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We get a ton of emails and calls from web site visitors asking us: “how do I select the right cigar” and for those who are somewhat more knowledgeable about cigars, “how important is a cigar wrapper?” What about price? What’s the difference between a machine rolled versus hand made Cuban Cigar? 

You want answers and our tobacco experts have answers. Please read on. 

Things You Should Know about Cigar Selection and Consumption

A great wrapper will tell you a lot about a cigar and wrapper has a significant impact on the taste as you smoke a stick. A “standard” cigar is nothing more than a cylinder of tobacco encased in a wrapper. 

  • Once you understand the ratio of the wrapper to “filler tobacco” you will be able to compare and contrast the type of tobacco used in the filler (it’s provenance if you will), the different lengths and ring gauge. 
  • The length of the cigar has a huge impact on the wrapper vs filler ratios; bigger cigars will have more volume of filler tobacco and a larger wrapper. These will always be proportional to each other.
  • You want a cigar that has has a filler that is well matched to the binder: the filler and binders should be from the same seed variety and even foliage level. If these are well matched, you will have a pleasant tasting cigar. 
  • BTW a darker wrapper does not mean a stronger tasting cigar; this is an urban legend. Taste test a Maduro cigar as an example – it produces a mild smoke, not a knock your socks of taste by any means.

old time ad for pipe tobacc

Can I throw my cigars in the fridge and use it as a temp humidor? Short answer: never, longer answer: too much humidity in the fridge and it can ruin your cigar. 

Should I pre-warm a stick before I smoke it to give me a better experience?  Absolutely not, you will overheat the tobacco, dry it out and negate any chance you have of enjoying the cigar. 

I like smoking cigars but not ready to take the plunge with a humidor. Our rule of thumb based on ten plus years of experience is if you are spending more than $100 per month on cigars it’s worth the expense of spending $50-150 on a humidor. 

My cigar buds at the local club told me a cigar that was grown from a Cuban seed is going to rock my world. Sometimes, but not always, quality is determined by the actual seed stock (what was the origin of the seeds), where/how the tobacco plant was grown, manufactured and processed. 

  • Like any consumer goods product made out of organic materials the taste is going to vary depending on a finite number of variables. Seed stock does not trump the rest of the process. 

How does price fit into the equation when I’m buying a premium cigar or even pipe tobacco? Price is of course a determent of the quality of the product. But, your experience levels, how sophisticated are your tastes, are you just starting to smoke cigars, etc. – these factors are corollaries to price and you should be mindful of all. 

  • Spending $145 on a box of Patel Java Toro Latte Cigars (24 per box) doesn’t make a lot of sense for a neophyte cigar smoker. Yes, it’s a great product, but it’s a specialized blend and unless your tastes are somewhat developed you are wasting your money. 
  • We think price is overrated. There are so many great cigars and pipe tobacco products on the market you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to get a great product. 
  • If a first time smoker there is absolutely nothing wrong with starting with a less expensive stick which will let you build up your flavor preferences over time and ensuring you can really appreciated a higher priced cigar later. Your tastes will grow as you go experiment with different types of cigars, on par with appreciating and consuming wine.

it's martini and premium cigar time

Questions about Pipe Tobacco we Hear Frequently

For RYO Tobacco Smokers, we do get asked this question: I want to purchase pipe tobacco in bulk but possibly flavor it at home; how hard is this? Or, should I just try different flavors that have been commercially made for me? Tough to answer this question. 

Really depends on what type of taste experience you are looking for. You can buy pipe tobacco in just about any flavor imaginable under the sun, cherry, vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, blueberry, rum, etc. 

  • Try a specialized version or two of flavored cigars and for a deeper dive read out blog post about how to make your own flavored pipe tobacco at home if you are more adventurous. 

Speaking of pipe tobacco, we also get asked frequently on the phone about manual rolling machines versus electric cigarette rolling machines; i.e what makes sense? It’s really about your consumption volumes and the amount of time you can spend using pipe tobacco to produce your own smokes. 

If you only smoke about 5-10 cigarettes per day then a manual machine which can be purchased under $50 should be fine. But if you smoke 20-30 per day you are probably much better off going electric and expect to pay around $100. for this type of a machine.

What are the primary differences between the different blends of pipe tobacco?  You have three primary types of pipe tobacco (ignoring more specialized exoctic blends): 

  • Virginia, which is a classic tobacco, know for a mild somewhat sweet taste and if the tobacco has been properly grown, stored and processed, one of the best in the world and approximately 70% of pipe tobacco comes from Virginia; 
  • Burley is the second most popular type of pipe tobacco and the name refers to how the tobacco is processed, it’s air cured in open barns, helping to give it a unique taste; 
  • Cavendish is another term you’ll here frequently, it’s not really a type of tobacco it is similar to Burley in that the name really refers to how the tobacco is processed: its a Virginia tobacco that has been cut (the leaf) to accentuate the inherent sweetness. 
  • Spice is another term bandied about when people reference pipe tobacco; it is not a specific type of tobacco, this term refers to 2-3 types of tobacco that have been blended to create a special one of a kind taste.

We hope this blog was informative and answered some of your basic questions about cigar and pipe tobacco selection and usage. But, if you have more detailed questions about any of our 2,500 products or if you just want to delve into a more exoctic question or two please reach out. This is a service based business and we will do our absolute best to answer your questions.