With so many different types of cigars out there, selecting a cigar might at times seem a daunting task. The process, however, can be a most rewarding and downright fun adventure. Experimentation is one of the keys to becoming a cigar aficionado, so noting your likes as well as your dislikes along the way will aid in your quest to find the perfect smoke for you. It is all about keeping an open mind with a little patience along the way will set you on a path that leads to many wonderful treasures! So setting down a short list of criteria before you choose a cigar will help make the process as smooth and successful as possible, remembering that these are not rules, yet bendable guidelines that can serve as a guide on how to pick a cigar that’ll have your mouth watering for more.
Factors to Consider
Before jumping into the purchasing of cigars, it is a good idea to consider a few criteria that help zero in on the selection of the perfect cigar.
Consider the level of body you want whether mild, medium or full and all points in between. This is a great starting point because it will trim down some of the mass of options. If you are not sure of what is mellow or what is bold, then use the old “judge a book by its cover” rule of thumb. Generally the lighter the wrapper leaf, then the milder the smoke and vice versa with darker and full-bodied. Connecticut Shade wrappers, for example, typically suggest milder cigars and a dark Maduro wrapper leaf generally means a cigar will have much more body. There are naturally exceptions, so use this only on an as needed basis. The best option is always, of course, to trust the guidance of your full service tobacconist as they will provide invaluable knowledge and support throughout the entire process and beyond.
Flavor is another consideration, so keep in mind the tastes you prefer (nutty, leathery, peppery, etc.), as this will help narrow down the options further. If you are just starting out and are not sure of what flavors you like or dislike, then this will once again come through experimentation.
Size and shape is something that will require a little experimenting and often times you might find that you will prefer different sizes depending on the blend. You might, for example, enjoy a mild 6” x 52 Toro just as much as a full-bodied 5 ½” x 44 Corona. It is all personal preference and as your tastes change and evolve, it makes all the more important to keep notes of your impressions.
Also it is important to consider the atmosphere or the “Where” and “When” you plan to enjoy your cigar. This will also help deciding on the right size for you. You do not, for example, want to select a 2-hour long smoke when you only have 30 minutes or so to enjoy it. Select the cigar for the occasion or make an occasion for your cigar, but always allow yourself the time to savor every last nuance without being rushed or feeling uncomfortable.
A determining factor for many of us can be, of course, the price. With so many cigars out there it is no surprise that the spectrum of price is just as wide-ranging. Although it may be true that you get what you pay for, it also is true that you do not need to spend your all of your hard-earned money on cigars that may not suit you. Always smoke a cigar purely out of the desire for pleasure and not merely to impress.
Buckle Up and Enjoy the Ride
No matter the reason or budget, the search for the “ideal” cigar is an adventure that is not necessarily about the destination, but the journey itself. As with any endeavor you will invariably have experiences that may not always be to your liking. Just remind yourself that it is all part of the discovery process, which will make it all the more satisfying in the end. No matter where your quest leads, remember there is no right or wrong way to select and enjoy cigars. It is all about doing what makes YOU happy! So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!
Taking notes are the surest way to guarantee a successful journey, allowing you to revisit your thoughts as you discover the joys of cigars. If keeping a cigar journal or notebook is not your thing, then jot down a few key points on the back of the cigar band as a reference (“Mild-Nutty-Clean Finish” for example). Its quick, easy and a major benefit to you on your journey of cigar discovery! And you can always add the cigar band and notes to a notebook at a later time.
Not Enough? Want Some Customized Recommendations?
No problem! Shoot us an email, we’re happy to help, no matter what your level of cigar experience! Or, feel free to go with the following suggestions for common cigar events:
New to Cigars? – Check out a cigar sampler! These give you an opportunity to taste a little bit of everything and find out what you like best.
Bachelor Parties – How well do you know the groom? Want to go with a high-end box of stogies? Check out the Arturo Fuente 8-5-8 Corona. These sticks are relatively mild and are sure to please.
Want to spend a little less? You can’t go wrong with the 5 Vegas Gold torpedo. These are quality cigars at a very palatable price.
Poker Night – Just about anything from Diesel is a good call that packs a decent punch for a night with the boys. These are great cigars for every day at a price that won’t have you taking out a second mortgage.
Again, just let us know if we can help. We’re happy to do all we can to make the cigar experience less intimidating and more enjoyable!
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