For those who don’t know, a cigar consists of rolled tobacco leaves, and these are intended to be smoked. There is a lot to know about cigars, and today we are here to discuss the basics in this beginner cigar guide.
Choosing a Good Beginner Cigar
The first thing is how to select a cigar if you are a beginner. There are so many different wrapper colors, sizes, brands, and flavor profiles to choose from, that it can make your head spin.
One thing to note is that smaller cigars are best for beginners, as the larger ones can take literally hours to smoke, plus the larger ones are often much harsher and packed with more flavor than the smaller ones. Full-strength and heavy cigars can be too much for beginners.
Equally as important, don’t cheap out. You might think that it is your first time, so in case you don’t like cigars, you won’t spend a lot of money.
However, this is a mistake, because if you buy a cheap cigar, it probably won’t taste that good, and that will scare you away from them.
It’s not like you have to go for the most expensive cigar, but try to pick something fairly decent. Price does make a difference with cigars.
You want to spend at least $10 or $15 on a decent cigar. Do a bit of research into different brands and various flavor profiles to find a cigar that you think might please your taste buds.
The next thing to know about finding the right cigar is what size to pick. Generally speaking, there are 8 cigar sizes.
These are measured in terms of length, which is classified in inches, and their diameter, which is classified by their gauge. Here is a list of cigar sizes from smallest to largest.
- Petit Corona – 4.5” x 42
- Corona – 5.25” x 42
- Churchill – 7” x 47
- Robusto – 5” x 50
- Double Corona – 8.5” x 49
- Lonsdale – 6.5” x 42
- Pyramid – 7” x 54
- Perfecto – 4.5” to 9” x 38 to 48
Going to a Smoke Shop
When you are buying a cigar, you want to go to a higher-end smoke or tobacco shop. As with suits, jewelry, and shoes, there are many counterfeit and knockoff cigars out there.
It’s pretty common to find fake cigars, and therefore, purchasing from a reputable seller is very important. For instance, a genuine Cuban cigar will feature various stamps and seals of authenticity, so be sure to look for these.
The Anatomy of a Cigar
The next thing for you to know is the various parts of a cigar. A cigar consists of 6 parts.
- The first part is the wrapper, which is the outer tobacco leaf. Wrappers are chosen based on their smooth appearance and flavor. Wrappers that do not look the part will often be repurposed as binder tobacco.
- The second part is the binder, which is the tobacco leaf or leaves right under the wrapper, covering the filler tobacco. More than anything else, the binder is designed to hold everything together and to allow for a smooth smoke.
- The third part is the filler, which is the tobacco located right in the center of the cigar. This is all about flavor and getting a smooth smoke. Cigar makers can spend years mixing the right wrappers and fillers to achieve a specific flavor profile, also known as the blend.
- The fourth part of the cigar is the band. The band is mostly informational, as it can tell you what brand the cigar is from and the country of origin.
- The fifth part of a cigar is the cap, which is the tapered end that you draw smoke through. Remember, the cap needs to be cut off before smoking.
- The sixth part of a cigar is the foot, which is the end that you light.
How to Light and Smoke a Cigar
Now that you have chosen your cigar and know a little bit about its anatomy, you need to know how to light and smoke it.
- First off, use a double-sided cigar cutter to remove the cap.
- Put the cigar cutter around the cap, right where it starts to flatten out into the main body, slowly close the blades until they touch the cigar, and then, using a strong and fluid motion, make the cut.
- Use a torch lighter and hold it about half an inch from the cigar.
- Allow the flame to burn the outer edge, right at the foot, and create a small cherry. If this is not enough to light it, while holding the lighter about half an inch away from the cigar, take a small draw from it. Your cigar should now be lit.
- As a rule of thumb, never inhale cigar smoke, as it is too strong. It can make you feel ill, so only pull it into your mouth.
- Moreover, as a beginner, taking a draw more than every 90 seconds is not recommended, as this can also make you feel ill, plus it can make the cigar far too hot.
As a beginner, you should now have the information you need to begin your dive into the world of cigars. Enjoy!