Pleasure / December 2017

Christmas Gift Guide: The Smoker

Cigar paraphernalia makes a smoking experience indefinitely more pleasurable, and a wonderful gift for the tobacco aficionado.

Robert De Niro as Al Capone enjoys a cigar with his breakfast (and his favourite magazine) in The Untouchables, 1987. © Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection.

Smoking cigars isn’t just about setting fire to tobacco and losing yourself in fragrant blue smoke. It is a holistic passion, where the accoutrements make the relatively high maintenance upkeep of cigars all worth it. This list is a collection of all the vital parts you need and the best versions available here at The Rake Atelier.

The Humidor

The key component of any cigar collection, the humidor is a complex and much debated factor of cigar keeping. There are so many opinions as to how best keep cigars, at what humidity or outside temperature, whether to use special solution or distilled water, Boveda packs and so on. The point is that they are all asking the same question but coming up with different answers, and they all revolve around the humidor. The ne plus ultra of humidor makers is Elie Bleu. Beautiful, intricate, highly varnished and lacquered, intricately designed and coloured wooden boxes, created solely for the purpose of cigar keeping.

The Cutter

Preparation of the cigar is essential before smoking, so the cutting off of the ‘head’ of the cigar requires something that will not crush it down and just end up splintering and shattering the tobacco, which while it won't affect the smoke, will mean you spend a good chunk of your time pulling bits of tobacco out from between your teeth. Guillotine cutters are great and more familiar, but allow me to recommend a punch. Specifically this Davidoff punch in rose gold, which has two settings depending on the ring gauge of the cigar and because it is so compact, it can be attached to your keys so needn’t be just another thing to remember when leaving the house.

The Lighter

Another much debated item. Some say that you should only light with cedar wood or a match. Gratifyingly, Edward Sahakian always keeps a mini Bic lighter on him and frankly, that is adequate. However there is something satisfying and almost spiritual about Dupont lighters, that they should never be overlooked. The signature click, the chic lighting aperture, the lacquered case, the dual flames to evenly ignite the cigar; they are designed to make smoking more pleasurable and fulfilling. For an added touch of élan, this is a vital component to the list.

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Contributor

Tom Chamberlin

Editor of The Rake Magazine