cover image The Good Cigar

The Good Cigar

H. Paul Jeffers, Kevin Gorden, Kevin Gordon. Lyons Press, $25 (236pp) ISBN 978-1-55821-516-0

As the war on smoking gathers steam, the cigar is staging a comeback. An obstreperous symbol of manly taste, urbanity and swanky sangfroid, cigar smoking is a practice that can nevertheless prove intimidating to a novice who doesn't know how to recognize or make proper use of a good cigar. In this useful handbook, Jeffers, a freelance writer, and Gordon, a painter, explain how to judge a cigar, whether it's a hand-rolled $30 Havana or a cigarillo; how the tobacco is cultivated and how the best cigars are constructed and stored; the cigar in history and literature; and famous cigar mavens, like Zino Davidoff, who allegedly invented the first humidor, and Mark Twain, who famously claimed to have given up smoking cigars a thousand times. The resurgence of cigar-smoking, the authors contend, stems in part from a taste for traditional luxuries among wealthy baby boomers--clearly the audience for this book. Included are extensive lists of cigar clubs, bars and accounts of charity events called Big Smokes, as well as price lists for humidors, cutters and lighters and ratings of more than 100 international cigars (not seen by PW). Although little is made of the politics and health of the practice, cigar enthusiasts and dilettantes will find here a valuable crash course in the varied brands and accoutrements of the modern tobacco shop. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)