No, the cigar is not cheesy

The cigar, for women too

The image of the cigar was enormously linked to that of luxury. It appears more and more associated with relaxation, pleasure, sharing. He is beginning to seduce the youngest… and the ladies!

Forget certain prejudices about the cigar! No, it’s not really a luxury product reserved for an elite. We taste the vitola at any age and everywhere. As Philippe Vanderbruggen, better known as “the King of Cigars in Brussels”, explains: “The cigar is really all horizons. I have very young people who come to buy some, for which I have to verify the age on the identity card. Or ladies who, sometimes shy, say they are coming for their husbands but then admit that it is for them. It’s really not an old-fashioned product, it affects the whole population, all classes, both very well-to-do and homeless people – I have a homeless person in my clientele who comes regularly – because we find cigars in all prices. »

But we must not confuse cigars and cigarettes, two very different worlds. “The cigar is a mouth product, a moment of relaxation, of sharing. We can compare the latter to a good wine, a good alcohol. We don’t smoke cigars, we taste them. Sometimes alone, often with friends. And it’s a real moment of relaxation, sharing, pleasure, out of time.

We take the trouble to savor the cigar, to look for the aromas it detects, we examine the smoke and the ashes which can be indicative of the quality of the cigar tasted. Le Roi du Cigare confirms: “As with good wines, we have vintages in certain ranges of cigars. We talk about aging, some improve over time, revealing other aromas before reaching their peak. But this is especially true for Cubans. The others, the so-called new world, generally sell cigars made with already aged tobacco leaves”. To continue the comparison with a good wine: “We are not going to smoke the same cigar at all times of the day. In general, you don’t drink a Sauterne with a green peppercorn steak, it’s the same for a cigar, you’re not going to take a too strong one after eating an omelette”.

The cigar is a product of the mouth, a moment of relaxation, of sharing.

What advice for a beginner cigar smoker?

For Philippe Vanderbruggen, the most important thing is first to listen to the smoker: “It’s good to know if the person has already smoked or not, what their tastes and desires are. Then we will offer him something that will not be particularly light. To come back to the comparison with wine, you don’t open a cubi for someone who wants to make a discovery. We are therefore not going to start with the low end but with a well-balanced cigar. But the main thing is to listen carefully to the client, to determine the time he can devote to his tasting, not to offer him something too powerful so as not to make him sick. »

Alcohol and cigars, a good plan?

There are many amateurs who seek to find THE right alliance between cigars and alcohols. For Philippe Vanderbruggen, there are two schools: “There are those who try to find the best pairing between the two. I prefer to separate the two worlds, to make myself doubly happy: a pleasant moment with a cigar, a pleasant moment with an alcohol. If I mix the two, I divide the pleasures, I prefer to multiply them. But there are very nice pairings. I love the one with beer, thirst-quenching, because it goes very well with the drying side of the cigar. »

Clubs all over Belgium

Proof that the cigar is still on the rise, the number of amateur clubs and their vitality. The club – much more than social networks where there is sometimes too much of a tendency to ridicule neophytes – is the ideal place to progress. We meet there, often around a convivial meal, men and women, of all ages, who are just waiting to share their passion. You can taste one or the other vitola while exchanging observations or opinions. And above all, we share good tips: where to find this or that cigar, what are the cool civets (retailers), what are the next activities planned here or there?

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