A tranquil afternoon on the veranda sipping a glass of fine wine, a convivial evening in front of the fire swirling a vintage cognac. For many the perfect accompaniment to a pleasurable moments is: a cigar. It is up to the aficionado to decide what to smoke and when – a short cheroot or an elegant cigarillo, a strong cigar or a milder version. So what more is required for sophisticated smoking? The proper equipment, which will be showcased as part of the range of products at Ambiente 2015. And enough time to enjoy it.
Ernest Hemingway, Che Guevara, Sigmund Freud and of course Winston Churchill, who even has a cigar named after him, were all passionate cigar smokers. A number of famous women past and present, including Marlene Dietrich, George Sand and Jodie Foster, also belong to the global club of aficionados. The cigar itself is as charismatic as its fans. Each one of these hand-rolled beauties has its own character and thereby reveals something about the smoker and his or her tastes.
A strong Cuban Cohiba or Montecristo is usually found in the humidor of an equally strong personality, who will not be deterred from their partiality for cigars and will also not be hurried. Most aficionados of Cuban cigars are experienced smokers, for whom there is no alternative to the “only true cigar”. The “beginner’s cigar” Robusto by virtue of its shorter and thicker form is something for the occasional smoker and those who do not want to spend several hours savouring the pleasure of a cigar. There are also differences between “long filler” and “short filler” cigars. Often considered a more economical option, “short filler” cigars consist of chopped rather than whole tobacco leaves. Nevertheless, some cigars of this type do use the finest varieties of exquisite tobacco. But regardless of which cigar you choose the only fixed rule, as is the case with most things in life, is that – almost – anything goes.
This is what Stephan Görner, bespoke tailor from Frankfurt and co-founder of the cigar club After Work Smoke, thinks. Initially he recommends milder cigars for beginners: “Regular smokers normally end up at some point with stronger cigars from Cuba. Despite years of experience I myself prefer the mild ones.” Cuban cigars are generally seen to be the best, but for many longstanding aficionados they are too strong. Close behind come cigars from Honduras and Nicaragua, and mild brands from the Dominican Republic and Spain. Unlike cigarettes there are in fact aromatic differences with cigars, and each connoisseur will discover their own preferences over the years. Stephan Görner also adds: “I love Davidoff and Griffins. They are mild, full flavoured and perfectly balanced high-quality cigars. Even beginners will be fine with these.”
And what does the aficionado still require? “The passionate cigar enthusiast will in time purchase a decent cigar cutter. In addition to that, a jet lighter along with a humidor to store his or her treasures. At Ambiente there are a few exhibitors who offer exceptional products in this field.” This is confirmed by one of the exhibitors: Max Schneider from Hermann Hauser GmbH, who will also be showcasing new ideas for smoking accessories at the forthcoming fair. “The correct “tools” are vital for an aficionado. These include first and foremost a cigar cutter and a lighter with a jet flame. For storage and care at home you need a humidor with a humidification system so that your “darlings” are maintained professionally at a relative humidity of 70%. And for when you’re on the move, a cigar case is recommended.”
According to connoisseurs, the Passatore round cutter is a classic smoker’s accessory: “This product was designed by ourselves and is manufactured entirely in Germany. A special feature is the internally sharpened blades. The “basic” version is available with an 8 mm diameter cutter, or the more advanced “Passatore Duo” with 7 mm and 10 mm diameter cutters. Both designs are available in silver or black anodised aluminium.”
So how do trends fit with a time-old passion such as cigar smoking? Are there any new fashions that could enthuse the aficionados? “There certainly are,” says Max Schneider and goes on to explain that especially in terms of design there will be plenty of new ideas on show at Ambiente. “Smoking accessories are becoming more colourful. Up to now the only colours in this area were the classic ones such as red, black and white. Now more yellow, blue and green designs are coming into play. What’s more, there are also matching lighter and cutter sets.” But in terms of functionality, too, there are developments that facilitate the enjoyment of smoking. According to product expert Schneider: “The Colibri brand is always good for new products. Last autumn it added a silicone-coated model to its “Cut” range of cutters. Thanks to the coating, the product not only sits comfortably in the hand, no tobacco residues can settle on it.”
Finally, there are a few more tips for the cigar enthusiast from aficionado Stephan Görner for enjoyment after the fair closes for the evening: “In Frankfurt and the surrounding area there are some wonderfully congenial smoking lounges with a good product range: the Smoker 100 Lounge in Kempinski Frankfurt, the Cigarrum in the Hotel Frankfurter Hof, Harry’s New York Bar in the Lindner Hotel and the Cigar Lounge in the Kameha Suite.”