Why Does a Cigar Mean Victory?

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When you’re the greatest of all time, nothing else will do when celebrating! Andrew D. Bernstein | Credit: NBAE via Getty Images

Give that man a cigar!

Cigars mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. For some us it brings back fond memories of our relatives, smoking away on special occasions and even offering us our first taste of a real stogie. For some a cigar is about relaxing, taking the time to just sit back and let our minds finally settle down after a chaotic day. Others only see cigars in tandem with the finer things, enjoying it with a fine glass of whiskey or scotch, while reclining on a leather armchair. But for some reason, regardless of how you view cigars, everyone seems to agree on one thing. Cigars mean victory. Doesn’t matter what it is, sports, award shows, even wars, winning is always celebrated with a cigar.

But why? For something so culturally ingrained, no one has a straight answer. It’s one of those things that just isn’t questioned. For good reason, victory and cigars feel completely natural together. Peanut butter and jelly, Spaghetti and meatballs, cigars and winning. It just fits! Now peanut butter and jelly works because it tastes great, and while you can certainly taste a great cigar, you can’t taste victory; although I’m willing to bet you it’d taste just like a great cigar! We need to look back if we’re going to unravel this mystery.

Great men smoke alike!

The easiest answer is that it comes from one of the all time greatest cigar smokers, Winston Churchill. Churchill was famous for his love of stogies, smoking as many as ten per day; his favorite’s being from the Romeo y Julieta brand. Churchill even went so far as to have a specialized humidor built into his home, large enough to house four thousand cigars! For the association with winning, Churchill’s foresight, steady guidance, and resilience in the face of the Nazi war machine was key to the Allied triumph in WWII. Churchill is often credited with the now famous V for victory gesture. Mix that with the fact that there’s rarely a picture of Churchill without a cigar, and it’s only natural the two would become associated. 

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Never surrender, and never stop smoking! Credit: PA:Press Association

That covers why the two are linked in British culture, but what about American culture? Tobacco is uniquely a product of the Americas, there’s no denying that. It follows it would have a special place in the American zeitgeist. The earliest connection cigars and victory have in our culture would have to be The Great Bambino himself, Babe Ruth. The Babe was almost constantly smoking, only stopping to eat a hot dog or drink a beer. Ruth would even smoke during games between swings at the bat. He actually endorsed White Owl cigars, but said he personally preferred any brand that made their cigars long and fat. If you thought smoking cigars during a game would hinder him, you’d be dead wrong. Babe Ruth’s illustrious twenty two years in baseball saw seven hundred home runs and nine World Series titles, all while chomping on a prime stogie. 

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The Babe himself doing the two things he was best known for. Creator: Bettmann | Credit: Bettmann Archive

But the figure to most put cigars and achievement together has to be legendary Celtics coach Red Auerbach, and his trademark celebrations with a Hoyo de Monterrey Cuban cigar. Auerbach was known to light up right from the bench as a signal that the game was effectively over. He must have had a lot of opportunities to light up, with nine NBA championships under his belt between 1957 and 1966. A confident Auerbach, boldly smoking on the sidelines with his team up twenty points, instantly became iconic in the world of sports. When someone dominates their field that much, and always seems to have a cigar in hand, why wouldn’t you see the two as inherently connected?

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The face of a man who knows victory is assured. Creator: Dick Raphael | Credit: NBAE via Getty Images

Whatever the origin, to this day cigars still mean that you have done something worth celebrating. Even if it’s just the choice to smoke a cigar, you deserve a cigar for your great decision making! Make a great decision today and celebrate with some tobacco from our vast selection.

What does a cigar mean to you? What’s the best cigar to celebrate a win? Let us know in the comments!

Looking where to buy cigars? Mike’s delivers near and far!

Smooth Classic Cigar Combo

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