As a tenured member of the cigar industry and culture, both personally and professionally, regular travel for related business and events is a part of the gig. Enjoying cigars is a pastime that brings relaxation, satisfaction, and camaraderie that few other activities can boast in the same way. However, the flip side of that coin reveals an effect that is perceived by some as undesirable: the lingering odor that remains long after the last ash has dropped. Industry and cultural veterans would most likely grow desensitized to this, but being that we still choose to interact with non-lovers of the leaf at some point, we generally decide to be considerate of others and take steps to alleviate the smell that might put others off. For those who find themselves in this type of situation, I present to you a top 10 list of expert tips and tricks from myself and other industry pros where noted. Maybe you’ve heard or done these already, or maybe there’s something in the list that will save you from a potentially unpleasant interaction when arriving home or flying in a packed airplane.
Dryer Sheets – I use these in my suitcase and dirty clothes bag to keep clean clothes fresh, dirty clothes at bay, and in various places in a hotel room to alleviate that “funky smell” that sometimes cannot be avoided. They are also handy to refresh your hair if you are going back out to mingle with people in between events, seminars, dinner, etc. (Kara Guagliardo, JC Newman Cigar Company; brands include Diamond Crown, Brick House, The American, Cuesta-Rey, Quorum)
Febreze – No real explanation needed here, but an additional tip is that if you can’t shower before bed, this product works great to take the odor out of hair so a cloud doesn’t form around your head when lying down or rolling over. It’s not so great when you need to go back out though as it tends to make your hair stick together once dry! Stick with dryer sheets for re-entry into the population in short order.
Garbage Bag Scented with Febreze – Rather than using a hotel’s provided laundry bag that can be flimsy and sometimes have holes in it, bring your own. You won’t be sorry!
Extra Blazer or Jacket – Bring a second blazer or jacket to wear if you go to a cigar shop or event one day and then have meetings the next day. (Kevin Keithan, Protocol Cigars; brands include Themis, Official Misconduct, Probable Cause)
Small Scent Pellets for Clothes and Room(Tim Person, Altadis USA; brands include Montecristo, St. Luis Rey, H. Upmann, Onyx)
Hang Clothes with Hot Shower Running –The steam will not only take out wrinkles, but will help lessen the odor in the fabric. (Rich Ivancic, Altadis USA; brands include Romeo y Julieta, Aging Room, Gispert)
Cloth (Not Leather) Travel Bag for Essentials – Cloth is easier to throw in the washing machine than leather, and leather can tend to hang onto odors. (Fabian Barrantes, The Lotus Group/Integral)
Travel Cologne or Body Spray(Fabian Barrantes, The Lotus Group/Integral; brands include Lotus and Vertigo branded cigar lighters, cutters, and accessories. Tim Person, Altadis USA; brands include Don Diego, Henry Clay, Pepe Mendez, Trinidad)
Breath Remedy – Smart Mouthwash (Michael Serota, Alec Bradley Cigar Co.; brands include Prensado, Tempus, Black Market, and Maxx) and Listerine Pocket Strips (Laurel Tilley, General Cigar Co.; brands include Cohiba, Macanudo, Partagas, Punch)
Shower!!! (Every cigar industry professional who ever walked the earth)
I hope this list has provided some useful suggestions, and if not, then I hope you smiled at least once while reading. Also check out these tips for battling cigar odor in the home (https://www.bestcigarprices.com/blog/stamping-out-the-cigar-stench-in-your-home/). Please feel free to share your tips that would help out fellow brothers and sisters of the leaf when faced with their next odor-reducing challenge!