitist rant but one cannot mistake the meticulous complexity of preparing and enjoying gourmet food for the time sensitive process of filling a paper bag with the worst meat and fried concoctions ever produced by corporate America.
That being said I would like to also compare cigar smokers to foodies (one of the newest additions to the American lexicon) to stress the importance of the one trait that separates us all (don’t worry I will be quick). The first level of separation is to recognize the nature of a thing (foodies cigar & cigarette smokers). Secondly, the nature of a thing has overlapping similarities but at the heart of it there is always a core difference. In other words yes foodies, cigar, and cigarette smokers experience pleasure from taste, smell, touch, and vision but they have different motivations. Lastly, and most importantly all three have conditions that have to be in place to indulge. Its worth mentioning because it delineates the need for a holistic experience (high-end restaurant, cigar lounge, hunger etc.) as opposed to any given moment. Onward…...
Cigars are very similar to fine food in that so much is put into the breeding of the meat, caring for livestock before the slaughter, the planting and harvesting of the fruits or vegetables, the proper seasoning, blending the flavors, and finally cooking and plating the meal. There are so many different versions of expertise involved. So much time and effort in all steps leading to the actual meal only for it to be consumed in minutes. The same is true of cigars. The effort exerted in planting the seeds, cultivating them once planted, harvesting the leaves, fermentation, blending, and rolling. Hundreds of man hours into the development of a cigar that will probably take only 45 minutes to smoke. A cigar smoker is very similar to a foodie in that they both appreciate complex and exotic flavors but still very different because the foodie is ultimately driven by the biological impulse to survive. When one is hungry all they need is an apple but we want a hamburger. The foodie is driven by need (biological impulse) but the want (cultural preference) is what defines the foodie. He or she is motivated by exotic taste, texture, and the willingness to experience food from different cultures.
The cigar smoker is not motivated by need thus his/her passion comes from something more sophisticated than the need to feed which is also what separates him from the cigarette smoker. The cigarette smoker much like the foodie wants to fulfill a need (addiction vs biology) but its an artificial need which is why a cigarette smoker will smoke in the cold, in a boiler room, under an umbrella in the rain, or pretty much in the worst of all conditions (there are no default conditions that need to be in place for the cigarette smoker to smoke he/she only needs the opportunity/time). The cigar smoker will forgo a cigar if he/she cannot have it in the most appropriate environment which is why we refer to Spring and Summer as cigar season (some will forgo the outdoor experience for 6 months), and why we have cigar lounges (there are no cigarette lounges), and why we pair cigars with some with spirits (sure cigarette smokers may enjoy a beer and a cigarette but they smoke the same cigar with anything--that’s a combo not a pairing).
So there you have it. Cigar smokers differ from foodies and cigarette smokers because of our sophistication (that's it). The foodie and the cigarette smoker are driven by natural (biological) and unnatural (addiction) impulse respectively and the cigar smoker is is all about the experience along with the intricate details that comprise it. Cigar smokers don’t like smoking in the cold because of how it affects the taste of the cigar, while cigarette smokers will smoke underwater if they could. Cigar smokers seek an experience and cigarette smokers chase a fix. Cigar smokers enjoy complexity and variety but cigarette smokers consume the same stick and see variety as a defect. Cigar smokers don’t inhale a naturally produced hand rolled work of art and cigarette smokers inhale a toxic chemical laden machine made over processed unit of work. DONE!