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Old 11-30-2019, 11:22 PM   #1
borndead1
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Default Your cigar journey

What was your 'journey' that led you to become the cigar aficionado that you are today? Did you start with premium smokes or ghetto stogies? Stealing from another thread, what was THE cigar that had you like, "Holy sh*t, this is a good smoke?"

I had smoked Phillies and Backwoods when I was a teenager (early 90s). In my early 20s I decided that puffing on a cigar while I drank alcohol was better than chain smoking cigarettes, so I'd buy one of those glass tubed gas station stogies if I was gonna be drankin'.

In 2003, I was at a smoke shop buying cigs and I decided that I had a hankerin' for a cigar. They had these cute little cigars called Arturo Fuente Exquisitos that had a really pretty, dark wrapper. And they were only 2 bucks! Sold. Needless to say, that cigar was AMAZING compared to what I had been smoking. So I started buying a couple of them every week. Then I got my first 'humidor' - a cylinder type carrying case that held 5 or 6 smokes. Around that same time, my boss at work brought in a catalog from Thompson Cigar. Looking through that catalog, I was like So I ordered one of their 'deals' - a small desktop humidor and a bundle of 'premium, handmade, imported cigars'.

Around this same time, I found a Tinder Box store at the mall. I started trying different cigars (all under $4, of course, because I made $12/hr and I couldn't imagine spending $5 on a cigar). So pretty soon I decided I needed a bigger humidor for 'aging' cigars (), cuz the internet says aged cigars are better. So again, I was suckered in by Thompson Cigars and their super amazing deal of a large barrel glass top humidor and ONE HUNDRED (!) premium, handmade, imported cigars! GOOD LORD, those 'cigars' were awful. And this is coming from a guy who was smoking gas station stogies a year earlier. A side note, though: that Thompson barrel humidor is AWESOME. I still have it, and it's still full. It's very well constructed, and the analog hygrometer is still dead accurate after 15 years!

Around this time, I discovered Club Stogie. Club Stogie led me to C-Bid, and eventually the holy grail of CCs. Gotta give a shoutout to Zemekone for guiding me through my first CC purchase: a box of H. Upmann Corona Majors. I still love that size cigar (5 X 42 is the only smaller cigar size I smoke) and I still love tubos. I could go on and on for another 10 paragraphs, but I won't.

Tell your story, BOTLs.
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:03 AM   #2
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Default Re: Your cigar journey

Mark, I started smoking cigars as a rookie on the police department...I found they helped me stay alert on midnight shift. I was smoking AC Grenadiers, the ones they sell in boxes of 5 or 6 behind the counter at the drug store...with no humidification, of course.



About 14 years later, a friend handed me a handmade cigar, I believe it was a Fuente. I couldn't believe the difference from the machine made, and I never smoked another Grenadier, and got my hands on all the handmade NCs I could.

In 2002 I made a trip to Nassau where there used to be a legit cigar store on Bay Street. Had my first Cuban, a Bolivar Royal Corona. The worm had turned for me, and over time I smoked more and more Cuban. Still enjoy many of the MC lines, but I smoke 95%+ Cuban now.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: Your cigar journey

I have a weird journey. Not unique, but a bit weird.

A part of the high school band liked to go to coffee at 5th period and also smoke Backwoods. I was in this elite clique.

When I was 16 or 17, a relative who worked in politics heard about my cigar smoking and realized that he could regift some gifts that he received from colleagues and others to me. So every so often, I got a box of Partagas Coronas in the mail from Washington, DC. Uncle Mike made me realize that there were VERY good cigars out there. He was a strict non-smoker, but didn't judge either. Very thankful for that. My dad used cigars as a way to quit smoking around the same time.

I mostly smoked Fuentes, Padrons, and such in the 80s but found a person who regularly ordered from Australia in the very early 90s and mostly switched back. I think that I more or less left NCs behind when I found Club Stogie and some people there helped me to learn how to order direct more easily. I still have a few NCs that I smoke occasionally and do love the Short Stories.
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Old 12-01-2019, 05:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: Your cigar journey

My first cigar was at my bachelor party. I inhaled it a bunch, chewed on it, swallowed the nastiness lol.....I ended up on the couch with a bucket next to me for possible spewing. Swore I'd never smoke another one of those things......and here I am almost 15 years later playing tetris in my Aristocrat.
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Old 12-01-2019, 06:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: Your cigar journey

Back during the 90’s cigar boom, I was working as an engineer in a lab near Cleveland. One of our technicians got promoted to head tech and set about redoing the lab in his image. This meant sometimes dismantling some of my experiments and I knew we’d eventually butt heads. He liked cigars. So, I asked him if I bought the cigars would he teach me how to smoke them.

This was back in the time when retailers were rationing and refusing new customers. But, I dug around on the new internet and was able to buy some Macanudos. And, the tactic worked and I made a friend instead of an adversary. Then, I found the USENET group alt.smokers.cigars where I learned a lot before it declined. Then the JR forum, Club Stogie, here...
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: Your cigar journey

In 2004, on my 28th birthday, I quit smoking cigarettes. I needed something to ease the withdrawal and the whole hand-to-mouth fixation so I started with cigars most people use to roll other things with. Dutch Masters, King Edwards, etc.
Soon after, I was ordering the samplers from the back of magazines, Thompson’s, Cigars International, etc. Through those samplers, my two favorites were the Indian Tabac Toro Maduro and the Padron 2000 which were my first two box purchases.
An older friend of mine seen me taking a liking to cigars and suggested I try a Padron Anniversary Maduro. After that I was hooked and eventually found Club Stogie.
After participating in the FNG / FOG trades there I was gifted my very first Cubans (Bolivar PC, Partagas Short, and a Romeo y Julietta Churchill from Skip (OpusEx)
After that I pretty much smoked Cubans exclusively. I still have an occasional non-cuban, but I would say 97% of the time I’m smoking an aged Cuban. Most likely an H. Upmann.
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: Your cigar journey

One of my college buddies gifted me a couple factory seconds, and afterwards I would get what I was able to find. Helix and cuban rejects at first, with the occasional punch or onyx, and then I joined here, and went downhill from there
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Old 12-03-2019, 06:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: Your cigar journey

Thanks for the stories, gents.
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Old 12-03-2019, 08:21 PM   #9
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Default Re: Your cigar journey

A while back a buddy and I went on a camping trip and felt inclined to bring some nice cigars, and while none of them were all that particularly memorable, I enjoyed them enough to decide to order a few more 5 packs and a humidor.
Fast forward a few months, I started smoking through them. One of the 5 packs was Don Pepin Blue Invictos and I recall the first 4 being nice, but nothing particularly special. Then, one truly remarkable evening, I lit the last one and it was like a cheesy 80s romantic montage playing through my mind as I smoked. Fireworks, wildlife cut scenes...synthesizers. To this day, it was the most flavorful, most decadent, most satisfying cigar I've ever had.
I've had a fair share of Invictos since and none have come close, so I'm not sure if it was sheer luck or what....although I'm inclined to believe it was somehow much older than the other 4 in the pack and was somehow perfectly aged.
So yes, I now have many Don Pepin Blues currently resting/aging in my coolidor.
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