You have heard about cigars, and you now think you are ready for that first cigar draw? But then again, you cannot just get into a store and get a cigar because you like how it looks or its popularity. You need guidance on deciding which cigar is best, so you can enjoy your first time. You are in luck! I want to take you through tips on identifying cigars that are fit for beginners like you. I bet that is good news!
Cigars come in different sizes, colors, smells, wrappers, and brands. As a beginner, it can be quite daunting, not knowing how to go about it. However, with time, you will get to know which cigars are your favorites.
It is essential to understand what goes into making a good cigar. This way, you will have an excellent foundation to base your decision.
A good reminder is that cigars have a strong taste, unlike that of cigarettes. It is, therefore, advisable to start with mild and light flavors.
What Are Some of the Characteristics When Comparing cigars?
Some characteristics are considered when comparing cigars, and they include;
The cigars’ strength and body
When referring to the body of a cigar, we are looking at the richness of the flavor. At the same time, strength is the content of nicotine present that may affect the feeling of the smoke. The cigar’s body is what determines how the cigar tastes.
Size of the cigar
Cigars are also of different shapes and sizes. They are listed based on their ring gauge, which indicates the cigar’s width and length measured in inches.
Filler, binder, and wrapper
These are the main components of a cigar and represent a type of tobacco that is rolled to make the cigar. A lot of care is taken into the harvesting, drying, and grinding of the tobacco that makes up each part of the cigar, especially the wrapper, since it is the most visible part of the cigar.
What makes a good cigar?
A good cigar should be able to flow easily. You should not have to keep relighting it. To make sure it is not the case, it is imperative to get a cigar made from a good company. A cigar that is made badly have the following characteristics;
- They have an unsatisfactory draw.
- They have poor flavors.
- They require constant relighting.
Remember, we talked about a cigar giving you a relaxing and pleasurable experience? Make sure you obtain one from a reputable manufacturer of the brand.
Start with a mild cigar.
Most cigar aficionados and stockists will advise you to start with milder cigar flavors and get to grow your tolerance for them. The nicotine level will not overwhelm you. Beginning with a mild cigar is said to be like “choosing how to swim in a swimming pool rather than being dropped into an ocean.”
How, then, do you identify a mild cigar?
Cigar enthusiasts will tell you to look for cigars with lighter wrappers; they call it the “Connecticut shade.” It is believed that the darker the wrapper, the more full-bodied the cigar is. For a beginner, you would want to stay away from the ‘full-bodied’ cigars.
Another tip to look out for in identifying a mild cigar is avoiding cigars with a smaller circumference, a low ring gauge (also known as lanceros). These cigars tend to burn hotter and faster. They require a more experienced ‘hand’ when dealing with them.
Lastly, if you are in doubt of what cigar to get for starters, simply ask! Yes, asking the stockist or experienced cigar smokers to help out in choosing the best cigar, to begin with, will save you a lot of trouble, don’t you think?
This leads us to the question, what is the right way to smoke your first cigar?
To get an excellent first-time experience from your cigar, you must consider the following:
- Get yourself a calm and relaxed place to relax for your smoke. I cannot emphasize enough the need for the smoking experience to be a relaxing one.
- Secondly, get the right cigar for you. This is the main point of this article, guiding you into choosing the best cigar for your first time. Here, we are looking for something that will give you a good taste without being too much for your palate to handle.
- A cigar has to be cut in the right manner. Did you know that there are two to three caps that hold a cigar together? In this case, a cap is the holding piece of the foot of the cigar where the leaves of the tobacco leaves have been rolled. You require a sharp cutting tool to nib off the first cap in a way that does not destroy the wrapper leaf.
Lighting a cigar the right way will give you a pleasant experience. It is advised that you should not light and puff on it until it is lit. Instead, ignite your lighter, hold your cigar, rotate it till the flame has evenly lit it. This sounds so gentlemanly, doesn’t it? Just do not burn your cigar too much as it will give you a bad taste.
You have gotten this far, what next? Cigars are made with some bit of ammonium and other bitter things. These are said to have accumulated at the foot of the cigar. Therefore, the best thing to do is the BLOW OUT that first smoke. This will ensure you get to taste the real flavor of the cigar with your primary draw.
Do not inhale your cigar.
The whole point of smoking a cigar in the right manner is if you do not inhale it. The trick is to suck in the air gently and let your mouth fill with the smoke, hold the smoke in your mouth for a few seconds, then blow out, again, gently.
It is essential to take your time smoking your first cigar. Taking breaks between each puff (one puff per minute), will help prevent any severe side effects such as nausea. The cigar has to burn at a consistent pace to help you obtain and enjoy its taste to the fullest. Cigar nausea can cause headaches, shivers, and worst, throwing up. It is helpful to have a glass of water handy.
The next thing as weird as it may sound is not to tap the ash from your cigar. This will ensure the cigar does not over-heat. Overheating may create a bitter taste. Let the ash fall on its own or tap very gently (tapping it too hard will lead to a broken wrapper).
Let’s have a look at some cigars that are considered mild enough for beginners.
Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 2
This cigar is said to be light-bodied and full of flavors of cocoa, cinnamon, and vanilla. It is a blend of Cuban cigars hence believed to be made to perfection.
Quai D’Orsay No 50
This has a light brown wrapper and light-bodied. It is less expensive, as well. They say, “If a friend that doesn’t smoke shows up, give him a Quai D’Orsay No 50.” I guess that sums up how mild it is.
Undergrown Shade by Drew Estate
This cigar is mild and has a Connecticut shade wrapper that gives it a creamy and smooth flavor. You can get tastes of nuts, vanilla, cedar, cream, earth, and pepper.
Juliany Petit Corona
This is a cheap cigar but filled with intense flavors. It is said to have a short smoke time, which means that you do not have to spend a lot of time trying it.
Ashton Classic is a cigar that is quite popular and is a blend of Dominican tobacco wrapped in a golden-blond Connecticut shade wrapper. Tastes of almonds, crème brulée, and cedar mixed with Dominican spices fill your mouth as you smoke this cigar.
The five cigars are just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to choices of a good cigar for beginners. The key is to try and “not judge a book by its cover” when it comes to choosing the best cigar.
Given that there are many varieties of cigars, it is important as a first-time smoker to get quality guidelines, like this one, to give you some information to help you before you make your ultimate choice. Just do not be in a rush for a cigar.
Two main things to remember,
Choose handmade and top-quality cigars.
The need to choose a handmade cigar cannot be overemphasized enough. Get one from a well-known and trusted manufacturer.
Choose a mild cigar
Being mild does not make a cigar bland. It just allows you to get the most out of a cigar to appreciate it more in the future.
Lastly, it is good that we throw in a twist to your cigar experience. How about something to accompany your cigar? I mentioned earlier it is best to have water to take with your cigar, but other accompaniments may go very well with it. It is suggested that you may try having coffee or Coca-Cola with your cigar. They blend well with the tobacco in the cigar and, most importantly, ensure you are not feeling too dried out with your first draw.
Do you feel we have covered the basics to guide you into your first cigar experience? Well, always remember that when in doubt, it is always good to ask for expert advice from a Tobacconist.
Have a pleasant smoke!
Did You Enjoy This?
Then consider joining thousands of other people who receive my monthly newsletter. It’s a collection of knowledge and guide for Cigars and Bourbon. It’s free to subscribe. Be part of my my team.