Earlier this month I received a private message on YouTube from a fellow named Zach. Zach wanted to know what my first premium, hand-rolled cigar was and when I smoked it. This is a story I have told before on an episode of Your Questions, My Answers, at one time or another, but I thought a typed version would be nice to have as well.
It all started around five years ago. I went to work for a company that made custom cabinets and furniture. While there I met a guy named Jon, who I ended up becoming good friends with. From time to time I would be invited to Jon’s house for functions with close friends and family. At each of these functions, Jon and his father in-law would head out onto the deck and have a cigar.
At this point in time I was not interested in cigars but thought that the idea of spending time with the people you are close with, and enjoying something you both enjoy was really cool. This was about the only time Jon smoked cigars, which changed as time went by.
About a year went by and Jon decided he wanted to start his own company and be his own boss. He began doing Custom Woodwork and Finish Carpentry when he got a job installing some sort window surround for a widow. After the job was done they got to talking and she asked if he smoked cigars.
Jon told her yes and they got to talking about her late husband, who was a huge cigar buff before he passed away. As it turns out, this woman’s late husband had thousands of cigars in several humidors around the house that she wanted to give to someone that would enjoy them.
Jon loaded up the cigars and headed home. At some point that evening I received a phone call and was told I had to come check something out. So I hopped in my car and took the ride over to Jon’s place. When I arrived Jon immediately started showing off his new cigar collection like a kid with a brand new toy on Christmas day.
At this point I became a cigar smoker by default because Jon wanted someone to share the wealth with and needed a more regular smoking buddy. We grabbed a couple of cigars from the collection and got to lighting up. At the time I didn’t have a clue what I was smoking but I knew it had to be good because it had the word “Habana” printed on the band. It turns out that my very first premium cigar was a Partagas Serie D No. 4.
That night I headed home with a gallon sized ziplock bad full of cigars to smoke. Many of my newly gifted cigars were Habanos and at the time I didn’t have a clue what I was turning into ash. From what I understand this gifted collection consisted of a wide variety of cigars that were picked up over a wide range of dates, the oldest supposedly being pre-embargo. While this was never confirmed, it sure felt great while it lasted.
Many of these cigars were tucked away in humidors that sat dormant for some time. Some cigars were in decent shape while others were bone dry. We did our best to slowly revive the ones that were dry and happily smoked those in good condition. Eventually the supply began to dwindle and I wanted to continue my new found hobby by supplementing my gifted sticks with mail order cigars.
I got to ordering five-packs on the JR Cigars website and started to dive into the wide world of cigar information as well. As I began to learn, my palate began to take shape and I started to understand what it was that I enjoyed about cigars. As more and more time passed, my hobby began to transform into something much more. A few years later and here I am.
Over the years my friend Jon has enjoyed his fair share of cigars, but never took it to the extreme that I did, but we have always made some time to hang out and enjoy a cigar. Its funny how when you look back on things, you can see they never really change. The last time I was over Jon’s for a family function, he and his father snuck out onto the deck and enjoyed a cigar. The only real difference between now and then is that another cigar smoker has been invited out onto the deck to share in the good times.
What about you, care to share your cigar story?