As a long time celebratory enthusiast of cigars, I thought it would be a good idea to actually start to learn more about this wonderful world of premium tobacco.
Where better to start than with a “University” book from Tobacco University (more on this later).
The above picture was at the direction of the authors, to enjoy the finer things like a cigar and whisky (although not for ratings, but for palette contamination) while reading the book. Who was I to argue…?
During the course of this post, I’ll give a high level of what to expect from the book, its pros & cons, and finally my overall rating. Enjoy!
Book Review: The Tobacconist Handbook
Even though this cigar book stands at just over 200 pages, it’s a rapid read. I finished it in one evening sitting. But don’t let that fool you, it is jammed packed with lots of cigar information and a little pipe content too.
The book features some wonderful images from the tobacco fields of South America, and has some great graphics too.
Each chapter is easy to follow, and the overall book is in a logical order.
Pros Of The Book
For me the greatest pro is no fluff / filler content. The author has done a great job, walking the reader from some basic history all the way through to humidor etiquette, and some tasting advice.
For example, there is no need to write pages on how to cut a cigar, when a simple image shall suffice!
I appreciate this, as who’s got the time for that fluff. Some readers will seek the 57,000 ways one can cut a cigar, and further the hundreds of cutters one can use, but that’s not the intent of this book.
That said, we like to cut our cigars somewhere between the “perfect” and “amateur” cuts as illustrated above. We find cutting so low on a cigar difficult to achieve but without many benefits. However, the takeaway is don’t over do it and go past the cap or the cigar may unravel, which the image clearly shows above.
It is also worth noting that this book is a very soft sell for the “Tobacco University” courses, and accreditation from the consumer certification to a full blown expert! If I get more involved in cigars, and free up some time, this book certainly has me interested in taking this field more seriously and appreciating it from a more structured stance.
Chapters / Sections I Especially Liked
- Humidor Etiquette – as a former professional golfer I know all about etiquette. This section makes it easy for the noob to fit right in
- Common Myths – no spoiler alerts here! But very much worth the price of admission
- Cigar Lighting / Burn Issues – we’ve all been there with uneven burn and “canoeing”, so they offer up tips and common causes
- Comprehensive Glossary – good future reference
- Tasting School – fantastic section, and what I feel is really what one could expect from getting certified using all five senses… Best of all you need to taste more than one cigar to be sure! I’m sure our in-house cigar aficionado Charles-Philippe shall be pleased!
Overall one is left with a much deeper appreciation for the many experts, time, and overall magic involved in the making and ultimately selling of cigars.
Cons Of The Book
For the noob / someone who is looking for a refresher / reference guide you pretty much can’t go wrong.
If however, you’re looking for a very deep history of the cigar industry, this is not your best bet.
Further, if you already have an extensive library this may also not be your best option, but adding another resource can’t hurt if money is not a big issue especially since it’s such a quick read.
Lastly, if you’re looking for a comprehensive resource to pipe smoking this is not going to be a good primer in my opinion. However, what it does have, is of like quality with regard to content and images.
Final Thoughts On This Cigar Book
Overall I really enjoyed this quick read.
It does not get bogged down, and the “Tobacconist’s Tips” are fun asides. The best part of these “Tips” is being more appreciative of your local tobacconists (if you can find a good one, keep ’em!).
I’m a HUGE fan of shopping local, to keep these great resources in our local neighborhoods. We must support them by not only asking them a million-and-one questions, but also opening our wallets!
Author: Jorge L. Armenteros
Publisher: BookSurge Publishing
"A great book and overall resource for those getting into cigars! I thoroughly enjoyed the content and the graphics."Rating: 5 ★★★★★
This is great little book, that adds value to any cigar / pipe enthusiasts library. Although it’s a quick read, it packs a punch and you’ll fine yourself referring back to it over the years. Highly recommended.