The Freudian connotations of cigar enthusiasts’ zeal for wrapping their lips around long, brown, joyous sticks and proceeding to suck for upwards of 40 minutes arouse the interest of even those most skeptical of psychoanalysis. Though many of Freud’s ideas regarding the subconscious mind are now considered fellatious phallacies, it is time we psychoanalyze the cigar once and for all. Many of the most masculine men in history — Winston Churchill, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Jordan and Mark Twain, for example — have been avid cigar smokers. Shall we therefore assume that, when Twain quipped, “If I cannot smoke cigars in Heaven, I shall not go,” he was in fact smoking his way into the seventh circle of Dante’s Hell?

The cigar community’s apparent oral fixation does not imply a ubiquitous, deeply repressed homosexuality in straight, male smokers, nor does it imply any wanton yearnings in female and gay smokers. When partaking in such an act, we smoke not a man, but rather mankind itself. Sitting with a lit cigar between our teeth provides us cigar smokers a medium through which to properly contemplate and marvel at all of humanity, as we literally take its essence into ourselves. Though we may try to hold the smoke, an allegory for unfathomable ability and knowledge, in our mouths or in our lungs, eventually even the most veteran smoker will be forced to exhale or cough, releasing it back into the world in delightful and complex clouds of indomitable ether. So introspective a rite may not afford us possession of absolute truth or knowledge, but it does allow us, its practitioners, the opportunity to briefly revel in the prodigious potency of man.

Review: The Griffin’s Special XXV Edition 2009

Strength: Medium

Size: Robusto

Cost: ~$14

The mythological griffin, a creature with the body of a lion and the wings and head of an eagle, once symbolized divine power and guarded treasure. While I’ve never found anything spectacularly divine about The Griffin’s cigars, it does appear that the creature on this one’s label is protecting something pretty special. From the first few puffs, this cigar produces billowing clouds of smoke that continue to fill the room down to the still-pleasant final third. The taste is a bit difficult to pin down, but it is a creamy, gentle smoke with earthy overtones. The burn was perfectly even and did not once require relighting. This cigar was not so transcendent as to fill me with the collective knowledge of humanity, but I at least learned a bit about consistent flavor, that characteristic considered paramount by Sam Clemens. While I would not call the flavors enthralling, this cigar did keep me smiling until the very end. A-/B+