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#1- Adult Supervision Is Required
No matter what cigars you decide on having at your event, you’re going to want to appoint a “cigar attendant” to handle their distribution. Otherwise your stash will go quicker than singles at a strip club. Whether they happen to be smokers or not, when the free cigars come out everybody likes to grab “a few extra” for Uncle Jerry back home. I’ve seen it all too many times – a beautiful cigar spread laid out for the taking reduced to just a few sticks in a matter of minutes. Arrange a designated “cigar station” and for someone to supervise your smokes, or just dole out one or two per guest along with dinner to be on the safe side.
#2- Be Frugal, But Not Too Frugal
With cigars, you don’t always get what you pay for, but you never get what you don’t pay for!
For a true “Special Occasion,” it’s only fitting that your cigars be somewhat special as well. Premium cigar brands like Arturo Fuente, Padron, and Diamond Crown will add an extra touch of class to any affair.
That being said, you also don’t want to go super-high-end for all of the cigars. Chances are that many of your guests are not very familiar with cigars, so the prestige associated with let’s say, an Opus X would be lost on them. The good news is that nowadays you can get some amazing smokes for reasonable prices. Just don’t be too thrifty. Unless it’s the Rattlesnake Roundup, handing out Swisher Sweets at your soiree is typically not a good look.
#3- Think “Mellow”
While a seasoned cigar smoker might consider the Joya de Nicaragua Antano 1970 or 601 La Bomba to be a perfectly relaxing smoke to wind down with, its likely that those particular cigars would be much too heavy for the majority of your guests. Unless you want to spend your big day tending to woozy party-goers who’ve had a bit too much “Vitamin N,”you’ll probably want to stick with cigars in the mellow-to-medium range to suit stogie novices. If you’re expecting some cigar-savvy company it would make sense to also keep a few fuller-bodied sticks on hand for the initiated, but the majority of your selections should be on the mild side.
#4 – Size Matters
You’ll want to have different size options available to accommodate a range of preferences. For instance, a cigarillo may be a good size to have on hand for guests who want to partake but don’t necessarily want to spend a long period of time smoking. Here’s a quick guide to average smoking times for some of the most common cigar sizes:
Churchill (7×50) – 1 hour+ smoking time
Toro (6×50) – about 1 hour smoking time
Robusto (5×50) – 45 minutes – 1 hour smoking time
Corona (5 1/2×42) – about 30-40 minutes smoking time
Small Cigar/Cigarillo (4×30) – about 20 minutes smoking time
Note: these are approximations, actual size dimensions vary by manufacturer
#5 – Provide The Right Tools For The Job
You’ll want to make sure that you have all the necessary cigar accessories readily available. At the very least, torch lighters or wooden matches, cigar cutters, and ashtrays should be provided. Your appointed cigar attendant (see #1) should also be on hand to provide instruction on cutting, lighting, etc. Let’s face it, a group of well-dressed adults fumbling with cheap matches, biting off and spitting out the heads of cigars, and flicking ashes into their champagne glasses does not exactly make for a proper celebratory ambiance.
#6 – Go The Extra Mile
If you’re really looking to make an impression, here are a few “extras” that you may want to consider:
Customized cigar bands or accessories
Custom is classy. When you personalize your cigar bands, cutters, etc. to commemorate your occasion, they take on new meaning. Even a non-smoker will appreciate the keepsake of a cigar or related item bearing your special message to remind them of the great time they had at your swanky shindig.
Though usually reserved for only the snobbiest of aficionados, cedar spills can add a very interesting element to the cigar ritual. Lighting a cigar with a lit strip of Spanish Cedar is said to preserve the cigar’s natural flavor, keeping it free from the impurities of butane or lighter fluids. It also tends to make anyone who does it look like an experienced cigar pro to those around them.
“Cigar Basics” info card
If cigar smoking is going to be a focal part of your celebration, providing guests with a brief intro to cigar basics on a printed card or brochure can be a nice touch. Basic instructions for cigar selection, cutting, and lighting would be appropriate info card inclusions. This will prove to be very useful for those who are entirely unfamiliar with the cigar hobby and have no clue where to begin. Who knows; you may even start a few folks off on the path to becoming a full-fledged connoisseur with this convenient introduction.