Commentary: Figuring Out What You Enjoy


I’m writing this on an unseasonably mild, sunny afternoon as I smoke a Tatuaje Fausto Avion 11. On the one hand, it offers a nearly perfect example of how a pleasant experience can enhance the enjoyment of a cigar. But the reverse is also true: A very good cigar makes a good time even better.

I began to wonder a bit about what it is that I find so enticing about Avion. I smoked them fairly regularly after discovering them shortly their release, but it has been months since my last. This stick has probably been sitting in my humidor for at least a year. I can’t say, however, that time had much effect, at least that I could detect. Other than losing much of its box-pressed shape, the lovely perfecto didn’t seem noticeably different from those I have smoked right out of the box

Of course, it has characteristics common to many Tatuajes I like. Strength, pepper, complexity, to name a few of the most obvious. Thinking more, though, I believe the characteristic that it—and other cigars I prefer most—embodies is one that’s easier to name than to explain: smoothness.

There is no bite, no kick, no harshness in the smoke or in the finish. The tobacco, from first to last, comes across as well-aged and fermented. The flavors, some subtle and some bold, are part of a cohesive blend that is as tightly woven as braided rope. It is without sharp edges or deep troughs.

Smoothness can be present in a cigar anywhere along the strength spectrum, from mild to full, and regardless of size, from a lancero to a thick smoke. It represents, for me, what sets the best apart from the rest. Sort of my Unified Field Theory of Cigars.

Creating these cigars can’t be easy, though there are quite a few blenders and manufacturers who do it regularly with aplomb. And those of us who get to enjoy them on a lovely afternoon are truly the lucky ones.

-George E

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