Cigars are an acquired taste. You’ll find that many who smoke cigars do not smoke cigarettes, and there are tons of people who don’t smoke at all who will succumb to the silky draw of a quality cigar on special occasions. Cigarettes are more commonly smoked because they are tobacco wrapped in paper and other non-tobacco products, making them much cheaper to produce. Cigars contain tobacco wrapped in more leaf tobacco and they last a whole lot longer. There are, of course, health issues associated with tobacco, but we digress. If you’re a huge fan of tobacco and cigars, you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing the best quality your money can buy.
When testing the quality of a cigar, squeeze it gently between your fingers. You’re looking for a very small amount of ‘give,’ but the cigar should not be soft. Gently squeeze up and down the entire length of the cigar, looking for lumps or super soft spots. If you find them, move on to a different type of cigar. Be careful to be gentle and avoid rolling the cigar in your hands so that you don’t damage the exterior wrapper.
True cigar afficianiados love larger cigars, but if you’re new to cigar smoking, you’ll want to start with something smaller, like a carolina or minuto. As you get used to the distinct flavor of cigars, you can move up to larger sizes and more mild brands, like H or Mancanudo. Once you consider yourself more advanced, try a cervante.
Understanding Cigar Ratings
Have you ever seen a cigar stand with rating numbers on each cigar? Most cigars are rated on a scale ranging from 0 to 100, the higher the number the better the cigar. The ratings are based on the way the cigar produces smoke, the appearance, and flavor, the aroma, and the way it’s constructed. In short, though, you’re looking for cigars that are rated 70 or above. Anything under 70 is generally considered a waste of your hard earned money.
Understanding Ring Gauge
The ring gauge of a cigar is the size of the diameter in the center portion of the cigar. The inch is broken into 64 parts, so you’ll see numbers like 40/64 or 55/64, for example. The thicker the gauge, the more flavor you get as you smoke and puff. Newer cigar smokers are encouraged, again, to start with smaller ring gauges and slowly progress to the larger sizes.
Look for Man-made Cigars
Some processes have been streamlined for machines. The making of cigars, however, is something best left to the human hand. It may cost you a bit more to purchase a hand-made cigar, but they’re made with more care and burn more evenly.
If you’re going to spend money on cigars, you may as well make sure they’re the best quality possible. Head to your local tobacco shop and talk to a pro. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction.
About the Author: Rob Pratillo considers himself a specialist when it comes to cigars and wines. He does his homework and considers each purchase an investment.