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Issue 3 - Firing up

Whisky Magazine Issue 3
May 1999


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Firing up

Like a fine malt, a good cigar will sooth the savage breast, says James Leavey.

Soothed or not, there are times when even the mildest of us are sorely tested. Take, for example, the cigar freaks who insist on extolling the merits of Cohiba Lanceros while pooh-poohing the underrated qualities of a Petit Punch, just because the former stick of Cuban tobacco is five times the price of the latter. It's a marketing con, I keep telling them, so don't go belittling one of my favourite smokes.

Then there are those who tell me that cigar smoke is heavier than cigarette smoke and that's why they can't bear to share a room with it. So how do you measure the smoke of a cigar? Well, first weigh it before you light up and then drop your ash carefully onto the scales. When you've finished the cigar, weigh the stub and deduct that from the first number. Then weigh the ashes and deduct that from the revised total. The difference is the weight of the smoke from the cigar you've just enjoyed.

I'm thinking of carrying around a set of kitchen scales with me so that I can give demonstrations on the spot. If only I could do the same with the nostril-wrinkling whiffs that emanate from that strange multitude of people who apparently enjoy fast food, cheap after-shave and saving on the dry cleaning bills.

The thing is, I am very careful where and when I fire up my cigars and never toast a Havana in a non-smoking area. To give you an example, football bores me almost as rigid as cricket but I was in London with a pal and we decided we just had to watch England versus Argentina ...

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