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7th October 2017Cigarman’s Tips for Choosing a Cigar
There are three major questions to ask yourself when you’re selecting a cigar to purchase.
How long do I want to smoke?
The first question you should be answering for yourself is, “how long do I want to smoke for?” This will give you direction on size, shape and gauge. Longer wider cigars will take longer to smoke while smaller, thinner cigars make for a shorter smoke. If you have more time to spare, select a longer cigar, wider in diameter. It’s important to note, size will not affect flavour so there’s no need for concern about the quality of a cigar if you’d prefer a shorter session.
The two main shapes you should be looking at if you’re new to cigar smoking are parejos and figurados. Parejos have two straight sides. On the other hand, ‘figurado’ is a catch-all term for a cigar with an irregular shape.
The diameter of a cigar is called its gauge and is measured, very specifically, in 64ths of an inch. The larger the gauge, the longer the smoke and vice-versa. A cigar’s flavour is often enhanced by the age but also the wrapper. Cigars with a wider gauge will also take less flavour from the wrapper leaf and more from the tobacco within.
Ensure the cigar you intend to purchase isn’t blemished in any way. Marks or faults in the wrapper leaf can allude to a reduction in quality as the leaf is likely from the top of the plant and will not be as rich in taste.
What’s my budget?
Your price point will be the next determining factor and can narrow your selection significantly. For beginners, there is no need to spend the big bucks from the outset. You can start at a lower price range to get a taste for the flavours and nuances in the smoke.
Once you know how much you want to spend, you’ll need to choose a brand. The brand will determine where your cigar is produced and will include flavour notes according to the country of origin. If you are new to cigar smoking, you may like to select a larger manufacturer as it will likely give you a safer, less confronting first-time experience.
It’s now time to select a wrapper. The wrapper is often responsible for much of the cigar’s flavour and will play a big part in its strength. Take a look at our blog on understanding different cigar wrappers for a more in-depth guide to selecting the right shade for you.
The final step is to determine the intensity of your smoke. Consider the time of day you’re planning to smoke and strength of the flavours. This will tell you whether you’re after a mild or full-bodied cigar. Many connoisseurs prefer a milder cigar for morning sessions and a richer, more flavoursome smoke in the evening but, in the end, it’s up to personal preference.
What don’t I know about the cigar?
Whether you’re a novice smoker or a connoisseur, there is always more to learn about a cigar than what you already know. Use the knowledge and advice of the merchant to best make your selection.