The Characteristics of a Winning Cigar, Part 2

We recently posted about the construction and smokability that a premium cigar should have. In this article, we discuss finding a cigar that you personally might enjoy. 1. Understand Strength of Flavor The flavor is the result of the taste of the cigar and its aroma. As you know, both taste and smell are important parts of flavor. People often confuse flavor with strength. The strength of a cigar is simply the amount of nicotine in the tobacco. Not all full-flavored cigars are strong ones. So first, have a general idea of what flavor level you enjoy. When choosing sauces for food, do you light mild, medium or full/hot/spicy? Do you like a smooth lager or do you prefer a hoppy IPA or dark beer better? These kinds of questions will give you an idea of where to go with cigar flavor choices. Read cigar descriptions on Cigars Direct or read reviews to gain information about the flavor profile of stogies you’re interested in trying. Some experimentation will be necessary to find the types of cigar flavors you appreciate. 2. Know What to Expect in Terms of Kick Nicotine may give you a significant buzz which you may not enjoy. Then again, you might. Nicaraguan cigars tend to be stronger than those from the DR or elsewhere, but this is just a general rule. If you don’t want the “nic kick,” then lay off Nicaraguan puros. Choose stogies from the Dominican Republic instead. It might also help to eat some carbs right before smoking or during the smoke. Some smokers swear by sugar before smoking as a way to prevent the buzz and possible headache. Again, reading our descriptions and reviews will allow you to make an informed decision about strength. 3. Choose a Wrapper Wisely Very light wrappers such as double claro and claro tend to be low in flavor. They are sometimes used to produce mild-medium cigars or to stay out of the way of the filler tobacco. The flavor profile includes hay, earth, light nuts and sometimes citrus. Natural wrappers like those in the Fuente Hemingway line are bold and spicy in general. Flavors include leather, black pepper, cedar, and other strong flavors. Darker wrappers such as rosado, Corojo, Maduro, and Oscuro are richer in flavor and offer more sweet notes. These are not hard and fast rules but do provide fairly reliable guidelines. Cameroon wrappers are very smooth with notes of spice. Indonesian wrappers are somewhat spicy and maybe slightly metallic in flavor. Keep in mind that wrappers contribute approximately 10 to 40 percent of the overall flavor, depending on the wrapper and the filler tobacco, so having an idea of what you’ll like is important. Some experimentation will pay off for you. When choosing new cigars, you may want to select a smaller size. A Rothschild at 4.5 inches long with a ring gauge of 48 will cost less than the same cigar in the 6x50 toro or 6x60 Gordo. If you don’t like the cigar, you won’t feel as if you wasted so much money. Once you know you like a cigar, you can try the size that you prefer. These tips for choosing cigars will give you a good start to finding a humidor-full of smokes you find very satisfying.