The gift of gab is critical for a successful cigar shop owner, and Tim at Schaumburg’s Cigar Lounge has it down.
After a day of attending to writing business in Chicago, my publisher from Evileye and I stopped off for cigars. The Cigar Lounge is located next to a Jared jewelers on the Woodfield Mall circle, and it’s the biggest brick and mortar store I’ve been in, featuring a huge retail area, a nice lounge with three televisions, and another room with a pool table. I browsed the inventory, and just as I located the La Flor Dominicana Double Ligeros and Airbenders, Tim struck up a conversation and steered me toward their house cigars.
I’m always up for trying local blends. It feels like supporting the little guy, and it’s nice to know it’s something that’s been cared for, not just thrown in a box to wait in a warehouse until it hits a retailer’s order. Tim tells me he works closely with the guy who selects and blends the tobacco leaves for The Cigar Lounge’s sticks, and most of their tobacco is grown in Panama. I took his recommendation to try their #5 cigar, and he cut and lit it for me.
The #5 has been aging since 2005. It’s a good-looking stick with a rich, brown wrapper and a firm feel. It started peppery, but more bold in flavor than just being too hot or too harsh. The pepper mellowed after a few minutes into a strong but pleasant flavor. It produced plenty of smoke, and it boasted a good draw and strong construction that held a nice, insulating ash. It went out on me once, which Tim apologized for, but we spent enough time yakking that I suspect a burnout was inevitable. Overall, it’s a very pleasant smoke I would recommend to anyone looking for a cigar in the medium to full-bodied range.
I enjoyed it well enough, in fact, that I left with four more of his #5s in a thicker ring gauge, some of his #7s, and a pair of his Connecticut Shade-wrapped cigars, all at less than it would have cost me to stock up on some of my other favorite brands. If I remember right he said the #7 is a little more mellow, but I’ll find out for sure when I light one up later this week.
Tim has run the Cigar Lounge for about three weeks now, and he tells us he has big plans for the place, including improved ventilation, some improvements to the lounge side, and lockers for members. He certainly gave us an education on cigars, ranging from how the tobacco is grown and sold to how it’s wrapped and how to care for them. Some of it runs contrary to what we’re all taught about keeping cigars fresh, but I may take a crack at some of it and see how it goes before I share. (I can’t very well have you all chewing me out if we screw it up, can I?)
For anyone looking for a haunt in the Chicagoland area, definitely drop by and check the place out. Talk to Tim (he’ll find you first, I’m sure) and try their house blends. I think you’ll dig it.