Every consumer choice and product selection is somewhat based on experience, price and what’s available on the market. Distinguishing between an average cigar versus a premium cigar can be boiled down to some finite factors when you are making that next purchase of a box of sticks.
First Some Perspective on Smoking Cigars
Back in the now somewhat ancient good old days a man or woman with a cigar in hand was held in high esteem every debutante or bachelor of the moment celebrated smoking a stick while sipping champagne.It was the thing to do in those times and there was no stigma around smoking cigars or any kind of tobacco.
Few ladies smoked openly: it was considered somewhat unladylike. But, my how tastes and culture have changed. Today you can find ladies with minimal amounts of clothing (or not) proudly smoking a cigar du jour. It’s a different world and anything goes in terms of cigar or tobacco consumption.
Why and How Cuban Cigars Came into Vogue
A deep dive into cigar history: a young Winston Churchill who was on a mission to prove his personal DNA visited Cuba and fell in love with Cuban cigars and the “modern” cigar lifestyle was born as this statesmen came into his own as a man and a global leader.
Every man worth his stuff thought smoking a cigar while sampling booze du jour after or between meals was the right way to live. And, Churchill, well the Churchill cigar today reflects his name, sense of style and character..
Must Know Cigar Terms for every Consumer: Male or Female BTW
Let’s say you are embracing the cigar lifestyle and walking into your local neighborhood smoke shop or a club with a vast walk in humidor. Here are things you need to know so you can impress them with your knowledge and make an informed decision of the right box of cigars that will taste great and give you some great smoking options in your humidor.
- Everything starts with the “head” of a cigar. This is the end you put in your mouth, it’s sealed and you will have to use a cigar cutter or guillotine to trim off the tip. Your teeth: don’t even think about it; not something you ever want to do.
- The “foot “is the side of the cigar you light using a good butane lighter. Candles: never, you might be tasting that candle wax flavor for several hours as you smoke your stick.
- The “filler” refers to the actual tobacco that makes up the bulk of your cigar. It’s usually a dried and fermented tobacco and a great deal of your taste originates with the actual cigar filler.
- The “wrapper” is the external layer of your cigar, with a variation in color from light to dark and a great deal of the taste of your cigar comes from the cigar wrapper. The Wrapper should complement your filler – a cheap Wrapper that is hastily added to the cigar that does not match up to the filler is never going to product a good smoke.
How to Select your Next Great Cigar
You can spend the next few years on you smartphone Googling premium cigar. That research is cool and it will help to fill in some blanks as you work through the selection process. But, think about hanging out with you local cigar club (there are hundreds across the United States) – most high quality cigar clubs will have a walk in humidor and a bunch of cigar geeks who will love to wax poetic about their favorite cigar.
If you are a cigar newby we’d tell you to avoid a higher priced cigars in most cases – you aren’t really going to appreciate the delicacies of a higher end cigar versus a middle of the road stick and frankly you will be wasting your money.
Selecting cigars is just like walking in to your local wine shop and picking out a Napa “white wine.” Your options are endless; but, as you move into the higher priced wines, say “north” of $50 per bottle the differences in quality are not going to be significant for a $45 bottle of wine versus $150 bottle.
Sure the more expensive wine will taste a bit smoother and a wine snob may tell you it’s a dramatic taste difference. But, this is not the case for the average drinker. You won’t really pick up on the more subtle taste differences.
Cigars are the same in many/many cases: that premium cigar for say $10 per stick versus a $15-20 per cigar price is not really going to taste significantly better to a a neophyte cigar smoker. Save your money; buy a cheaper box of sticks and educate your taste buds.
And price, that’s always a bad place to start when you are selecting a cigar. There are a ton of lower cost cigars that are under $5-10 per stick that are great tasting cigars. Focus more on the quality of the cigar versus price.
Understand cigar construction: roll a stick between your fingers, it should not feel lumpy and the body of the cigar shouldn’t have a rough texture (it should be smooth to the touch). Give it a sniff too: it should have a good strong tobacco smell that’s natural and full bodied.
As you smoke a cigar the ash should always mirror the shape of the actual cigar; if not, you are smoking something that may not be the best quality. Your ash tells you a story about the cigar you have bought; kind of like the dregs in a glass of wine: if you see a bunch of “stuff” in the bottom of your glass you may have a problem. Cigar ash should always shape to the cigar and drop off the cigar easily.
Here at Windy Cigars we carry hundreds of major brands of premium cigars and also machine made cigars, from every price point (low cost to high end). And, most of our staff are cigar smokers – we know cigars and if you have questions about cigars, RYO toacco, smoking accessories or anything tobacco related please reach out and let us answer any questions you might have about the products we carry!