V-gar Volado 1800
February 27th, 2017
I have never been a cigarette smoker. In fact, I can honestly say that I've never taken more than a few puffs from a cigarette in my life. It wasn't until I was almost 30 years old (I'm now 46) that I decided to give cigars a try. Since then, my love for tobacco has grown, but I have never been addicted to cigars.
Yes, there's no question that I enjoying smoking cigars. But I will go for weeks or months without a cigar with no ill effect. If I stopped smoking cigars tomorrow and never smoked one again, there is no doubt that I'd miss the cigars. But there would be no ill effects or withdrawal symptoms - you know, like the ones you see with people who quit or attempt to quit smoking cigarettes.
Why are cigars so different from cigarettes? It comes down to one thing - inhaling. Or, better yet, the lack of inhaling of the smoke with a cigar. People who smoke cigarettes inhale the smoke, and quickly become addicted to the nicotine. Cigar smokers (such as me) generally do not inhale the smoke, so there is never a physical addiction. We don't smoke because we have to. We smoke because we want to. We want to enjoy the pleasure that a fine cigar can bring.
Electronic cigarettes are a growing industry. E-cigarettes provide the 'smoker' with the same nicotine fix that cigarettes do, but do not have all the health hazards. The water vapor that is inhaled, as opposed to smoke, is relatively harmless. For cigarette smokers who want to feed their addiction without suffering the health consequences, an E-cigarette often fits the bill.
But what about E-Cigars? What are the benefits and drawbacks to this 21st Century innovation? Well, I got to find out first hand when given the opportunity to take one for a test run. The V-gar is an electronic cigar that looks very much like a real cigar. I tested the V-gar Volado 1800, which is supposed to taste like a mild cigar, with earthy tones and "no sweetness". It's Toro-sized, and is generally pleasing to the eye. It looks about as good as any plastic cigar can look. It even has a cigar band.
Upon opening the package, I discovered that there were no instructions as to how to use the V-gar. One end had a rubber cap that, once removed, revealed a black sticker. To be honest, I had no idea how to use it. Do I have to turn it on? How do I start it? After looking into this some more, I realized that I simply needed to remove the sticker on the head of the cigar, which then reveals a small hole. The head of the cigar is spongy, unlike the rest of the cigar, which is solid and hard. The head is supposed to be soft to cater to those who like to chew on their cigar. I don't like to chew my cigars, but the soft and spongy head is preferable to the hard casing of the rest of the cigar, particularly since this is the end that goes in my mouth.
Upon figuring out how to make the cigar operational, I placed the head in my mouth and took a draw. There were two things I immediately noticed. First, this thing is noisy. Now, before I go any further, you need to consider that this is coming from a guy who is deaf and has no natural hearing. The only 'hearing' I have is through the electrical impulses provided by my Auditory Brainstem Implant, which my brain then converts to sound. Needless to say, if I think this is noisy, then anyone with any sort of natural hearing will think so as well.
The second thing I noticed was that this apparatus provides a lot of 'smoke'. It's not really smoke. It's water vapor. But the V-gar provides a lot. I was quite shocked. However, although that vapor looks like smoke, it doesn't feel like smoke.
What does it taste like? Well, I found the taste of this V-gar to be lacking. It doesn't really taste like a cigar. It's certainly mild. But contrary to it's description online, I found the 'cigar' to be sweet. I could detect traces of sweet coffee. To be honest, the flavor was not doing it for me. It wasn't repulsive, but it also didn't entice me to continue.
The coolest think about this 'cigar' is that when you take a draw, the foot lights up, and the plastic ash looks like it is burning. This isn't something that the user can see unless he or she is looking in a mirror. So the only purpose this feature serves is to make the V-gar look more realistic to an observer. It's a nice touch.
The V-Gar 1800 series is supposed to be good for 1800 puffs. The company website says it is equal to 9 Churchill cigars. I don't know if that's accurate, but I wouldn't doubt it. It is supposed to be good for up to 3 months from the time it's opened. Yet here it is, 6 months later, and I am still able to use it. The 'smoke' seems less voluminous now, but it's still doing well. I know I haven't come near to taking 1800 puffs, but I'm surprised the battery is still going after 6 months from the date it was first activated.
There are a lot of things I dislike about this 'cigar'. I'm not a fan of how it feels. Not only does it look fake, but it is heavy. It doesn't feel like a cigar in my hand at all. Nor does it taste like a cigar. I can't imagine why any cigar smoker, or at least a cigar smoker who does not inhale, would want one of these as opposed to a real cigar. But - and here's the huge BUT - what if smoking a real cigar is not an option? What if you can't smoke in your home during the winter, or are not allowed by law to smoke at work? Well, that's where the V-gar really shines.
I brought my V-gar to my office, and that is where it has stayed. The first day I brought it to a partners' meeting and showed it off to everyone, blowing mouthfuls of smoke (vapor) into the air. Everyone was interested and, of course, there was no objection to its use.
Since then, during lunch breaks or at other random times, I have taken the V-gar out and taken a few puffs. I generally do this for a few minutes and then back it goes. It's relaxing, and a good stress reliever for 5 to 10 minutes. This is something I could never do at my office with a real cigar. Not only am I not permitted to smoke in my office by law, but I know of no cigar that lasts for only 5 to 10 minutes. Being able to start and stop the V-gar at will is a fantastic benefit.
Would I be able to legally smoke this in public? I guess it depends. In NY, I doubt I would be able to smoke this at a restaurant, ballpark, mall, movie theater, etc. But in other states, that may be an option.
So, what's the verdict? Well, I won't be recommending this to people except under rare circumstances. However, I foresee myself buying one in the future. Why? Because it's the only way I can come close to enjoying a cigar while at the office. When I'm there on a Saturday, feeling the pressure with deadlines looming, it's nice to take just a few minutes and blow some smoke - even if it's only water vapor.