6 Cigars for Beginners that Don’t Skimp on Flavor

by Billy Ferriolo
6 Cigars for Beginners that Don’t Skimp on Flavor


It’s enough already. All this coddling of beginners.

If you’re new to cigars, but you’re tired of mild Connecticuts, this is the post for you.

On this list, we’ve got six cigars that don’t go past medium strength, but that still bring a wealth of flavor and, in some cases, body. As you go along in your journey to deepen your enjoyment of cigars and experience new smokes, you will eventually find that you’re ready to take the next step.

When that day comes, these are the smokes for you.

We, of course, advocate for starting your cigar journey with milder smokes, but you won’t always want to stay there. You may still consider yourself a beginner today, but that doesn’t mean you’re not able to take a little bit of a chance on some cigars that are more interesting.

Below are a few different ways to branch out. There’s a bold smoke, a flavored smoke, and even (gasp!) a maduro. Don’t worry, you can handle it. Take your time, don’t pull too many draws too fast, and you’ll be leveling up before too long. You’re not stuck with coffee and light cedar for life. There’s a world of variety waiting for you, and it’s right through this door…

#1. The Oh-So-Creamy Espinosa Crema

The Espinosa Crema is the smallest step forward you could take. It’s mild-medium, so you’re getting a touch more intensity. The flavor also takes a stand in favor of creaminess. You’ll notice that “dessert” is something of a theme with these smokes, and this beginner cigar is no different.

Inside, there’s Nicaraguan filler and binder tobacco, which gives the smoke a little life and a small kick. Outside that, you get a Ecuadorian Connecticut-seed wrapper for that delicious smoothness.

At the end of the day, this one delivers a high quality beginner smoking experience and earned a 91-point rating with Cigar Aficionado. Each puff carries a luscious cedar core that finishes into a battle between vanilla and light cocoa. When you light this one up, you’re stepping outside of the standard “morning coffee sticks” to find something that adds a bit of intensity, flavor, and complexity. Nothing too crazy – we’re barely cranking up the volume here. But we are adding some elements to the basic cigar experience.

Baby steps are sometimes best. But maybe you’re ready for something more risky? Let’s grab a beginner flavored cigar.

#2. Flavor Like You’ve Never Seen: the Drew Estate ACID Roam

There are basic cigars out there that bring flavor.

Many are coffee-infused, while others use popular flavors like chocolate, cherry, honey, and of course, alcohol. Hell, Gurkha reaches all the way across the bar to create the His Majesty’s Reserve, a thousand-dollar cigar infused with Louis XIII Cognac. Now that’s flavor!

But we’re not going there today. Instead, for beginners, we’re recommending that you sample Drew Estate’s ACID Roam (the ACID Blondie is also a best-seller that is many people’s first modern smoke, but it’s recommended so much that we had to showcase another of the ACID line. There’s like two dozen smokes and there’s no reason to be limited to the Blondie for ever and ever, as much as we love delicious blondes with gorgeous shapes… what were we talking about? Right, cigars).

So the ACID line is infused with a secret variety of herbs, aromatics, and oils. It’s a little like the KFC of cigars (which Drew Estate also has. No lie – they have a Kentucky Fire Cured cigar. Try it at cookouts!). The flavor is quite seductive and enjoyable, and it’s not overpowering at all. In fact, it’s strongest as an aroma, and an ACID cigar tastes a lot more like a natural cigar once you get into the middle of it.

Since this is a Drew Estate smoke, there’s high quality Nicaraguan tobacco used for the filler and binder, and the Connecticut wrapper completes the package. In addition to the mysterious ACID process, the Roam is also cask-cured in oak barrels, we here. It’s another mild medium smoke to help you branch out from ordinary and try something with a bit more personality.

Now for some intensity.

#3. Stepping it Up to Medium: CAO Gold

Okay, so this one is a medium strength cigar for beginners. It won’t hurt you, but the general advice about cigars bears repeating – take it slow. Cigars aren’t meant to be sucked down like milkshakes on a hot summer day. Instead, you’re supposed to take a draw, exhale, and then enjoy for a moment. Listen to the sounds of the outdoors, or to your music… or to nothing at all. Then maybe head back for another puff. It’s about drawing just often enough to keep your cigar lit.

It’s a relaxing float down the river, not a speedboat race to the finish.

With that in mind, you can handle a medium smoke if you go slowly. The CAO Gold is one of the kinder sticks to introduce you to the world of medium strength tobacco as a beginner. It’s one of CAO’s first 90-rated cigars, and helped the brand build a reputation and carve out a little piece of the market.

Inside, it’s traditional Cuban-seed Nicaraguan filler tobacco, finished with an Ecuador Connecticut wrapper, which is probably familiar to you by now. The classic tobacco brings quite an intriguing array of flavors to the smoking experience. Sweet herbal earthiness, a hint of pepper, and the flavor of light cocoa bean are joined by leather and even roasted nuts in this one. If you’ve been bored to sleep by your first super milds, this one should wake you up a bit.

CAO is known for creating some pretty interesting blends. Let this be the first one you check out as you make your journey from beginner to novice.

Now let’s get you a flavorful Nicaraguan smoke.

#4. A Nicaraguan Cigar for Beginners: Crux Epicure

Looking for Flavor Country? It was sued out of existence, last we heard. But the next best thing is right here in the Crux Epicure, a great Nicaraguan cigar for beginners. This one has flavors that are really on point if you love meghli. Never heard of it? In certain middle eastern cultures, they make a nice spice pudding to celebrate the birth of a child (the Wikipedia editorial community wouldn’t lie to us, would they?) Cinnamon, nuts, and other spices are featured, and also can be found represented in the flavor profile of the Crux Epicure cigar. You’ll also get creamy smoothness, honey, lemon, and aromatic wood on the finish.

This thing is definitely a cigar that will help beginners break out of conservative mild cigar smoking experiences and move into something with more character. Somehow, all of this comes from a Nicaraguan filler and binder and a rich Ecuadorian Connecticut shade-grown tobacco for the wrapper. The strength is at mild-medium, and at 90 points from Cigar Aficionado, this is another quality smoke for beginners to add to their humidors.

Wait, do you beginners have humidors yet, or are you still in the tupperdor stage? Well, wherever you’re at, this smoke belongs in your “Next Step” section of your cigar storage solution. We hope you enjoy them enough to inspire a greater love of cigars that has you upgrading from a Ziploc bag to something more appropriate for a premium handmade product like high quality cigars. We know that things are uncertain there in the early stages of the cigar hobby, but with smokes like this one, you’ll soon be:

One of us!
One of us!
One of us!

Uh, don’t worry about the chanting. We’ve been on the full strength belicosos all afternoon and we’re getting a little loopy at this point.

#5. A Maduro Cigar for Beginners: Ashton Aged Maduro

If you’ve followed most advice out there, you’ve probably stuck to the lighter side of cigars not just in terms of strength, but also in terms of color.

That all can end now.

You might be surprised to hear that maduro cigars (those that use a fermented, dark leaf as the wrapper) actually can lose some strength in exchange for sweetness and complex, earthy flavor. Those tobacco leaves that are used on the outside of so many cigars actually become more mellow when they are turned into maduro (“mature”) tobacco. The fermentation process decreases the nicotine content of the leaf, leading sometimes to a more interesting flavor without all the intensity.

We say “sometimes” because there are plenty of dark smokes out there that, due to the other tobaccos in the blend, wind up as full strength cigars. The real lesson is: don’t just a cigar by its cover (leaf).

All of that is a long way to say that the Ashton Aged Maduro is a fine stick to serve as a beginner maduro cigar.

It actually comes in at medium strength at the end of the day, and has such a nice flavor profile that the judges at Cigar Aficionado gave it an impressive 92 rating. The Dominican filler and binder tobacco, paired with the fermented and aged genuine USA Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, bring in a number of dark and sweet tastes, including cocoa, molasses, and caramel.

You don’t have to be scared of the dark anymore. This is a beginner maduro cigar that you can trust to take you into the night and never leave you lonely (unlike your ex, that virtueless harlot).

#6. A BOLDER Connecticut Cigar for Beginners: Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Connecticut

Last, but not least, we have a bold, full flavor cigar for beginners, from Joya de Nicaragua (“Jewel of Nicaragua”). Joya has been rolling up Nicaraguan smoke for decades, and knows how to put together a fantastic blend that is satisfying and memorable. As you’ve seen on this list, there’s no reason to stay away from bolder, more flavorful cigars once you’re ready to take the next step and leave the “nursery” of super mild smokes.

Antaño is a cigar meant to bring back memories of years gone by, and it does so in very respectable style. This Nicaraguan cigar relies on a core of Nica tobacco for the filler and binder, then finishes things off with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. The result is a medium strength smoke that truly punches above its weight class, bringing a ton of body and taste that will help you see what’s in store as you explore cigars with greater intensity and complexity.

Cigar Aficionado gave the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Connecticut a, exemplary 93 points, citing the flavors of graham cracker, pepper, and something reminiscent of the rum barrel. No doubt you’re already a little intrigued by the sound of that, and you should be! This is a great showcase for what cigars can be, and truly belongs on the list of flavorful cigars for beginners.

And if you’re into booze, you’ve already got a pairing suggestion at the ready.

Hopefully, you’re inspired to make the move and give some of these cigars a shot. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with continuing to enjoy your favorite mild cigars. You probably already know that even the most hardcore smoke hounds keep some on hand for when the mood strikes. There’s a time and a place for every kind of cigar, and a smoker never knows when it’s going to be time for something light.

Build your collection, develop your palate, and for goodness sake, get a modest little humidor so that when you’re ready to light up, your cigars are in perfectly moist condition for smoking.