Eulogy for a Cigar Shop

Today I went into my first tobacconist for the last time. When I first started smoking cigars I wandered into Madison Tobacco, and was in love. They did not have the largest humidor in the world, nor the greatest selection. But what they did have was character. I can remember as a kid their cigar shaped sign that hung next to the Kimbrough building (which is one of midtown’s cooler looking buildings) I always liked it’s simple and timeless charm. Inside was constantly filled with retired southern lawyers, fixing the problems of the world by shouting at each other over their newspapers. Usually they were under the watchful eye of the shop manager a quiet man with a pipe who was a wealth of tobacco information if you got him started. You could never walk out the door without reeking of cigar, I have been in some cigar lounges and have yet to find one that rivals their decades of odor building up.

In that shop I first found Punch Rothschilds, Punch Egg Roll, Tabak, Java Mint, Brick House Maduro, El Rey Del Mundo, and Nica Rustica. Pretty much the only cigar I love they didn’t carry was The Undercrown Maduro. And they had their own cigar, The Madison, a beautifully wrapped barber pole (or another leaf pattern) torpedo or churchill. With the taste of disappointment as it looked better than it was. Notes of cardboard, and dried chicken bone were prominent. 

Madison was where I learned to love cigars. There are other tobacconists in town, and some are quite good, maybe even better in selection and price. But they lack the character, and the distinction of being my first. They weren’t snobs, they just wanted me to smoke some good cigars, and by gum if they didn’t succeed. 

So now they go. I am forced to, uncharitably, assume that their landlord is an idiot who is high. And I will miss them. I had hoped that they would last until my own retirement and I would join the ranks of shouty old men with opinions backed up by forceful jabs of a smoldering stogie. Alas it is not to be. I have five Madisons left in my cigar vault. And those cheap, dry, practically rolled parchment are now the most precious cigars in my collection. 

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