I recently went to dinner with my boss and afterwards we went to a local cigar shop he frequents. I decided to try my 1st real quality Cigar, and to my surprise I found it very enjoyable, it was a Ashton Maduro- found it to be very smooth and not to strong, and I liked the torpedo tip it had on it- which made for a very easy draw. I'm wanting to try a few more and looking for some suggestions on what to try and also what else to invest in: lighter, humidor etc... I don't want to spend alot until I have had a chance to see what's out there, look forward to any feedback, suggestions etc... nothing to strong yet. I have never been a smoker in the past, and want to ease my way in. I really enjoyed the atmosphere at the shop, seems like a very nice way to wind down after a long day.
as far as sizes go, stick with a Robusto sized cigar from as many different manufacturers as possible until you find your favorite. The Robusto is the same as a Churchill in diameter and composition just that it is much shorter and much less expensive. When you find the wrapper/filler/shape/maker you like, try a longer sized smoke from them.
Torpedo cigars are nice in that if you have to set it down and leave it, you can come back and clip off the damp end and relight the stick. Speaking of lighting--use a wooden match or a butane torch lighter (Colibri, zippo, etc) don't use one that requires kerosene type fluid. It will ruin the smoke. also if no one has told you, you don't inhale cigar (or pipe for that matter) smoke the way you do when smoking a cigarette. Cigarettes are an addiction, cigars are a hobby. Ashtons are great, as are Arturo Fuente, Perdomo, Ghurka, Olivia, and Rocky Patel. Thompson Cigar.com has a bunch of samplers you can get online for reasonable prices unless you have a cigar store with a big humidor.
You have just entered a world of self indulgence the likes of which will capture your soul and take you beyond heaven and earth. Welcome to the cigar world...
OK, that was a little over melodramatic, but it's pretty close to how I feel about cigars!
You did really well with that Ashton, which I have heard termed as being the "Cadillac of Cigars".
Other really good brands include, but are not limited to:
Acid (If you like flavored cigars-this is the one to get)
La Flor Dominicana
and the very difficult to find Fuente Fuente Opus X
These cigars consistently rate very high and are among the best in the world. Keep to a mild to medium bodied cigar in the beginning then work your way up to a more full bodied cigar.
Cigar cutters? There are different kinds. I carry a punch on my key ring but also have a guillotine cutter that I have with me most days.
My preferred method to cut (which many will disagree with) is the punch, simply because you don't run the chance of cutting too much of the tip off and unraveling that expensive cigar. Of course this is not an option for the torpedo (figurado) cigar you had.
Humidors? Don't bother getting one until you are fully invested in cigars and have a need to store them. For years I would only by one or two and didn't have a need for one. Later, I eventually began to buy boxes and would recieve cigars for gifts - then it became necessary. The biggest thing to ensure with a humidor is that it closes tightly and that the air is pushed out when you close it. When you look at one, simply tip the top down and watch it closely, it should come to a stop without sealing. YOu should have to physically push it down using minimal pressure to finish closing it, thus ensuring more of an airtight seal.
Ligthers? Completely up to you my friend. Lighting the cigar can be a ritual as dogmatic as spiritual as church on Sunday. Some people will only use wood matches or lit pieces of wood. Others use zippos. However zippos are usually frowned upon because you can taste the fuel from them when you take that first draw. Most smokers use a butane torch lighter because it can toast the end of even the biggest Churchill quickly and without the taste of gas. The one I own has an attached cigar punch on the bottom of it.
I hope this helps. For a more personal look into the cigar experience read my blog posting here:
SIgned on with the punch. I enjoyed cigars before I ever tried the punch, but I couldn't stand the unraveling if you went too high, or the lack of smoke too low. When a friend and I went to Vegas, we stopped at a cigar bar in Ceasars(looked for it my last trip and either missed it or it closed). I have no idea what I got, but the gentleman helping us pick them out, suggesting the punch. Wow, that made all the difference in the world to me. Now I carry one every where I go.
For me, I don't have much money to spend on them so I stick the the Cusado M1 and P1.
But in 3 months when we go to the Dominican, I can't wait to spend a little more and find some really good ones.
I'm no cigar expert by any means; I probably smoke about 10 cigars/year. However, I wanted to second some of the stuff said here. Thompson cigar sampler packs- great way to try some different cigars cheap. Padrons are great for the casual smoker like myself. Go to a good cigar shop and tell them exactly what you are looking for. There are a couple of shops in my area- the guys who work there are very friendly and knowledgeable.
One quick thing I would like to add. Online stores such as Thompson's are great for a deal, they really are. However I think is important to give a portion of your buisness to your local cigar shop. You may pay a little more for your cigars, but it's good for the local economy and supports the ability to hang out in the shop and smoke with friends. Keep cigar shops alive!
Hi there, check out our blog for tips and info on cigars (mostly Cuban) http://luxcigarblog.com/ Now onto your discussion topic...Shawn's answer was great, everyones was really. If you are new to cigar smoking try as many vitola as possible. As a general rule i'd stay away from cigars with a darker wrapper MIND this is purely based on my own personal preference. Davidoff are excellent once you are willing to invest a little more money...A humidor is definitely worth investing in, there are many different types available at good prices. Like Matt suggested, there is no right or wrong. If you prefer a five dollar cigar over the seventeen dollar Davidoff, then that's your own (personal) choice. In terms of cutting procedure, a guide to sizes and a short description on lighting your cigar check out our post here: http://wp.me/POw5K-K/ Just remember that cigar smoking is a hobby and the more you smoke the more enjoyment you'll get from your investment.
From one newbie cigar smoker to another....just don't smoke too fast, lol. I went out a few months back by myself and was in a bad mood. No one to talk to and the cigar in my hand I was toking on it like there was no tomorrow. Got dizzy, got nauseous, threw up. One of the more embarrassing moments of my life.
I began smoking cigars in college and eventually shifted to smoking a pipe. The tobacconist I frequented in those days gave me this advice in regards to choosing tobacco, be it the cigar or pipe variety:
"Try them until you find what you like and smoke that."
For me, when I smoke cigars, I alternate between Punch and Arturo Fuente.
Being based in the UK, I obviously have access to Havana cigars and exclusively smoke these. I tend to go for the more powerful smokes and have always preferred them. My favourites being:
Cohiba Siglo VI
Bolivar Petit Coronas
Partagas Serie D no 4
However, on a trip to the US for a wedding (Charlotte, North Carolina) a couple of years ago, I discovered Tinderbox; a very good cigar retailer, with a great deal of knowledge. Well worth you spending a couple of hours in such a store, asking for advice; which generally most stores are only too happy to give.
As a cigar newbie, I'd recommend you try a smaller size version of some of the brands, as these have the advantage of being cheaper than the bigger sticks in the range and will give you an idea of your personal strength preference. Whatever you don't like has then cost you less.
Never try to smoke a good cigar too quickly, it will burn "hot" and ruin your enjoyment of it. On the subject of cutters, don't go for a punch, they're a cop-out from learning to cut properly. Simply ask the guy in the shop to show you where to cut it. You want to remove the top of the cap but not cut into the main body of the cigar. It takes a few goes to get it right, so practice on the cheap ones! (I still get it wrong sometimes and I've been smoking cigars for ten years!) Also well worth asking how to light your cigars. Never use a petrol (sorry, "gasoline") based lighter, you'll taint the cigar's taste.
One major thing that will affect the taste of the cigar, is the drink that accompanies it. Try smoking a cigar whilst drinking spirits, then try smoking it with red wine, a cocktail, or even a coffee. The same cigar will taste very different depending on your beverage of choice.
As for humidors, get one of the small desktop ones that can hold about 25 - 30 cigars. This will be sufficient until you decide to invest in something larger. Make sure it's cedar lined. If not and as these can be quite expensive, you can buy a cheaper one and line it with the cedar sheets that are used in cigar boxes. Again ask your retailer, he will have tons of them lying around. If you don't get a humidor intially, you won't be able to buy a range of smokes without having to visit the store all the time, unless you buy tubed cigars.
There's something very relaxing about the whole process of settling down after a hard day, with a good cigar and a well made drink, that you can't quite get with other activities. Good luck and as Cameron Pearson said below, if you prefer a cheaper cigar over anything more expensive, that's your prerogative and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!
All of these tips listed here are great. I have just a few things to say: order from JRCigar in the net. They are usually the least expensive and have a terrific selection of cigars in every price range. If you are near one of their stores, by all means stop in and talk to their expert staff. Cheap sigar cutters work just as well as a $100 cutter. Just be sure to use a sharp cutter. Definately buy a good humidor and keep it working. The wet box is the best investment you can make. Store average cigars for several months and they'll smoke like a dream. Good luck and happy smoking!