Like most people, you may be tired of being a novice, an amateur, a beginner. You may long for something bigger, hoping to become a well-seasoned veteran of a particular area, a title that gives you gusto, gives you credence and gives other people the impression that you know what you are talking about. This aspiration may be particularly true when it comes to smoking, as you fervently wait for the moment when you can not only tell people about your days as a hand model or the time your dissertation on the mating rituals of sea horses received the highest marks, but you can also throw in that you, yes little ol' you, are a cigar connoisseur.
But, how do you accomplish this goal? You may have smoked tobacco for years, investing time and money, and actually answering when the pipes, the pipes, are calling. You may have started smoking cigars at an early age, moving from the bubblegum stogies you puffed on the playground to the real thing. You may be the first to present a friend with a box of Cubans upon the birth of his child, but you still don't consider yourself a connoisseur; you just don't know that much about cigars. So, what should you do to learn?
Try a Variety of Cigars
There is nothing like hands-on-experience to help people learn. By trying a variety of cigars, you not only learn what you like, but you learn what you don't. While this is obviously based on your opinion - a cigar that you hate may be one another smoker loves - this trial and error expose you to a variety of cigars, which is the number one factor in becoming a connoisseur. Even if you have a favorite cigar, and prefer to smoke it regularly, every once in a while go out on a limb and smoke something different. And, when those with expert cigar taste suggest that you try something, appease them. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Read & Learn Cigar History
A great way to becoming a cigar aficionado is by educating yourself and learning more from experienced cigar connoisseurs. Check out our blog Cigars For Beginners which is loaded with a plethora of articles related to cigars and their history. The Internet and local libraries are filled with this information. Read anything from a website listing fun cigar trivia, to a reference book discussing how tobacco was part of Native American culture, learning and knowing as much you can.
Visit Cigar Shops
You will likely never find a better cigar expert than the person standing behind the counter in the local cigar store. Cigars are these people's passion, not to mention a source of income, and they usually know more about cigars than a cigar knows about itself. What's more, cigar shop owners are so into cigars that they will gladly field questions, make suggestions, or just provide information. From what cigar goes with what wine to how long you should age a certain brand, cigar shop owners know it all, and by listening to them, you will too. Stop by our shop in Glenside PA just outside of Philadelphia.
Join a Cigar Club
Most Cigar Clubs on the Internet come with a warning that Cigar Clubs are only for those who are serious about cigars: if you're going to make fun of the cigar, placing a "Kick Me" sign on its back when it's not looking, a Cigar Club isn't for you. However, if you are legit about becoming a cigar connoisseur, then a Cigar Club is a great thing to join. Not only will Cigar Clubs expose you to a lot of variety, but they choose the cigar for you, exposing you only to the finest selection of cigars around. Along these lines, they also offer you newsletters, corporate cigar gifts, accessories, and promotions. As far as learning goes, a Cigar Club is kind of like an at-home study course, a course you can learn a lot from if you put in a little effort.
When it comes down to it, the term "Aficionado" shouldn't be used lightly: a lot of people may say they are connoisseurs when they are really stuck somewhere between novice and expert, stuck in a Purgatory of knowledge. But, becoming a true cigar connoisseur isn't impossible, and it's actually not even that hard. It just takes a little effort and, lucky for you, a lot of smoking.