There are a lot of cigars available on the market, and trying them all will be fun. However, some cigars are very special, and most smokers have their personal favorites, just like having a favorite wine. But if you are considering getting one as a gift or looking to try out a new brand, you won’t want to take the risk of spending so much money and still end up being disappointed. To a novice, smoking can be intimidating, but it can be an interesting experience with the right cigar. This guide will cover all the cigars ranging from the light to medium strength cigars for first-timers and the heavy-bodied options for long-time smokers.
With this guide, you will learn how broad the blends’ selection can be from various cigar makers with their custom flavors, wrappers, aroma, and other features. This will allow you to understand how to begin exploring the world of new aromatic and complex blends; you will also learn new things such as cigar terms and how to smoke a cigar. Let’s dive in.
Wrapper: The wrapper part of the cigar is the single leaf used to wrap the cigar’s outer part. It is responsible for about 60 percent of the cigar’s flavor. The flavor a cigar has depends on the country of origin, the type of tobacco plant, and how it is grown, whether it was shaded or grown in the sun. Examples include Maduro, Claro, Connecticut, and Oscuro.
Filler: The filler are the leaves rolled inside the cigar; they are usually a blend of various types of leaves.
Binder: This is the tobacco that holds the cigar in place. It is usually the strongest leaf in the cigar, and it also adds to the flavor.
Ring Gauge: This refers to the cigar’s diameter, which is usually measured in sixty-fourths of an inch. The larger the ring gauge, the larger the diameter will be.
Head Or Cap: The head or cap is the end of the cigar that is usually cut and smoked from. Ensure that you do not cut the entire cap off; if you do, the entire cigar will unravel.
Foot: This refers to the part of the cigar that is lighted. You can take a whiff of this end before lighting to get the scent of the tobacco inside.
Strength And Body: These are not the same. The strength refers to how potent the nicotine is on the smoker, while the body refers to the impact the cigar’s flavor has in the mouth, the way it feels, and the richness it possesses.
How To Smoke A Cigar
There are steps to take when indulging in a cigar; these steps include;
Cut the cigar
Before you can light the cigar, you need to cut it. The trick to cutting a cigar is to cut it slightly above the extra cap line, between the cigar and the head. You only need to remove the cap; you won’t be cutting into the wrapper. If you cut into the wrapper, meaning that you cut too much off the top, it will cause the cigar to unravel while you are smoking. There are different kinds of cut; there is the straight cut, which is a classic way to cut.
Toast the foot
Whether you’re using a match or butane lighter, you want to use the heat and not the actual flame. Place the cigar an inch above the flame and toast the cigar’s foot. Keep rotating the cigar to toast it. Ensure it’s just the edges that are browning, do not char the wrapper in any way.
Drag and rotate
Once you are done toasting, you will keep using the heat to drag and rotate. This shouldn’t take long to light if you roasted the cigar properly because it is prepped to make it happen. The mixture of different tobacco types is to be smoked linearly; you don’t want to light the bottom and be getting only that taste and completely ruining the profile. Another important tip that is usually overlooked is, when using a match, make sure that the head burns off before using the stick of wood to light the cigar. Doing this allows the sulfur head to burn off so that you do not drag that taste into the cigar.
Taste the cigar
Enjoy the cigar’s taste by taking long, slow drags instead of short drags that end up creating acidity and a burning carbon taste. Enjoy the cigar by letting the smoke enter your palate from your tongue’s tip to the front, back and sides. Don’t push out the smoke in a hurry, instead gently exhale it. Also, know that you won’t be inhaling when it comes to cigars, so you just want it for the flavor. Allow yourself to think about the flavor as it touches your tongue. You can start with the basics, the salty, sour, bitter, and sweet cigars.
Ashing the cigar
The best way to ash a cigar is by lightly touching it to the bottom of the ashtray and rolling it till the ash falls off. Doing this helps in controlling the temperature of the cherry, which is the lit part. It would be best if you kept it properly lit but also cool. If you smoke you’re cigar too slow; it will go out because it has no additive. This means the cherry gets too cool, but if you keep puffing on it, the cherry will become really bright, and it will give the cigar a bitter taste that you wouldn’t want. So keep in mind that there is a balance that you need to keep between the cherry being fully lit and it being cool.
Best Cigar (Overall): Davidoff White Label (Short Perfecto)
The tobacco in this cigar is high quality; it is smaller than the regular Davidoff cigars meaning it is affordable enough to buy it. It is a great example of a mild cigar that is still full of richness and complexity. It tastes like hay and buttery smoke, and then it transitions into an earthy taste with a touch of pepper spice at the end. The filler and binder are from the Dominican Republic, while the wrapper is Ecuadorian grown Connecticut.
Best Beginner’s Cigar: Nat Sherman Sterling Series
This cigar is affordable, balanced, and is well made. It is light enough for first timers to enjoy. With this cigar, you get an example of how pleasant Connecticut wrapper can be. It has different taste notes ranging from creamy to buttery with notes of wood, cocoa, and toast bread. This cigar can be taken with a cup of coffee. The filler and binder are both Dominican, while the wrapper is Ecuadorian grown Connecticut.
Best Mild Cigars
A mild cigar is warm and rich but also soft. The majority of mild cigars come from the Dominican Republic, and they usually have a Connecticut wrapper, which is light in color. They usually have a subtle flavor that doesn’t overpower your taste buds. Examples of mild cigars are below;
Foundation Highclere Castle
The founder of the Foundation Cigar Company is Nicholas Melillo, who comes from the state of Connecticut, so he has a great appreciation for the Connecticut wrapper and the creamy smoke it makes. In particular, this cigar makes use of both Nicaraguan and Brazilian filler and binder to make the flavour profile more complex. It has a creamy taste with a bit of pepper, leather, and citrus. The wrapper is made from Ecuadorian grown Connecticut.
Other examples of mild cigars include the Nat Sherman Sterling Series and the Davidoff White Label Short Perfecto.
Best Medium Bodied Cigars
The increase of a cigar’s body has to do with how the smoke feels in your mouth. Is it oily? Is it rich? People that drink wine call it mouthfeel, and it is similar to cigars. Medium cigars are the most commonly smoked cigars; they are a middle ground. It has enough strength, and it can be paired with anything ranging from coffee to whiskey. The flavors of these cigars are usually richer, and they feel warm in the mouth. The smoke itself is also dense and rich. Some of the best medium-bodied cigars are below;
This cigar is one of the best box-pressed cigars. It was initially made to cater to the Europeans’ needs because it is milder than what the Americans prefer. This cigar is usually saved to be smoked on special occasions. It has a distinct floral taste with honey, cedar, and coffee. The filler is Nicaraguan, the binder is also Nicaraguan, while the wrapper is Corojo, Nicaragua.
Tatuaje Tattoo Series
This cigar was founded by Pete Johnson and Don ‘Pepin’ Garcia, and it is well known for its consistent high scores from reviewers. It has Cubanesque flavors that may be as a result of the Cuban seed Nicaraguan grown tobacco. It tastes like spice and pepper with hints of cocoa, cedar, and sweet cream. The binder and filler are both Nicaraguan, while the wrapper is Habano, Ecuador.
Camacho BG Meyer Gigantes
This is one of the best big stick cigars available. It is part of a bold series released by Camacho; it is 6 inches by 54 inches with a large ring gauge. However, the bigger the cigar doesn’t mean it will be more intense; it just means that it has a larger airflow, and the tobacco is less dense. It has a grassy, earthy taste with subtle spice, woodiness, mocha, and sweet berry taste. The binder is Brazilian; the filler is Nicaraguan and the Dominican Republic, while the wrapper is Habano.
This cigar has the most balanced smoke even though this cigar is usually thought of as a beginner cigar. The ESG ( Estate Sun Grown) increases their price, so it isn’t well known but its sun-grown wrappers make a more oily and pungent leaf for wrapping. It has an oily nut taste along with leather, earthy, cedar, and light creamy taste. The binder and filler are both Dominican Republic, while the wrapper is sun-grown, Dominican Republic.
Padron 1926 Series
This cigar has a mellow smoke. Padron is a well-known cigar institution, and the founder is Jose Orlando Padron, who was living in Miami as a Cuban refugee in 1964. Their 1926 series is made using natural wrappers instead of the Maduro, and it is also their most limited edition. It gives off a mellow and smooth smoke. It has a caramel sweet cedar taste along with a hint of black and cayenne pepper. The filler and binder are made from Nicaraguan, while the wrapper is natural Nicaraguan.
Best Full Bodied Cigars
Full-bodied cigars can have an array of flavors, but they mostly tend to be spicy. But there are different kinds of spice flavors such as white pepper, black pepper, and even cayenne pepper. These flavors can be compared to that of a steak dinner or a scotch. What makes a great full cigar is the richness and complexity of the flavor, not the strength. Examples of full-bodied cigars are below;
Arturo Fuente Anejo
During OpusX’s downfall in 1998, after Hurricane George created a tobacco wrapper shortage, the Arturo Fuente brand switched to using broadleaf Maduro that had been aged in Cognac barrels. People love it for the sweetness it adds to the spicy binder and filler. It has a Cognac taste with an oily sweetness and butter and nut taste. The binder and filler are both Dominican Republic, while the wrapper is Connecticut Broadleaf that has been allowed to age in Cognac barrels.
Padron Series 3000 Maduro
The Padron company grows its Maduro wrappers instead of outsourcing it; they are then wrapped around aged Nicaraguan binder and filler. This results in a well balanced, full-bodied cigar. It has a barnyard earthy taste that has hints of cocoa and oily nuttiness. The binder, filler, and wrapper are Nicaraguan.
There is a large variety to be chosen from in today’s market when it comes to cigars. It can be not easy to know which one to try out, especially if you’re a novice. However, there is always a cigar for everyone’s tastes and preferences. This guide will help you understand the world of cigars and show you some of the best cigars around.