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The Skinny on Cigar Aficianado
Written by Paul Shoberg

Monday, 07 September 2009

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OK, so if 70 pages are ads and 52 pages are non-cigar related content, then surely the remaining 24 pages are jam packed with everything you ever wanted to know about cigars…right? Well, actually 23 of them are, as we have that one that was dedicated to the uber expensive lighter. Most of this is two articles, one is a great interview with a fantastic guy in Charlie Torano, and the other is an article about Havana being a cigar smoker’s paradise. Havana is a cigar smoker’s paradise! Knock me over with a feather, how would I ever have figured that out. Then again, if they write the article simply as a reason to go to Havana…I’ll give them their props.

Now, 13 of these pages are dedicated to that section we all love, the reviews. Those darn specific reviews done by a couple of the editors smoking one or at the most two samples of each cigar. This is obviously the real meat as to why you buy the magazine. There are some real eye-opening facts in here…facts that the average uneducated, spending their own money, cigar smoker would never know!

For instance did you know that the H. Upmann Reserve Maduro has 4 unique flavors in it? It sure does, and they include nut, caramel, leather, and tea! That’s plenty of unique flavors in one cigar, obviously deserving of its 91 rating.

Holy crap, do I have to get me some Alec Bradley Tempus Imperator cigars! Did you know that is has “cedary and leathery snaps” in the beginning of what is described as a meaty cigar? Heck, if I knew what a “snap” was I would be all over this. It gets better though, as the cigar finishes with “mineral notes, and a briny finish”. “Briney”?!? First one for me! This cigar seems way too complicated for my immature and soon to be feeling inferior palate.

Lastly, the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Rothchilde Tubo has not only nutty flavors, but they nailed the nut down to walnut. Great, now I don’t only have to learn to identify nutty flavors, but I have to figure out the individual nuts. I bet I can nail macadamia.

When all is said and done, perusing the pages of CA is fun simply for the reason that these guys take themselves so serious. I smoke cigars to relax, not show off. I am not worthy of that Louis Vuitton ad on the back cover. One more reason why it is better to just stick to puff.com, where people come out of their sense of brotherhood and cigar enjoyment…not to one up each other.

 






Comments 

 
0 # The other 24 pagesRon1369 2009-09-07 11:30
First off I have to say that it is starting to seem like the people of that mag are more interested in selling advertisement then they are telling us about what makes a good cigar.
What is more important to them any more?? It sure doesn't seem like it is informing the little man who likes to enjoy a good cigar the in's and out's of the cigar world, like it was said they seem to try and out wit each other with their cute sayings of how well their palate can tell what special ingredient was used to make a great cigar taste so well. Most normal people could not tell one way or the other if they were telling us the truth or not and most probably don't even care to be honest with you.
As long as their cigar has the taste they appreciate, then I really don't think most care if they know that walnut was used and not hazelnut in their cigar. I can say for sure that my palate is not that refined to be able to tell what was used to make my cigar taste as good as it does but I would be interested in knowing how they come to that conclusion and most others would too and that is what they should be putting in their mag and not all that advertising. I think a lot of us would appreciate being told how they put the nut or cedar or what ever other ingredient that these so called experts tell us are in our cigar rather than just telling us that they are in their.
I know I have been smoking cigars off and on for a long time and for the past five or so years every day and I can say with all honesty that I couldn't tell if there is a ceder, leathery flavor or if there was a nutty chocolate flavor to my cigars.
I know that if a cigar taste good enough then I will buy it and enjoy it and most normal cigar smokers are the same as me. Most of us would really enjoy knowing how to tell what is put into our cigars to make them taste the way they do and I think that is what their mag should be focusing on to share with all of us and not use the mag to sell us everything under the sun but cigars.
At least I hope that I am not the only one who thinks this way. LOL8)

HAPPY SMOKING Y'ALL

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0 # DisappointedK Baz 2009-09-07 15:03
I am a little sad.

I read this article and formed a opion about it then I was told who the writer was and I was a little disappointed.

I agree that CA is at best the Robb Report with a bigger cigar section. All magazines rely on ads but CA has taken it to an art.

However I was disappointed that another publication would point it out. Seems a little like mud slinging. Then I noticed it was Paul - whom I have respected and always thought was "top shelf" and a class act. To see you slinging arrows has me head scratching.

Paul with all the years of cigar knowledge I would expect articles of a higher caliber. You have been in the cigar world and probably met and smoked with some great people. I would rather here stories of that or what you learned or the cigars you smoked then telling me CA is a forum for ads and dubious reviews.

Heres to looking forward to your next article.

K Baz

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0 # I gotta be the Devil's advocate...bimmian 2009-09-07 19:13
Let me begin by stating that I agree with most of the points in the article. I am unhappy with the majority of the articles in the magazine, and I think it's a shame that they need to have so many ads to cover their monthly trips to exotic locales. But I will disagree with the bashing of their tasting and ratings of cigars, and I will explain why.
I also don't agree with their ratings most of the time, let's get that out of the way now. But for us to bash them for having "highly developed palates" is just silly to me. Have you ever heard a spirit sommelier describe a shot of scotch? They will go on about your Macallan 21 y/o single malts' "bright, oakey profile with vanilla and honey on the palate and a lot of fruit on the nose". Is that what I taste? Absolutely not, haha! All I taste is an exquisitely smooth whiskey, nothing more, nothing less. Aren't we both drinking the same fermented and boiled-down grain juice? But to get on a high horse and call B.S. would be wrong.
This high horse is the exact opposite of theirs. Instead of "I'm so refined, I can taste macadamias and honey with a hint of leather and oak", this pedestal is that of the average joe. The "I'm so real and so down-to-earth, all I can taste is what it's made of, and that's tobacco", or "I'm so real and blue-collar, I can't figure out what these hoity-toity rich folk are B.S.ing each other about" pedestal. I mean no disrespect to anyone, I'm just trying to prove a point. To hate on them for their success defeats the whole purpose of why we smoke cigars in the first place, IMHO. A cigar IS the everyman's luxury. I may not be able to afford a yacht or a month-long European vacation, but I can certainly afford to blow $20-$50 on a super-premium cigar to celebrate a big paycheck or birthday, and I can taste the same cigar that the big-shots are enjoying. Imagine how dull the ratings would be if all they said was: "This cigar was good. I tasted good tobacco." And then the next rating was: "This cigar was bad. I tasted bad tobacco."
I, for one, enjoy hunting for different flavors in my smokes and trying to find the same tastes that others do. I truly believe that the editors are tasting what they say they're tasting. I might not agree with their obscenely high ratings, but I can't say that "just because I can't taste it, it must not be there". Just my $0.02.

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0 # Afterthoughts...bimmian 2009-09-07 19:37
As an afterthought, isn't opinion what cigar smoking is all about? I have never tried a cigar "just because", personally. I work too hard for my $ to waste it on a guess. (No, I don't gamble either.) It's always based on a recommendation, or a rating from this or another website, or maybe even just brand recognition, but never "oh, I've never ever heard of that cigar before, never even seen it. I think I'll buy one." I'm sure there are many, many folks who do just that, I'm just not one of em.
At the end of the day, all ratings are is opinions. Even the ratings on this site. Many times more comprehensive, for sure, with thousands of users offering up their opinions, but still just one persons perspective of something that is infinitely subjective between different people.
I think Ron brought up a good point about maybe describing which leaves, what regions, and which different shapes bring what kinds of flavors to a cigar, and I hope someone from their magazine will read these comments and perhaps integrate that into an article or a part of the rating process. Perhaps someone could offer up something on this website as an e-article, even!
Anyway, I hope I didn't ruffle too many feathers with my P.O.V., but I felt I had to stick up for those of us who like to have a little "burnt caramel and white truffles with the essence of suede and a hint of hibiscus and plumerias" in their cigars. ;-)

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0 # Well Said!!MarkoPoloNYC 2009-09-08 04:19
Thanks for saying what I and I'm sure many other cigar lovers feel about that damn magazine and those Full of BS Stuffed Shirts. I see them all the time when I walk into Barclay Rex or JR Midtown in Manhattan. These guys all think they're the God's of the planet. No idea why One truly enjoys a god smoke. It's not to show off it's to embrace.

Peace

Marko

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0 # P. Shoberg 2009-09-08 04:34
Hey guys, thanks for all the great feedback. First I want to say that the article was intended to be tongue in cheek...sort of. CA is an interesting magazine, and there can be some great articles in it. That said, I am pretty sick of all the advertising. I think they have leveraged their start as a source for cigar information, into a lifestyle magazine that is at the beck and call of it's advertisers. That said, it is entirely their right...and my right to poke a little fun at it. I still can't taste Iodine though!

Please don't take it to serious, and if the writing came off that way, my apologies. This article is the beginning of my swan song with Puff, and I sure don't want to leave on a sour note!

Sorry to raise a ruckus, I was just having a little fun!

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0 # Sadly, I agreejdporter3 2009-09-08 05:10
I've been thinking many of the same thoughts for the past year now and it really boiled over when they did the cover on an actress that could care less about cigars. I very much like the articles about the cigar world and its personalities. I do enjoy the ratings, whether high-minded or not. Hey, you have to have something to aspire to! They encourgae me to check out some makes that I might not otherwise and it helps me to form an opinion. By the way, I have a 13 year old that has the most incredible sense of taste of anyone I ever known so I believe that there are some guys out there that can actually taste walnuts in a cigar. I'm just not one of them!

I'll probably try to find another publication that's more about the smoke, eventually. That's too bad becuase it is important to support the guys who support us but CA is really getting old for me. Too much Robb Report for my tastes.

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0 # Cigar is a friend, you need your time. Puros Alma reaL 2009-09-08 10:31
First off all i agree with Paul.

The bad thing is that been in Cigar Aficionado is a dream come true tu cigar makers like my self. I buy the CA every two months just to see the review of the cigars.
But i recomend you all to do the thing that i am doing insted of buying something sow expencive (in mexico is $12 usd) Every thursday i buy one diferent brand for me to smoke with friends. And we say what we think about the cigar and we do our review.
So like Paul said you smoke for the pleasure of smoking not for showing up.
So lets light up some sticks and enjoy them with friends. That is the hole reason of the cigar.

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0 # my badbimmian 2009-09-08 15:32
I feel I should apologize to Paul for making him feel like I was directing my tirade at his article, that was absolutely not the intent of my rant! I only wanted to open up the other side of the argument, just for arguments sake, and I wasn't sharp enough to catch the sarcasm in his writing. I am one of those guys who likes to use as much flowery desciption as I can in my reviews... Maybe it's my closet wish to become a cigar reviewer and smoke for a living. Wouldn't THAT be a dream job, even though I'm sure the pay can't be very good! Perhaps I should have been more clear in that I was referring to ALL readers and reviewers, in an attempt to try and persuade people.
Maybe not quite "walnuts" LOL, but "nuttiness" is a choice description for me...
Anyway, I'm rambling on. Paul, I sincerely enjoyed your writing, including the single portion that I disagreed with, and I hope I didn't offend you in any way. I didn't mean to critique it, I only wanted to vent my opinion, since the topic was brought up.
Best regards! - Mike.

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0 # Sorry to see you goK Baz 2009-09-09 15:48
Well PDS, Pablo, Paul I am very sad to here this is your swan song.

I think Puff will never be the same with you leaving.

I would like to thank you all you have done and all you have given us in the past.

Though we have never met you will always have my respect for what you did for cigars smokers and the cigar community in general.

All the best in your future endevours whatever you choose to do.

K Baz

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0 # How Do I?David P 2010-01-22 21:56
What I would like to know is how I can have Marvin send me some of those Cuban Cigars by merely writing an article that he features in the front section of his mag. I have the first edition because I thought this was gonna be a winner. ONE year and I couldn't care less what Sly Stallone smokes or how hot Linda Evangalist looks with a cigar in her mouth. I love the Churchill edition, however there wasn't an article one Winston. Marvin send me some cubans PLease.

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