Daily we struggle with the idea that “good things come to those who wait.” I fight the fight everyday. Just a few weeks ago the new Apple Watch came out and I’ve been wanting to replace my old one. Now I could go to the store and get one that is similar to the one I want, but the exact model that I’ve been really wanting doesn’t come out until a few weeks into October. So here lays the struggle, get some of what I want now or delay gratification and get what I truly desire.

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The Experience

Let’s apply this concept to cigars. I receive requests often from folks asking to help them learn how to enjoy a cigar properly. Always flattered, I ask, “How much time do you have to sit with me?” If their answer is less than 2 hours I politely let them know that we’ll need more time. Why?

Enjoying a premium cigar is not an experience (in my opinion) that can be rushed. While there are many technical reasons why, such as performance, taste, etc., I do believe that a cigar must be savored to really enjoy it. There is an art and a ritual to it that requires care and patience. It’s not about getting a fix on the side of a building during lunchtime; it’s about relaxing, meditating and taking in the beauty of the cigar, the company of people that surround you at the time, and the moment. So if you don’t have the time to dedicate to enjoying a cigar, don’t waste the cigar by rushing the process.

The Cigar Industry

This same delayed gratification comes into play when we want things from cigar manufacturers.  The human in us wants new, new, new and we want it now, now, now. During and after IPCPR trades shows, its common to see and hear the impatience that we have for new product to hit store shelves. I recently spoke with Nicholas Mellilo, founder and owner of Foundation Cigar Co., and we spoke about this very issue.

(r) Nick Mellilo of Foundation Cigar Co. (l) Justin Harris of Cigar Insight at The Humidour Cigar Shoppe in Cockeysville, MD.

(r) Nick Mellilo of Foundation Cigar Co. (l) Justin Harris of Cigar Insight at The Humidour Cigar Shoppe in Cockeysville, MD.

“We [Foundation] are growing tremendously. We’ve seen three times an increase over last year, but there’s increasing pressure to do more. Pressure to push product out into the market that’s not ready yet. In July (at the trade show) I only had a few samples of the new Tabernacle Havana Seed CT to give out, because I didn’t want to hand out cigars that hadn’t aged properly. Just like we have to wait for tobacco to be ready to produce the cigars, we have to wait for the product to age properly before distribution or else we risk giving the public a product that they are not happy with. And that’s the balance, trying to keep up with demand by just getting it out, or maintaining quality by waiting until the right time. After all, it’s that quality that is driving the demand.” According to Mellilo, the Tabernacle Havana Seed CT will not be “ready” to ship until November of 2018.

Cigars teach us to slow down, in real life and in expectation. The 2-3 hours it takes to really focus on the cigar experience also gives us 2-3 hours to gather our thoughts, feelings and minds. The cigar industry teaches us that delayed gratification is our friend. Even though we want what we want right now, rushing may cause the product or the company to fold by putting product in our hands that isn’t “ready”. As my father-in-law used to say, “We’re old enough for our wants not to hurt”, so in order to enjoy this lifestyle that we covet, we must turn our focus to what’s needed, and that’s patience.

Patience is still the key, as I’d much rather wait on that new release that’s deemed ready by the master that blended it, than have a young cigar when I want it…only to taste on my own that it wasn’t ready for consumption.

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