Winston Churchill: We Need You and Your Cigars in Today’s World
If asked to name five famous cigar smokers, I would think the large majority of men and women would name Winston Churchill, a colorful and brilliant leader and certainly a man among men – talk about someone with brass balls. His significance in world history as the Prime Minister of England and a key allied leader during World War II is huge. Ol’ Winston’s personal life is legendary as well, highlighted by his excessive “personality,” especially with respect to drinking and his beloved cigars. In fact, a Churchill size cigar, named after Winston, is typically the longest and fattest in a cigar line. That was the way he liked ‘em.
According to one estimate I read a while back, Winston was said to have puffed his way through as many as 70,000 cigars in his lifetime, which spanned 90 years. Who says drinking and smoking will lead you to an early grave? A favorite story, exhibiting both his affection for cigars and his craftiness in dealing with people, occurred in 1945 when he hosted a luncheon for King Ibn Sa’ud of Saudi Arabia, in whose royal presence drinking and smoking were prohibited.
In his war memoirs Churchill wrote, "As I was the host, I raised the matter at once, and said to the interpreter that if it was the religion of His Majesty to deprive himself of smoking and alcohol, I must point out that my rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them. The King graciously accepted the position."
In effect, Churchill invented his own rules that countered those of his distinguished guest’s, which directly conflicted with Churchill’s own wants, desires, needs -- and in this case -- “religious” beliefs. Now some may view this move by Churchill as something a “sneaky, selfish, self-serving SOB” would do (admittedly, on the surface this does appear to be the case). However, I see it differently. Here is a guy who insisted on living life on his own terms, and he rarely compromised his right to do so. The diplomacy used in getting there, where both parties have a “win-win” in this case, is nothing short of ingenious and artful.
In honor of Winston Churchill, let’s get smokin’! In these times of unrest in world politics, we sure could use a leader like him today.
A Churchill Quote and Thought for the Day
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened." –Sir Winston Churchill
Size: Toro 6 inches long, 50 ring gauge
Price: $5 to $6 range
Gurkha is one of the better-known boutique brands on the market. Gurkha is known for quality construction, complex blends and its quality tobaccos. The brand offers numerous lines varying by tobacco blends, taste profiles and, of course, price. The Expedition is one of its more affordable lines. It is described as a medium-bodied cigar using aged Dominican long leaf fillers and a Connecticut-Ecuador wrapper.
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian grown Connecticut
- Filler and binder: Dominican
I pulled this out of my humidor after I rested it there for about five months. I had only one of these, that I obtained in a variety pack of cigars. I smoked this in the middle of a hectic Saturday, knowing that a storm was forecast to kill the rest of the weekend. I smoked the first half while doing a couple of chores outside, the second half in my backyard hammock.
Look and feel
The cigars are good looking, with an added touch of being packaged with the cedar wrapper. Note -- don’t ever smoke a cigar with the cedar wrapper on it, as this is a major faux pas. I’ve seen someone do it once in a social setting; worse, he commented on the excellent smoke he was enjoying.
Underneath the cedar wrap is a well-constructed cigar, with a slightly toothy, but quality, wrapper. I personally have not smoked a lot of boutique brands, as they tend to be very expensive and not readily available. However, I will spend some time and money in this category a little more this summer. The double guillotine cut was clean and the pre-draw was tasty.
Aroma and Taste
The pre-lit aroma was dominated by cedar, no surprise here. The cigar lit nicely and the initial flavor certainly had a hint of cedar, which prevailed throughout – a good thing in my opinion and again, somewhat expected. A number of positives were noted about this cigar. The balance of flavors, though not overly complex, was damn impressive. In addition to cedar, there was a little spice and some nuttiness, but none of the flavors dominated. This was especially interesting, because Dominican tobaccos, which I don’t typically equate to a variety of interesting flavors, dominate this cigar. The aroma of the smoke was also unique and good. The burn was very good. My one complaint is that the cigar seemed to burn a little hot and harsh in the last two inches. I did not nub this one. The previous four inches were definitely good enough to recommend this cigar.
RATING: 9.0 (on a scale of 1 to 10)
An excellent premium smoke for the price. Among cigar smokers in the know, Gurkha is no secret and smoking or carrying them commands respect from others. Cigar smokers at all levels should be able to get value out of this smoke. If this cigar didn’t get so harsh tasting at the end, it could have done a few 10ths of a point better in my rating. You may have better luck. In the meantime, I’m going to be buying some more of these.
DISCLAIMER: At the risk of sounding too much like a TV commercial, I do want to sincerely state: This feature is NOT intended to advocate the smoking of cigars any more or any less than you already do, nor do I intend to influence the non-smoker to begin smoking cigars. Make no mistake about it; CIGAR SMOKING MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH.