*This article is part of our Consumer Article contest. Whichever article has the most likes on our blog at the end of the contest will be chosen to be published in the next issue of Ash Quarterly Magazine.
The Perfect Cigar Does Not Exist
Does the idea of the perfect cigar even exist? I have bought many cigars in my years of smoking and spent too much energy thinking I was looking for that perfect smoke. I realized there is no such thing. It is the cigar that you are smoking at the moment you realize is a perfect moment. I always like to say that my favorite cigar is a lit cigar just like my favorite beer is an open beer. Once I figured out there is no true cigar perfection and just perfect cigar moments, it made the search a whole bunch easier. In the immortal words of Dwight K. Schrute, I can say I have achieved “Perfectenschlag” only a handful of times. I am not saying there haven’t been hundreds of near “Perfectenschlag” moments but 3 really stick out in my mind. To me, that is how you know you have reached that pinnacle when the experience burned into your mind that moment of bliss. The first was on Halloween of 2004, I smoked a Padron Anniversary 1964 on the porch of my in-law's home to celebrate my beloved Boston Red Sox incredible World Series win. My 2nd moment was when I lit up my Macanudo Vintage 1997 that I had saved in my humidor for what seemed like forever. This was the one I had saved for when I retired from my 24+ year career in the Connecticut Department of Correction. I spent over 22 years doing gang intelligence and retired as the Intelligence Coordinator for the Department. This Vintage 1997 was bittersweet. It was an awesome cigar but marked the end of an amazing and blessed career. I was blessed to be able to work with some of the greatest correctional professionals this country has to offer. Without question, my most perfect moment involved a long wait. It started in 2006 when I bought 2 of the top cigars from 2005, the Fuente Fuente OpusX Double Corona. They sat in my humidor for years until I finally decided it was time to smoke them. Every year we spend a week or so in our family’s Rhode Island home. It was the decision to bring these 2 cigars along, that unbeknownst to me, would be my greatest single cigar experience. On the ride to the house, I stopped at a local package store to grab some beers for the week. On a back shelf sat the ones I had been looking for, Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA, an absolute monster of a special release beer at 18% ABV. Another part of the equation was now in place. The week went as planned, quiet, relaxing and amazing family time. The OpusX sat in my travel humidor longing for the stars to align. Mid-week, my brother from another mother called to see if we were around so he and his wife could hang for a couple days. The answer was an automatic Hell Yes! It was then I knew when and who I was smoking this Cigar of the Year with. Wednesday, July 20, 2016, as the sun set over the salt pond, Andy and I sat on the deck and I handed him the OpusX and Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA. He was reluctant at first because he knew what I had handed him. I said, “My brother, there is never a right time, just a perfect time and this is that time because there is no one else I would want to share this cigar and time with.” We sat quietly as the sun set and smoked the #1 cigar of 2005 and drank an amazing IPA and talked about what we always talked about, our love for martial arts. The craziest part is today I could not tell you a thing about that cigar but that one moment of my life, that was Perfectenschlag. It took me years to realize there is no such thing as a perfect cigar, just perfect cigar moments.