October 8, 2014
There you have it. This was the beast of a cigar that started the whole thing. I’m sitting in my office puffing away. REALLY puffing away. You see, the thing would not hold its flame. As soon as I took a few windy puffs the smoke went out. In fact, it felt like there was a hole in it.
I removed the cigar band to discover, to my horror, that the middle of the cigar had been eaten away by cigar beetles. I immediately put it down and took the picture above.
Now if it had ended there, I wouldn’t have written this blog post. After all, I’ve seen evidence of cigar beetles once before. Once, mind you, in nearly 7 years of smoking cigars. You see, cigar beetles lay their eggs on tobacco leaves. Normally, when the leaves are harvested, they are washed and individually inspected, to make sure the leaves are free of eggs.
But, men make mistakes, and every now and again a cigar will be wrapped up with an egg inside. If well kept, the egg will remain in the cigar without hatching until you smoke it. You’ll know your cigar has an egg in it if, while smoking, you hear a loud *POP*, and a bit of your cigar blows away. The fluid in the eggs quickly boils, and the cigar explodes a tad under the pressure. This, too, has happened once to me before.
However. If a cigar has an egg in it, and if the cigar is not well kept (in the proper 70% humidity and 70° Fahrenheit range), then the eggs may become pupa, and the pupa will eat big old holes in your cigar. It must be noted that this is rare event. Most cigar aficionados will never see a cigar with beetle holes in it. That’s why I’m shocked to report that my box of 50 explorer edition Thompson cigars has, so far, 3 different cigars with beetle holes in them, all hidden under the wrapper.
Now, these are awful cigars on a good day. When you cut the butt, a shower of confetti bursts from the cigar. As you smoke it, flakes of tobacco peel off onto your tongue, forcing you to spit them out as you smoke.
It burns unevenly. I’d say about one third of this box of cigars has had burn channels, where the flame burns quickly through the cigar in just one spot. The cigar would become too hot to hold with half of it yet remaining.
It has an acrid, sour flavor. My wife can smell these cigars three rooms down, and she hates them–other cigars she can tolerate.
And yet, all of this I could forgive, if not for the beetles. I have 6 cigars left in the box. Now, I carefully inspect each cigar before lighting.
Now, any cigar sold by the Thompson company will likely be a fine cigar. Except the ones that have their own name in them. Any “Thompson” brand cigar obviously has been poorly cared for, and carelessly constructed.
So then, take this public service announcement as a warning–do not buy Thompson brand cigars!