Are You A Newbie?
I enjoy a fine cigar (and sometimes a cheapo). But I’m certainly not a connoisseur. We were all newbies at some point, and that’s who this article is for. For that matter, this whole site is geared toward newbies and those who may not be an aficionado (yet).
Where to Start
With thousands of premium cigars to choose from, it can be a little intimidating. Just walk into a store with a big walk-in humidor and you’ll know what I mean. If you ask most experienced cigar smokers, or the manager at your local cigar store, they’ll usually suggest something mild like a Macanudo Cafe, a Don Diego, or a Baccarat; all good choices, too. So why start with a mild cigar as opposed to a Camacho Triple Maduro or a Padrón Serie 1926? Look at it this way; if you were learning how to cook, you might want to start by making something for yourself rather than trying to feed a banquet hall. Like any pastime you pursue, you have to start at the beginning, and with practice, comes experience. The same goes for learning how to smoke premium cigars.
Mild cigars are generally best for newbies because one of the most important aspects of smoking cigars is developing an appreciation for the flavor properties in different tobaccos. A mild cigar won’t overpower you. There are instances where first time cigar smokers lost their lunch. Remember, DO NOT INHALE regardless of how mild the smoke tastes. (If you have smoked cigarettes, this may take some getting used to.)
Although it’s true that darker wrappers generally give you a fuller flavor, they may be wrapped around a light, mild binder and filler.
Mild Doesn’t Always Mean Bland
Some veteran cigar smokers doubt this. However, there are plenty of cigars classified as mild that are anything but bland. Recently, some of the top cigar makers have begun introducing cigars with milder wrappers like U.S. and Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut. Connecticut is one of the most widely used mild wrappers and is also sought for its sweet aroma. Ecuadorian Connecticut is also mild, but with a little more flavor and a shade or two darker in color. So, when searching for that first cigar, browse the cigars with Connecticut wrappers first. Other mild wrappers new smokers may enjoy are Sumatra (or Indonesian) and African Cameroon. Keep in mind that many full-bodied cigars are also rolled with these leaves, so be sure the cigar you choose is listed as “mild” in the retailer’s store, catalog, or on their website. I would even add “medium-bodied” cigars to the mix. So also keep in mind that there are plenty of excellent, medium-bodied “first-smoke” candidates available to new cigar smokers.
After a while, cigar smokers tend to drift towards more full-bodied cigars. This is because as you develop a taste for premium cigar tobacco you will begin to desire more flavor, and the most flavorful (in terms of strength that is) are the full-bodied. Strength is only one component of the cigar however. I would say flavor trumps strength. We will talk about this in a future post, but I’ll admit I don’t always taste the flavors described in promotional material. You will probably have to try and try again until you find a cigar, or cigars that suit your palate.
Oh, and if you want to grow your own, Click Here! This guide has everything you need to know. I’m not that adventurous, I’ll stick with the professionals. That being said, I am fortunate to live in an area (an hour or so north of Tampa) where I can get local hand rolled stogies. There are many varieties and some are one of a kind.