Deep in flavor. Deep in your mind.


Mailbag Monday for 09.07.15

Welcome, gentlepersons to this premier installment of Mailbag Monday. I do hope the day, and this posting, each find you well.

Q: How long should I let a box of cigars I bought online rest after being in transit?

A: Allow me to first say that your local brick and mortar (B&M) cigar shop would greatly appreciate your patronage. Allow me, too, to say that a good B&M serves not simply just as a place to pick up sticks -- but as a smoker's community hub. Nevertheless --

Anytime cigars meet with inclement conditions, resting is required. Kudos to you then, in recognizing and honoring this truth.

Without knowing the particulars of your package's path to your person, I would simply say to check on them after a week in your humidor, but don't plan on smoking them for an extra week after. There are hints at condition which you can spot and employ to hedge yer bets. These include:

* Length of travel time
* Weather along its route (especially longer stops, if you're tracking)
* If a humidification pack is included in the shipping
* Type and condition of packaging

To reiterate my point, however, if you're operating on some sort of schedule, I'd allow two full weeks between receiving and enjoying. Patience is a virtue, and like many other a virtue -- a real pain in the derriere.

Q: How can I clear my palate between cigars?

A: Zino Davidoff, whom I oft disagree with, mandates a thirty minute rest period between offerings. I agree with him on this case, due to the fact that I disagree with chain-smoking cigars. If you must chain-smoke, grab a packs of cigarettes -- I recommend Havana Ovals by Nat Sherman.

I have spoke with many a tobacconist and blender on this matter and what the majority agree on is this: A brunch-ish and an after dinner cigar each day. Personally, I very rarely smoke more than two a day (post lunch & dinner.)

Back to your question, and to put a finer point on the onset of my answer: time. Time between cigars is the only surely effective way to avoid burning out your taste buds. Because that's essentially what you're experiencing, when one flavor influences the next.

A good partner to time is a mouthful of milk. This is what I use when reviewing only one half of a pairing and want each to remain delineated. As an added bonus, the sugar inherent in milk is a nice buffer against green. Green, for the initiated, is the dizzy nausea one gets from a more powerful smoke. Yes, we all get green sometimes.

Q: How can I get the cigar smell out of my clothes and furniture?

A: Have you thought of pairing the scent on your person with a liberal splash of the classically masculine fragrance of Pinaud's Lilac Vegetal? Works for me.

As for removal of odors, the best offense is always a good defense. Simply do not smoke where the scent is unwelcome. This is simple etiquette, gentlepersons. I smoke on the porch because my wife doesn't wish to worry about removing stogie fragrances from our Thrift Store furniture.

All that said, I'll fill ya in on a little secret I've stumbled upon after years of experimentation: get thee an aerosol can of Right Guard Original Scent.

Q: Is it a good idea to freeze cigars prior to placing in my humidor?

A: Yes, but thaw them the night before smoking. Prior to lighting, cook them in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on the ring gauge. I personally like to add a touch of rosemary and sage after the first ten minutes in the oven.

Of course I am being absurd. I've seen this idea spring up and become increasingly popular in a very short time. It seems to have begun as a remedy for beetles and since has expanded as a thing to do prior to placing any new sticks in your humidor. A quarantine, of sorts. To be clear it is a terrible, terrible idea. Other terrible ideas be like "What?" Yes, it is that bad of an idea.

Think of the perfect atmospheric conditions which any cigar needs to insure its optimal health. Now think of the climate of a freezer. Did you think "cold and dry" in response to the cigar's need? Gosh, I hope ya didn't.

Q: How do you diplomatically reject a cigar that is offered to you?

A: You graciously accept it, you clod.

Perhaps some perspective is needed. I tweeted some time back that smoking a cigar is never a disappointment. Because you have a cigar. It was a tweet which sadly was not met with universal agreement. Allow me to expound: a cigar is a luxury item. So too is the time you have to smoke it. Life, at times, can be barely superior to its alternative. You can have neither the time nor funds to smoke a cigar. Lavish, then, in the opportunity of this luxury when you can.

That stated, once accepted, no one is forcing you to smoke the thing. One might rebut with something akin to "What if the person is sitting right there, expecting you to light up with them?" I'd say this person values you. Light up and the pairing of good and valued camaraderie and its ensuing conversations can oft raise a Casa de Garcia to the level of Montecristo. Plus, you can always let it burn in the tray whilst shooting the feces. Perhaps, too, be on the lookout for kindly teachable moments.

You can tweet me your questions. @iamkap 

I do so thank all those who've thus far done so. Too, for you having read this.