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How to Buy Cigars – A Guide for Cigar Newbies

 Choosing a cigar is a very personal thing. There are many variables such as personal taste, availability, and budget. When buying cigars online or at a store it is easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of different brands and types of cigars available. If you are fortunate to be experienced choosing the perfect cigar should not be a problem but if you are new to cigars these suggestions may help you find a great cigar you’ll love. See suggested products at the bottom of the page.

The composition of a cigar is pretty simple. The core of a cigar which lends all of its taste is the filler. The binder, composed of coarse tobacco, holds everything together, while the wrapper is the outer layer is composed of silky leaves. The quality of a cigar is often noted in the look of the head or cap. This is the part that you will need to cut off in order to smoke it.


e size is often referred to as the ring size. The combination of ring sizes and length identifies most common cigars like the double corona - the biggest, the churchill, the robusto, the corona, and the petit-corona, one of the smallest. A basic rule of thumb is the bigger the ring size, the cooler the cigar smoke will be. It's often recommended that inexperienced cigar smokers start with smaller size cigars for instance a Corona or perhaps a Petit Corona, to build up the smoking skill. You also have to establish a taste for them before attacking the big ones that would take up to one hour to smoke.


ShapesLength (Variations)  Ring (Variations)
Churchill7 in. (6-3/4 to 7-3/4) 47 (46-48)
Corona5-1/2 in. (5-1/2 to 6) 42 (40-44)
Corona Gorda5-5/8 in. (5-5/8 to 6-5/8)  46 (45-47)
Double Corona7-1/2 in. (7 to 8) 49 (49-54)
Corona Grande6 in. (6 to 6-3/8) 42 (40-44)
Gran Corona9-1/4 in. 47
Lonsdale6-1/2 in. (6-1/2 to 7-1/4) 42 (40-44)
Panatela6 in. (5 to 7-1/2) 36 (34-38)
Toro6 in. (5-5/8 to 6-5/8) 50 (48-54)
Petit Corona4-1/2 in. (4 to 5) 42 (40-44)
 Robusto5 in. (4-1/2 to 5-1/2) 50 (48-54)
The cigar industry has made a vocabulary to describe the color, from double claro to maduro obscuro. Cigar tastes are diverse for example claro (gentle), colorado (average), maduro and oscuro (quite rich). A novice needs to begin with a gentler flavor like a claro or perhaps a colorado at the very most, as the maduro or oscuro are often too robust for a beginner. Don't rush into purchasing a whole box of cigars simply because you like how they look or smell, or simply because you like the container they are available in. Keep in mind that the region the place where a cigar is made has an effect on its flavor. For example, cigars from Cuba taste different from cigars from Nicaragua.


The first thing anyone should dowhen buying a cigar is make sure it's fresh. Cigars tend to dry up in less than 24 hours after their removal from the humidor. The easiest way to know if a cigar is fresh is to pinch it with two fingers; the wrapper and the binder should be tender. If the cigar is hard and the wrapper cracks, it's a sure sign of its poor condition.While looking in a cigar box, you should notice the color of all the cigars, not just one. Since quality cigars come in the same shade, discoloration is another sign of a bad stogie.


The second step is to cut the cap of the cigar. Cutting the cap will permit you to have a good draw; cutting too little makes the cigar hard to smoke, and cutting too much makes the wrapper unwind. There are many techniques to cutting a cigar, the use of a single or double-blade guillotine being the most common. Xikar Cigar Cutters available at Gotham Cigars are a great option. It's also possible to puncture or make a pinhole with special tools.

Third, but not the least, never light a cigar with paper matches or a gas burning Zippo, since both of them may give the cigar a bad chemical taste. The best way to light a cigar is with wooden matches or a butane lighter.

The question of the paper band is complicated, nobody seems to agree on whether to leave it or not. A band should only be removed while the cigar is lit, because the warmth of the smoke eases its removal and can break the brittle wrapper.

You are now ready to enjoy a good cigar. The smoke of a cigar should not be inhaled, but rather tasted like a fine cognac. Smoking a cigar should imply not chewing on it or holding it with your teeth. The tip of the stogie should remain dry for a better draw. It is recommended to smoke your first cigar on a full stomach and not to swallow too much of the tar filled saliva, which could cause stomach cramps.

The secret is to keep the cigar at a slow burn in order to avoid tar build-up which makes the taste of the cigar too strong to enjoy. Cigar connoisseurs favor a hand rolled cigar “hecho a mano”, over a machine made cigar. To maintain the freshness of your cigars, they must be kept in a humidor, or in a Ziploc bag with a damp paper towel. Cigars should always be kept at 70% humidity with a temperature of 70 Fahrenheit.

There is no secret to finding a good cigar. Tobacconists and online stores such as Gotham Cigars are always a good source of information for any novice cigar smoker. You can now smoke with your head up high and enjoy the taste of a good old stogie.

Suggested Products for Cigars Newbies

Macanudo Portofino
Macanudo Portofino

La Gloria Cubana Wavell
La Gloria Cubana Wavell

CAO World Sampler
CAO World Sampler

CAO Flavours Petit Corona Sampler
CAO Flavours Petit Corona Sampler

AVO Take ''5'' Robusto Assortment
AVO Take ''5'' Robusto Assortment

AVO No. 2
AVO No. 2

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