I decided to approach this topic as a result of a conversation I had with a fellow leaf lover. We were discussing how I decide on what I will smoke when I enter a humidor and as a female, do I think ladies are intimidated when it comes to visiting the humidor at cigar lounges/shops.
This was something I have never given much thought to because I’ve always felt comfortable when I go in a humidor and knowledgeable enough to have a conversation with the humidor assistant to ask questions. However, I began to realize that this is not always the case with many females; especially with the ones who may be new to smoking and new to understanding what they want to purchase and try.
I thought back to my first visit to a humidor and for me it was very exciting because I had a chance to see all these cigars in one place and I wanted to try EVERYTHING!! After reality set in (my wallet being the rate-limiting factor), I began to ask question and question and have an in depth discussion with the assistant. I was very upfront that I was a newbie to smoking and didn’t know how select a cigar. I recall a huge smile on the assistant’s face in that he was actually excited to have an opportunity to educate me on cigars. He started with basics – from the composition of a cigar to the shapes, sizes and intensity of the smoke. We must have talked close to an hour but I felt so empowered after that and felt like I was able to make a decision based on my preferences.
The key is to ask questions and never feel intimidated. It’s like riding a bike; you start out with training wheels and before you know it, the wheels come off and eventually you’re riding a speed bike. Many assistants will notice if you’re hesitant when entering. It’s ok to let them know you may be “browsing and looking around”. Let the person know you are new to cigar smoking and you need assistance with choosing something. If you are seeking a mild or flavored cigar, let that be known as well. If you want to try something that was recommended by someone, let that also be known. When I started smoking, I kept notes as to what I smoked and if I liked it or not. I still do that to this day but I have come across a few phone apps that I found very beneficial – such as Cigar Scanner (www.cigarscanner.com). I refer to it when I visit humidors and find it easier to explain what I’m looking for. At the beginning, all the cigar bands look alike so to ask for the “one with the brown band” may get you at least 50 selections!!!
I observe my cigar sisters when they enter a humidor and I can tell by the confidence (or lack of) they exude if they are novices or ‘seasoned’ smokers. Many male cigar smokers make assumptions that women are not educated on cigars because we have not always been smokers like they have. When I see them walk in and ask for what they want or want to try I feel so proud because they show that we are the true cigar aficionadas. I also feel proud when my novice sister walks in because I try to use that as an opportunity to engage in a conversation with her and to share my experience and to recommend something based on what she is looking for. I have met so many of my cigar sisters this way and we have become friends as a result of that initial conversation which may have been a little awkward at first. All it took was a smile in the humidor and a simple introduction.