Cigars, once the realm of manly men for decades, have begun to grow in popularity once again. The fear of “they are bad for you” has been eclipsed by the enjoyment they bring. Are they bad for you? Of course, they are. But pretty much every serious pleasure we have in this life is bad for you somehow.
Regarding cigars, I have noticed, however, that there is a knowledge gap from past generations to today. Men and women alike want to experience a good cigar but don’t know where to start. In short, people don’t know how to choose a cigar. The scenario plays out across the country nightly. You are out with friends, and they decide they want to smoke cigars. You have no experience buying cigars and are hesitant to put your lack of cigar knowledge on public display. My experience, however, has been that most, if not all, of your friends, are suffering from the same lack of knowledge. With a bit of guidance, you can become the hero of the guy’s night out and pick a cigar like a pro.
Before we get started, it is essential to know that the world of cigars is very much like Scotch. It is full of intricacies and subtleties. If you are serious about cigars, then research and education sessions will be in your best interest. This article, however, is a “break glass in case of emergency” piece and a general survival guide to buying a cigar. Before we get into the technicalities, I have to say this. Buy your cigar from a professional tobacconist.
Serious cigar shops and clubs are the best places. If you are going to buy a cigar at the gas station, then please just stop reading this right now. Now that we have that out of the way, the question will be – want are you looking for? Are you looking for a rich, flavor full, body cigar, or are you looking for a beginner cigar that will be a little easier to smoke?
Without going into too much detail, the cigar’s color can indicate what the flavor will be like. The cigar wrapper’s color indicates how much fermentation and oxidation the tobacco leaf has gone through. The darker the color, the greater the degree of fermentation and the denser the flavor. While not 100% the case in every situation, it is an excellent general guideline. Some cigars have lighter wrappers but are still very strong because of the tobacco the maker chose to put inside. When selecting your first cigar, I recommend avoiding some of the smallest ring gauges until you find your preference. A smaller ring gauge will burn hotter and faster and require more technique to enjoy the most.
If this is your first cigar, I encourage you to go with the lighter-colored stick.
The darker the cigar is on the outside, the stronger the flavor will be. Once again, this is a general guideline because the actual tobacco inside the cigar may vary. A lighter-colored cigar I suggest is a Connecticut. Connecticut shade wrappers are almost blonde in appearance and are often an indication of a mild cigar. If you are feeling a little more daring, you can go with a medium-colored cigar, Such as a colorado color. These are a good balance between flavors but will not be overwhelming. The next step up we have is the Maduro, one of the world’s most popular cigars. They have rich deep flavor without being overwhelming. However, if you are a diehard hardcore cigar smoker, you might consider an Oscuro. These are full-flavored and potent sticks, to say the least. Definitely not a beginner cigar.
A couple of points to remember when you’re choosing a cigar. The fact is that while we don’t inhale cigars, they still contain nicotine. The nicotine is absorbed in the mouth. Sticks with a very high nicotine content can overwhelm the new cigar smoker. The lighter the cigar, the less potent it will be. As you move darker color cigar is cigars become more powerful. These potent cigars, to the uninitiated, can actually cause nausea.
Once again, I encourage you to start light, work your way up, and find the cigar that fits you best. While searching for a cigar, I encourage you to ask questions about what they have available. Serious cigar shops and clubs are well versed in helping you choose a cigar that fits you best. They want you to have the best experience possible, so take their tips to heart. When in doubt, go with a lighter-colored cigar. You can never go wrong, and it will help you avoid turning green in front of your friends. Educate yourself and enjoy the rich and exciting world of cigars