There was a time when I loved a good cigar. The perfect way to celebrate a new born. See in the New Year. Round off a good meal.
Picture the scene. It's a cold crisp Winter's night. I'm lounging in my favourite armchair in front of a crackling log fire. In one hand I caress a bulbous glass of a fine vintage port. In the other a Montecristo Turbo Corona Grande cigar. Six and one eighth inches of heaven itself!
As I look toward the ancient oak beams above my head, I watch a perfect ring of grey smoke slowly rise above me. A fragrant halo which slowly fades away and leaves behind an aroma which transports me back to the smoky bars of Havana. The music of Mozart wafts over me as I close my eyes and enjoy an hour of perfect peace and contentment.
My cigar experience started with clipping off the end, then the ceremonial lighting. Never a match. Never a gas lighter. Save them for the common cigarette! Always a wooden taper.
The smoke would be drawn slowly into the mouth. No more than once a minute. Cigar smoke should be savoured. It's jolly bad form to inhale it. I'd hold it in my mouth until I could sense the taste of cedar and cherries, and only then was it was released - very, very slowly.
When the cigar was reduced to an inch or so, it would be time to say goodbye to my smoking partner. Never stubbed out. It's response to such a lack of respect would have been to soil the air with an acrid bitter smell. No, I'd let it go out naturally. The way that nature intended.
In the words of Zen Warrior 'The end of a good smoke is a little saddening. In some regard, it's a bit like losing a best friend who had time to sit and listen'