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Marion wrote: I am a sea lover. Seems to be an interesting cruise. david martin Abrahams would love to travel on it.

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The Cigar Smoker's Bible
Perelman's Pocket Cyclopedia of Cigars 2006

A captain can’t navigate the seas without the aid of good charts. For the cigar aficionado, the best way to chart the course of his or her favorite pastime is with the aid of Perelman’s Pocket Cyclopedia of Cigars. Now in its 12th year of publication with the current 2006 edition, writer and publisher Richard B. Perelman and his staff have assembled the most comprehensive guide to virtually every brand of cigar marketed nationally in the United States of America.

This year’s edition features a picture of the White House against a stark, royal blue background. However it’s not the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – it’s actually a humidor created for the Montecristo Classic and Montecristo White brand cigars.

Perelman’s Pocket Cyclopedia of Cigars 2006 provides the critical details on a total of 1,206 brands, 1,052 of which are imported premium cigars from every cigar-producing nation except Cuba. The information is presented in a clear, easy-to-understand text that lists the cigars alphabetically by brand starting with handmade cigars. Each brand is described as follows: Brand Name, as well as the town and country where the cigars are produced – for example, “Handmade in Santiago, Dominican Republic.” Below that is a listing of the origin of all three parts of the cigar: Wrapper (for example, African Cameroon), Binder (Indonesia), and Filler (Dom. Rep., Nicaragua). Below that is a table divided into five columns: Shape, Name, Length, Ring, and Wrapper Shade. Codes are used to help identify the wrappers shade. Ma is for Maduro. CC is for Colorado Claro, the more formal name for “natural wrapper,” because the shade is generally a medium brown – the most common color for many cigars. Os is for “Oscuro,” the darkest of all wrappers, which is almost ebony in color.

Below the table is a brief description of the cigar with regard to its history, the strength, various flavors one might find in the blend, and any other particulars of interest. Here’s a good example from Perelman’s description of Baccarat cigars:

The brand was formally introduced in 1978, but dates back as far as 1871 when it was supervised by Carl Upmann. The mild body produced by the blending of the Havana-seed fillers and binder and Connecticut-seed wrapper are sweetened by the use of a special sealing gum in the cigar’s cap. It’s offered in boxes of 25 in most sizes.

This resource is so prolific, I’m constantly referring to it when writing the Famous Smoke Shop catalog and Web site – and that’s only Chapter 3!

The first two chapters offer even more information about cigars in general. In “Cigar Basics,” Mr. Perelman includes a brief history of cigars, detailed sections on the construction of cigars, definitions of each wrapper shade, shape and size, and finally, how to  properly care for your cigars.

Chapter 2 is a Cigar Almanac. This section includes facts, figures, and interesting cigar tidbits, such as the thinnest cigars, the fattest cigars, and other trivia. Did you know that there was a College Bowl game named for cigars? True. The Cigar Bowl was played in Tampa, FL, the center of US cigar making from 1947 to 1954. Mr. Perelman even lists the teams, scores, and attendance. If you want to know more about the Bacardi Bowl played in Havana, you’ll have to read the book. The Almanac section also includes a suggestion list of cigars for special celebrations, cigars that are produced in unusual shapes and wrappers, and a listing of flavored cigar brands.

Chapters 4 and 5 provide a listing of machine-made brands and small cigars, respectively. Chapter 6 contains conversion tables, which define cigar ring sizes in inches, as well as lengths in inches and centimeters.

In his introduction, Mr. Perelman begins with: “The renaissance continues.” According to him, the cigar industry is quite healthy and happy. He notes that the number of brands profiled in 2005 jumped an impressive 11 percent in 2006. The all-time high remains at 1,448 in 1999, the last hurrah of the cigar boom. Due to the concentration of brands sold in the US, the Perelman’s Pocket Cyclopedia of Cigars 2006 does not list Cuban brands. However a companion volume, Perelman’s Pocket Cyclopedia of Havana Cigars, currently in its Third Edition, is available online at and is sold through local tobacconists. It contains an illustrated section on how the Cubans grow and cure tobacco, plus an important section on how to know if you’re getting genuine Havanas or fakes – and much more.

One thing I’ve learned about cigar smokers: they want to know as much as possible about the cigars they enjoy, and they’re extremely curious as to what else is out there that they might want to try. That’s why this book is such a valuable part of one’s cigar collection. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting Rich Perelman and speak with him frequently. Besides being one of the world’s most noted authorities on cigars, he’s a good-natured fellow who’s readily available to those in the industry, as well his readers. For those who want to learn more, his Web site is loaded with valuable information, including a daily column.

“Cigar sales are up and the future is bright with more and better tobacco available,” writes Mr. Perelman. “But difficult legislative challenges are keeping smokers from enjoying cigars as freely in many cities and states. At some point, this has to change, as it has many times in the long and rocky history of tobacco.” 
About Gary Korb
Gary Korb is the chief copywriter and resident cigar guru for Famous Smoke Shop ( in Easton, PA. Mr. Korb has been enjoying the wonderful world of premium cigars for over 25 years

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