A good cigar has long been an indulgence and for some an everyday staple. With relations with Cuba warming up, it is only more likely that interest in cigars will soon explode. If you’re one of the many people just starting to get their feet wet in the world of cigars, you’ll want to try your best to avoid these rookie mistakes saving you time, money, and the awful feeling that comes from knowing you smoked a really awful cigar, or paid way too much for a mediocre one.
There’s the ol’ saying of “you get what you paid for”. Cigars by their nature aren’t an economy hobby or indulgence. Don’t expect to get the same experience from a $5.00 stick as a $25.00. You’ll have to smoke a few different kinds and brands until you decide what you start liking, but expect to pay around $8-$10 for any half-decent stogie.
While it’s always good to shop around, consider making it your first priority to find a really good shop with a helpful, knowledgeable staff and patronize them often. This may be easier said than done when you’re new to the world of cigars, but the benefits in the long run will far outweigh any inconveniences of shopping mostly at one establishment. Talk to the staff, make an effort to get to know them, and let them get to know you, they may be able to offer you recommendations on cigars you may like, new products coming out, and in some cases discounts or freebies.
You should also become familiar with tips and tricks for preparing, lighting, and smoking your cigar: Make sure you light the correct end – the one that is already cut. Prepare the end you will be smoking from by wetting it with your lips and then cut off approximately 1/8th of an inch or less (try to do this quickly to actually make a cut and avoid tearing the cigar). If using a jet lighter, point the tip of the flame at the cut edge and avoid hitting the sides too much. Move the flame around the cigar until you have a little bit of white ash. If using matches or a regular lighter, hold the flame slightly in front of and below the cut end of the cigar, puffing and rotating at the same time until the whole end is lit. If you’re done with the stick, let it go out by itself, don’t stamp or snuff it out.
Becoming a cigar aficionado isn’t an overnight process, but if you follow these few simple tricks, you can be well on your way to knowing what you like and enjoying quality cigars whenever you desire. Just remember to be patient, because it may take you time to hone in on your particular tastes.