The Cigar Newbie
Written by Kevin Godbee

Friday, 08 January 2010

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Article Index
1. The Cigar Newbie
2. Starting Out Mild

Like anyone else, I started out mild – I loved the smell of Dunhills, the scent was so intoxicating to my palate. I also went for the Don Diegos and the Dominican Montes. But I knew there was so much more so I continued to explore. I bought the Cigar Aficionado Rating Guide and would walk around cigar stores like a dweeb picking out the 90 rated smokes and above, looking for those infamous hints of Balsa wood, tapioca pudding, pencil lead, braised walnuts, and Chilean Sea Bass. Okay, we all know what bullshit that is, but I bought into it hook, line and sinker and God knows how much I love tapioca pudding. Like a goof, I asked a thousand questions, but the “real” cigar stores with the “true” tobacconists behind the counter were glad to answer my queries.

The problem with me is that I’m an extremist and went from zero to 60 in 2 seconds flat. I smoked more cigars in my first six months than one could possibly imagine. In a matter of just a few months I was smoking hardcore Cuban cigars, and they were pretty easy to lay your hands on at that time. Plus, they were readily available on Ebay and I was a bidding maniac. I just couldn’t get enough, and it was fantastic, exciting, and wonderful…  well, all except for the dismal sex life, as no woman wants to spend time with a guy that smells like the Chicago Fire. But my palate grew fast and during my crash course, I learned a ton about cigars and met some great people along the way.

Now, while I was having a blast, I was also spending a king’s ransom. Holy crap, I was burning through money faster than my cigars and my credit card bills were ugly. But it was the 90’s, the boom was booming and we were all having a merry old time puffing away like madmen. But when you’re a raging newbie who’s got the bug ‘real’ bad, cigars are just half the crap you deplete your bank account on. Of course I thought I was hot shit and bought myself a $400 Dunhill lighter. (And of course to this day it doesn’t work and is in a drawer with about fifteen other laser lighters that cost more to fix than buy a new one.) $3 humidifiers made of cheapie plastic and floral foam sold for thirty-five bucks and cutters that are $4 now were $50 back then because they had a damned Davidoff logo on it. And let’s not forget the cost of humidors. Nice ones ran $500 to $1,000 – basically the same ones you can get today for a little over a $100.

And lastly, I went to cigar dinners several times a week where every restaurant was sponsoring new cigar clubs as everyone was trying to get in on the deal – including me. And when you go to the dinners, you start to appreciate finer wines, scotch, cognac bourbon, and all kinds pricey stuff made from melted grains. grapes, and whatever else got you stinkin’ drunk for a hefty price.

Wow, when I think back to being a newb, it was such a cool time and I had incredible fun. I developed a tremendous appreciation for the cigar industry, as well as a case of black lung, but it was all so worth it. While today’s newbies don’t have the boom to enjoy, they are seeing a new crop of excellent cigars coming to market during a very tough time for the industry. The paraphernalia is so much cheaper, which is good, and there are plenty of veterans like me that they can hang out and learn from. Ah, I remember that first cigar like it was yesterday, and just to celebrate that thought, there’s a  dark rich maduro screaming my name at this very moment. 


0 # Gregory Blackwell 2010-01-08 11:47
Oh ya, that was me too. I do remember the days.

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0 # NewbieStacy Paul 2010-01-09 08:19
I think that I am still in that "newbie" phase. I just dropped about $100.00 on Cubans from Switzerland. I know that I got it bad. Hopefully I will have a rich uncle leave me some, wait...I hope he leaves me some Tatuaje blacks. LOL

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0 # Oh so trueCkrddpuff 2010-01-09 10:37
The good news now is there is such a great choice of cigars that can easily be had under $5! Right now well under $5. But the good humis seem to have held some of their value!

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