Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Common Questions from Other Geekdoms Answered Through a Cigar Lens

Common Questions from Other Geekdoms Answered Through a Cigar Lens

The wonderful world of cigar geekdom (and I use the term 'geek' lovingly while including myself in the lot) has certain oft-asked and asked again and again questions (and again). This aficionado phenomenon is not confined, however, to cigars. Each culture of geekery surely does as well. I suppose at times here they're more sentiments than questions, but I digress. Why not have fun with this then?

I am a fan of cast iron. Skillets, particularly. Nothing better for frying up some, well, anything. We shall therefore begin in that world of perfectly seared meats. "Is this rust?" Well, between mold and plume, it's always the former and is never the latter. The prevailing wisdom is if it can be wiped off, do so, then smoke it. If it appears on the foot in the filler tobacco, pitch it. Personally, I wouldn't smoke anything sporting visible mold. Also, try frying up some bacon in it, then take it from there. It never hurts to reseason. In the world of books, this query's form takes on that of "Is this mold or foxing?"

Speaking of books, which are a large part of my life as well as my house, "Should I leave the dust jackets on?" Store cigars as you receive them. Do not remove or add cellophane; neither is there a need to alter the cello by clipping off the folded-over end. Cellophane is not plastic and is perfectly breathable. It also isn't super-duper necessary. Tubos on the other hand should be removed from their tubes prior to being stored, or at the very least unscrewed and left open. Make sure said tubes do not mar other neighboring nekkid or less-protected cigars. I personally remove my dust jackets because the bare spines look nicer on a shelf.

I keep the jackets in case of transporting, which has occurred once this decade. Also, take the cigar band off whenever you like, whenever that is, and carefully, They do not hold together a cigar but you could well mangle a cigar during their removal. For the life of me, I don't know how anyone could ever read a book with the dust jacket on; it must be maddening, or they must be some sort of psychotic.

I like boxing a lot. But do I like it enough or often enough? "Are you just a casual?" (More typically, 'casual' is a hurled accusation by 'real' fight fans.) An excellent way of being a real cigar smoker is to regularly smoke cigars, whatever 'regularly' means to you. Smoking infused or mild cigars is still quite literally smoking cigars, thus making you a real cigar smoker. Ditto for enjoying mild profiles and smoking only once a month say. All that stated, if you can't spot the dumbest fellow in a room, congrats on being him. In that case, listen more than you speak, but do always enjoy yourself.

Mike Tyson is not the greatest heavyweight ever but thanks for announcing your staggering ignorance up-front. While we're discussing real versus fake, did you yourself buy that cigar in Cuba and from a reputable establishment on that island? If not, you might ::: very ::: well already have your answer. No need to post to internet forums then, correct? Good.

As much as I love a good book, I'm not ever beholden to suffer a bad one. Neither are you, or anyone. This is excellent news! "How many pages should I read before giving up on a book?" If you have to ask, you (again) already know the answer. Smoking a cigar should be, above all else, pleasurable. When it is not--stop it. Again, when should you stop smoking? When it becomes less than enjoyable. Furthermore, you don't owe it to any author to try another of his or her books just to make sure. There are plenty of writers out there. Plenty of used bookstores. If you find a cigar to be terrible for any reason, you do not owe it another try.

Tea is a lovely beverage, for sure. "I'm afraid of being looked down on for drinking supermarket bagged tea, should I try loose leaf?" If anyone makes you feel bad for your choice of enjoyment, kindly say screw them to they. If your budget isn't huge or if you just happen to be a cheap date, enjoy the heck out of your mixed filler bundled smoke. I do it myself, and quite often. I chomped on one while writing parts of what you're now reading. That said, maybe get a bit fancy once in a while. As long as you don't subscribe to the philosophy of Stoicism, I see no issue there. I adore both British Blend and Irish Breakfast from Tetley.

"Is this tea still good?" The 70/70 rule of cigar humidification/temp is fine but try 65% RH because it's better and if you flit over that 70% threshold by a hair you will be prone to growing mold (not plume nor foxing). As far as temp, keep your stash at a consistent room temperature. But why so many cigars? Keep less on hand. Let the retailer concern themselves with storage. Tea won't go bad, it will however go stale. It won't hurt you but it might not delight you one bit. TL;DR have less on hand... except for books... have much more of those. Also, I keep my tea in a cabinet. In a jar or in its original unopened packaging. Usually.

Aging a cigar smooths out its profile. This makes a cigar more balanced and harmonious. However, you cannot put a Mickey Spillane book on a shelf for a year and then have it read like The Sun Also Rises. Your cheap stogie will not become a gorgeous smoke. Still, reading a Mike Hammer story will not make you sick. I'm not even sure frying a steak on a slab of rust will, but I'm no doctor. People are tougher than they seem to think. Please season your cast iron pans properly.

"But if I buy a box, I spend less on each than if I buy a fiver." Sure, but quit making fun of your Mrs. when she comes home with three dresses and a pair of shoes instead of one dress because they each cost less that way even though she spent a whole lot more in total. And now she's TAKING OVER YOUR CLOSET. (Closets do not require closely-watched humidity levels.)

"What's the perfect gift for the book lover in my life?" Unless you know his favorite cigar brand, blend, and vitola, gift cash. For the life of me, I don't understand how "Here, buy yourself something nice," ever got such a bad rap. I love getting lost in a used bookstore on someone else's dime. Speaking of bookstores, "How many books do you read in a month?" or whichever measurement of time. I rarely smoke more than one cigar a day, I don't want to risk palate fatigue nor letting my clay pipe get too lonely. Simply smoke as many as you like and are comfortable with burning. I read a lot.

There's maybe a lot here. I hope some of it helps.

::: very :::