There are plenty of cigar brands on the market to choose from and it can sometimes be quite an overwhelming endeavor.
Our goal is to eliminate your confusion, so you can be sure that you will choose the perfect cigar of high quality for you. This choice could determine your smoking experience. Go ahead and treat yourself to an elegant, luxurious smoking session.
Choose Your Preferred Cigar Body
The perfect cigar for you should be neither too mild nor too strong when smoking it. It should be fine according to your preferences. This depends on the amount of nicotine in the cigar. When it comes to cigar strength, there are mild, medium, and full.
The strength of a cigar is different from its body. The body of a cigar is the depth and integrity. You can choose from different flavors and aromas, such as herbs and spices, coffee, sweet, natural, etc. The flavor comes from the natural properties of the tobacco plant, not from artificial oils and sweeteners.
The flavor profile is the result of blending different types of tobacco in the anatomy of the cigar. The flavor depends mainly on its wrapper and filler.
To find out your personal preferences, you need to try different types of cigars. Here are some guiding questions for you to make an informed decision about which cigar might suit you:
- Are you a tobacco smoker in general? This defines your nicotine tolerance.
- Are you new to cigar smoking, or are you an experienced smoker? This determines if your palate is developed and you are able to recognize and define different cigar flavors.
- On what occasion and at what time of the day will you smoke? Different types of drinks and food affect the intensity of the cigar.
- Women tend to prefer mellow cigar types, and men tend to prefer more intense cigars.
- Cigar strength is rated on a scale of 0 to 10. Most people prefer cigars with a medium strength of 4-6.
The traits of a cigar also depend on its size, color, and shape. The appearance is the first clue to the quality of a cigar. With a few tips, you will easily get what is good.
Select the Cigar Size, Shape, and Color
Cigars come in various sizes, shapes, and colors, so one could get confused easily. There are no unified standards in the industry and different circles use different terms and synonyms. We here provide you with the most common and recognized terms.
A cigar ring gauge is the thickness of a cigar. It is measured in 64ths of an inch. 1/64 equals one ring of a cigar’s ring gauge and 50/64 equals fifty rings of a cigar’s gauge. Cigar dimensions are expressed as a combination of the cigar’s length (in inches) and the cigar’s ring gauge as a number without the fraction of 5 x 50, for example.
Thinner cigars burn faster and hotter than thicker ones. A different ring gauge means that the ratio between wrapper, binder, and filler tobaccos is also different. The thicker the cigar, the greater the amount of tobacco covered by the wrapper leaf. Therefore, the influence of the wrapper on the taste is less than the influence of the binder and filling. Ring gauges above 50 are considered thick by traditional standards. Thinner cigars have higher flavor intensity because the wrapper is more prominent in the blend.
If you smoke a longer cigar, it will take longer for the flavor of the cigar to intensify and you will smoke longer.
How you feel the cigar in your mouth and in your hand is also important. You can find out which ring gauge you prefer by trying the same tobacco blend in different sizes.
The shape of the cigar, as well as the size, changes the taste and intensity of the cigar. Perfecto cigars, for example, have a very intense taste at the beginning of smoking; after some time, when the burning process reaches the thicker part of the cigar, the taste becomes less intense. There are two main types of cigars: Parejo and Figurado. The Parejo (“straight” in Spanish) is the classic cigar shape. Any cigar that is not straight and varies in thickness is called a Figurado.
The dimensions of different cigar shapes may vary from one brand to another.
Types of Parejo cigars:
- Box pressed;
- Culebra 5.
Parejo cigar sizes may be in the following sizes as shown in the image below:
Types of Figurado cigars:
- Torpedo – typical size of a Torpedo is 6×48;
- Belicoso – usually, it is 5.50×50;
- Chisel – 8×55.5;
- Perfecto – 7.25×57;
- Pirámide – 6×52.
The color of the wrapper leaves depends on the types of tobacco used and the method of processing the tobacco. Sunlight also plays a role: wrappers grown in sunlight are usually darker than those grown in the shade. There are seven primary color description wrappers and many shades between each pair of colors. From light to dark, they are Double Claro (also called Candela), Claro, Colorado Claro, Colorado, Colorado Maduro, Maduro, and Oscuro.
There is no certain correlation between the color and the intensity of a cigar. The intensity is due to the filler, wrapper, and dimensions of the cigar. Still, darker wrappers are considered spicier and more robust, and lighter cigars are milder.
Decide How Long You Want to Smoke
Cigars of bigger sizes are smoked longer. It all depends on how much time you want to spend smoking. What is the occasion? A handmade cigar can burn from fifteen minutes to more than two hours.
It also matters how fast you smoke. Do not shorten the time between draws a lot less than thirty seconds because this could make the cigar taste bitter. You could also get nauseous.
You do not have to smoke the whole cigar. You can smoke as long as you like the taste and intensity of the cigar. If it becomes too strong for you, you can stop smoking and continue smoking it after a few hours or the next day. It will not taste the same. Do not store half-smoked cigars in a humidor.
You could track down what is the burn time to smoke a cigar of a certain diameter and length. Once you have that experience, you can choose the right cigar for a particular occasion. Ultimately, cigars are meant to be enjoyed so you can experience their aroma and relax.
Determine a Price Range and Brand
A higher price doesn’t always mean that you are getting a high-quality cigar. The cigar price can narrow down the brand you choose. The price of high-quality handmade cigars from a reputable factory is different from cheap machine-made cigars. There are a lot of factors that determine the price of a cigar.
There are more than 550 brands of cigars from different countries. Each brand has different characteristics for its products. Different environmental conditions of tobacco plant cultivation (such as soil and watering) and production methods determine the flavor and quality of the final product.
Premium cigars usually cost between $4 and $50. Budget cigars cost less than $2 and are usually sold in bundles. Cigars between $2 and $5 are considered the best cigars for the money. This is the price range where new cigar lovers could explore and get acquainted with different tastes, sizes, and shapes.
You should be careful when a cigar sells for hundreds of dollars apiece.
Tips to Inspect the Cigar Quality
These are the steps needed to asses a cigar’s quality:
- A cigar should not be soft or greasy. This is an indicator of exceeding moisture.
- It shouldn’t feel too dry. This indicates insufficient moisture.
- The wrapper of a cigar should be tightly wrapped, it shouldn’t be damaged. It mustn’t be too tight or soft. This indicates whether the wrapper is defective.
- The color of the cigar should be uniform. There must be no mold, darker spots, or different shades on the leaf.
- You could estimate the quality of the filling of the cigar. You can do this by spinning the cigar between your fingers as you inspect for bumps and voids. A good cigar should be evenly filled.
Additional Tips for Picking the Right Cigar
In addition to the listed above, you could visit the cigar shop of your choice and have a consultation with a professional tobacconist.
You could check out the reviews for some of the famous cigar brands like Romeo y Julieta, Montecristo, Cohiba, Macanudo, and Arturo Fuente.
Another useful source of information is the cigar ratings on Cigar Aficionado.
How to Enjoy a Cigar?
After you have selected the perfect cigar, it’s time to sit back, relax and appreciate your choice.
Pairing a cigar with your favorite beverage can enhance your experience. High-end cigars pair well with scotch, bourbon, whiskey, rum, wine, or non-alcoholic beverages like coffee.
To get the most out of a cigar, you should cut it properly. Use an appropriate cutter so you can cut your cigar precisely. You can use a straight cutter, a punch cutter, or an aV-cutter.
Light your cigar properly. It’s not that hard to do. Hold the flame source a few inches away from the foot of the cigar. Start rotating the cigar as you puff on it. Make sure you have lit the entire circumference evenly.
Do not inhale the smoke from your cigar. Cigars are all about enjoying the flavor and aroma. They burn slowly and produce heavier smoke than a cigarette, which would cause coughing if inhaled.
Ash your cigar at the right times. Do this between puffs by gently tapping the cigar in the ashtray. The ash of premium cigars could remain intact for a few inches, but you risk the ash falling off and making a mess.