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September 6th 2018. By Shawn Grooms.

Smoke On the Water: Cigars and Yachts

Imagine this: You’re on a yacht, cruising on the bay, drink in hand, cigar in the other. Sounds nice? We know—find out how to bring this dream to reality.

If you’ve stumbled upon this article on this very website, the chances that you were looking for something related to boats and cigars are very likely—so welcome, thank you for coming. If somehow, you’ve come across this by pure chance, well then, you’re also in for a treat. We’re about to change everyone’s perspective on a ‘good time.’ Whether you’re a boat lover looking for a way to spice up your on-the-water adventures, or a cigar lover in search of a new setting to enjoy your favorite pastime—we’ve got you covered.

Get ready, we’re about to cover everything from proper cigar and boat celebrations, to important tips to get the most of your new experience, to teaching proper pairings that’ll knock the socks off your feet. So, sit back, relax, light a stogie and read on…

Stogie, anyone?

Cigars on board boats

For readers that are all in and onboard with the plan, we salute you. But we see the others out there, raising one eyebrow, not completely sold on the idea of smoking and boating. Here’s all you need to know in order to be convinced—and to convince others—why combining these two favorites pastimes into one is a catechism of one hell-of-a time.

  • Nothing says relaxation like spending the day on the water, or lighting a delicious premium hand rolled cigar for dessert after a long day. So why not put the two together? Simple math: relaxing + relaxing = prime time relaxation!
  • Ce-le-brate good times, come on! Throughout history, monumental celebrations have been the perfect excuse for many to break out their finest Cubans. Weddings, new babies, promotions, bachelor/bachelorette parties, even reunions amongst friends—all are amplified with a cigar in hand. Don’t spare the luxe now, enjoy your hand rolled happiness all aboard a boat— let’s celebrate!
  • Communing with nature is always a prime way to spend your time, and smoking a cigar outdoors is no exception. Whether it’s the fresh air, wide open spaces, or simply the time away from life on terra firma; cigars are born from nature and should be enjoyed with it.

Any way you spin it—combining two rituals that never get old, can only lead to great things. Now that you’re sold, let’s discuss some upkeep tips.

Safety is always the main priority while boating, so proper storage and usage of cigars onboard should never be overlooked.

Onboard storage

Those cigars, sure they’re high maintenance. If you want to give the ultimate experience to yourself and other guests onboard, be sure to keep these tips in mind on your next cigar-yielding experience.

  • Humidor: These can be travel-sized and portable, or if you really want to go for the gusto, get it fit for the boat. Cigars are best kept at 70 percent relative humidity, so be sure its temperature controlled and well padded—no one wants a cigar that’s been bounced around.
  • Cigar cutter: Now that your cigars are properly stored, don’t forget to have a handy cigar cutter on deck. It’s like having a bottle of wine without an opener. You’re left sad, disappointed and well, sober.
  • Wind proof lighter: So, you’ve managed to keep your stogies stored to perfection, remembered a cigar cutter, but if you thought your typical corner store lighter was going to do the trick, well you were just blowin’ smoke up your own chimney. Make sure you have a wind-proof lighter to combat the breeze of ocean life or your experience will quickly turn into smoke and mirrors (or the lack thereof).
  • Portable ash tray: Take it a step further, prove yourself the perfect host by thinking through every nuance. The last thing to keep in mind is a portable ash tray. Typically equipped with a cigar holder and a catch, you and your guests will be able to knock some ash without it blowing all over the boat or worse, someone’s eye.

Now that we’ve prepared for everything, there’s one last thing to bring the cigar lounge experience outdoors—booze.

Don’t forget to pair your cigar with a nice, smooth drink during your voyage.

Spirits and cigars

Like peanut butter and jelly, ice cream and cake, salty and sweet—cigars and spirits come as another legendary pair. No matter the occasion, as if you really need an excuse to enjoy a cigar onboard a boat, proper cigar and drink pairings are a sure way to lift spirits.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime…While we could offer you a list of perfect pairings, providing you with the knowledge to create your own matches will allow you to truly wow your friends, family, and other guests.

  • Sifting out the spirits: Much like pairing salads with the appropriate dressing, you’ll quickly fine some pairings work well and others don’t stand up to the test. For starters, toss away the idea of vodka, gin or any other white alcohol. You want to stick with whisky, brandy, rum, tequila, port, wine or beer.
  • Body, body, body: Cigars and spirits should match in body, full-bodied cigar = full-bodied spirit; simple enough, right? Cigars are categorized into three body types: full, medium and light. The biggest tip to remember is that you want both components to stand out on their own and to never have either overpower the other—blegh! Like a marriage or relationship, balance is key. Find the harmony between the two, where attributes in one help show off the other—elevating and strengthening the pair as a whole.

Recommended pairings

What, did you honestly think we weren’t going to give you a few options to start you off? After all, we must prove credible. Whether you are looking to have a good time on a budget or spare no expense, here’s a few options to get you going.

  • Whisky: For the lovers of classics. Daniel Santiago, owner of Jeffrey St. Whisky and Tobacco in Edinburgh and arguably one of the most knowledgeable people on cigars in Scotland, also happens to know the perfect whiskies to pair them with. One of his recommendations is the Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco Reserva Especial with Tomintoul 16. This special release cigar is fermented in oak barrels, allowing it to pick up vanillin oils, giving it a sweet and rich smoothness with elements of chocolate and vanilla. Paired with the sweet, light and creamy Tomintoul and you’re in heaven.
  • Rum: For the island dreamer. Cigar Aficionado’s Senior Features Editor, Jack Bettridge recommends Barbados’ Cocksput VSOR 12 rum with either the Alec Bradley Connecticut Torpedo, for a spicy-sweet and smoky mixture or the Oliva Serie V Torpedo, which takes on more leather and wood with hints of banana.
  • Cognac: For the regal palate. Former Prime Minister, Winston Churchill paired Hine Cognac with Cuban Romeo y Julietas Cigars for a classic medium bodied balanced pair.

For additional help on cigar and alcohol pairings, check out this site that breaks it down by occasion and our personal favorite, budget size.

Hey, we get it—sometimes a boxed wine and cheap corner store cigar do the trick. Now go on, be free enjoy life as a cigar-yielding connoisseur while onboard your favorite vessel.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on boats.com. Republished with permission.



Shawn Grooms