Just a Cigar . . .

A cigar is never just a cigar—it’s much more. It’s the environment we smoke it in, the drink we pair it with, the music we listen to, how we cut it, and the color scheme of the surroundings. A symphony emerges only when these individual notes are perfectly orchestrated and conducted.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Because it’s true; the pleasure of a cigar often comes from more than just the cigar. However, this approach may be an obstacle to recognizing a product for what it is. Welcome to our literary smoking salon!

We will enjoy a cigar together again, but the experience will be about something else this time. Celebrating the moment is justified and wonderful, but it can become something that gets in the way of pleasure.

Today, we want to focus on one cigar: the Arturo Fuente Rosado Sungrown Magnum R V52. It’s not a magical, mystical masterpiece but simply an almost perfect cigar.

Make yourself comfortable, grab your favorite cutting tool, and light up your smoke while I tell you a story to help you imagine what this cigar can be.

I was visiting an old friend who had returned to Vienna after living abroad for several years. It was a long, wet, yet cheerful evening and a wonderful reunion, although there was a hitch: there was no balcony and, therefore, no opportunity to smoke a cigar. At some point, I had to make my way home, and when I left the apartment building located on the outskirts of Vienna, it was raining. But it was no light spring rain; mountain streams of rushing water were flowing over the edges of the roof, and the streets were slowly becoming swelling torrents of precipitation. With a few quick steps, I managed to take refuge under the roof of a small bus stop and was at least halfway dry for the moment. Now, it was time to wait for the bus. The display board told me that the bus would arrive in fifteen minutes.

These fifteen minutes turned into more than an hour. Why am I telling you this? Simple. It was a cigar that saved my life that evening—figuratively speaking. When I realized that the bus was unlikely to arrive any time soon, I picked up the cigar I had prepared for the evening’s festivities and lit it at the bus stop. While the entire city slowly drowned, I just sat and looked out into the rain and smoked, enjoying the warmth in my hand and the sweet smell that floated through my nose. It was this cigar that gilded a really bad moment. I didn’t have a comfortable wing chair under me or a scotch at the perfect temperature sitting beside me on a mahogany table. It wasn’t Ludwig van Beethoven who brought the sound of perfection to my ears but merely the steady beat of water from the sky pattering on the asphalt. The cigar was my life preserver while the world around me was slowly sinking. I was smoking the same cigar I would like to experience with you today.

With the first pulls on the Arturo Fuente Rosado Sungrown Magnum R V52, you will notice how incredibly smooth and dense the smoke is. It conveys a slight sweetness and a good portion of spice. The interplay of flavors is very balanced and complex right from the start. We could look deeper and investigate the hints of leather and cedar. Instead, I would like to invite you to simply savor the cigar and not think about it. Just let your mind wander, and the impressions that the taste triggers drift by. Get lost in the cigar. It’s not about controlling or planning the moment but about recognizing it for what it is.

It is often the cigar that turns an almost mundane moment into an unforgettable moment, not the unforgettable moment that elevates a cigar to the highest art form.

It takes many hands to make a cigar, but even more, it takes time and patience. The time spent with every cigar we are fortunate enough to smoke feels exponential. The time that we get back in the moments when we are allowed to experience them is a large part of the pleasure and relaxation we experience as we follow the clouds of mist that rise up to the sky. There is a good reason that Carlito Fuente likes to use the expression “hands of time.”

The cigar we are currently savoring is a prime example of artistry and blending. It is balanced and, at the same time, straightforward and complex. It has that hint of Cuban flavor that is popular with so many passionados; it has the spice typical of the Fuente house—and yet actually atypical of the Dominican Republic. It never overwhelms; instead, it rewards you with an unrivaled sweetness and butteriness. There is probably no moment that this magnificent creation would not ennoble. At the same time, it is just a cigar.

To return to my story from earlier: When the bus finally arrived after well over an hour, my feet were wet, and I was dreadfully cold. However, I couldn’t stop smiling because the pleasure was so glorious that I almost reached for another cigar, willing to spend another hour to repeat the experience. It was one of the tastiest cigars I have ever had the pleasure of smoking, right there, in rainy Vienna, on a cold and wet evening, waiting in the cold for a bus that might never come.

Today, I always keep my eyes open for moments like that. I have indulged in cigars in the most unusual places, finding beauty and a moment of peace in an unpleasant experience, all thanks to a cigar I had with me. Who knows, maybe I’ll tell you the story of the time I waited for almost two hours in front of the cab stand at the Dusseldorf airport, squatting on a two-inch-wide ledge. That moment was legendary, and I also had a cigar to thank for it.

But back to our cigar. The Fuente, which we are enjoying, delivers a huge flavor explosion in the last third. The leading players in an incredible finale are leather, earth, coffee, chocolate, and brown rock sugar.

I know this was not the usual guided tasting, but I am pleased that I could digress a bit and tell you about my life as a passionado. Every cigar has its own story, born from its specific moment and circumstances. So take your time now and then and “listen to the cigar” without forcing perfection on it. I assure you, it’s always worth it. Cigars are mostly just cigars—and that’s a good thing!

Klaus Hruby learned his trade as a journalist at a young age and published articles in various media such as Die Zeit, Der Falter, as well as in renowned literature competitions in German-speaking countries. His love for cigars was ignited during his apprenticeship; his great-grandfather still owned a tobacco field. Klaus Hruby has been writing Austria’s biggest cigar blog, www.derblauedunst.com, since 2014.




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