A Cigar Gift?
October 21, 2011 9:26 AM   Subscribe

Cigars in Seattle: Where and what kind for around $50?

A group of us are buying a gift for someone who likes cigars. Discreet investigating hasn't been able to narrow down his tastes, so I'm just looking for "good" cigars in general. Our budget for the cigar is $50. Maybe a couple of $20 cigars? I'm not sure. So what, and where in Seattle? I need to get it in the next day or two, so ordering is not an option.

My other thought is a humidor box, in which case I'll twist some arms and our budget would be around $100. Can you even get a nice humidor for around $100? Would I look in cigar shops? Online? Could I order one with express shipping?

This guy is amazing, and we want to do something nice for him, but unfortunately time is short (both in time 'til we need to give it, and the amount of time that I have, which is almost zero).
posted by thelastcamel to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: J.K. Kirsten's, two locations: Fisherman's Wharf and (more easily accessed) in the area above Whole Foods at Denny and Westlake Ave. Lots of mid-to-high-end cigars, not your mainstream Macanudos (which are good enough cigars, but there are better). A little pricy, but nothing outrageous for the market. Cigar-enthusiastic staff. $50 will get you 4 great cigars, or 5-6 very good ones.

And a brand-new shop opened up on Westlake N. (which is to say, on the west side of Lk. Union). It's next door (to the north) to the monolithic China Harbor. I just bought one of the best smokes of my life, very affordably, there yesterday, no kidding. (Rocky Patel Sumatra.) The owner is a great guy and very knowledgable. $50 will get you about 5-6 great cigars, or maybe 4 very good and 1 premium.

In the south, there's a place called Rain City Cigars in Georgetown, I think-- I've never been, but have heard good.

You can get a nice humidor for $100, but for that i'd go online. Lots of cheaper humidors will have the store's name on a brass plate, though, so watch out. Thompson Cigar is reliable; cigars.com has a rising rep.

Short of time, I'd say go to the new place at Westlake N, by China Harbor. Open until 8, and they have covered barge there on which you can smoke them (the owner described it, but I haven't seen it)-- that might be attractive to your buddy, now that the weather has turned to the wet-season and there's no indoor smoking anywhere.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:38 AM on October 21, 2011

Best answer: Oh, as for what kind-- tell the seller your budget, the approximate number of cigars you'd like to buy, and what, if anything, your friend likes to drink while smoking, and any brands you've seen him smoke.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:40 AM on October 21, 2011

Best answer: Chances are they either smoke enough that they have a humidor, or don't smoke enough to get one :) So, I don't know if that's the best option, imho.

You can ask the guy at the cigar store for recommendations, but my experiences with cigar-store-guys is pretty hit or miss. Sometimes they have great recommendations, sometimes they recommend flavored cigars (do not buy someone flavored cigars).

Since you don't know their tastes, I'm just going to throw out a totally random selection of some of the the better smokes these days: Don Pepin, Tatuaje, Padron (the 1926/1964 expensive, but excellent), EP Carillo, La Aroma De Cuba, My Father, Arturo Fuente (big range, their limited edition cigars (Anejo/Opus X) are good, the standard ones alright)

Cigar store prices can be a bit inflated, don't be surprised if you end up with three $15-20 dollar cigars.

Feel free to branch out, you can't do too much wrong with a gift as long as you stay away from flavored cigars, super-cheap machine made cigars and Cuban brands like Cohiba, Romeo y Julieta and Montecristo. (The US versions of Cuban cigar brands are more or less mediocre cigars that sell based on their stolen name recognition, some are alright)
posted by wrok at 10:00 AM on October 21, 2011

Best answer: I'm a cigar smoker.

*Don't get him a humidor. Those are pretty personal things, and good ones are very expensive. And some people don't like them at all (I use a cooler - SO much easier).

*It's hard to buy cigars for a cigar smoker, because there are so many different kinds. A dealer might be able to help you, but FWIW, I've never met anyone who didn't like Fuente Hemingway. (The Opus X is expensive, but over-rated IMO.)

*What I'd really love is a cigar ashtray stand, but that's just me.

*A friend a long time ago gave me a "gift" cigar. It was a decent cigar (CAO, I think) but individually packaged in a little cedar box. I thought that was a really thoughtful gift. I don't see them very often though, even at cigar dealers.

*Every cigar smoker on earth could use a great torch lighter and/or a nice cutter. Good lighter's are right around $40-$50. You could even find a metal one and get it engraved with his initials.

All that said, here's what I'd do: Buy 2 Fuente Hemingways, a $20 torch lighter, and a cheap $5 cutter. Should be right in your $50 price range. If you're willing to go up to $100, throw in engraving on the lighter and a leather cigar case.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:22 AM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you so much everyone! I went to the place on Westlake, by China Harbor and the owner was super-fantastic and very willing to spend time helping me make a selection.

I went with the recommendations here and got a Fuente Hemingway, two Padrons, and something with a stronger flavor that the tobacconist recommended. I even got a few more folks to chip in money before I went, and so I also picked up a nice lighter. I looked at cutters, but I didn't really love anything they had, and the gift was already pretty big.

The gift went over amazingly well. I would have had no idea where to get started if it weren't for you guys. Thank you, heaps and bounds.
posted by thelastcamel at 10:01 PM on October 27, 2011

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