If you are reading this, then you probably have some sort of interest in cigars. Maybe you have been smoking with your friends or tried it somewhere at a party and now thinking that you would like to do it more often. Maybe you have joined a club with your friends where all you do is drink whiskey and smoke cigars over long chats.
Whatever the reason may be, you want to know how to choose the best cigars. There are many different types such as Toro, Corona, Ascot, Churchill, and many more. They also come in different shapes, sizes, and taste. Cigar smoking has been around since the 1400s and is considered to be a sophisticated type of recreation or hobby. As with all smoking, it can have severe implications from long-term and regular use, mouth cancer being one of these.
What is a Cigar?
Cigars look like cigarettes, but they are bigger, longer, and vary in shape. They contain dried and fermented tobacco and usually rolled in thick paper. Cigars are not made to be inhaled like cigarettes. Instead, you take in the smoke into your mouth and then let it out. It is purely for the taste.
What You Must Know before Picking The best Cigar
Cigars actually contain more tobacco than a standard cigarette and are just as addictive as normal cigarettes. The stench of cigars is much stronger and harder to remove from the room or your clothes. Cigars are made to be enjoyed. They are smoked in a relaxed atmosphere. They come in many different shapes and sizes, which we will look at below.
A cigar is not something you can just smoke on your break at work. It is important to not over puff as it will overheat the cigar and lose the flavour completely. It is important to also understand the difference between handmade cigars and machine-made cigars. Long filler tobacco is used for handmade cigars, whereas short filler tobacco is used on machine-made ones.
Handmade cigars are much better as they contain pure tobacco, unlike machine-made. The taste is much better and therefore if you are only starting out then you need to know the difference so that your first time can be enjoyable.
Types and Sizes of Cigars
There are many types of cigars and they all vary in size. It is important to know what you are picking and how to look for good quality cigars. The wrapper is the most important feature you are looking at when picking a cigar. If it has tears or looks rough around the edges, this is not a good cigar. Cigars need to have a smooth texture all around, no gaps or tears. Let us have a look at some different cigars and their sizes.
Coronas are part of the Pajero family of cigars, which means they are straight-sided cigars. Corona is ideal for beginners due to its size and taste. It is about 5.5 inches (14cm) long and has a 42-ring gauge (17mm). It can smoke for up to 40 minutes and is perfect for first-timers as it is the most original in regards to taste.
The corona cigar in itself contains a few variations such as Petit, Gorda, Grande, Double Corona, and Gran Corona. The Corona is the original, and the rest are made through this one by adjusting the size and shape slightly. For example, Petit has 4.5 inches in length and 42-ring gauge, and Corona Gorda has 5 and 5/8 inches in length and 46-ring gauge. Double Corona on the other hand is extremely long with 8.5 inches in length and a 52-ring gauge.
The name comes from the famous Sir Winston Churchill. This type is from the corona family also, but it is long just like the Double. It comes at 7 inches in length and a 50-ring. People tend to go for this one because they feel as if they are just like Churchill. He was never seen without a cigar in his mouth. The smoke time is about 60 minutes. You can have a long drink and relax with this tasty cigar.
A Robusto cigar is very short and very fat. It is about 4.75 inches n length and has a 50-ring gauge. It does not last as long as the Churchill with only 30 minutes of smoke time. Even though it is short, it is very much enjoyable and sits comfortably between your fingers. The taste is very strong from this cigar so beware when you are trying it for the first time.
This is a very elegant cigar as it is long and thin. It is 7.5 inches in length and has a smaller ring gauge than the rest at 38. These also come from the Pajero family. These cigars would not be a great fit for beginners as you need to have some skill in smoking to understand how to smoke this cigar in particular.
The reason why they require some skill is mainly due to their size, as they are quite thin, and have much less filler than other Pajero family cigars. They need to be handled with care. The positive from these cigars is that they burn a long time and have a beautiful taste. Once you gain a bit of experience in smoking, definitely purchase a few of these as you will not regret it.
This cigar is basically in between a Corona and a Panetela. It is roughly 7 inches in length and has a 44-ring gauge. Smoking this is not as intense as it would be with other cigars. It has a delicious taste as it is made from dried flower and cappuccino. If you want something with a bit of flavour, you should try this cigar.
Now we go into cigars which are defined by their shape! Pyramids are part of the Figurados family of cigars. The Pyramid has the body of a Pajero style cigar, but the head is very much pointed and looks like a pyramid. It is 7 inches long and the width at the top goes from 52-ring and narrowing down to 40 at the head.
The Pyramid is the largest of the Belicoso and Torpedo cigars. Because of the type of head it has, you are able to taste the flavours much more than any other cigar.
Belicoso’s look like pyramids as well but have a much rounder head and are shorter. They are only about 5.5 inches in length, which is quite small, and have a ring head of 50. Over time though, these cigars have developed a bit and are being produced in different sizes. The head is what defines the Belicoso cigar.
Torpedos are quite rare to find because they have a bulge in the middle, which needs a professional to actually make this type of cigar. They are smaller pyramids as they have a pointy head. They are roughly about 6 inches in length and 52-ring gauge. Another interesting fact about the Torpedo is that they have an open foot. Originally they were made with a closed foot.
The Perfecto cigar is narrow at both the head and foot. It is actually closed at both ends, and like the Torpedo, it has a bulge in the middle. Because of the way it is designed, it allows you to take in a tight draw and really taste the flavour of the cigar. It is not the perfect cigar for a first timer as you need to learn how to cut it and smoke it properly. This takes a bit of practice.
They come in various sizes, ranging between 4.5 inches to a massive 9 inches in length. Their ring size varies between 38 to 48 depending on the length.
Culebra is cigar is by far the most interesting of all the above. It comprises of three Panetela’s braided together and tied with a string on each side. As a first time smoker, please beware! You DO NOT smoke this in one go! They come in three braided together, but when you go to smoke it, you only take one, and maybe give the other two to your friends or save them for another day.
Many first-timers make the mistake of smoking all three together, which is a waste and not satisfactory at all when smoking it. This cigar is 6 inches in length and is about 38-ring size. Because they are braided they contain less filler to allow for braiding. The wrapper is wetter than other cigars to prevent ripping when braiding these together.
I would not suggest starting off with this cigar as a beginner because of its complexity. Start with something lighter and easier to handle before tackling this one.
Taste of cigars
The wrapper is probably the most important part of the cigar. The first time you purchase a cigar and bring it up to your nose to smell the many flavours going through it, is probably the most enjoyable, apart from smoking it. You need both your nose and your mouth, to smell it and taste the richness of the different flavours.
There are many flavours to the different cigars such as spicy, coffee, floral, and much more. Within the coffee category, you could choose a cigar that tastes like cappuccino or espresso. Within the spicy section, you could have varieties such as cinnamon, pepper, or clove. There are also chocolate flavoured cigars such as cocoa, caramel, and maple.
There are many variations to pick from to satisfy your taste buds. To get the proper taste of cigars it is important to cleanse your palate to fully taste the cigar. Another important fact to bear in mind is the body of the cigar. The bigger, fuller bodies will have a stronger taste. Cigars that are thinner will have a mild taste. For a beginner, it may be best to start off with a thinner cigar and ease yourself in.
As time goes on you can move a level up and go for the heavier cigars, as you will know at that point you can definitely handle it.
How to Choose the Best Cigar for You
Now that we have learnt about the type of cigars there are and their flavours, we can decide on what to choose to smoke. As a beginner, it is vital you watch what you buy. Make sure the wrapper is smooth with no tears or rips. This will show you that the cigar was made professionally, and it is of good quality.
Next, you need to look at the size you want, smaller is better for beginners. This is because the smoke time is less on smaller cigars, so if you do not like it, you do not have to sit there for an hour trying to finish it. Do not buy cheap cigars as they will have a lower quality than the more expensive cigars.
Good quality cigars will be costly, but also worth the money as they are more enjoyable and tastier. Don’t waste money on cheap stuff as you will get turned off smoking altogether. Also, make sure you are buying from a proper cigar shop. Genuine, well-made cigars will have several stamps on them. This means that they are properly made.
If you are planning on buying a cigar, you also need a cigar cutter to cut the head before smoking and cigar humidors to store your cigars perfectly. You cannot use scissors, your teeth, or a knife as this will damage the cigar. With all this in mind, you should be good to go on buying your first cigar as you now hold the knowledge of all different types of cigar shapes and sizes, as well as flavours. Don’t forget…DO NOT INHALE! Enjoy!