Cigar culture as a whole has evolved over the years to form its own identity. A band of brothers (and sisters) bonding over a practice that may very well be over a millennia old.1 This culture is overwhelmingly inclusive. Cigar enthusiasts around the world gather at the cigar shop to discuss a myriad of things. Enthusiasts of all (legal) ages are welcome. All backgrounds are represented. All cultures, both genders, every political ideology is represented. We discuss our favorite cigars. Our favorite shape, style, and body. Flavor profiles and limited editions are bantered about and traded. Various countrymen sit shoulder to shoulder. Doctors sit next to bus boys. All are equal here.
And there’s a wonder about that. Throughout history different cultures, clubs, and interest groups have argued with each other. Countries have gone to war over less than is discussed openly at the local cigar shop. Civility, so often lost in society, seems to take hold on a small group of enthusiasts that praise the flavor profiles of tobacco for specific regions and give accolades to super star tobacco blenders who combine them all.
In a world so set upon discovering what makes us all different and pitting brother against brother our small community seems to focus on what we all have common. A love for cigars. A love for a recreational past time that transcends all of our idiosyncrasies. The cigar shop is a place where we celebrate our differences. Where we appreciate viewpoints that are not our own. Where discussion takes form and ideas are exchanged all without hostility. The world outside may be filled with small arguments but inside the cigar shop we discuss politics and religion without indecent. Almost seemingly, out of an appreciation for each other, knowing where the line drawn is.
What makes the cigar community even greater is our ability and willingness to self-police. Every community has their ne’er-do-wells. Our community is no different. But brothers of the leaf (and sisters) seem to have an inherent intolerance for those who would threaten the peace. While we appreciate and defend a free flow of ideas we recognize the limitations of openly allowing derisive speech meant to demean members of our community. A cigar shop does not tolerate supremacy. It celebrates individuality. Those who would demean others to build up themselves? They get removed one way or another.
It’s About the Community
I have seen American Northerners and Southerners treat each other like brothers. I have seen Dallas Cowboys fans and New York Giants fans peacefully discuss prospects for the coming season. That’s a major American Football rivalry for any of the European readers who might be lost. I’ve seen political parties reach out to each other from both sides of the table. And, of course, I’ve seen all manner of victories, anniversaries, and accolades celebrated by the lighting of a cigar. Friendships formed from the trading of cigars. Bad days made better from one friend gifting a cigar to another.
It’s honestly a wonder that so much good comes out of people bonding over a handful of leaves tightly wrapped around one another. You go to a cigar shop to find a dedication to an age-old craft. Artisans perfecting their techniques and pouring their love of the craft into their brands. Years and decades of lineages across continents and soils providing flavor profiles that no one thought possible at a level of quality that used to be only reserved for literal royalty. And now we are all Kings and Queens. Perhaps, on occasion, we are even the court jester.