If you’re planning to pick up a few cigars as the first ones you smoke, we’ve got a few tips that will lead to a successful foray into the world of premium cigars.

1. Don’t Overspend

Very good cigars cost $5-$8 depending on size and the brand. There’s no reason to drop $20+ on a Fuente Forbidden X or a Graycliff Crystal at first. There’s a time and place for cigars in that class for sure, but not as one of your first handful of stogies.

2. Choose a Medium Cigar in Terms of Flavor

The conventional wisdom is to select a mild cigar to begin with, but there’s an inherent danger in that. You may find it a bit dull and think all cigars are dull. It’s okay to try a Macanudo Café as long as you understand it is one of the mildest sticks on the market.

If you start with a medium-flavored or one with medium flavor, then you will have an easier “Goldilocks” experience. Was it too strong? Too mild? Was it just right? If you start very mild, you won’t know how much to ramp up the flavor to the level you will appreciate most.

3. Select a Variety of Cigars and Take Notes

Consider your first six to ten cigars as research. You’ve got to invest some time in experimentation to find the type of cigars that suit you. Many aficionados keep a notebook and take notes on each stogie they smoke. It’s a good habit when starting out.

Don’t try to write a review like you’re going to publish it in Cigar Aficionado. Just take basic notes. Give it a rating on a scale of 1-10 on just how much you liked the overall experience of smoking that cigar.

Note whether or not you liked the flavor. What flavors, if any, did you discern? NOTE: The more cigars you smoke, the more you’ll be able to identify nuances in the flavor. At first, they all might taste like “tobacco,” but in time you’ll enjoy picking out flavors such as cedar, leather, roasted nuts, coffee or espresso, citrus, licorice, hay, caramel, berries, etc.

Try at least two different wrappers – a natural and a maduro – and possibly one more such as a claro or a Colorado.

4. Be Patient

Cigar smoking is a bit of an acquired taste. That doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy your first few cigars, but it does mean you’ll likely enjoy cigars more six months from now than you do the first six you smoke – unless you simply decide it’s not for you.

Excellent Choices for your First Six Sticks

Here are a dozen cigars that are worth considering for your first six-pack.

Avo Classic

Romeo y Julieta 1875

CAO Gold

Ashton Aged Maduro

Cusano 18 Double Connecticut

Cusano 18 Paired Maduro

Alec Bradley Black Market

Padron 2000 Maduro

Fuente Hemingway Best Seller

Onyx Reserve

Perdomo Lot 23

Sancho Panza Glorioso

You’ll find an excellent selection of these mild-medium and medium cigars here at Cigars Direct.