BY NICK HAMMOND
In the beginning...
THE keeping of cigars; the coveting, the nosing, the caressing, the nurturing, the protecting, the selecting and ultimately, the enjoying, is – in my humble opinion – one of God’s great gifts to mankind.
The curious or avid beginner needs first to know that there are no hard and fast rules; there are plenty who will clamour to tell you how they think you should smoke a cigar, but I’ll let you into a secret right from the get go; it’s up to you.
If you fancy sticking a cigar in your left ear while practicing your juggling, then I say crack on. You may not get the best out of the stick, mind you; but the point is, the enjoyment is yours and no-one else’s; the journey is yours and no-one else’s; the wonderful thing about this passion is that while you can share it with other like-minded friends, when you close your eyes, warm in your bed at night, you know that ultimately, the fun is all yours to be had. And the fun just keeps on coming.
Over the next few weeks and months, I’ll be posting some select thoughts for you here on these pages; I’ve recently forged a close relationship with Leggets, collaborating to launch the Oriental Cigar Gin, a wondrous spirit, specifically blended by me to accompany the shifts and nuances of a fine cigar. I’ll tell you more about my thoughts on this new creation in a column or two to come, but for now, I wanted to welcome you with open arms, reassure you that you’re in the right place, usher you into a comfortable chair, and proffer a metaphorical humidor – liberally laced with fine smokes – for you to enjoy.
Have the confidence to listen to all ideas but not take them all to heart. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It never stops. I do it every single day of my life and it’s called learning. Pursue those things that most intrigue and beguile; follow your cigar instinct, for its directions lead to the most exciting parts of your journey. Feel that tingle of excitement course through you when you smell that Heavenly aroma from a well-stocked and seasoned walk-in humidor.
You get to enjoy every minute of it – so go forth with great acclaim and welcome the bounty that awaits you.
N I C K H A M M O N D