Monday, 15 October 2012
If you're a cigar smoker and desperate for a communal public drink in Dublin, look for a bar, hotel, café, or restaurant with a partly covered outdoor smoking area. Or one with a deep doorway, in which you can crouch and gargle while you smoke in the rain.
God help us and save us, doesn't that sound dreadful! I wouldn't put my cats out in the wet and dismal weather Ireland's smokers are bullied to light up in.
Thankfully, even Ireland gets its share of sun. But still...
Fortunately, there's a third and better way.
Nip into the Decent Cigar Emporium, flash your credentials (cigar/s and/or empty cigar case, cutter, lighter/matches).
And be prepared to step up for the ritual and password in which you prove you are a dedicated nicotine companion:
'Hands on humidor, hands on heart, I prefer the smell of a fine cigar to a twat non-smoker's fart.'
All being well and ship-shape the boys will welcome you with open ashtrays. And pass on The Knowledge of where to smoke in Dublin without being rudely interrupted by ignorant eejits.
So there you are, happy as Larry (they named a brand of cigarettes after him – Olivier) and dropping ash with friends. When your cigar has reached the end of its warm and wonderful life you may be considering which one to try next.
Yes, I know you already have your favourites.
The thing is, which cigars have ripened for your immediate delectation, and which are better for investing and storing and ageing?
For fine, hand-rolled tubes of premium tobacco are rather like the finest wines, which improve with age and are best sipped at the height of their power.
Just don't ask me for detailed advice, for I don't live with all the cigars available.
But the boys at The DCE do, especially Mr Guy Hancock. They have been taking very good care of their nicotine babies and can give you all the know-how you need to lead you to a very pleasant smoke indeed.
There are also other places you can fall back on, when the DCE is closed for the night: Ireland's prisons (which are still smoker-friendly), lunatic asylums (whatever the politically-correct anal retentives call them, these days), monasteries (is that really incense they're waving in the censer?) and hotel rooms designated for smokers.
The first option requires getting arrested. This is very easy, just try lighting up inside a health shop.
The second requires proof of madness, such as deciding after all those years to give up smoking.
The third is really down to an act of faith.
And the fourth is sometimes hard to come by but well worth pursuing. For, like the other three options I suggested, the law allows you to smoke in your own home or its equivalent.
And in the privacy of your hotel room or suite you can throw a part, orgy or hoolie for your cigar companions. Just as long as you open the window and don't set fire to the bed.