Event: Playboy – The Book of Cigars

Originally published at lookbooks.com, May 24, 2010 – Read the full text here

“Cigars are a social lubricant.” A wise metaphor by one of the great American cigar men, Aaron Sigmond, who I had the privilege of talking to at the HighBar in New York City. Cigars are synonymous with sex and class, so in between scotch drinking and the distinct waft of cigar smoke, courtesy of the complimentary cigars made by Playboy, here was a man with a lot to celebrate. Over a period of two years, which included four months holed up in the legendary New York Playboy office, Aaron Sigmond perfected Playboy’s Book of Cigars. If you’ve ever wanted to know anything about the symbol of class and the “good life,” this is certainly the title for you.

“Playboy has highlighted the elegance of smoking since the 50s,” Sigmond said. “I’ve been contributing to Playboy for ten years. Doing this book with them was obvious.” Sigmond is a well-traveled connoisseur, growing up between Los Angeles, New York and London. He has also contributed to other notable magazines such as Esquire and Worth.

He launched the highly regarded Smoke magazine at 18 years old, so cigars and magazines are very much his forte. In between particularly enjoying house music, he has also acted on behalf of the LGBT community. His favorite Playboy Playmate is 1979’s Playmate of the Year, Monique St. Pierre.

His cigar shops of choice when in New York? “Nat Sherman has been providing quality tobacco for over 80 years and De La Concha is a another great shop.” When asked about how one should pursue the fine art of cigars, he replied, “start with your local tobacconist, ask a lot of questions, and start mild. Explore.”

So, Aaron, are the parties at the Mansion as legendary as we’ve all heard?

“Well, they called the period when Hef was married to Kimberley (Conrad) ‘The Dark Ages.’ But if half of the stories I’ve heard are true, then they’re everything we think they are and more.”