I was 18 and my then girlfriend and I had talked about it for a while. We decided it was cool to go for it. She had surprised me at work one day, by going down to the pharmacy and getting me a 3 pack. I was nervous but excited, and of course we did not want our parents to know. At least I did not want my parents to know, I think hers were cool with it. Now the only question was where we would go to try it out. In my car in the parking lot after work seemed as good a place as any to us, so that’s where we went. Just like all first times, this was new and I was not too sure what I was doing, but I did not care because I was having a good time. It wasn’t until a few months later that I had realized how much I was missing out on because of my eagerness to jump right in without fully knowing what I was doing.
I had decided to try smoking a cigar, but I had no clue what I was doing, so she had gotten me a pack of Dutch Masters from CVS. I figured “what the hell” I will try them. Of course I thought I was a big shot now. When she gave them to me, my initial thought was, well I have to go outside to smoke these because you have to spit while you smoke and I don’t want to spit inside. I was also ready to bite the end off because somewhere I thought I saw someone doing that. Luckily, most machine made cigars come with a convenient hole in them already so no cutting or biting is required. How far I have come since then.
I did not know any better, so I continued to smoke Dutch Masters. Occasionally, I would spurge and buy one in a plastic tube too, but only on the nice nights when I was feeling special and wanted to celebrate. What I call my first real experience did not come until one of my closest friends, and eventually my roommate when I went to college, was on his way back to college. We went out that night with a bunch of guys, and some ladies too, to a drive in movie. Some details are so vivid and some are a blur. I remember what we went to see, but I don’t remember much about watching the movie. My one buddy drove a huge van, we called it the shaggin’ wagon, and we all piled in. Back then the movies were pay by the car not the person, so we jammed all of us into the van to save a few bucks.
Before I met up with them, I decided to grab a cigar at a local tobacco shop. It was time to step up to the big leagues, so I decided to look in their cabinet humidor for one. I remember it sticking out like a sore thumb in the shiny aluminum tube. It had the word Punch on it. I thought “I like flavored cigars and this one must taste like fruit punch, let’s give it a try”. Clearly I had no clue what I was doing. Luckily I decided to buy a $.50 cutter to go with it because I had checked to see if it had a hole in it like all the other cigars I had smoked and there was none.
What I actually wound up with was a Punch Grand Cru Monarch, and I am so glad I did. The experience was fantastic. It took me almost the whole movie to smoke that wonderful cigar. As I said, I don’t remember if I liked the movie or even watched most of it, but I do remember (still now) most of the details of that cigar. It was flavorful and cedary, light enough to be a good experience, but enough body to keep a seasoned smoker interested. Ultimately it was one of the most memorable cigars I have ever had. Now, I am sure if I went down to the humidor today to grab one, it would not be that magical to me, but I will always have the memory of my first real cigar.