“A cigar is as good as the memories that you have when you smoked it.”
– Raul Julia
When you think about a bachelor party, what do you see?
Seriously, take a moment. Close your eyes and picture it. If you’re anything like me, you see a group of guys, sitting around a booth in a dimly lit strip joint or a nightclub. Each one is taking their turns, busting The Doomed Groom’s chops about how he will soon be standing willingly at the altar, like some sort of dumb animal, handing over his balls into the stern, cold hands of his new fascist, wifely overlord.
But — look closer. What do those guys have in their hands? No – I don’t mean the $9.00 bottle of warm, two-drink minimum beer… That just goes without saying. I mean, what’s in their other hand?
For me, it’s always been Cigars.
Over the years, cigars have become firmly ensconced in the stag party tradition, making their presence on the night an almost foregone conclusion. Oftentimes, though, the task of choosing the right bachelor party cigar can be a daunting undertaking. With so many sizes, colors, and brands – it can all be very overwhelming. That is why I’ve put together some helpful hints on picking the right cigars for your bachelor party guests, as well as including some advice on picking the perfect place to smoke them.
Different smokes for different folks - Do you know the difference between a Panatela and a Robusto? Nope? Well, don’t stress about it! While these are names used to describe cigars of certain sizes, there’s rarely any consistency in these cigars from manufacturer to manufacturer. That’s why, when you are purchasing a bachelor party cigar, I always recommend going with a sampler package, rather than buying an entire box of a single type. That way, your guests will have the ability to choose the type, length or flavor of cigar that they prefer and everybody gets what they want.
In my opinion, the best bet is to choose a sampler from a quality manufacturer that has an assortment of flavors and/or sizes. My personal favorites are the Cao World Sampler, the Montecristo White Rothchild Sampler, or the Fonseca Churchill Assortment. GothamCigars has a great collection of other sampler packages to choose from, as well as a great collection of cigar accessories, as well.
Legal Cubans - Contrary to popular knowledge, it is perfectly legal to purchase and posses Cuban cigars here in the United States. The only snag is…they have to have been made prior to the 1962 embargo. These “vintage” cigars are usually very expensive (about $150 each) and not often found outside of auctions.
Cigar supplies - There are a number of accessories that are either recommend and/or necessary for you to purchase prior to actually smoking your cigar. Because most (quality) cigars are not sold with a hole in the end, buying a cigar cutter is an absolute necessity. Also, while it is acceptable to use a wooden match to light your cigar (just make sure to wait until all the sulfur burns off), most experts recommend using a quality butane lighter, instead.
And last but not least, nothing can ruin a cigar faster than being exposed to the heat and/or in dry conditions. So, in order to protect your cigars and make sure that they don’t get overly parched, you’ll probably want to store them in a well made humidor. These are boxes (generally wooden) that keep the humidity at a constant, which in turn, keeps the cigars fresh for a longer period of time.
Not so fast - It is not widely known that after you purchase cigars, they should be aged for a good period of time before smoking them – kind of like a fine wine. A cigar should rest in a humidor for at least six to eight weeks before smoking them. This enables the cigar to get rid of any nasty odors from the rolling process and makes for a mellower, richer smoke. That is why you should always purchase your cigars early, at least two months prior to the bachelor party.
Pick a location that is smoke friendly - When choosing a place to smoke your bachelor party cigar, it almost goes without saying that you should choose one that allows smoking. Believe it or not, here in America, there are still a few areas where you can smoke inside. For those of you planning on taking your bachelor party trip in Las Vegas, you’re in luck! As of now, the Nevada hotels have not yet banned cigars from the inside of their casinos. But for those of you going to Atlantic City – the story’s not so optimistic. An ordinance passed in February of 2007 bans smoking on 75% of the casino floor. So, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, N.J., but don’t be too leisurely about it. It may not last for too much longer.
As for the rest of the country, if you’re looking for cigar friendly establishments, just go to CigarFriendly. It has a great list of restaurants, bars, and lounges that will still let you light up in peace. Just make sure that you call the place and double-check before arriving, or else you may be in for an unpleasant surprise when they toss a large bucket of water in your face after you light up.