Zino Davidoff is one of the most revered and influential figures in the cigar world. His name is synonymous with the highest standard of quality and craftsmanship, sophistication, elegance joie de vivre. However, despite his incredible achievements, Zino’s passion transcended the manufacturing and production of premium hand rolled cigars. He was a true passionado in every sense of the word, harbouring a deep love and respect for cigars which guided his approach to industry, tobacco and life. His words, which have been immortalised in several publications, continue to educate and inspire generations of cigar smokers.

“To know how to smoke is to recover certain forgotten rhythms, to re-establish communication with the self. If there is a secret of the cigar, it is to be found in the slow movements, the dignified, measured smoking. The movements are more than mannerisms; they are ceremonial acts.”

Cigars create and accompany moments of enjoyment, contemplation, and solitude. They are emotionally charged. As such, enjoying a cigar is not merely physical; it transgresses the mere acts of cutting, lighting and puffing: each movement is a dignified and celebrated ritual that seems to slow time. It is a visceral experience: Zino saw his product as a medium of self discovery. 

“You do not fit a cigar into your schedule; you give it a moment and it occupies your time and enriches it…a cigar cannot truly be enjoyed without contemplation, without thinking. You cannot smoke anything at any time, in any place.”

To enjoy a cigar is to allow adequate time in which to smoke it properly rather than rush and overheat it. For many, cigars are poetic in the sense that their enjoyment goes hand in hand with their destruction. Thus, take the time to experience the truest and purest expressions of a cigar’s flavour profile, which has taken years to develop. A cigar is time beautifully filled, not merely time passed. 

“Respect the ash — as you do the rest of the cigar — but do not make it an object of worship, giving it importance it does not merit. It is pretty to contemplate. It is the point of departure for the smoky spirals, the generator of dreams and oblivion. But it also represents pleasure that is past.” 

Do not become absorbed by long ashes and in being so overly critical to the detriment of your own pleasure. A cigar is about enjoyment: immerse yourself in the experience of your smoke, and appreciate the little things. The ash is symbolic of pleasures past, as well as of how allowing one’s mind to obsess over the past and the future can nullify an experience. In short, focus on the present, for it will determine the ash of your memories. 

“All of this is, to say the least, a matter of taste. What is most important is to be sure of your taste. In the midst of all these ifs is one sure thing: whatever your tastes, your habits, your needs, there is a cigar which will be right, one that is adapted to your constitution, which harmonizes with your mood. There is no more faithful servant than a Havana. To learn to choose a cigar which is right for you is to exercise your talent for self-awareness. To find the cigar which suits you is a particular joy.” 

Cigars smoking is, at its core, intimate and intensely personal. They are as unique as people: you can give the same wrapper, binder and fillers to three different blenders and you will get three entirely different cigars. This is because no two people are the same: it is people who grow, ferment and blend tobaccos to make cigars; as such, they are mediums of self expression which we are able to enjoy. Finding the cigar which makes you happy and which you enjoy smoking is more important than the opinion of any other smoker: choose the cigar which fulfils you!

These are some of the philosophies that guided a smoking giant, and ones which remain relevant today. The cigar industry is timeless, gracefully balancing innovation with history, evolving continuously whilst respectfully upholding tradition. Needless to say, this is part of the reason for not only its continued success, but for the passion and camaraderie which the cigar world evokes. I 

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