Ask any cigar smoker why they do it and they will pontificate for as long as you will let them about the sublime and meditative act of enjoying a good cigar. They will go on and on about their personal cigar-smoking experience, never once admitting to the fact that they take great pride in their knowledge of cigars and in the collection they have accumulated.
The fact is that every serious cigar smoker wants a collection that will be the envy of his friends. Even though most cigar aficionados would never admit it, there is a social and almost club-like bond between cigar smokers.
Sure, there is the image of a man sitting in his study quietly enjoying a smoke and a great novel. Solitary enjoyment is a big part of cigar smoking. But half the fun of smoking cigars is talking with your friends about the brands you have experienced and the ones that you would like to try.
Building an enviable cigar collection requires tact, variety, and daring choices. Here are a few tips toward making your collection the talk of the town.
1. Proper Storage
First off, any serious collection of cigars is going to be stored in a proper humidor. If you dont have one, it is time to get one. Beyond just keeping your cigars at the proper temperature and humidity, a humidor will add that subtle cedar flavor that is otherwise unobtainable.
The Neo Classic I Humidor is small (it only holds about 25 cigars), but it is a great starter humidor and what it lacks in size it makes up in style. It has a black lacquer finish and the corners are accented with Greek-style columns. Piano hinges support the lid and it even comes with a lock and key to keep the kids out.
On the opposite end of the size spectrum is the Montegue End Table Humidor. Yes, it is a humidor so large that it actually functions as an end table. Behind two doors and in one drawer you can store a whopping 1,500 cigars. With a humidor this size it becomes less like collecting cigars and more like stockpiling them.
Dont worry though; there are plenty of humidors of every size in between so it should be easy enough to find one that will house your collection without going too overboard.
The first step towards building a respectable collection is variety. This doesnt mean you have to have every obscure shape, style, and brand of cigar, but you should at least make an attempt to try and have a decent mix on hand. This isnt just for presentations sake, but it will also grow your own tastes and experience.
A nice corona is always at home in any collection and the Cruz Real Corono Sumatra is a terrific example. The Connecticut wrapper version has a great medium-bodied smoke that will make these a staple of your collection.
If you are looking to throw something a little off the beaten path into the mix then you should try the Villiger Original Krumme 4/6. They are mild Swiss made culebra style cigars. A culebra is actually 3 small cigars twirled together.
Variety is important, but you should also be careful not to get too carried away. Dont buy cigars you dont think you will actually enjoy just for the sake of mixing up your collection.
3. The Holy Grails
Every cigar collection should have a few premium cigars. Price doesnt always determine quality, but having a few expensive cigars will add a sense of exclusivity to your collection.
The CAO America Anthem is a great all-American presidente-style cigar. It is made from two Connecticut wrapper leaves that encircle longfiller tobaccos from Nicaragua, Italy, the Dominican Republic, and the United States. It is a great showpiece cigar and would make a fine centerpiece to any collection.
4. The Liquid Collection
A cigar collection should be like the menu of your favorite restaurant. There are the old standbys that made you fall in love with the cooking in the first place, but you keep coming back to see what new specials they might have.
Collecting cigars works the same way. You can amass the greatest collection of cigars that the world has ever seen, but unless you keep adding and trying new brands and styles then it will get boring in a hurry.
Dont be afraid to get out there and try something new every once in a while. This applies not just to cigars, but to your whole life. The strong and almost spicy aroma of the Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Belicoso might initially turn off someone who is used to a more mild smoke. Give it a whirl though and its blend of rare tobaccos might change your tune.
5. The Shared Collection
There isnt much point in collecting cigars if you are just going to just let them sit there. And there is no fun in showing off your collection if you arent willing to share it. You might amass a variety of cigars that would turn the most experienced aficionado into a jealous maniac, but unless you are willing to offer him a cigar from your collection he will deny your tastes until his dying day.
There is a sense of devilish delight that can be obtained from building a collection of cigars that will make your friends jealous. But the real joy in collecting cigars comes from the enjoyment you get in having a cigar with a good friend. It is fun to try new cigars and discussing your hobby with others is a great way to increase your cigar knowledge.
However, it is the other discussions that you have over a cigar that matter the most. It is the talks you and your friends have about your families. About your troubles and your dreams. About your place in the universe and in each others lives. A collection of cigars is really just material. It is how you enjoy them with the people that matter to you that is truly something enviable.