If time is our greatest luxury, then make sure you pass it in the best way possible. Our Ambassador Manny Brefin – known to many of you as Yellow Brick Wall Cigars – knows best practice for that.
When people ask me what in my opinion the biggest luxury of all in the world is then I only ever have one answer. It is time! Time is something nobody has more off than anyone else. Time is the equaliser of everything and all people. When they then ask me how I most like to spend that limited spare time then my answer is also always the same smoke and share a delicious Cuban cigar with great friends.
My love for Cuban cigars started many years ago in my in my mid-teens when I nicked a handful of them from one of my fathers cherished humidors. To be smoked in the woods behind our family home back in Switzerland with a couple of equally naughty but good friends. None of us really knew what to do with these beautifully hand rolled Cuban Davidoffs other than we had to cut it in the back and light in the front. We did not know anything about the difference between Cuban or new world cigars, construction, rolling, blends, brands or ageing. But we quickly, almost instantly knew that we had started something special here. At that point I could have never guessed that by lighting this cigar I would enter a completely new and fascinating world. A world that over time has allowed me meeting and spending quality time with and in the process getting to know some fantastic people of all ages and cultures, many of which have become great friends around the globe. It was the beginning of a love story and a passion that has been a large part of my life ever since.
It really does not matter where one smokes cigars, be it an elegant five star hotel such as the Bulgari, reputable shops like Davidoff of London, run by the always knowledgeable and wonderful Edward and Eddie Sahakian, a casual and comfortable lounge like Sautters or Enfuegos in Las Vegas or on your yellow-brick-wall balcony at home looking at the boats passing by on the Thames, you are very likely to be able to relax and to be with or encounter like-minded cigar aficionados. The conversations normally start about where the cigars one is smoking is from, how they taste and then often leads into enjoying another cigar or more together. I have rarely met a cigar smoker that does not like to experience and share their cigars with other people. There is a very good chance when you meet a person who is a brother or sister of the tobacco leaf that they are half way ok, very sociable and most likely are perfect gentlemen and women.
Smoking cigars could really be looked at as the modern equivalent of sitting around a camp fire with your close friends and family, while talking about the world and issues therein, often finding solutions in a smokey, relaxed, calm and gentlemanly way. Unfortunately, over the last few years cigars have become much more of a status and show-off symbol. For a growing number of us it is often much more important how much a cigar cost, what and how many labels it carries. We sometimes forget about that smoking these fine cigars should be about one thing and one thing only. Enjoyment! It really doesn't matter where the cigar comes from, what age it has, if it's potentially a 'fake' or what someone paid for it. It is only about how one likes it and how we want to enjoy the greatest luxury we all have and with whom we want to spend it - that is time.
Top Five tips how to enter the world of cigars:
1. Start with milder cigars – no point to jump in the deep strong end not liking the power and potentially miss out on your perfect milder cigar. Work your way up and get your palate ready for the medium and fuller flavours first.
2. Try as many different cigars as possible – it’s a marathon not a race. Most likely you will not find ‘the one’ but several different cigar brands and regions that you will like in different situations like time of the day, before during or after a meal etc etc.
3. Size does not matter – you can and will find spectacular cigars of any size.
4. Get a humidor – it doesn’t have to be an expensive or big one at first but it’s the only way to keep your precious cigars nice and smokable. Let’s face it they are hand-made and not cheap, they deserve looking after.
5. Enjoy what YOU like and not what the others might say – this is the most important thing. I am not saying don’t listen to other more seasoned aficionados they will mostly have good advice and you should try it out, but in the end its you that is smoking that cigar…
See Manny's Keep at Cigar Keep here