Friday, November 7, 2008


Welcome to CIGAR CIGAR! I’ve been anxious to create a blog dedicated to my love of cigars for some time now and just never got around to it. This being an election year, I was pretty wrapped up in politics and my other blog S.W.Y.M Nation!
But now, with the election over and needing a break from all the political craziness which has plagued my mind and stressed me out over the last 24 months or so, I find myself turning to a far more comforting and relaxing subject, CIGARS and CIGAR SMOKING!

I started smoking stogies circa 1996 when I was a young investment banker. Alright, I was actually a young, soon to be investment banker, part of a stockbroker training program, working as a cold caller and studying to get my series 7 license. I worked downtown in the financial district. I was part of that elite group of wannabe stockbrokers that was lured in by the promise of “big money”, “fancy cars”, “good eating” and beautiful women! I was sold the dream of Geko’s “GREED!” The firm I worked for was one of those “boiler room” operations that thrived off of making big bucks by hawking low priced stocks to any and everyone who would answer their phone and stay on long enough to be lured in by the possibility of making huge profits if they only opened up an account with the so called “Financial genius” from New York looking to handle their money. I was good at what I did. Go through my leads, dial the phone, qualify a potential client and eventually, open an account. I was real good. Wasn’t long before I was working for the two managing partners of the firm. Both were heavy cigar smokers. Charlie, in particular. I recall his favorites as being Avo’s and Cohibas. John would stick to Montecristos. Cigar smoking just seemed to be the “big shot” thing to do. Hey, make money, get an office, get your shirts custom made, buy some real suits, learn what a great steak is and oh yeah, smoke cigars! Back then, from what I could tell; like the suits and custom made shirts, it was an image thing. I began smoking when Charlie would offer me one of his smokes as a reward of sorts for opening up a certain amount of accounts in a week or for landing a potentially big client. I wasn’t too savvy when it came to what I was smoking. All I knew was what everyone else seemed to know: Cubans were best! (A cliché I eventually learned wasn’t actually accurate.) Guess I started at the top. My first was a Cohiba Robusto. After that it was a Montecristo No.2. Before long I became familiar with the different size cigars and the various types.
The Cuban connection that Charlie and John had soon became my Cuban connection and I found myself spending $20-$30 per cigar and quite spoiled. (Good thing I actually started making real money!) I got the point where I felt as if I were a legitimate cigar smoker. I had my own box at a cigar shop on the east side of Manhattan. I frequented a few cigar bars weekly, I had my own cutter, and a nice lighter and I even spent some decent cash on a high-end humidor for home.
It was no longer just about image it was part of my lifestyle.
Years passed and I had my share of cigars. I knew how to tell a spurious Cuban from a genuine. More importantly I learned that Cubans weren’t the only worthwhile cigars out there to smoke. In fact, with the changes in climate conditions and many of the Cuban factories opening up in other countries such as the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras, Cuba no longer owned the rights to “the best” cigars! I matured. I knew what I liked to smoke, had my favorite brands and understood the numerous intricacies that went into the manufacturing of a fine cigar.
These days, I'm no longer an investment banker, haven't been for quite some time. But I still enjoy my cigars. I'm not spending $20-$30 per cigar any more (well, sometimes)
but I still make regular trips to my cigar shop and I still smoke at least three to four times a week.
And so, it’s with my passion and understanding of cigars and the cigar lifestyle that I bring to you, my blog, CIGAR CIGAR!
I hope to be able to share with you my reviews of fine cigars, quality spirits, food and other lifestyle oriented subject matter all meant to comfort and provide joy to all who indulge. I’ll be highlighting a new cigar each week and will also keep readers informed about local cigar shops. For those of you who are new to cigar smoking, I hope to be able to educate you and provide you with the right guidance. For those of you who are true cigar aficionados, I certainly hope to share with you my experiences and cigar related wisdom as well as learn from you all. I look forward to building a solid reader base and receiving feedback from my readers!

In this time, with the economy seeming to go down the drain, the markets going nuts and financial stability on everyone’s mind, maybe this isn’t the best time to start a blog on the glorious love of cigar smoking. Something many (including my wife!) might consider an excessive, narcissistic indulgence. But I say…this blog isn’t for them, it’s for YOU! It’s for ME! It’s for those of us who seek comfort and find pleasure in a good smoke!

COMING UP: I'll take you to my cigar shop in Princeton N.J. and introduce you to Jolly Ansal who owns the shop. His collection of cigars is rivaled by few and Jolly's knowledge of cigars will certainly help make your cigar shopping experience a plus!

ALSO: We'll take a trip over to MAHOGANY'S CIGAR BAR/LOUNGE in Philadelphia!


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