An Outdoor Passion – Smoking A Good Cigar


A Boston Legal Moment

     “In what is now the traditional ending to each episode, Shore and Crane wander out to the spacious balcony off of Crane’s office, and Scotch and cigar in hand, rehash the high points or lessons learned of the previous 60 minutes.” From Betsy Model’s Sept/Oct 2006 Cigar Aficionado article on William Shatner.

Having Your Own Moment


     Summer is prime time to smoke a cigar. It’s a pleasant activity to enjoy outdoors on the patio. I can get this marvelous sense of well-being from smoking a cigar that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else. It totally relaxes me. I consider it a sophisticated pleasure, and the experience is enhanced for me when shared with Dorothy and friends.  

     Cigar aficionados and people involved in making and marketing cigars have created a culture around the cigar experience. While I certainly don’t pretend to be an expert, I would like to pass on some things I’ve learned about selection, accoutrements, protocol, and how to simply enjoy a good cigar.

A Brief Cigar Primer

     When it comes to your selection, you will be presented with lots of choices. But what it all boils down to is making four decisions: how long you want it to last, how intense you want the smoke, what flavors you want to savor, and how much you want to pay.

     Cigar smoking is supposed to be fun and leisurely. Take your time. It isn’t a race to the end. Break any other rule but this one because someone who is calmly and coolly enjoying a fine cigar is at least doing the most important thing right.

Cigar and brandy

     So sit back with your cigar in one hand and a glass of your favorite drink in the other. My personal favorite is Courvoisier. It is a wonderful cognac which comes in all price ranges. A fifth of V.S. runs about $30, while the V.S.O.P. costs about twice that much, and it goes on up from there. Coming in a close second is Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum. Also, Ken Meier of Meier’s Cork ‘n Bottle in Lincoln has recommended several wines, one of which is a 2008 California Old Vines Turley Zinfandel. I’ve tried a tawny port and loved it. I’ve tried some single malt and didn’t care for it – too crisp, too clean. I’m thinking a good quality bourbon may possibly be better.

Is This Type Of Smoking Hazardous To Your Health?

     I would be remiss if I failed to offer a warning after extolling all of the goodness and fun. By no means are cigars healthy. Cigars contain more nicotine than a cigarette. Actual absorption varies based on frequency of puffing and inhalation. Important: do not inhale the cigar! It can make you sick – very sick. If you are very conscious of the health effects, you will know that they can be minimized, (but never eliminated) if you don’t inhale.


     Despite all of this, DO remember George Burns. He lived to be over 100 years old even though he smoked 10-15 cigars a day. Your health risk is proportional to your exposure. If you smoke a couple of cigars a week, it probably won’t hurt you. Despite some minimal risks, many physicians actually encourage cigar (and pipe) smokers to continue smoking up to three times a week because the psychological benefits far outweigh any sort of health risks.

Enjoy Your Moment

     You have gotten the basic foundation for your cigar enjoying experience. Given just this, you will be hard pressed not to enjoy your cigar. This can be an experience almost more wonderful than anything else in life. For more information about cigars, click on “Having A Boston Legal Moment.”


Bob & Dorothy Miller at the Carnegie Club Cigar Bar in New York, May 2017

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