There’s been a lot written about how to choose the right cigar. Dozens of criteria that simply over analyze the simple pleasure of a good cigar.
As a cigar store owner for the last 21 years, I have a unique perspective on what people are looking for in a good cigar. Thousands of conversations over the years discussing dozens of different details - some praiseworthy, others scathing - all boil down to three basic criteria: good draw, good taste, and good pricing.
A draw is how much smoke you pull from each puff. If the draw is too easy you can take in too much smoke and choke yourself, forcing you to closely regulate your puff for the entire cigar. And that involves just too much concentration.
A tight draw, however, is like trying to suck a marble through a straw. Personally, I cannot stand a tight draw. It’s like you’re wrestling with the cigar instead of enjoying it. Who wants a workout when they’re trying to enjoy a smoke?
If you end up with a cigar that is either too easy or too tight in the draw, do yourself a favor and throw the cigar away. Life is too short to waste time trying to save a cigar that just won’t cooperate.
A bad taste can ruin your cigar time, obviously. But what makes a cigar taste badly? My thought is that you either picked out a cigar blend that was not to your liking or the cigar was too young.
When selecting a cigar, you need to know your likes and dislikes. Do you have a preference on country of origin? Do you like a certain strength or size cigar? This is where a knowledgeable store owner can help you.
If you like mild and creamy, then you will probably love a cigar with a Connecticut shade wrapper.
If medium bodied is your preference, then a nice Habano wrapper would make a good choice.
If you go bold, then a Connecticut broadleaf maduro would make you smile.
But remember that it’s always nice to try something new. There are so many wonderful combinations out there for you to experience. Think of it as enjoyable homework.
However, if the cigar you selected was young, then you can’t blame yourself for a bad taste. A young cigar looks just the same as properly aged cigar. The fault is with the manufacturer who rushed the aging process to get the cigar to market. When this is done, you get a very pronounced ammonia smell. If this does happen -- particularly if you buy a box -- then you can put the cigars away in your humidor and age them yourself for a few months or longer depending on how it smells. The ammonia smell will go away and be replaced by a sweeter aroma.
The price of a cigar can really ruin your smoking experience. If you feel you paid too much for a cigar, you could unknowingly be very hard on the cigar. Your expectations right from the start are influenced by how much you paid for it. The higher the price, the higher the expectation.
Unfortunately, you can’t look at it from this vantage point. There are many factors that influence the price of a cigar. For instance, where you live has a lot to do with price because states rely heavily on “sin taxes.” If you live in Utah, they have an 86% tax applied to cigars. Which means if a cigar is supposed to sell for $8, that same cigar in Utah will sell for $14.88!
And when you pay nearly $15 for a cigar, you expect a certain level of quality. However, what you’ve actually purchased is an $8 cigar and a $6.88 apology for smoking it. So the key is to know not only what you’re comfortable spending, but also what you like in taste and draw. Then, when you find the perfect combination, you can sit back and enjoy to your heart’s content.
But the real quest is not always for the perfect cigar. The true find that will keep you satisfied for life is the perfect cigar shop. One with a portfolio of cigars that hit all possible criteria.
Visit Boutique Cigar and experience my portfolio of cigars by creating your very own 5-Pack Sampler. Here’s my own personal recommendation to get you started:
The Adonis, which I developed in 2001. As a Connecticut native, I wanted a cigar with mostly Connecticut in it. The wrapper is Connecticut shade, the binder is Connecticut broadleaf, and the filler is Cuban seed Honduran. This blend is mild to medium bodied with a creamy buttery taste.
Fuego Del Dios- The Fuego Del Dios is a medium to full bodied cigar with a rich, nutty flavor. A perfect combination of Nicaraguan Rosado wrappers, Nicaraguan Habano binders and Dominican, Nicaraguan and Costa Rican fillers.
Adonis Maduro-This cigar is extremely well-made and boasts a rich Nicaraguan blend in the Cuban tradition that conveys a spicy, cedary taste profile. It carries a depth of flavor you would expect from the finest Nicaraguan tobaccos. This ebony cigar emits a lush bouquet of espresso and dark chocolate.
Cigar Of The Gods- Enjoy the nectar of the Gods. This Connecticut shade wrapped cigar has a sweet cap with a mild buttery blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran filler leaves perfectly hand crafted alongside a Dominican binder.
Mia Rosa- This cigar is named after my daughter, it boasts an amazing spiciness that is powerful and refined in flavor. Finished with an oily Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, which adds to the bold but mellow flavors of underlying cocoa and spice.