The great poet laureate Lauryn Hill once penned,
Come on baby light my fire
Everything you drop is so tired
Music is supposed to inspire
So how come we ain’t gettin’ no higher
For years cigars have served as an inspiration for me. An inspiration to write, to share, to entertain and even to try my hand at educating. But this year after I returned home from the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers trade show (IPCPR) in Las Vegas, a little bit of the fire dimmed for me. I took a break from this online publication as the ideas weren’t flowing as they once did and the words became harder to type. It wasn’t that my love for cigars had diminished, but rather the industry seemed to be stuck in a holding pattern, and those of us along for the ride were forced to pause and wait it out.
Several factors I believe contributed to this lull in excitement. The obvious one, and I believe catalyst for the rest, is the pending legislation from the FDA. But also, there has been what I consider to be a lack of innovation when it comes to premium cigars. While impacted by deeming legislation, I’ve been walking into brick and mortars unexcited about their options recently. There’s what seems to be a significant decline in new sustainable releases, an increase in short-runs or limited quantities or line extensions that underwhelm.
Without painting a picture of gloom and doom, I’m hopeful that things will turn around. I’m excited about some of the projects I hear are around the turn for premium cigar manufacturers. And as more hope is being injected into legislation, I believe manufacturers will become more inspired as well. After all, similar to the way it’s difficult to enjoy a cigar when you’re distracted or stressed, it’s difficult to blend a great one if feeling the same.
I got excited just before penning this piece…an excitement that I haven’t felt in months. I perked up because I saw a “line extension” from a very reputable, well-respected elder in the cigar industry, and I liked it! It was different. It didn’t just taste like the hundreds of other cigars I’ve had this year and forgotten about. It inspired me…to open my laptop and to document my stream of consciousness. It made me feel something. The flavors didn’t feel rushed and they kept my attention. This blend didn’t feel as if it were created to simply check a box or just to put something on the shelves to say you did.
The cigar that inspired me today was the La Opulencia from My Father Cigars. Hey, when Don Pepin Garcia blends, you write. Here’s a brief breakdown of the new cigar.
Vitola: 46 x 5 Corona
Wrapper: Mexican Rosado Oscuro
Binder(s):Nicaraguan Criollo &Nicaraguan Corojo
Filler: Cuban-Seed Variety
Milk chocolate wrapper, notes of hickory, slight sweetness, peppery retrohale and a buttery finish. Not only was it what I needed today, but it gave me something I’m been missing for a few weeks…complexity.
I missed that feeling…and I missed sharing that feeling with you. I missed escaping into flavor; not just escaping into the act of smoking a cigar. This was the spark I needed, and the spark I believe you want and deserve.