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CIGARS 101

Choosing A Cigar

Any cigar aficionado knows that the best way to truly appreciate a good smoke is by knowing exactly how to choose the right cigar for your own unique palate. This can be something of second nature to cigar pros but can be very challenging for the rest of us. Luckily, we’ve put together a guide that’ll show you the best route to take when it comes to choosing a cigar. Learning how to choose a good cigar takes time and patience, as every cigar will have a number of different attributes that will affect it taste. There are many different processes that manufacturers can undertake when assembling the cigar, different cigar ring sizes to take into account, varying lengths, all sorts of different wrapper types, and also the cigar blend itself. In addition to that, cigars can come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, and those things will also affect the overall experience you have while smoking it.

Generally speaking, cigars are made in one of three ways. They can be handmade, machine made, or “hand rolled,” the last of which sounds similar to “handmade,” but is actually quite different. Handmade – These cigars are those that are completely made by hand with no machinery used in the process. These types of cigars can be identified by the long filler it uses, as the tobacco leaf itself will often span the length of the entire cigar. Machine made – These are almost entirely made from a machine. These are mass-produced in factories and shipped out wholesale and found in most convenience stores and shops. They can be identified by their short filler (short leaves) and an artificial wrapper that’s used to provide extra strength while it goes through the machining process. Hand rolled – These cigars will use a machine during some of the process. The machine bunches the filler together to then be passed off to be wrapped by a human roller. For these types of cigars, the filler will be smaller based upon how big the cigar itself is. Of the above three types of cigars, handmade cigars are considered the best by serious aficionados when it comes to flavor and overall experience

The Creation of a Cigar
Flavor and Taste

While the way in which a cigar is rolled is a very important factor to consider, it’s also important to choose the right wrapper and blend. The wrapper makes up only 10% of the mass of the cigar, but there’s a ton of debate surrounding just how much it affects its overall taste. There are a variety of different wrappers to choose from, each with their own distinct flavors. Let’s take a closer look at them: Double Claro – These are light green in color with a taste that’s somewhat sweet. Claro – This type of wrapper is a very light tan and will produce an equally light and mild flavor. Colorado Claro – This will have a medium brown hue and will give the smoker a medium and smooth taste. Colorado – Medium brown with a touch of red; they will often have a touch of spice while producing a bit stronger of a taste than Colorado Claros. Colorado Maduro – This step between Colorado and Maduro will offer a blend of both. Maduro – The color of these will be dark brown and sometimes even black. The taste is often rich and very smooth. Oscuro – These are black in color and will produce an incredibly strong taste, which is often too much for many smokers. A good tip for beginners is to start off with lighter-colored and milder flavored options, but don’t be afraid to branch out when you’re feeling adventurous! Aside from that, there’s a school of thought in the cigar community that states it’s best to smoke milder cigars earlier on in the day and slowly increase strength throughout. However, the most important rule is to make sure you have the time to enjoy your cigar in peace in order to fully appreciate the complexity of its flavor and draw.

Shapes and Sizes

There are all sorts of sizes and shapes that cigars come in. Learning all the different terminology can seem confusing at first, but generally speaking, there are two families of cigar shapes: Straight-sided – These are also sometimes called Parejos. Like the English name implies, these are cigars with straight edges. Popular versions include Churchills, Coronas, Double Coronas, Robustos, and Lonsdales. Figurados – These cigars have unusual shapes. Popular Figurados include Pyramids, Perfectos, Belicosos, and Torpedos. There are many type of shapes and sizes to take into account, so it’s important to branch out and experiment with different types to see which one suits your own palate. Overall, the most important thing to remember when choosing a cigar is to have fun and be open to new experiences.