Cigar culture demands that groups be formed alongside friendships so that cigar lovers from all walks of life and around the world can find each other. If there's one thing the cigar community loves it's… well, cigars. However, if there are two things the cigar community loves it's cigars and… bourbon? Cigar lovers love giving reviews, and trading cigars are what I'm getting at. They can be the third and fourth thing cigar lovers love.
Of the organizations formed online and off there are a number of prominent groups. Brothers of the Leaf (BOTL), Cigar Syndicate, and Scoundrels Pipe & Cigar Club being a few of the larger groups out there. Amongst the groups and at the local cigar shops "brother" tends to be bantered around quite frequently and for good reason. Research published by Cigar Aficionado showed that women only make up one-tenth of one percent of the cigar market.1 Meaning that, on average, of the one thousand cigar smokers you know that actively purchase product only one will be a woman. By contrast, 2% of the American population identified themselves as a woman who smoked cigars.2 The inference being that while more women were open to smoking cigars, only a small subset actively purchase cigars for their personal use or frequent a cigar shop.
So, if you know a woman whom you trade cigars with she may not be quite one-in-a-million but she’s already pretty up there. (Of course, she’s one-in-a-million!)
In my experience, these numbers seem pretty accurate, but they're just numbers. These figures do not do justice to the small community of women I refer to as Sisters of the Leaf (SOTL). Moreover, as it turns out, during my research for this article, I found that there actually is a group of women cigars smokers who refer to themselves as such. SOTL seem to have an active and prolific community. In general, when I use the term “sister of the leaf” I’m referring to a woman who smokes cigars. If you happen to be a woman who enjoys cigars and you are not part of the SOTL community I invite you to check them out here.
To do justice for the female tobacco enthusiasts I wanted to focus a little attention entirely on them because, holy heck, if they aren't some of the biggest personalities on the planet. They are a sorority of badasses that kick butt and smoke cigars. So, let that be a lesson to everyone to make sure your local la femme cigar aficionado is not "all out of cigars."
Keep it smoky, ladies.
Update: Special mention to Ladies of the Leaf Aficionadas Society (LOLAS) and Cigar Damas.