While staring at a blank word processor screen, trying to come up with something to produce for the fine readers of Stogie Review, I recalled an email that came in a couple of hours ago. Thinking back to the email, I thought it would make for a great post. The email in question was from Doug, he wanted to know about Herf Etiquette. While there are no set of rules for these events, there are a couple of things to know before going to your first get-together.
I have recently been invited to herf event at someone’s home. While I have smoked cigars for several years, I have never attended a formal, planned herf. I have been invited by a friend that I have known for several years but neither of us know many of the other attendees and don’t want to rub
anyone the wrong way. Are there any herf ‘rules’ or etiquette that we should know about?
Doug asks an excellent question. Rather than simply replying to him, why not share my response with the Stogie Review community and see if we can’t form some discussion in the matter.
If you are not familiar with the term Herf, don’t worry, it isn’t a common term outside of the online cigar community. A simple explanation would be a get-together with other cigar smokers with the intention of having a good time. Some Herfs are planned out and are very organized while others pop up on a whim. In any case, its always a great deal of fun.
An impromptu herf at the 2008 IPCPR Convention in Las Vegas
From Left to Right
Brian Hewitt, Doc Stogiefresh (Stogiefresh),
Jesse (Cigar Jack), and Justin (LasVegAshTV)
So now that you know what a Herf is, lets talk about what you can expect at your first herf.
This goes without saying, you’ll obviously be smoking cigars. What you may not realize is that you’ll be smoking alot of cigars. In fact, you may smoke more cigars during the day of a herf than you ever have before. When the comradery starts, no one is any kind of rush to get going. As a result, you wind up smoking lots and lots of cigars all while being totally immersed in conversation.
If you’ve ever sent out a gift package of cigars, in the mail, you know the excitement of seeing the unknowing recipients reaction to your gift. This same excitement is amplified when the reaction can be seen first hand. This generally leads to cigars changing hands numerous times throughout the event. Bring with you anything that you are open to sharing. The people attending the event are just like you and will love to try new cigars, regardless of their price tag.
If the event is being held in a cigar shop, be sure to spend a few dollars. There is nothing worse than seeing the look on a shop owner face as he realizes that hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of cigars are being passed around within your group, none of which have been purchased from him. Be sure to thank the shop owner for allowing you a place to meet up with friends and return the favor by making a purchase.
The most important thing to remember while attending a herf is to have fun. For some people it isn’t a regular occurrence to sit down with fellow cigar enthusiast and have a smoke, make it a memorable experience for them and for yourself. Sit back, relax, and smoke cigar after cigar all while embellishing in the developing friendship.
I would like to thank Doug for submitting an excellent question. While we may not be the fastest people to respond to your questions and comments, we appreciate them very much.
What other tips would you recommend to Doug
or any first time Herfer?
5 thoughts on “Three Herf Tips”
I recently went to my first herf and got some input from the guys on the forums, and the best advice I got was to come prepared! Its a great feeling making new friends and gifting them a stick you enjoy that they’ve not had. I brought around 20 xtra smokes with me, stuff that I enjoy and thought others would like as well. The first stick I gave away was a Camacho ’62 to the shop owner. He walks into the humi and returns the favor with a TripleMaduro! Needless to say I gave him an additional stick lol. That kind of kindness and giving ran rampant at the herf. Another gentlemen gave me an Anejo Shark….(never met this man before that night) I had nothing left in my box to even come close to matching that (price wise), but he hadn’t had a Cubao, and was more than happy that I had one to give. Many times reciprocation wasn’t expected, but I recommend being able give back if possible. No one refuses a free stick lol.
Also… I recommend that you bring some big dogs out… If you’ve gotten your hands on the new V Maduro… take a couple… guaranteed you’ll be trading up with that one. The rarer the better. One gentleman at the herf had almost an entire box of OpusXs. he didn’t particularly enjoy them himself, but used them for trading. Don’t be surprised either if you see a couple ISOMs floating around (yet another reason to bring out the big guns). People will have some very rare stuff. I traded a gentlemen a couple sticks for an original 8-5-8 Sungrown (ya the 2001). You may see some stuff you may never see again pop up at a herf, so be prepared to be star struck a bit. Don’t worry about price…when trading, what matters is that you both walk away with either something new, or something you know you will enjoy.
Most of all… be social! Don’t be a wall flower, some great conversations go on at herfs, and I learned a TON from people way more versed in smoking than I.
Thanks for the follow up Rich. I’ve been smoking a long time, yet am a herf virgin and had no idea I needed to come loaded to the gills. Thanks for the heads up.
EXCELLENT article!!!!! We all talk about herfs and how much fun they are, but it can be VERY intimidating. . I remember my first herf.
I was invited by friend and didnt know anyone else who was planning to attend. On top of that I didnt know jack squat about cigars(at that point I had only been smoking maybe two months!) So the day of the event I loaded maybe 8 smokes (all budget an nothing exciting too) into a tuppidor and headed to the shop. I was completely overwhelmed when I get there and see guys with 20 or 30 cigars (high end to boot) all talking with each other. But I will never forget the one guy who thought “he there is a noob, I should go chat it up with him and introduce him to everyone!” He walked up to me and handed me a 2 year old opus X!! I was floored and didnt know what to say! It was at that point that he explained what truly happens at herfs.
He said “its not about the smokes. It really has nothing to do with smoking. Everything that we are about boils down to friendships and meeting friends that will last for a lifetime through this common ground. Yeah, we are all smoking and it is was ties us all together, but we could have just as great as a time without the smokes. You see, when you get a group of people together, there is bound to a friendship or two that will be made that will last forever.”
Well, word got around that I was new to smoking. I was handed some 25 or 30 smokes that day (some of which are now in my regular rotation thanks to those guys) and smoked more than I have in a normal day to date. While the cigars that I received were amazing, the brotherhood and friendships that were made are what will forever stick out in my memory. Oh, and that opus x is still in my humi. Im going to a herf with most of the same guys as my first and will be smoking it with the guy I got it from!
So to new guys going to herfs, dont be shocked when you get some AMAZING smokes. I got an opus x, God of Fire, and 3 ISOMS! But dont feel stupid when all you have to pass in return are budget smokes and smokes that aren’t as popular (or have the same price point). Its the fact that you are indeed passing a cigar to someone else that means everything, not the smoke itself.
Yep with above. We have a good group of guys out here and get together about once a month, with impromptu herfs much more often. We get new people who come with five or six smokes and usually go home with several times that. We also have a “Herf Box” where one of our members puts in some nice smokes and you just trade out of it if you see something you’d like to try. We prefer people don’t trade out a Free Cuba for an Isom, but we definitely don’t require high dollar snooty smokes to trade out. Smoking is about bringing people together, not about what you smoke or what it cost. I’ve found in life that a cigar often means an instant friend.. Herfs are great events and the most important thing is that you are there to share yourself much more importantly than sharing smokes. Most of the guys I smoke with have more smokes that we know what to do with, so we don’t care what a new person brings, we just care that they are there to talk and have a good time. 🙂
I loved this post and I really loved the replies. I have had similar experiences to those listed. I turned down a few invitations to herf because I didn’t have many cigars and I was intimidated. I was finally convinced to go and the guys could not have been nicer. Like the posts above, I took home about 20 cigars which gave me a good foundation on what I like and what I don’t.
It can be a little intimidating when you have “budget” smokes and everyone else has upper shelf stuff. However, I have found that everyone I’ve encountered has been nothing but gracious. I think it’s important to try to share…within your means. It is also very important to remember to say, “thank you”…that means a lot and with some of the guys means much more than anything else you could give them in return. One final thing. Don’t be intimidated. When I give someone a “return” stick that is far more inferior than the one I received, I tell them, “This is for your brother-in-law box. Feel free to give it to someone else that you think might like it.”