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Cigar aficionado figures out what Big Boss smokes in MSG 3

A dive into one of the greatest questions about Big Boss.

Big Boss is one of the most iconic video game characters for his role as both a hero and a sympathetic villain. Gamers will to finally experience his transformation into the iconic villain in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, set to be released soon.

Yet, the one thing many gamers have always wondered is what cigar does Big Boss smoke?

Many have asked this question on message boards but have received no clear answer. Most people have just listed common cigars followed by a discussion about what cigarette Solid Snake smokes.

Besides being a gamer, I’m also an avid cigar aficionado with a fully stocked humidor. I’ve had the opportunity to sample a verity of premium cigars, meet respected people in the cigar industry, and blog for a local cigar club.

Examining The Cigars

To answer this great cigar riddle, I visually examined the cigar Big Boss smokes in the beginning of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater then compared and cross-matched it with other cigars.

The one Big Boss is smoking had several key characteristics shared with real cigars. Most notable is that it has a pyramid figure (often mistaken for a torpedo figure) while being mild to full-bodied in strength (based on the texture). The brand, Habano (a reference to the Cuban state tobacco company Habanos S.A.), is obviously fictitious while the logo is based on H. Upmann and Montecristo.

Given the small details while comparing it to other Cuban cigars, it appears Big Boss is either smoking the Montecristo No. 2 or the H. Upmann No. 2. They both have a pyramid figure and identical ring gauge along with a visually similar cigar band.

The Historical Background

Yet when one adds the historical setting of the game, the evidence strongly indicates that the cigar was based on the H. Upmann No. 2.

It’s no accident that the cigar Big Boss is smoking is inspired by an H. Upmann as it was also the favorite cigar of President John F. Kennedy. A day before authorizing the trade embargo against Cuba, President Kennedy had Pierre Salinger, the White House press secretary, acquire 1,200 H. Upmann's.

Another historical event to note is the establishment of the Special Forces under President Kennedy. The foundation of the modern Special Forces was established by the Kennedy Administration to combat the rise of communist insurgencies in Asia and Latin America.

With the historical context along with his background in the Special Forces and being a protegé of The Boss, it could be speculated that Big Boss was given an H. Upmann No. 2 as a gift from President Kennedy.

All these conclusions are based on the details presented and critically analyzed using my knowledge of premium cigars. Other gamers who also have a rich knowledge of cigars are welcome to offer their own theory.

Published Aug. 28th 2015

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