Why I Smoke Cigars and Why You Should Too

smoke cigars, smoking cigars, cigars, daily ritual

by theslowman

I smoke cigars, and I think you should, too.

I’m not advocating tobacco consumption for those who are morally opposed to such things. What I am promoting is the idea that everyone should have a ritual, an escape from the quick pace that pushes you to and fro each day.

Here’s the idea: Take control of a part of your day and align it with something that pleases you, challenges your senses, and has finite dimensions, i.e., has a reasonable start and finish to it.

Why I Smoke Cigars

My ritual usually means sitting outside in my backyard. It might be with a friend or two but usually I am by myself with a glass of liquor with some age to it (no vodka, ever). As for the cigar it’s usually a Nicaraguan – I lean toward Tatuajes and Padrons – or a Cuban – Bolivar, Partagas, and Ramon Allones or my favorite lines.

And once lit, I spend the rest of my time tasting the cigar, thinking about its complex flavors, judging the quality of the roll, noting how it pairs up with my drink, and everything else that affects the experience, the weather, my mood, and so on. The majority of the time, I sit sit back and contemplate the flavors from honey to black pepper, from cedar to leather coming from my stogie. It’s an exercise in awareness and measured enjoyment.

What’s interesting is that, like “slowness,” “ritual” tends to have a negative connotation. This is especially true in the realm of psychology, where it’s associated with escaping anxiety. I want to take that back – it’s time a personal ritual becomes a moment and practice to celebrate.

Why You Should Smoke Cigars (or Do Something Similar)

A ritual like smoking cigars should do three things:

  • Please you in some fundamental way
  • Challenge you in some way
  • Have a finite start and finish

The pleasure is your reward. The challenge gives you something to strive for, like expertise. The more you practice, the more knowledge you gain, and down the line the more you’ll enjoy it. The start-to-finish thing is because we still need to get back to our lives at some point. In this case a cigar can lasts you between 20 minutes and a couple hours (for the really big suckers).

These are all good things because they keep you in the moment, aware, and feeling alive. Some of the other things we reward ourselves with don’t quite have the same level of quality to them. Watching TV, a whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk, blabbing away on your cellphone for an hour – not quite the same level to those rituals.

While certainly no guarantee for immortality, when it comes to the cigars, I often marvel at how some of the most famous and ardent cigar smokers lived extremely full and long lives. A few come who come to mind:

  • Don Alejandro Robaina (1919–2011), known as the Godfather of Cuban tobacco, died at 91 and smoked six cigars a day
  • Mark Twain (1835–1910), famously sported a habit of smoking 20+ cigars a day
  • Winston Churchill (1874–1965), smoked 8–10 a day in his prime and, of course, lived to the age of 90

A daily well-deserved and carved out time for yourself and your senses – could very well be the key to longevity.

What’s Your Ritual?

These moments don’t have to be as hedonistic as my choice, of course. Everything from meditation to jogging to playing piano to underwater basket weaving counts, in my mind. It’s all a matter of how conscious are you in the moment.

What are your rituals? How do you mark your days and pull yourself out of the rest of the world’s flow?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Paulinator

It’s nice to read about someone who knows exactly what the art of cigar smoking is. You hit the ball with a perfect well balance fluid swing, now just enjoy watching the ball fly laser straight toward the green and cozy up towards the hole. I’m smoking a well made, hand rolled Dominican as I typed this out, cheers!

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Jermaine Buckines

You summarize why I smoke cigars perfectly. It’s all about the enjoyment of the moment.

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