I have been writing a lot about “don’t”s when it comes to vices. Focusing on what I shouldn’t do does give me a sort of road map to follow. However, it also wears on me to admonish myself, or past self, on a daily basis in writing. I decided it was time to talk positively about a few of my indulgences.

My infatuation and fondness for cigars started around age 21. Back then, I didn’t have a clue. I would smoke the crappiest cheapest gas station dollar cigar I could get my hands on. I thought it was cool, and I liked the tingling sensation it left in my mouth.

I pretended not to care when friends gave me crap for smoking them. I liked it, and that should have been all that mattered. Then again, most of my friends smoked cigarettes, and I think that factored into their distaste for cigars. Once I started smoking cigarettes regularly,  I also had a more challenging time enjoying cigars.

I moved on to flavored cigars and cigarillos. They weren’t much better than the cheap crap I had been buying and smoking, but they made me feel like I was smoking a more refined cigar. Once I discovered Cohiba and Montecristo cigarillos, I realized that there was a whole level of cigar quality I had been missing.

In my mid-twenties, I pretty much stopped smoking cigars entirely. I was much more concerned with getting my nicotine fix on a regular basis through American Spirits or hand-rolled tobacco like Bali Shag or Peter Stokkebye.

After being sober for a little while though, I remembered my affinity for them, and started to get back into the habit with a renewed sense of curiosity.

Now, I really prefer hand-rolled Double Maduro Robusto sticks. I’ve had several different types of tobacco from several different regions. Some of my favorites have been from the Dominican Republic, Honduras / Nicaragua, Cameroon / CAR, and “The States”. I have still yet to try a Cuban cigar, but I really really want to.

In Austin, TX, I highly recommend Bobalu Cigars on Burnet Rd. They have always have excellent quality sticks, and their staff is super helpful. Oh yeah, they also hand-roll their cigars in-house. So good…