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Cigar 101

How to Host a Cigar Party

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

With the Holidays all but upon us and casual backyard gatherings fading into the background – at least if you live in a cold weather climate – it’s a good idea to consider hosting a cigar party. Integrate your love of fine cigars with your inclination for camaraderie. Simply being prepared to indulge in cigars at the drop of hat when like-minded cigar-loving friends and relatives drop by is all you need – and maybe a little sweet talking to your significant other – in order to get a great cigar party started. Following is a basic checklist to ensure your cigar party is smooth sailing instead of rough seas.

Mark Your Territory

Getting permission from the spouse is usually the first step in the equation. Maybe a bribe is in order. However, you generally don’t want to spring an impromptu herf on your family or housemates without getting the all-clear. Cigar room ventilation is critical, or you could risk permanent banishment from your own property.

Some guys have man caves dedicated to cigar smoking. Some have garages where they can smoke, or they’ll plug in a couple of outdoor heaters out on the deck or the front porch. A lot of us have to tread carefully, though, because a shared, common space is the only feasible option. In any case, choose a room with good ventilation. You could wind up smoking yourself and your guests right of the room if there’s no place for the smoke to escape. As much as we love puffing away on premium cigars, it’s no fun when your eyes begin to sting and it looks like a grenade went off.

Also, keep the guest list reasonable. Getting permission to smoke inside attracts cigar lovers like a flame draws in moths. If the room or space you choose can comfortably accommodate three to five guys with lit cigars, that’s great. It’s probably not the wisest decision to invite an additional fifteen or twenty pals over from down the block, tempting though it may be to advertise a liberal cigar-smoking policy in your abode.

Who’s Bringing the Smokes?

Cigars are the obvious bedrock of every great cigar party. Are you supplying them for everybody like a generous host, or are you splitting the bill with your buddies? Aficionados know there are a ton of great cigars out there and some cost a lot more than others. We always recommend keeping a nice bargain bundle or two in your coolerdor so you’ll always have enough to share without breaking the bank. It’s also a good idea to stock a milder brand in case you get a few novices who want to partake who aren’t used to smoking cigars. You don’t want to send any less experienced smokers into an utter state of wooziness with a full-bodied, Ligero-laden spice bomb. Here’s a handful of proven brands (that accommodate different budgets) to choose for your next cigar party:

Milder Cigars

Top-Shelf Brand: Ashton Cabinet offers a superb mild to medium-bodied profile of premium Dominican tobaccos gently tucked beneath a glistening Connecticut Shade wrapper leaf. Approachable and creamy notes of cashews, almonds, buttered toast, and coffee beans accompany a marvelous touch of black pepper. The iconic cigar is blended by legendary cigar-maker Carlito Fuente in a wide variety of classic shapes that range between $9.50 and $21 apiece.

Budget-Friendly Brand: Argyle is an amazing boutique line handmade by talented, artisanal cigar-rollers in the Dominican Republic. The original Argyle features a creamy, mild blend with a Connecticut Shade wrapper leaf you can purchase for roughly $4 to $5 per cigar. However, you can always take advantage of the brand’s 2-box deal which brings the price per cigar down to $1.74 apiece. Argyle Fumas Connecticut are also a perfect option in a mild 20-count bundle you can score for $19.95. That’s less than a buck per stick for a premium Cuban-sandwich blend your pals will easily appreciate.

Medium-Bodied Cigars

Top-Shelf Brand: Arturo Fuente Hemingway has been a cornerstone in the Fuente family’s legendary portfolio for decades. A perfectly fermented Cameroon wrapper harbors an exquisite recipe of premium aged Dominican long-fillers. Sweet and spicy notes of nuts and cedar arrive in a series of iconic Figurado-shaped formats, none better-known than the Short Story. Arturo Fuente Hemingway cigars range in price from $6.13 to $14.54 per cigar.

Budget-Friendly Brand: A wealth of premium medium-bodied smokes are available in 20-count bundles in the Rocky Patel Mulligans franchise for as low as $2.24 per cigar. Additionally, there are a handful of Cuban-sandwich blends that start at just $1.49 apiece in Cuban-sandwich editions like RP Mulligans Caddy’s Choice and 19th Hole.

The original Rocky Patel Mulligans blend is drafted from a glistening Ecuador Habano wrapper and a patiently aged interior of long-fillers. Notes of leather, spices, and cedar produce a pleasant aroma and aftertaste. Or, add Rocky Patel Mulligans Eagle Reserve to your collection for a slightly richer profile of dark chocolate, walnuts, and spices, courtesy of a San Andrés wrapper leaf and a complex recipe of Dominican and Nicaraguan long-fillers.

Full-Bodied Cigars

Top-Shelf Brand: Blended by award-winning cigar-maker Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia, My Father Le Bijou 1922 is a 97-rated former ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ titleholder in Cigar Aficionado. The decadent and peppery profile delivers plenty of kick with a shimmering Nicaraguan Oscuro wrapper and a robust recipe of all-Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. The rich and earthy after-dinner smoke offers a ton of bang for your buck from $7 per cigar to just over $12 depending on the shape.

Budget Friendly Brand: Also blended by Pepin Garcia, Old Henry Maduro is available for $4.75 to $6.25 per cigar in a full-bodied, potent blend of peppery spice with sweet notes of dark cocoa and leather. A lustrous Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is handcrafted over an aged amalgam of beefy Nicaraguan long-fillers. And, starting at just $2.99 per cigar Old Henry Fumadores are handmade in a handful of classic shapes with an Ecuador Habano wrapper leaf and premium Cuban-sandwich interior of aged Nicaraguan tobaccos.

A Few Must-Have Cigar Accessories

No one wants to resort to cutting their premium handmades with a steak knife. Keep a razor-sharp cigar cutter on hand from Xikar or Colibri. Choose from a number of sleek and contemporary models designed to cut big and small ring gauges with ease. It’s never a bad idea to pick up a few inexpensive Holt’s Guillotine Cutters, too. They come in a 5-pack and you won’t get too upset if one of your pals accidentally pockets one on their way out the door.

No cigar-friendly man cave or hangout is complete without a reliable torch lighter, either. Big, beefy table-top models and sportier pocket-friendly options are available in a ton of finishes. There are a number of quality butane lighters that feature a cigar cutter integrated into the design as well. Xikar, Colibri, Jetline, and ST Dupont represent our bestselling brands.

Last but not least, no one wants to explain to your wife why her crystal salad bowl is full of spent cigar butts. With dozens of finishes and sizes to choose from, there’s no excuse for not investing an ashtray. Indoor, outdoor, ceramic, glass, and crystal ashtrays are available from a number of cigar brands. A classy ashtray is a perfect touch to any desktop or coffee table down in the man cave, and your pals won’t have to balance their stogies on top of an empty beer can.

This Bud’s for Your Buddies

Keep a case of suds on ice. Hide a bottle of top-shelf bourbon or scotch in your sock drawer. Or breakout a vintage cognac or port. They all go great with a premium cigar. The bottom line is not to get caught without any libations in the house. Getting to fire up can represent a rare enough moment as it is. We’re fans of milking the hour or two of relaxation and reminiscence for all it’s worth by pairing your cigars up with a cold, frothy beer or a premium sipping spirit.

Snack Time

Nuts like almonds and cashews enhance the taste of a number of premium cigars. Dark chocolate does the same. A ton of creative options exist that stimulate the taste buds and improve your perception of a great cigar. Potato chips and nachos may be standard man cave fare, but keep an open mind when it comes to snacking protocol. Sometimes, overly salty foods dry out your palate too much and detract from the taste of what you’re smoking. Having a few things to snack on is always welcome, though. It’s never a good idea to smoke on an empty stomach. If you have a buddy or two who skipped dinner, providing something to munch on is a no-brainer.

A lot of guys will brew a pot of gourmet coffee or make an espresso with their cigars. Caffeine and nicotine have been a match made in heaven since the dawn of time. And when you simply need to cleanse your palate, a few swigs of club soda gets the job done.

The Entertainment Center

Not everybody’s got a game room or an indoor basketball court. But, a simple deck of cards or chess board can provide just as much amusement as a pool table or a game of foosball. Most cigar smokers are pretty social characters, so keeping your pals entertained is usually not a big challenge. You can always fire up the flat screen. Chances are good, everybody is congregating to watch a big game anyway.

The Cleanup

Last but not least, we need to dedicate a quick paragraph to the nitty gritty. When it comes to cigar smoking, cleaning up after a group of guys is a key after-festivity task. Most cigar smokers we know are mature adults who know how to be respectful of any space that permits cigar smoking. However, you may have a few rogue pals who aren’t as cognizant of where they’re ashing or how many dirty glasses and ashtrays they’ve left behind. It’s pretty simple. Empty all the ashtrays and take out the trash. Make sure you’ve got access to a vacuum cleaner. Give the whole space a solid once-over and crack the windows to get some fresh air in. Before you know it, poof! It will look like a cigar party never happened, and your significant other will be more than happy to oblige the next time your buddies drop by.

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