Local Cigar Shop Welcomes Cigar Smokers and Enthusiasts!

Union Cigar Shop located at 5 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg Pa

The first thing you may notice when you walk into the Union Cigar Club is the warm musk of cigar smoke and the dim lighting which offers a cozy nostalgic feel to the atmosphere.  To the left is a mini-bar lined with a few cigars on display, a few ashtrays, and an espresso machine.  To the back-end of the cigar shop, is a cozy lounge, with walls covered with photographs and old cigar signs.  A television broadcasting an old war film plays in the corner across from the wrap-around couch.  A man lounges on the couch, puffing away on a cigar as he watches the movie.

Union Cigar Club's coffee and cigar mini-bar.

The Union Cigar Club, owned by Bill Synnamon, is located in Gettysburg, Pa. where it has stood for the past six years.  The cigar shop is located just a block off of the square in downtown Gettysburg.  Benjamin Thornton, 31, is manager of Union Cigar Club, and has been working there for about five and a half years.

The cigar smoking lounge at Union Cigar Club.

Thornton talks about the different types of cigars that Union Cigar Club offers.  Cigars range in flavor and strength, and Union Cigar Club offers a wide range of selections.

“You got your mild cigars for beginners,” Thornton explains, “or people who just don’t wanna smoke something really strong, or what you would call morning cigar…which you smoke a milder cigar earlier in the day.”

More cigar selections.

Thornton explains, “As you go up in strength…,” the next step up  is a medium cigar, “Then you get something medurally darkest.”

Cigars can be compared to drinking wine or beer, “Fuller bodied or fuller flavor richer tobacco, richer strengths or flavors…that’d be like drinking your Guinness,” Thornton said.

Cigar box with cigars, cutter, and lighter included.

However, the wrapper itself (the leaves you see on the outside) control roughly 70-80 percent of the strength of a cigar.  A fuller bodied cigar is not for beginners.  It can make a new smoker weak, even nauseous if they are not used to smoking a heavier cigar.  Trying to smoke one will, “Really knock you on your butt,” Thornton said.

“I’ve even seen guys toss their cookies if smoking like a really strong cigar.”

Inhaling a cigar is a misconception, Thornton explains, you’re not really supposed to inhale them.

“If you wanna see somebody turn three shades of green, don’t,” Thornton laughs.

There’s a lot of nicotine in cigars.  Even though you’re not supposed to inhale cigars, you can still get a lot of nicotine from the heavy second-hand smoke.

Union Cigar Club's various cigar selections.

Many of Union Cigar Club’s cigar collection comes from South America, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, and they even carry Cuban seed cigars.  They don’t actually carry cigars grown in Cuba, since there is an embargo against trade with Cuba, so you’d have to go out of the country to actually purchase Cuban cigars.

Union Cigar Club has a little coffee bar which offers up espresso, coffee, hot chocolate, and other refreshments for guests.  They not only offer cigars, but they also carry cigar boxes, a wide selection of what they call “chick cigars” meaning flavored cigars, as well as tobacco, pipes, hookahs, hashish, and butane lighters.

Union Cigar Club's hookah selection.

“Butane burns tasteless, odorless, clear,” Thornton explains they are more effective for a lighting a cigar, especially thick cigars.

Thornton says that when it comes to the price of cigars, people more or less pay for a brand name, like anything else.

“When you’re talking about good cigars, reflective with the price, cigars are rated.  When they rate a cigar, they take into account the quality of the tobacco and cigars, like wine, get better with age.  So the longer you age the tobacco after you harvest it,  the better it gets,” Thornton said.

The construction of a cigar also has to be taken into account when rating a cigar.  How well rolled the cigar is, can affect the consistency of the burning of the cigar.  A well rolled cigar will burn more evenly through so that the cigar doesn’t get clogged.  Both the tobacco itself and the quality of the roll of a cigar factor into how good of a cigar one is.

Union Cigar Club's pipe tobacco selection.

The better quality, most expensive cigar that Union Cigar Club offers is a Padron Anniversary cigar, which is out of Nicaragua.  This cigar will run you about $30.  However, price range for cigars varies state to state.

“That exact same stick in New York will cost you like 50, 60 bucks,” explains Thornton , “State to state, they all have different tobacco tax percentages and some have ridiculous,  like 100 percent tobacco tax.”

As of right now, Pa. doesn’t have a high tobacco tax, but that could change.

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