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  1. Understanding a cigar. Having read a comment about the Hoyo Coronas this morning got me to thinking… That’s bad, I know! The comment was, and I am paraphrasing, 'one of the few cigars in MRN’s book that got trashed.' I scoffed at that comment, and got to thinking about it some. Why should I scoff at panning a cigar? Many of us ‘pan’ cigars. I am certainly one of the worst perpetrators… These ELs and REs are favorite targets of mine. I suppose it is because it comes from the lips of a collector, and my obvious bias against them as a group. More on that another day… I know, many think these guys are gurus and gods but I don’t share their sentiments. Smoking was designed as a pleasure, not a competitive practice. (MHO). I cannot say that I like the direction smoking has gone since the 'collector community' has come to the forefront. I give you the topic at hand. How well do you know any cigar? As for me, there was a day that I smoked several cigars a day. I no longer smoke like this. I rarely have a cigar a day, lately anyway. I may go on binges where I smoke everyday for a few days, however that usually subsides within about a week. I also largely smoke from one box, but that too is getting less common. As I smoke less often, I have been picking away at the decades growth of my singles and strays. I have no ‘rotation’ as some put it. When I used to smoke this often, it was largely done from one box. That open box, might just travel around with me in the car as it would not last longer than a week or so. It was more habitual and little time was put into 'thinking about what to smoke.' When I wanted to smoke, I just went to 'the open box' to smoke from! That was more or less a time when I considered myself largely a ‘this is my cigar’ smoker. Let me explain. Those days were largely filled with Coronas. Punch Coronas and Partagas Coronas as well as others, and of course plenty of Petit Coronas and sub-Petit Coronas cigars. My favorite back then was the Partagas PC, generally in 50 cabs. Another 50 cab cigar that was a staple, was the du Depute. These were the days when I was consuming 1000 (or so) cigars a year. At that rate, I felt I got to know certain cigars pretty well. I mean if you smoked say 300 of one cigar in a year, you got to know them pretty well… Yesterday as today, cigar quality would ebb and flow with the trends in cigar manufacturing, both good and bad. I felt connected to certain cigars back then. I called those cigars, 'my own.' I brought this up in a thread recently about considering a cigar, or a brand of cigar your own. While I cannot comment on the habits of others, there were certainly signature cigars that were really my staples. While I was certainly smoking other brands and sizes of cigars, I wanted to pick my way through the entire Cuban cigar catalogue back then, there was simply never the time nor smoking experience to call ‘every’ cigar I owned or tried, my signature cigar. As cigars have changed so much I am a bit of an anachronism. I still know my favorites better than any made today. There are of course some of my favorite cigars that are still made, such as the QdO Coronas, but since I am not consuming over 100 of them a year, there is no real means for me to claim to be an expert on them. I certainly know more about the ones made 15 years ago, than I do today. So this brings me to the point. What is ‘your’ cigar, if you have one? How well do you know it? How long have you known it and what does it take in your mind to be an authority about it? Reading an 'expert's' tasting notes on hundreds of cigars got me thinking more and more about this. Who is kidding whom here? How many cigars must you consume in a day, a week, a year to be an expert? Can there really be an expert on all those cigars? For me the authority days are pretty much a thing of the past. I likely know more about the Grande de Espana than the RASS. I certainly know more about the Diplomaticos #1 than the Monte 2…! As those cigars are no longer available, calling them 'my own,' categorizing them as such has more or less become an obsolete notion. So I have come full circle. How many cigars a day does an expert need to smoke to become intimate with the entire Cuban catalogue of cigars? Can there really be an expert on them all, or even just a few? As cigars change over time, how many of them would one need to smoke and need to keep smoking over time in order remain current? I proffer there are no expert smokers. Even with the limited catalogue today, one simply cannot consume enough of more than a few cigars to really know them intimately. Intimately, meaning having a continuing depth of knowledge about their past and their current trends… As for me, I know more about humidors than the cigars that most people keep in them today! I suppose as long as I have one more RA PC to smoke, I will know more about that one (and a few others) than many will ever know. Yet it is only due to the fact that the cigars is no longer made and there are not newer vintages to become familiar with and no need to keep current. Perhaps as cigars are cancelled from the catalog, that act makes some of us who have smoked them 'experts?' After all, who is going to argue? Now that is collector logic for you!!! Thanks for reading. -Piggy

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