Before we start talking about cigars, let's go over the basics:
Body and strength
Sizes of a cigar
Wrappers, binders, fillers
Cigars are often compared and contrasted by their body and strength. Both body and strength are referred to as mild, medium, or full. Body refers to the depth of taste or the intensity of the aromas of a particular cigar. Just like a full-bodied wine explodes in your mouth or a mild wine tastes watered down, the body of a cigar determines how you taste it. Strength, on the other hand, relates to the nicotine content of a cigar and affects how you feel when you smoke it.
If you search online or visit your local tobacconist, you will see cigars of various sizes and shapes. We usually list cigars by length and ring gauge. The length is measured in inches and the ring gauge is measured by the diameter and effectively indicates the width of the cigar. These measurements are then translated into common names that (with some flexibility) have an understandable length and ring gauge. The following cigars, for example, are usually close to these dimensions:
Corona (5 1/2 "x 42)
Robusto (5 "x 50)
Toro (6 "x 50)
Churchill (7 "x 48)
Start with milder cigars and work your way up
Start your journey with a milder cigar until you know your preferences. You may find that you like mild cigars overall, or you may decide that you are more of a medium-bodied or full-bodied cigar lover. However, choosing a mild cigar first will reduce the chances of experiencing the ill effects of nicotine if you smoke outside of your tolerance limits.
Most of all, we want to make sure that your first cigar experience isn't your last! Smoking a full-bodied cigar may be appropriate for some, but it can also put others off the experience. Cigars should be relaxing, satisfying, and enjoyable. Choosing a mild cigar is like choosing to learn to swim in a swimming pool instead of being thrown into the sea. You can learn the ropes without getting overwhelmed.
Here are a few tips for recognizing a mild cigar:
Look for lighter cover sheets (Connecticut Shade)
Ask your tobacconist
Avoid smaller ring gauges (Lanceros)
A Connecticut Shade wrapper refers to the color of the outside of the cigar. Connecticut color wrapper looks almost blonde (as pictured below) and is often an indication of a bland cigar.
Color of a Connecticut shade wrapper for beginner cigars
But remember that the wrapper of a cigar is only one of three components. Seasoned smokers may come across a good surprise or departure from normal from time to time, but this is probably not something that you as a beginner will appreciate. It's always best to ask your tobacconist if a cigar you're about to smoke meets your expectations.
When choosing your first cigar, we also recommend avoiding some of the smallest ring gauges until you have found your preference. A smaller ring gauge burns hotter and faster and requires more engineering to get the most of it.
WHAT IS A GOOD CIGAR?
The construction of a cigar can affect its flavor profile, maintenance, and overall enjoyment. When choosing your first cigar, it is imperative that you choose something that has been made by a reputable factory. And since taste is completely subjective, the only real way to tell difference between a good and a bad cigar is by how well (or not) the cigar was built. Some headaches associated with a poorly constructed cigar are:
Constant improvements or relights
Unpleasant aromas flavor
Bad draft or airflow
And headaches are exactly what we smoke cigars from. A well-constructed cigar shouldn't require babysitting with a lighter to burn evenly, nor should it require additional lighting. Your cigar should be the most relaxing thing you do that day.
Likewise, cigar lovers try not to overheat their cigar; each use of the lighter has the chance to change the flavor profile; your cigar will not taste as appetizing if it burns hotter and faster.
Each of the cigars we featured in our entry-level cigar sampler below is a classic cigar from some of the most respected manufacturers and brands. We don't want your first cigar (or cigars) to feel like you're trying to have a McDonalds frozen milkshake, and we want the experience not to be overshadowed by complaints and complaints; we want your first Cigar remains unforgettable.