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Father's Day Cigars: A Great Gift Idea

By: Garson Smart

We hand them out during bachelor parties. We give them to new fathers. We hand them out to potential business partners and employees (Sit down. Have a cigar).

It s no wonder, then, that cigars are also a well known father s day gift. (For example, a Google search turns up 442,000 possibilities for father s day cigar. ) Cigars have that reputation—they re the gift that you give someone to help him slow down, relax, savor the moment. They have the classiness, the gentlemanly appeal you want in a father s day gift. And, digging deeper, they re deeply historically rooted in ceremonies of generosity, well wishing, and companionship. Ancient Native Americans living near the Pacific Northwest Coast observed, for example, a ceremony known as the potlatch, in which significant life events were observed by exchanging gifts and sharing wealth, which wealth often included tobacco. And, besides that, they re the one gift idea you can be sure he ll be glad to get—even if you re not the only person to think of it. You can have too many bottles of cologne, you can have too many books (if you try really hard), you can have too many ties—but you can t have too many high quality premium cigars.

Cigars, then, already are a staple father s day gift, unless you know already that your dear old dad hates to smoke stogies (in which case, why are you still reading?). For those of you new to the world of cigars, here are some basics:

1) Choose good cigars. (After all, he s your dad!) Buy well made, hand rolled, long filler cigars from a quality cigar outlet or online store. The better the cigar, the better the taste, and the more permanent the memories.

2) Speaking of cigar taste: the outer wrapper (which gives the cigar its outer color) generally tells you how the cigar tastes. Darker outer wrappers mean sweeter taste; tan or lighter colored cigars are drier.

3) If you re ordering online, here s some terminology. Double Claro cigars, also known as American Market Selection (AMS) or Candela wrapper cigars, are green and dry tasting. Claro wrappers are light tan in color, also drier tasting, while Colorado Claro, is medium brown and Colorado reddish. The next two gradations are Colorado Claro and Colorado Maduro. Maduros are darker and tend to taste fairly sweet. Recently Oscuro wrapper cigars—entirely black and also sweetish—have appeared on the market again.

The choice is up to you. Chocolate stout and bitter ale are both delicious, if they re well made (and you re buying premium cigars, right?), but they re very distinct tastes.

3) How to smoke cigars (and, yes, if your dad s never smoked one before he ll need some pointers): Use a cigar cutter to cut off the cap of the cigar, then, using a wooden match or a Zippo lighter or other full flame (not a paper match, which will impart a chemical aftertaste to the cigar), turn the end of the cigar in the flame a full 360 degrees until every part of it is lit. Don’t inhale—this isn’t a cigarette! Pull the smoke into your mouth and taste it thoroughly without allowing it into your lungs. Remember, it’s about the taste.

4) Consider buying a sampler. Instead of getting a box of expensive cigars that, it turns out, aren t exactly to dad s taste, some of the better cigar stores allow you to choose your own sampler of high quality cigars. Make sure you re buying a premium only sampler, as some online stores and mail order cigar catalog companies make use of the following ploy: they advertise an unbelievable deal super premium cigar sampler (or some such name), complete with photographs of rows on rows of cigars, the front row of which is full of fine stogies—expensive hand rolled cigars from Dominican Republic and other cigar capitals—but most of which is padded out with cigar pawns, off brand cigars that cost the manufacturer under a dollar each and taste like it, and which you learn all about when that too good to be true sampler arrives and is full of cheapie cigars with one or two good ones mixed in. Generally, the best online cigar sampler stores will allow you to build your own premium sampler.

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