Member's Stories: My False Start Led to Victory

Mr Dean is an active and passionate user of the site. He took the time and effort to recall his early days of smoking, on order to encourage budding aficionados to fight the good fight and persevere.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

After a conversation with The Proprietor a few moons ago and more recently with one of his undercover officials (I only assume this by the long brown coat, sunglasses and Ostrich Skin Elie Bleu case that held the Cigar Keep Inquisitorial rosette), I was kindly prompted to write an article on a story I had shared.

So after a short hop, skip and jump here I am, sat in a humid, empty room with nothing but a Corona 3 Typewriter, a bottle of Ron Cubay and an Upmann Magnum 54. The kind gentleman at the door called Ron with the Magnum .357 said I could leave once I’ve finished the cigar, rum and article. I am now of the opinion that The Proprietor only asks once around these parts.

So why, you might be asking, has a man new to cigars been asked to write an article, and there my friends, is the answer. I believe The Proprietor would like me to share my rocky start with you, in case there are other greenhorns starting out and in the same predicament.

Therefore I start by saying, I have never smoked a cigarette, a cigar, a pipe, a hookah, a vape or any of the other assortments of questionable and more esoteric pall-producing apparatus, until February 2022. So what caused me to suddenly take up cigars? Well, to be frank, it was the smell of the smoke. There was something incredibly enticing about the blue hue and uniquely pungent smell that had seeped deep within me many years ago and while all other forms of smoking would repulse me, I found myself drawn to the smell whenever it wafted nearby. So, I endeavoured to set out and see what it was all about – which involved having a conversation with my wife who is staunchly against such activities.

What caused me to have this conversation was that I had happened across an Arnold Schwarzenegger video of him stating that he didn’t need to find a hiding place to smoke his cigar, which I must admit was very motivational, as I believe a cigar in most walks of life is seen as a powerful statement – so why opt to partake in something powerful, but at the same time do it round the back of the bike sheds? Therefore, I said my piece to my wife and expected silence in return, but instead received her ordination. I’m sure there are a number of psychological rabbit holes to go down here but that can be saved for another article.

After The Blessing, I then ventured out into the world of cigars, and by golly it was like walking into a jungle. Now it must be said, when I get into a new foray I like to do my research and understand what I’m getting into – however there was only so much I could understand before the want to just try one took hold, and I quickly learnt a lesson regarding the smoking of cigars.

And that lesson is respect.

As the first time I smoked a cigar I was out on one of my many long jaunts through the British countryside with a friend, and we settled down before the setting sun and I smoked a 4” 32 Ring Gauge cigar – and it was delightful. As it was my first time smoking, I was naturally hesitant and being with company it made me proceed cautiously, respectfully, and the cigar returned the compliment by providing me with an experience I will not forget, as I watched the blue smoke weave its way between the beams of sunlight in the early spring air.

My second cigar (the more expensive of the two) was a 4” 52 Ring Gauge, and this I smoked one dark, cold evening by myself, where respect was not given. I merely wanted to smoke the cigar because I had it and then attempted to rush it because I was alone and cold.

I do not mind sharing what happened next dear reader, as I hope that it resides as a reminder for those that maybe walking the new path. Needless to say, I attempted to lie down, then a cold shower, then another lie down, then I admitted the battle was lost and I would not be holding onto the dinner that had been lovingly made that night, and so casting myself at the feet of the porcelain bowl of sympathy I sacrificed my dignity; after which I went straight to bed.

The next morning, I discovered one bad night wasn’t going to deter me from wanting to delve deeper into this new foray. Therefore, ploughing ahead over the coming weeks and going through six more cigars, some nice, some mediocre and almost taking an early night once more, we come to mid-May where I sit down to try my third Cuban cigar, a Hoyo De Monterrey Epicure No.2 (I can almost hear the silent approval from the collective audience), but do not celebrate too soon dear reader; for this was the one that made me come treacherously close to giving it all up.

For you see, being young, and a naïve individual, I have forever seen cigars go together with spirits through various films, media and magazines. I believed that cigars should be paired with such things; and this, in the business, is referred to as foreshadowing.

Thus, halfway through my experience of alcohol and cigars, I witnessed the verdant pastures before me begin to undulate and with a mighty groan I once more closed my eyes to the inevitability coming towards me. Thankfully, there was no sacrifice of dignity this time, nor a cold shower. However, there was a miserable night of lying on the chaise lounge hand-on-head like a damsel in distress typing out a telegram to my preferred cigar purveyor to cancel my most recent order. I then took myself to bed.

It was the following morning that I received a response to my message asking why the change in heart. So swallowing my pride, I was honest explaining what had befallen me and that I had come to the end of the line where cigars are concerned, but instead of the expected corporate reply, I instead received two responses; one from the lady I had placed an order with and one from the owner of the company, both of which sent their sympathies and both giving me a beginner’s checklist to try and troubleshoot what had gone wrong and what to avoid next time I have a cigar. To this day, I still stay to that list and it went a long way to ensure my next cigar was the one that caught me hook, line and sinker.

Let us progress to late May, where I am partaking in the ancient and special ritual of making meat utterly inedible by immolating the outside but keeping the middle raw. A remarkable talent held by only the most revered champions of outdoor cooking.

To mark this occasion, I brought with me an Upmann Magnum 46 and there I made the correct preparations. I partook in the consuming of multiple ribs, burgers, steaks and sausage. I refrained from a single drop of alcohol. I took my time and paid my respects to the torcedor by ensuring my cutter blade was sharp and the foot was gently and evenly toasted. I then stepped amongst the cigarette smokers who did not hide their looks of envy as they gazed upon the stick between my teeth as I blew a great plume of incense out, and tasted things I never dreamt were possible from a leaf. Leather, honey, cream and butter, sweet tea and something other.

Finally, the revelation unfolded before me and there I discovered the power of the cigar.

I therefore say to all you beginners, greenhorns and neophytes, if you find yourself walking the rough road as I did, it is likely not the cigar hampering your enjoyment, but yourself. So reach out! There is no shame in asking for help, as there is an entire community waiting to guide you, smoke with you and wrap you within its ligero folds.

After The Blessing, I then ventured out into the world of cigars, and by golly it was like walking into a jungle. Now it must be said, when I get into a new foray I like to do my research and understand what I’m getting into – however there was only so much I could understand before the want to just try one took hold, and I quickly learnt a lesson regarding the smoking of cigars.


And that lesson is respect.


As the first time I smoked a cigar I was out on one of my many long jaunts through the British countryside with a friend, and we settled down before the setting sun and I smoked a 4” 32 Ring Gauge cigar – and it was delightful. As it was my first time smoking, I was naturally hesitant and being with company it made me proceed cautiously, respectfully, and the cigar returned the compliment by providing me with an experience I will not forget, as I watched the blue smoke weave its way between the beams of sunlight in the early spring air.

My second cigar (the more expensive of the two) was a 4” 52 Ring Gauge, and this I smoked one dark, cold evening by myself, where respect was not given. I merely wanted to smoke the cigar because I had it and then attempted to rush it because I was alone and cold.

I do not mind sharing what happened next dear reader, as I hope that it resides as a reminder for those that maybe walking the new path. Needless to say, I attempted to lie down, then a cold shower, then another lie down, then I admitted the battle was lost and I would not be holding onto the dinner that had been lovingly made that night, and so casting myself at the feet of the porcelain bowl of sympathy I sacrificed my dignity; after which I went straight to bed.

The next morning, I discovered one bad night wasn’t going to deter me from wanting to delve deeper into this new foray. Therefore, ploughing ahead over the coming weeks and going through six more cigars, some nice, some mediocre and almost taking an early night once more, we come to mid-May where I sit down to try my third Cuban cigar, a Hoyo De Monterrey Epicure No.2 (I can almost hear the silent approval from the collective audience), but do not celebrate too soon dear reader; for this was the one that made me come treacherously close to giving it all up.

For you see, being young, and a naïve individual, I have forever seen cigars go together with spirits through various films, media and magazines. I believed that cigars should be paired with such things; and this, in the business, is referred to as foreshadowing.

Thus, halfway through my experience of alcohol and cigars, I witnessed the verdant pastures before me begin to undulate and with a mighty groan I once more closed my eyes to the inevitability coming towards me. Thankfully, there was no sacrifice of dignity this time, nor a cold shower. However, there was a miserable night of lying on the chaise lounge hand-on-head like a damsel in distress typing out a telegram to my preferred cigar purveyor to cancel my most recent order. I then took myself to bed.

It was the following morning that I received a response to my message asking why the change in heart. So swallowing my pride, I was honest explaining what had befallen me and that I had come to the end of the line where cigars are concerned, but instead of the expected corporate reply, I instead received two responses; one from the lady I had placed an order with and one from the owner of the company, both of which sent their sympathies and both giving me a beginner’s checklist to try and troubleshoot what had gone wrong and what to avoid next time I have a cigar. To this day, I still stay to that list and it went a long way to ensure my next cigar was the one that caught me hook, line and sinker.

Let us progress to late May, where I am partaking in the ancient and special ritual of making meat utterly inedible by immolating the outside but keeping the middle raw. A remarkable talent held by only the most revered champions of outdoor cooking.

To mark this occasion, I brought with me an Upmann Magnum 46 and there I made the correct preparations. I partook in the consuming of multiple ribs, burgers, steaks and sausage. I refrained from a single drop of alcohol. I took my time and paid my respects to the torcedor by ensuring my cutter blade was sharp and the foot was gently and evenly toasted. I then stepped amongst the cigarette smokers who did not hide their looks of envy as they gazed upon the stick between my teeth as I blew a great plume of incense out, and tasted things I never dreamt were possible from a leaf. Leather, honey, cream and butter, sweet tea and something other.

Finally, the revelation unfolded before me and there I discovered the power of the cigar.

I therefore say to all you beginners, greenhorns and neophytes, if you find yourself walking the rough road as I did, it is likely not the cigar hampering your enjoyment, but yourself. So reach out! There is no shame in asking for help, as there is an entire community waiting to guide you, smoke with you and wrap you within its ligero folds.