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Choosing a cigar for a special occasion, celebration, or just for your own enjoyment can be a little intimidating for first-timers. Whether you’ve dabbled in the age-old ritual before or you’re a complete novice, there are several factors to consider when selecting a good cigar, such as color, flavors, and of course, the price. Here, we have selected the best cigars for beginners for an overall enjoyable experience.
- Where Do Cigars Come From?
- Cigar Types
- 4 Things To Consider When Choosing A Cigar
- 5 Top Picks For Beginners
- How To Smoke A Cigar
- Delving Into The World Of Cigars
Where Do Cigars Come From?
Let’s begin with a little background information. Cigars are thought to have been invented by the ancient Mayans in the 10th Century, with the earliest form of cigar-smoking depicted on a ceramic pot from this time. It wasn’t until Columbus discovered America (and tobacco!) that cigar smoking became a popular pastime in Europe. The Spanish colonies quickly became the main producers of cigars, with Cuba proving to have the most ideal environment in which to cultivate the tobacco plant, hence the popularity of Cuban cigars to this day.
Most consider Cuba to be the ‘Motherland’ of cigars, but there are many other countries that produce fine cigars to rival the Cuban experience. Countries such as The Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Brazil, and even the USA in recent years have all been producing rich and flavorsome cigar tobaccos.
There are two types of cigars – parejos and figurados. Parejos (the most popular choice) are straight-cut and are either completely round or ‘box-pressed’ in a square shape from the pressure of the box. Figurados are more creative in shape and cover all cigars that are not straight-sided cylinders.
4 Things To Consider When Choosing A Cigar
Falling under these two categories are several types of cigars of all shapes and sizes, colors, and flavors. Cigars are measured by length and ring gauge, but bigger does not necessarily mean better in the cigar world. Nor does size have anything to do with strength – that is determined by the tobacco it’s rolled with. However, it is important to note that one brand’s corona (a type of parejos) may be very different in strength from another brand. Which one you choose will depend on your preference for flavors.
When considering strength, the options are mild, medium, or full-bodied. For beginners, it would be advisable to opt for a milder cigar, but a medium strength covers most smoking demographics. Full-bodied cigars are generally for more experienced smokers.
The size (length and ring gauge) of a cigar determines how long it will burn. So if you are looking for a quick fix, choose a smaller cigar around 3 or 4 inches, or if you want to savor the flavors and enjoy the ritual with friends, then a longer cigar is a better option. The most popular sizes are 5 or 6 inches with a ring gauge of 42 or 50.
The wrapper (dried tobacco leaf) plays a huge part in the overall blend of a cigar. Depending on which type of wrapper the cigar is rolled with will determine much of the texture, color, and flavor of the cigar. When choosing a type of wrapper, it is good to know that a natural wrapper is milder in color and flavor (good for beginners), and a Maduro is darker and earthier in taste. There are several varieties of wrappers that fall into these two categories.
Another key factor to consider when choosing a cigar is the cost. A good quality, handmade cigar will vary in price depending on the brand, but a high price does not always equal a good experience. We suggest spending at least $8-$12 on a cigar for a good smoking experience.
5 Top Picks For Beginners
With all things considered, here are our top 5 picks to start you off on your cigar journey.
1. Macanudo Cafe
Macanudo Cafe is one of America’s most popular premium cigars for beginners for many reasons. Not only is it widely available in most retail cigar stores, but it is also a famously mild cigar with great Dominican flavors that are described as subtle and creamy. It has an appealing Connecticut Shade wrapper and an easy draw making it a great choice for first-timers.
|Dominican Republic||Mild||Connecticut Shade||$6-$13|
2. Romeo y Julieta Capulet
With notes of sweet cream and caramel, this mild-medium strength cigar is an excellent entry-point cigar for beginners. With a blend of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobacco wrapped in an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, this cigar has a reputation for being perfectly balanced in flavor without being overwhelming.
3. Ashton Classic
Ashton is a highly-regarded brand in the world of luxury cigars. However, one does not need to be an aficionado to appreciate the quality of an Ashton cigar. Boasting mild and creamy Dominican flavors, the Ashton Classic provides a smooth smoking experience for novices.
|Dominican Republic||Mild||Connecticut Shade||$8-$13|
4. Arturo Fuenta Hemingway
Crafted in the Fuenta family factory in the Dominican Republic, these cigars are considered a great choice for both experienced and novice smokers. This popular brand has perfected the art of cigar-making, with the Hemingway being one of its best-sellers. Notes of earth, spice, and brown sugar make this cigar an overall enjoyable and delicious experience.
5. Oliva Connecticut Reserve
The rich flavors of wood, coffee, and cream, alongside the smooth, silky smoking experience, make the Oliva Connecticut Reserve a popular choice for beginners. Despite it being described as a mild or mellow cigar, it is packed full of flavor and aromas that Oliva fans have come to expect from this popular brand.
How To Smoke A Cigar
Once you have chosen a cigar and the time comes to smoke it, it’s important to know the basics before you light up.
- Cutting your cigar. The first step is to cut the cap off your cigar with a cigar cutter. We do not recommend using your teeth unless this is something you have done before and can do efficiently. Most cannot. Your cigar cutter of choice needs to be sharp for a clean cut. Do not cut too far down, or precious smokable tobacco can be lost, and the wrapper can unravel.
- Take it slow. Once lit, take your time when smoking your cigar. If you are not used to nicotine products, it can make you feel nauseous and give you a headache if you smoke it too quickly. It is recommended to take a puff every minute or so to avoid strong reactions to the nicotine, and this will also stop the cigar from burning too fast.
- Do not inhale. Smoking a cigar is different from smoking a cigarette, where you inhale the smoke into your lungs. With a cigar, you gently draw the smoke into your mouth, savor the flavors and aromas of the tobacco for a couple of seconds, and blow out through your mouth.
- Make it an occasion. Cigars are often bought and shared on special occasions such as welcoming a new baby, weddings, or a promotion at work. It is important to relax and enjoy your cigar to enhance these moments, as taste and smell are often associated with creating memories. A cigar with friends or family can be a great way to take a trip down memory lane.
Delving Into The World Of Cigars
With so many options on offer, it can be overwhelming to decide which cigar is right for you, so why not sign up for a subscription? Monthly cigar clubs can send you a selection of cigars selected by the experts for a small cost each month, allowing you to explore the many varieties on offer. You can read our Cigar Of The Month Club review and decide for yourself which subscription suits your needs best.
Are you thinking of trying a cigar for the first time? Let us know in the comments about your experience.Tagged With: Cigars, Comparison