So, you’re new to the world of cigars, and you naturally don’t want the tobacco shop to pull the wool over your head. Perhaps you’re tasked with purchasing cigars for a bachelor party, or a baby shower. Maybe you’re interested just for your own pleasure. But how do you choose? Here are some steps to get you started:
Know Your Cigar Anatomy
There is a certain jargon that comes with knowing a good cigar. Just like buying a car, if you sound like you know what you’re talking about, you’re much more likely to get the best recommendations or know what you’re looking for on your own. The basics are:
- The Head – This is the part that goes in your mouth. Never bite off the head, as this can produce unsavory results.
- The Foot – This is the end you light.
- The Filler – The (hopefully) fine blend of pure, dried, and fermented tobacco.
- The Wrapper – This is the paper that binds it all together. It can range in color, and this is where much of the flavor lies.
- Humidor – This is not part of the cigar, but the climate-controlled container where they are displayed. If the cigars are not kept in a humid environment, they will quickly dry out and lose their flavor. Too humid, and the tobacco will simply rot.
Determine the Flavor You’re After
Perhaps you’re after a lighter body, a more delicate taste. Or maybe you’re into bold, spicy flavors that kick you in the teeth. Cigars have a wide range of strengths and flavors, and you should know what kind of profile you’re looking for. Some people enjoy a bolder flavor in the morning to wake up and a mild, smooth flavor in the evening for relaxing in an easy chair. Consider anyone who will be partaking – maybe they don’t share your love of spice.
Inspect the Cigar
There are some clear indicators of a good or bad cigar that anyone can determine just by examining the cigar more closely. Remember the bit about the humidor? You can tell if a cigar is rotted by checking for any dark or discolored spots on the wrapper. The cigar is stale if the wrapper is cracked and flaky. Another determiner is how the cigar feels in your hand. Give it a very gentle squeeze. Does it have some give without squishing too hard? That’s the feel you’re looking for.
Do Your Research
Though it’s true that everyone’s tastes are different, and your best bet is trying different cigars out for yourself, it is always a good idea to ask others their opinions. Check the ratings for cigars that interest you. You’ll likely find plenty within your budget.
Ratings for cigars are numerical, from 0-100. Many people think that anything under 70 isn’t worth it. Make sure you’re checking sites which have many ratings for each cigar, because if only one person rated a cigar below 50, perhaps that’s just their taste. If 500 people gave this same rating, that’s a different and more plausible story.
There is no hard-and-fast rule for buying cigars, and it always comes down to your tastes. These are just a few rules to get you started, and perhaps to make you look like you know a little something about the world of cigar smoking.