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The reinvention of the cigar

by in Home.

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Photo credit: L’Olio via photopin cc

Cigars have become more than just a mainstay for men who retire to their lounge, wearing a smoking jacket and sipping a nice brandy in front of a roaring fire. There is a new class of modern cigar smoker who is able to tell the difference between a Cuban and an Ecuadorian, a Rocky Patel from a Punch, and has the requisite home humidor stocked with everything but a Swisher Sweet from the local convenience store.

With the fairly recent explosion of the newfound appreciation for a fine cigar, Americans are not left wanting on where to find their favorite smokes. Below are the top places to find a cigar in the US.

Cigar Shops

These shops, which have popped up in cities across the United States in recent years, offer more than just the sale of cigars and accessories. They often feature walk-in humidors with a selection that will please even the most discerning of cigar aficionados. Many bars have a smoking room in which you can enjoy your smoke with a drink and good conversation with fellow enthusiasts.

The smaller retail stores offer excellent service with a larger overhead, yet are able to provide detailed customer service beyond what a larger company may offer. Their cigar ashtrays, holders and lighters are usually higher-quality than what you would find from a wholesaler. Remember not to discount them as too expensive, as they will go above and beyond to get you the product you want, arriving to you in a perfect humid condition.

Don’t hesitate to ask the staff if they will season your home humidor for you, as most will be happy to. In-house promotions by cigar companies are fun and informative events to attend. Check with your local shop to see what events or services they offer. You won’t be disappointed.

Online Cigar Companies

The Internet is booming with cigar sales, from big wholesalers to small shops, which offer an amazing variety of products. Wholesale cigar outlets stock an array of accessories and usually have humidors the size of a large home. With their ability to offer your favorite smoke at a cheaper price, they are also able to value packages that sometimes include humidors, cutters, lighters, and more. One of the great online cigar shops is JR Cigars; here, you can find a wider range of items than your traditional tobacco store down the street, enabling you to find products that better fit your taste and budget

Street Vendors

It has become more common for street vendors to offer cigars, usually at wine or food festivals. These sellers will offer anything from a cigar wrapped in classic Cuban fashion to the fancy Cohiba and Churchill. Keep in mind, a reputable vendor should be able to explain the types of tobacco, where they are from and how the cigar was rolled. Legitimate merchants will always market their cigars with advertising of their company and will be extremely knowledgeable about the products they are selling.

Watch out for shady vendors, as many will are selling products that are counterfeit and cheaply made; posed as the real thing. A true Cuban is an illegal item in the United States due to the trade embargo imposed on Cuba so, therefore, do not purchase anything from anyone who says otherwise. These vendors also sometimes offer cigars with no rings; remember, there should be an official brand band on each cigar and should be in its rightful box. This information goes for Americans traveling abroad as well.

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Photo credit: Villa de Amore via photopin cc

Cigar Bars

These bars have become extremely popular and invite the cigar lover to partake in their enjoyment with an alcohol beverage such as wine or beer with others of like mind. Many feature patio lounges as well as fully-stocked bars. The ambiance is usually different than an average cigar shop, with music and groups of friends gathering for a night out.

Many cigar bars feature large humidors in which to choose a cigar from, as well as offering other types of tobacco, such as high-end cigarettes. In this day and age of cities and bars banning the smoking of cigars and cigarettes in certain establishments, the cigar bar is a wonderful alternative. It provides a traditional twist on a night out on the town, allows you to rub elbows with the elite and provides a leisurely encounter with “the lap of luxury.” Swanky and increasingly popular, cigar bars are making quite an impact on nightlife, like the Big Apple’s Club Macanudo.

No matter your cigar preference, there is an astounding array of choices in the U.S. for both the connoisseur and the casual smoker alike. What is your favorite way to smoke a cigar?

-Kylie Earls McFerrin