With so many sizes, shapes, colors, and brands of cigars on the market today, choosing the right cigar can seem like a daunting task. We'll give you a few things to consider and a few rules of thumb to go by, but ultimately, the right cigar is a personal choice. There is no right or wrong cigar, other than what suits your taste. The best way to find the most appropriate cigar for you is to try as many different types as possible. Experience will most likely lead you to your perfect smoke.
The first thing to consider is the color of the wrapper, or outside of the cigar. If you're new to cigar smoking, it's a good idea to start off with a mild to medium bodied cigar. Typically speaking, the lighter shades of wrappers indicate a more mild flavor of cigar, and the darker shades are more robust. Cigar wrappers come in many shades, but here are a few of the more common varieties:
choosing the right cigarDouble Claro - has a light green wrapper and a very mild flavor
Claro - has a light tan wrapper and a smooth, mild flavor
Natural - light brown to brown and has a fuller bodied flavor than the Claro
Colorado - reddish dark brown, with a robust, rich flavor
Colorado Maduro - a dark brown wrapper with a rich, aromatic flavor
Maduro - is very dark brown and usually has a strong, sweet flavor
Oscuro - the darkest maduro wrapper, almost black and stronger than the lighter maduro wrappers
The next thing to consider is the size of the cigar. Cigars a measured by length in inches, and ring gauge. Ring gauge is the diameter of the cigar in 1/64 of an inch increments. So, if a cigar has a ring gauge of 43, it has a diameter of 43/64 of an inch. Cigar sizes are written as length x ring gauge, so if you see 5x42, that is a 5" long by 42/64" diameter cigar. Another way you will see size descriptions are based on popular brands, but these are general descriptions, and not exact measurements. These general sizes from small to large are the Panatela, Robusto, Corona, Double Corona, Especial, Lonsdale and Churchill.
In general, the larger the ring size, the fuller and more complex a flavor the cigar will have, and the more smoke it will produce. This is because a larger ring size allows cigar makers to blend and combine different types of leaves to a greater extent. If you are new to the world of cigars, it might be a good idea to start out on a smaller cigar, and work your way up to some of the larger sizes. The other thing to consider is how much time do you have to smoke the cigar? A large cigar, such as a Churchill, can take over an hour to smoke. Make sure you have plenty of time to enjoy your cigar, and not be rushed.
Remember that with cigar smoking, the pleasure is in the hunt. Even experienced smokers will often establish a regular rotation of cigars, rather than sticking to one particular brand. The rotation is occasionally modified with a new cigar, plus there are some special occasion cigars that all smokers enjoy from time to time. For a new smoker, its a great idea to start off trying some of the cigar samplers offered by most retailers. A sampler will allow you to try several different brands and styles at a minimal cost.
"A cigar ought not to be smoked solely with the mouth,
but with the hand, the eyes, and with the spirit."