Many times at cigar rolling events we get approached by people who have never enjoyed a cigar before, but because of the circumstances, decide they want to try one. This is especially true when our Concierges and rollers are there to help guide them through it.
But what if you decide on your own to give it a try? What advice can we offer?
Well, let’s go over a couple of basics…
One, and it’s a biggie: You DON’T inhale smoke from a cigar like you do a cigarette. Cigar smoke is generated from long-leaf, almost whole tobacco leaves and is much stronger than the small tobacco bits found in a cigarette. The ideal way to enjoy a cigar is to draw the smoke into your mouth using the palate, cheeks and tongue, let it roll around for a minute to get the aromas and flavors, and then gently let it out and away. Inhaling, especially if you’re a beginner, will turn you green for sure!
Second, a little etiquette. Even though cigars are best enjoyed as a social interaction, it is impolite to blow or let your smoke drift into another person’s face. Yes, we all know it’s going to happen and expect it, but if you watch experienced cigar smokers, you will see they do their best to route the smoke away from those around them, usually straight up if possible.
Now, on to picking your first cigar. In general, and without getting into too much detail, the lighter the wrapper, the more mild the smoke. There are many factors to this, so it is a VERY general statement. Most light wrappers come from Connecticut, and are called Natural. The wrapper is responsible for between 30-40% of the flavor of a cigar. One characteristic of a light wrapper though, is it can carry a tiny bit of spiciness, which usually isn’t a bad thing.
Darker cigar wrappers, your Corojos and Maduros, have more flavor, and even some natural sweetness, but for a first time smoker they can also be a bit powerful. Properly aged tobaccos aren’t as strong as the young tobacco leaves you find in most cigar store brands, but as a general rule they have more of a full body. I will tell you though, a good Corojo or Maduro (the darkest leaves) are worth working your way up to.
There are so many choices when it comes to picking your first cigar, it can seem overwhelming. If you have a good friend to help you, or find yourself at an event where cigars are being provided (especially when there are knowledgeable experts around), ask for help. Most aficionados are glad to help newcomers to the sport.