This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.

Life’s little pleasures… and how to smoke them

The International Connoisseur’s

Guide to Cigars

By Jane Resnick

Published by Black Dog & Leventhal

There’s a certain cachet when it

comes to smoking a good cigar. Great after a fine meal or with a brandy or cognac, it’s a ritual that, with a few exceptions, tends to be a man’s domain. Nothing wrong with that, although a lady looks pretty fine enjoying the occasional stogie in my humble opinion, so they’re always welcome to join in. For anyone who likes or wants

to enjoy the pleasures of a good cigar, this slim little volume is indispensable. Subtitled The Art of Selecting and Smoking, it is stuffed full of information on cigars: how they are made, where to buy them, how to store them, how to smoke them – and believe me, there are short chapters devoted to each step in the process –

and a short history of the cigar. So who needs Cigar Aficionado monthly? But these are just the appetizers. The heart of the book is a

comprehensive list of the world’s better cigars. Lavishly illustrated -- you want to light one of these suckers right off the page! – the cigars are described by ring size (thickness), the varieties by brand, the flavour, the quality rating (good through superior, though they’re all top line), the country of origin and the distinctions of each. How about a case of the Cuba

Alliados General variety to impress your boss, or intimidate your opponents? At 18 inches long it’s the largest commercially produced cigar in the world, and according to Resnick, a damn good one too. Puff on that, suckers! Not surprisingly, Cuban and Dominican Republic-made cigars dominate the list but it’s interesting to note that only a handful of other countries qualify (Honduras, Jamaica) with one or two entries each, that’s all.

So if you want a quality smoke, head to the Caribbean. Resnick goes

further, though. She provides detailed info on the mass-market cigar varieties, the small cigar makes and varieties (usually north European countries like the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark) and then provides worldwide locations to buy wholesale and retail, and, even better, cigar friendly public places for smoking purposes. These tend to be clubs and restaurants, so be forewarned: the info in this section might be a little dated given the strength of the anti-smoking-anything movement lately. Regardless. If you fancy the

occasional Montecristo or Davidoff - or regularly indulge in a La Flor De Cano or a Cohiba - this book is for you.

HHHH out of five

Lament for a lost drug culture – not necessarily in that order. He’s pretty canny, and there


By Robert Sabbag

Published by Vintage Books

I read Snowblind for the first time a

couple of years after its 1976 release. At the time I was indulging in the occasional line and probably smoking way too much pot than was good for me. Both those habits figure prominently in this recently re-

issued “drug culture classic” (it’s more a grand adventure), but it’s mostly cocaine that is the focus of Sabbag’s book. And Jesus, the guy writes like he knows what he speaks of. The narrative zips along intoxicatingly while telling a great story sprinkled with rock & roll asides, counterculture vibes and good old American how-to. Best of all, it’s all true. Zachary Swan (not his real name) is your average

middle-aged American businessman living in the 70s, enjoying life, his girlfriend, friends, booze and getting high


unfolds the tale told so letter-perfectly by Sabbag. In short order, our Everyman becomes very adept at smuggling lots of coke into the States. And he does it in a way that makes you want to cheer his every success. The book is hard to put down, mixing the cautionary

tale of Mr. Swan – and what a story it is, populated by outrageous characters straight from that particular period in time – with lots of rock-solid information about cocaine: what it is, how it’s made, smuggled, used, bought, sold, tested, and much more. Of course none of what Sabbag writes so exquisitely

about would be possible now. It’s a different world. Narco- cartels control pretty much all the drug movement these days and a man of honour like Zachary Swan would be squashed immediately. If he didn’t end up dead, that is. In this sense, Snowblind is a bit of a lament for a lost

era – a time when ingenuity, a willingness to take a risk and some major cajõnes was enough to be a player in the shady world of drug smuggling. Sadly, those days are long gone. Read this book though,

and marvel at what was possible a relatively short time ago while cheering on Zachary Swan and his cohorts.

HHHHH out of five Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64
Produced with Yudu -