A cigar can be the ultimate tool of style and relaxation for a discerning gentleman, but your first encounter has the potential to go badly wrong. To make sure, your first puff isn’t your last we spoke to Robert Emery, Manager of the most exciting cigar shop in London, 1A St James’s Street and an expert on the finer things in life. A former director of JJ Foxs’s with over 20 years of experience in the cigar industry, there’s no person better qualified to advise you on how to approach that tricky first encounter.
1. “Take your time.”
In order to gain maximum pleasure from your cigar, you must make the time to enjoy it. If you start mindlessly puffing away then you’ll be wasting your time as well as the cigar. Depending on there length premium cigars are meant to be smoked over 45 minutes or longer, exercise patience and don’t overdo it.
2. “Don’t get caught up in imagery.”
For the first-timer, sticking to the basics is crucial. Don’t jump the gun and insist on only smoking the most expensive and exclusive of cigars: that’ll come later. For the first smoke, focusing and familiarising yourself with taste, quality and burn are more important than the type of cigar itself. By all means, smoke your way through the most expensive and iconic cigars available: you won’t know what you’re doing though.
3. “Find out what’s right for you.”
Cigars are an expression of personality. The cigars you smoke and the way you smoke them are the product of a journey that you take from this moment onwards. Although Mr Emery is an expert, by his own admission, his advice on the way to smoke cigars is completely subjective. Whether it’s biting the cap off the cigar or chewing the tip, you should use these first few outings to develop the little habits and eccentricities that makes these rolls of tobacco leaf and the gentlemen who smoke them, so iconic.
4. “Be adventurous.”
The cigar world is like a jungle. If you don’t go and explore, you’ll be isolating yourself from the pleasure and enjoyment that’s out there. No two cigars are the same so, like anything, challenge yourself to overcome your limits. Whether it’s a humble Dominican cigar or Cuban masterpiece, you’ll be surprised about the diversity in the taste and smoke that you encounter.
5. “Keep an open mind.”
Sticking to what you’re comfortable with will only backfire. Cigars are one of the few items where opinions are meaningless. Taste and texture differ from person to person and no two cigar experts agree on the same thing so never dismiss a cigar on one person’s advice. Whether it’s a Cohiba Siglo or Villiger box-press, get out there and try it. You’ll make your mind up soon enough.
Drop in to 1A St. James’s Street, Mayfair or visit their website to find out more