John Stancil, who some of you may remember as a candidate for city council four years ago, enjoys fine cigars. He talks with great fondness of setting aside time to enjoy the cigar without the pressure of needing to be someplace else or to multi-task or generally to do anything other than relish the artisanal pleasure of a cigar well-made.
Friends with Adam Palmer of Saw Works Brewing Company, he’d prodded Adam to offer cigars at the tasting room. Eventually, Adam suggested to John that he make it happen inside the tasting room. He’d never considered taking the hobby he’d enjoyed for years and turning it into a business, but the idea and the timing made sense. Thus was born Park City Cigar.
John and his wife Cynthia have lived in Knoxville for about ten years, relocating from Memphis in a job transfer. After a brief period of renting out west, they moved downtown to Central Street for a while before moving to Parkridge where they’ve lived for nine years. John is now nearing retirement, so the time seemed right for the new project. Likening the love of cigars to the people who choose to live in Parkridge, he says, “it’s a specific market.”
The space itself dictated some of the parameters of the project, as there is not enough room for a walk-in humidor. Not to be deterred, John has purchased a multi-case humidor which will hold about two-hundred boxes of cigars, which each in turn hold anywhere from five to ten or more cigars, depending on how many of each he decides to stock. He has Davidoff, Padron and high-end Fuente cigars among many others. He points out that many of these brands are not typically available to small shops, but he has a friend who is a distributor and he notes that relationships often make all the difference, no matter the endeavor.
I commented – and acknowledged it was out of ignorance, since I neither drink beer or smoke cigars – that it seemed odd to me, pairing the two. He said, quite to the contrary, cigars, like wines are broken down into flavor profiles, generally for cigars it’s mild medium and full. Given that, it’s just a matter of matching the body of each. Some cigars, for example, might be “peppery and spicy and call for a good IPA.” The choice of cigar and beer can also be dictated by the food you ate or the time of day.
The prices range widely and start in the single digits. He has very nice cigars in the $12 to $25 range. This is where he insists it’s nothing to be rushed. For a cigar of that quality, the smoker needs time to relax, and savor the taste of the cigar and, in this case, the Saw Works Beer.
The cases are interesting. I knew a humidor had something to do with humidity, but didn’t completely understand the concept. Like wine and so many other things, heat is one enemy of cigars, so the temperature must be regulated. Unlike many other things, humidity is a friend – to a degree. The humidity must be kept between 65% and 72% and the temperature shouldn’t range much over room temperature. Distilled water is used to produce the humidity so the taste or flavor of the water doesn’t impact the cigars.
Cigars are all tobacco, with tobacco leaves wrapping around tobacco and, unlike cigarettes, they have no filter. Some are flavor-infused and those have to kept separately from the others in order to avoid cross-exposure to the infusions. Kept properly, cigars should last for years. Too little humidity and they can become dry and brittle, too much and they can mold. Still, John prefers them fresh and new because he feels the spice overtones fade with age.
Saw Works will soon undergo a number of changes and one that impacts Park City Cigar is the smoking area to be found out front. Umbrellas and other accommodations will soon be added. The interior will remain smoke-free, but a back all-weather deck is planned which will also be open to cigar smokers.
The Cigars are available starting today at 4:00 PM when Saw Works tasting room opens and the shop will be open for business whenever Saw Works is open. Starting next month the shop will be open from Noon to 8:00 PM each day – even when the tasting room is closed. John even pointed out he’ll do next-day delivery for orders totaling $50 or more. He’ll also help you select a cigar to try or one to pair with a meal or a beer.
In closing he tells me, “It’s a luxury item for ladies and gentlemen which takes a commitment of time more than money.” Check him and his cigars out at Saw Works. Tell him you saw it here. While you’re thinking about it, why not go to the Park City Cigar Facebook page and give them a “like.” They have less than a hundred and really should have more, don’t you think? Also, watch this space for more news on what’s going on with Saw Works. A lot of big things are happening for the little company.