Cigar smoker or not, most people who have seen “Independence Day” can at least appreciate the concept of a victory cigar. You get off a particularly hard mission, hair matted from hours of sweating under your helmet and your traps are burning from a night of violent movement while carrying your kit. The small, oblong case has been drawn off the pouch on the back of your kit–you draw out your cigar and have a smoke with your buddy.

Or maybe it’s at the end of a successful deployment–everyone stands around a flickering fire in a trash barrel as you burn sensitive documents, light up cigars and recount the close calls and bloody victories you’ve shared while, of course, you poke at whoever did the most idiotic things. You light up cigars to laugh or reflect before you get on a plane, head home and deal with the aftermath of the action and thoughts that are now a part of your history.

I’m the furthest thing from what would typically be described as a regular cigar smoker. But there is a certain romance to indulging in a cigar after a jarring or pivotal moment that always gets to me, most likely from “Independence Day,” or maybe from seeing guys like Winston Churchill give his famous “V” for victory salute with a cigar in his mouth.

There is a huge variety of cigar brands to choose from today–you’ve got Ashton, Arturo Fuente, La Aroma de Cuba, My Father, Padron, and the list goes on… What do you pick? I haven’t landed on a favorite brand, if I’m being honest. I’m still an infrequent tourist, bouncing from one blend to the other, pretending like I know what I’m talking about when my buddies ask me what I’m doing (just like everything else I do). Although I’m obviously no expert, Holt’s is a well-known and historic cigar company with a huge selection and a great military discount! Holt’s should be at the top of your list for places to go for cigars, whether you’re looking for an occasional smoke, a veteran’s gift idea, or certainly for any cigar worthy of celebrating a recent victory.

Why is a fine cigar a nice way to unwind after a mission? Cigars have a tremendous social benefit, similar to enjoying a beer with your pals when you can sit around and enjoy one another’s camaraderie. Cigars make for an ideal opportunity to laugh, hang out, or ponder things a bit. Whether you’re imagining that you’re Will Smith or Jeff Goldblum after saving the world, or you’re simply relaxing and recharging at the end of a challenging day, a fine cigar can taste amazing when you have the chance to kick back before you put your boots back on to do it all over again. Cigars are generally more meditational than intoxicating and can punctuate a hard day’s work without the after-effects of taking in a few too many libations. When running and gunning make up the lion’s share of your daily activities, take a moment and have a smoke with the boys. A fine cigar is great when you need to taper off and recharge before the next mission is on your horizon.

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