[Video] The State Cigar Club: Meet Penn State’s Cigar Aficionados
I recently had the opportunity to hang out with the newly formed State Cigar Club, which meets weekly at Your Cigar Den on Fraser Street.
Up to this point, my only experiences smoking cigars were with my dad, hanging out in the backyard with a glass of whiskey in one hand, a stogie in the other, and Van Morrison radio on Spotify. It’s a tranquil, relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon, which is why I had no idea what to expect when meeting up with the club.
When I got to Your Cigar Den, I was welcomed by Ben Jefferys, the club’s president and a regular at the shop. He introduced me to the 15 or so members, a small but close-knit and welcoming group. It immediately felt like I had been a member from the beginning and had known the guys for a while.
They got right into some administrative business: brainstorming mottos and digging into ways to recruit new members — a normally mundane task that was made bearable by a good smoke. On its website, the club lists three primary goals:
- We aim to enjoy fine cigars and the fine company of friends, old and new.
- We aim to gain an enlightened understanding and appreciation of cigars and all components associated – primarily through discussion, education, and experience.
- Finally, we aim to act as a philanthropic organization that gives to the Penn State Community.
Jeffreys elaborated on the three goals and what they mean to him as a founder of Penn State’s group of cigar aficionados.
“Officially, we’ve outlined three aims for the club. One is sort of the camaraderie aim. The way that we phrased it is that we aim to enjoy fine cigars and fine friends, good company and conversation, that sort of thing,” he said. “The second aim is to educate our members from the soil to holding that cigar in your hand and the experience that you enjoy while you smoke a great cigar.”
For the State Cigar Club, it isn’t just about sitting around a fancy wooden table, puffing on some cigars and discussing what I presume is politics and finance. As mentioned above, the group’s third and final aim is to be charitable through philanthropic fundraising.
“The third aim, finally, is our philanthropic arm of the club,” Jeffreys said. “We do intend to raise funds that we then give to what we consider worthy organization.”
For now, the State Cigar Club hopes to become a registered student organization at Penn State and has filed paperwork to obtain that status. Jeffreys said that it’s prepared to move forward as a private organization if that doesn’t come to fruition. Regardless of the club’s official status, Your Cigar Den’s relatively new owner, Tony Ghaffari, is happy to host the young cigar enthusiasts in his shop.
“I bought the cigar shot seven months ago,” Ghaffari said. “To see that Ben and some of the other regulars decided to get together and create the Penn State cigar club … it’s a really great group of guys and they’re sharing experiences and they’re making friends.”
I sat down with Jefferys and Ghaffari to get to better know the club. Check out the video below, and head over to its website to learn more.