A Newbie’s Journey from Initiate to Cigar Lover: How to Get Into Cigars 101

by Billy Ferriolo
A Newbie’s Journey from Initiate to Cigar Lover: How to Get Into Cigars 101


One of our anonymous community members recently made the journey from cigar newbie to bona fide cigar lover and we thought it was interesting enough to share the story with you. It’s a pretty common experience, so maybe some of you will find it familiar?

We’re also thinking that some beginners who aren’t sure if they can “take the plunge” and get into cigars will realize it’s not a plunge – it’s more like laying down on a float on a lazy river ride. Tricky getting in, but then nothing but relaxation as you go along.

Without further ado, here is A Newbie’s Journey from Initiate to Cigar Lover: How to Get Into Cigars 101.


Damn, this thing smells pretty good.

Reminds me a little of my granddad’s garage, with all his woodworking tools.

I can smell all that rich tobacco.

And they say these things “stink?” What are people complaining about?


Okay, so my first experience with a cigar was off to a good start. It smelled pretty good. After I was done sniffing it, I decided the time was right to spark it up. I had a guillotine cutter, and tried to figure out where to make my first cut. It was a little intimidating. Was I about to wreck my first cigar? I decided to cut it where there would still be some “shoulder” left to hold in the tobacco, instead of going all the way down to the sides.

I made my cut.

Pretty satisfying to bring the cutter down and see the tobacco revealed. Why don’t I have a big guillotine cutter on my counter for chopping food? That would probably get me to cook more…

Looking inside, I was surprised at how many leaves actually made it into the cigar. No wonder these things take so long to smoke – they’re packed with a lot of tobacco all tight and smooshed together.

Okay, my cut was made. Now it was time to light up.


I wanted to be cool and struck a match. The flame lasted a little and went out. The foot of the cigar blackened a little. Barely any smoke. Okay, this is why everyone recommended torch lighters. They’re not just for gear geeks – you really need a strong flame to get things going. I went back to grab the torch lighter from inside and got back to my seat.


I got four jets of flame going at the foot of the cigar. Instantly, I was on my way. I toasted it all around and started taking draws. It glowed cherry red as I flipped it around to pop it in my mouth. I got a little tobacco on my lips and spit it out. I then tried some test draws, wanting the cigar to get lit for real. Finally, it seemed to catch and I got my first good pull, which I exhaled.

I’m smoking a cigar.

Hell yeah!


Wait. Did I not say what kind of cigar it was? I have an uncle who loves cigars, and who handed me one and said, “If you don’t like this, there’s nothing I can do for you. This is as good as it gets.”

It was a Padrón 1926. That doesn’t mean this thing is from 1926, does it? I know fancy wines and things get crazy like that, but there’s no way. It would be dust, right?

Anyway, he said it was probably a waste to give it to me, unless I turned out to be a cigar smoker. For that reason, I tried my best to enjoy it, taking another two small pulls and exhaling, savoring the smoke.

It wasn’t hard to enjoy this cigar at all.

I didn’t taste all the complicated notes that I just looked up. It just tasted like smoke to me, but very fine, smooth, and enjoyable smoke, with a little spiciness and bite. That much I could recognize. It was an aroma I was surprised to find I wanted to sit in, too. I’ve got a whiff of my uncle after a stogie and noticed that it wasn’t the kind of thing you could really hide. Not bad if you like that funky, smoky smell, but it’s a disaster if you only like clean Yankee Candle scents.

I settled in to puff away and relax. I could definitely see the allure of some music and a drink to go with my cigar (would I be getting into whiskey next? Shoot, the stereotypes really pile up, don’t they?) For the time being, though, I was content to sit outside and pass the time smoking.

I was going to need more of these cigar things.