Cut, Light and Enjoy (Don’t think, just smoke).

Cut, Light and Enjoy (Don’t think, just smoke).

Last night I sat down to re arrange my main humidor and rotate the contents, while at the same time opening two smaller ones to move some things from one to another. As I dug through the various sticks, I was thinking about cigars, writing, the industry and people. I became fascinated with cigars years ago, the smell, the taste and aroma, the sights and creations to be found in large walk in humidors, the absolute art of the stick itself and the tradition behind it.

The first cigar I ever had grabbed me and I haven’t let go in thirty years. It is somewhat amazing to my though how one can go from just the raw delight in enjoying cigars as a novice to, after time, digging into every bit of information about companies, brands, regions, plants and the who, what, when and where of the cigars. I have written stories about cigars for years but only in the last couple of years have I started putting them out for people to see, for until then it was just a way for me to put my thoughts in a catalog for reference. I think that sometimes, we can get carried away in the business of things, just as in anything, and miss out on that raw joy known at the start. It may be possible as well that sometimes we take ourselves to seriously and miss out on the youthful exuberance we get at lighting up a new stick. You can over think anything and cigars are no different, from cap to foot or the complete structures of cigars. from every vein, variations in the wrapper color to every single note and nuance of flavor.

Now to write about these items is one thing, don’t get me wrong, you have to look at all those to do so, but not to the point that it is consuming or that the joy fades, or get to a point where we complicate the very process of what the creation is for. I’m as guilty as anyone of this. Once again, I’m not saying this is wrong, just that every now and then we should back up, forget what we know, pick up a fine cigar and just light it, smoke it and enjoy it, back to what it is made for, the pure unadulterated pleasure of the smoke. I think also we should never take our selves so seriously that we became oblivious to the fact that we don’t know everything about it. I remember a few months ago, I was in a B&M in Jackson and was enjoying just looking through the multitude of cigars in a very large walk in humidor, sort of like being a kid in a candy store. While in there, two gentlemen walked in and one was new to cigars and it was all to obvious the other was a walking “I know the whole world of cigars” afficionado. I tried not to be distracted but could still here the conversation.

I admired the new bee, you could hear the enthusiasm in his voice as he looked at all the different shapes, sizes and wrappers. He had chosen on off the shelf and asked his friend about it, who started telling him about the region it came from, the parts of the plant certain leaves were picked from, the style of the cap, how long it was aged, how to properly cut it to achieve adequate draw and then ran through the entire length of the stick telling him where various and many flavors make up the blend. After they looked at about ten different cigars, the look on the new bees face was that of sheer confusion, and the glee I saw when he walked in was gone. What a shame. Myself, I picked up a couple cigars I had not had in years and headed for checkout. After my purchase I stepped aside to find a chair to sit and talk with the owner while smoking and had just clipped the end of mine when the new bee walked up to the counter. I saw what he had in his hand and made the comment to him, “Thats a good one, enjoy”. He looked at me and said, “I hope so, my friend said that it comes from a certain region and that I need to let it burn slow and….” you get the idea.

His friend was still in the humi when I sat down, and the new bee sat across from me. He held a nice cigar in his hand and looked at his friend still roaming around the humi and asked me, “Pardon me, but is there a proper way to start smoking this particular cigar? I’m new to this and want to really enjoy it.”. I told him, “Stick the cigar in your mouth, light it and puff, and don’t think just enjoy.”. Its great to know all you can about cigars because there is a vast world of knowledge about it and some of the finest traditions and families involved, but here again, sometimes, just sometimes, forget what you know, cut, light and enjoy.

Thats part of the fun of cigars. With so many companies and so many brands, from the big and well known to the new and to the small, some in it for generation, other just starting, each one producing a product that they spent time and effort to blend what they think and believe to be a great cigar is for a certain taste. Notice, I said certain taste, each person is different. By the way, while it is true that the cigar world is somewhat a community, its a community that should never be gated.

On a whole, the people you meet in the cigar industry as well as those who write about it are some of the finest people you ever want to meet, with great kindness, business knowledge and as friendly a group of people as you ever could know. That being said, like in anything, every once in a while you find one that thinks in a very closed community way and that is terrible, because its whats outside the community that buys the product that gives you the opportunity to be in the industry.

And to the consumer, remember one thing, that cigar you bought, that you ordered or walked into a B&M and selected, when you light it remember all that went into it, for its more than just leaves rolled up, its an art form. Thats one of the many great things about the cigar world, so many variations and flavors, shapes and sizes, brands and histories. But fellow B.O.T.L. and S.O.T.L. every so often, lets stop and clear our minds of the science and do just one thing………

Cut, Light and Enjoy.
Cigar Thoughts

Cigar Thoughts

Fine hand rolled cigars, what a fantastic tradition and work of art. There is something captivating about leaves of a plant, rolled into a shape then wrapped in delicate outer leaves and aged? Is it merely the simple act of placing a cigar in ones mouth and lighting up as habit like a typical cigarette? To the unlearned about the ecstasy of an age old class of smoking pleasure this may seem the case but it is oh so far from it.

Cigars themselves may to the novice seem like a glorified over priced status symbol that either the rich or those who are posers use as a way of saying “look who I am” but my how wrong they are.

Christopher Columbus wrote in his captains log that the natives of San Salvador smoked the leaves of a local plant. Rodrigo de Xeres, who was a lieutenant with the expedition, was the first known European to smoke the Indian’s cigar. The natives in South and Central America did not smoke cigars as we know them, as they were wrapped in corn husks, palm leaves and other material. The Spanish people are given credit for creating the cigar industry. The natives called it “Ciq-Sigan” and the Spanish word “Cigarro” came from this. The cigar from its humble beginnings has grown in the ages to become one of the sweetest creations around. From the glory days of the great Cuban cigars to the fantastic products of Honduras, Nicaragua and other wonderful places of splendid growing climates. When you look today at all the companies that produce and sell cigars, you wonder how they can constantly come up with new ideas that have not already been done, seeing that the history of cigars dates back so far. But we must remember that we are talking about an ever changing industry, different year crops and breeds of plants, and fantastically talented blenders that have minds of genius.

I will not take time nor space to name all the companies but you must remember that there are those companies who have stood the test of time and whose products are consistently amazing, with their focus not being as much on profit even though that is the objective but on producing the finest cigars the world has seen. It is an ever fascinating thing that some produce sub par products, due to rushing production or inadequate blends, that wind up in the specials and cheap bins because the cigars never come up to those magical ratings that we all look at and pay attention to, while at the same time the ones that stand over the years garnishing ratings from the 80’s to the high 90’s are still the top groups in the industry. What are the others missing? Sometimes a new brand comes along that has a blend that is fantastic and is a grand success.

It takes time, talent and the love of the leaf to make a lasting impression on a cigar world that is inundated with a wide choice and variety that one can find out there. It takes companies that have a long and endearing history, a family tradition and the source of the product running in their veins. It takes the inner knowledge that no matter what price you put on it, no matter how fancy a band, no matter how heavy you advertise, if the cigar itself cannot stand to the taste of those wonderful pleasure seeking coinsures with taste buds that can detect anything from cedar, earth, coffee, and a myriad of other flavors then it will meander its way to the two fer bin.

Even though you can read hundreds of reviews, photos and articles on every cigar out there, always remember those are the opinions of one person. While reviews are a great guideline and should be read to see what the makeup and profile of a stick may be, the final choice is up to one person and their taste, and that’s you.

The pleasure of a cigar is in the craftsmanship of the creation, its construction, its makeup, its blending and the aroma produced. When you light up a fine cigar, you feel the joy that courses through your mind, releasing you from the cares of this world and transporting you to a place that lets you escape even if for an hour or two to a place of serenity and peace. You draw in the bounty of smoke that coats the pallet, igniting the sinuses and the thoughts that once invaded your consciousness disappear into a foggy after thought as the smoke dances in front of you like a dancer performing an erotic compilation of enticing moves that captivate your eyes not letting you go. As each puff is done, the flavors ever changing bringing your senses to a point of sheer bliss. This truly is the joy that only a fine cigar created by talented craftsman who take much pride in their work can produce. Every time you buy a cigar, think of what it took to make it, appreciate the craft, and enjoy the art of smoking a grand cigar.

Walk into a cigar shop, breath in deeply of the aromas that abound inside. Look around at box after box of wonderful cigars. As you see them in the box, remember they had a long journey to get there. Once you select one and light it, be glad that there are those dedicated people that you don’t see who planted, grew, harvested, aged and stored, crafted, blended, watched over and rolled what you now have in your hand. Enjoy they great world of cigars.

Christmas gift ideas for cigar lovers

Christmas gift ideas for cigar lovers

You want to buy the cigar lover in your life a great Christmas present. When it comes to matters relating to the stogie, though, you’re the first to admit you have no idea what you’re doing. We’re here to help!

Potentially hampering matters even further is that you may think your local cigar shop is filled with smoke and little gnome-like men who prey on the souls—and wallets—of people like yourself. You certainly wouldn’t want to go into a place like that!

Well, about the only thing that’s correct in the above statement is the “smoke” part. Even then, the cigar smoke is almost always confined to a cigar lounge that’s separate from the cash-register area or the humidor; the “floor,” as retailers call it.

In fact, you’ll likely find the local cigar shop (sometimes called a tobacconist) to be one of the most friendly stores you’ve ever visited. The staff are generally very knowledgeable  about their inventory and cigars in general, and are willing to help any type of person who walks in … from neophytes to “experts.”

Local cigar shops are so accommodating and inviting, in terms of atmosphere, that even other customers may give you some suggestions or ideas. Usually, they’ll be good ideas, too. Yep, it’s that kind of place.

With all of that in mind, let’s look at some tips you can use to aid in your quest for the perfect cigar or cigar-related gift for the connoisseur in your life:

Current cigar preference

If you want to get your cigar-chompin’ loved one something different from their frequent brand, all you need to do is find out is the name of their current brand. You need to be a bit cautious here, though, as a lot of the big brands out there have a lot of sub-brands that can range very widely, in terms of their flavors, degree of taste (mild, medium, full), and so on.

So you’ll need to be somewhat artful about finding out exactly what kind(s) of smoke(s) they like. Unless you have access to the cigar box and you can see the brand and sub-branding, you’ll likely need to ask. You can take the old, “A friend/co-worker of mine loves cigars; what kind do you smoke?” route.

Unfortunately, you can’t always tell the specific sub-brand from the band on a cigar. That’s the way this industry is; sorry.

With that information in hand, a good local cigar store or tobacconist will be able to make recommendations on similar types of stogies. And you’ll become the favorite of the cigar lover in your life (kinda creepy if that person happens to be an uncle or something like that, but you get our meaning).

Boxes? You don’t need no stinkin’ boxes

You may know what your cigar smoker wants, in terms of her or his favorite stick (another name for cigar .. drop it at your local cigar shop and watch the staff swoon!). Or you may be acting on the recommendation of a cigar-store worker or owner. Then you waltz into the store’s humidor and look at the price on the box.

After you pick yourself up off the floor—generally speaking; not all boxes are expensive—you wonder just what have you gotten yourself into.

We have good news for you. Usually, you can get a much-smaller number of stogies for your cigar-loving friend or family member. The generally accepted number is five; in fact, sometimes you can even get discounts on a five pack (as they can be called), depending on the shop. You can almost always buy as few or as many cigars as you want, though. You might even want to mix up the brands within your purchase (two of one kind; three of another). It’s up to you.

And depending on the brand and type of cigar, you might be limited in the number of sticks you can buy anyways. We’re mainly talking about ultra-premium brands like God of Fire and OpusX here. Besides, you really wouldn’t want to buy a box of those things, unless you’ve got stimulus money waiting for you at home.

Maybe you’ve seen above part of our Cigar Christmas Buying Tips. Since we’re giving people and it’s that time of the year, here’s remaining part which deals with cigar accessories.

Before we continue, though, we want to clarify one thing: You don’t need to spend the kind of money a certain cigar magazine out there would lead you to think, based on its stories and advertising. All of the suggestions we’ve made in both above part and here are for the more-average person. We’re assuming you and the person for whom you’re looking fall into that category, because … well … you’re here. And believe us when we say there’s nothing wrong with being average. After all, we are. That’s how we know about this topic.

Cigar Accessories Gift Ideas:

Normally I’d try to find a quote from Sex and the City about accessories. But considering the demographic of this site, I’ll refrain. I’m actually a bit embarrassed that I even thought of that series/movie here. Anyhow …

For you, the person who is looking for ideas for that special someone who also happens to enjoy cigars, all I have to say is: Accessories.

Like most general categories of consumer items, cigars have accessories. And there’s a lot of them out there. There’s types. And sub-categories within types. And with the cigar market being as large as it is, there’s new stuff coming out all the time.

Plus if you really don’t know about the cigars your loved one enjoys and you don’t want to go out on a limb with a stogie purchase—we don’t blame you for that, either—accessories might be just the ticket for you. When it comes to gifts, accessories are the safe bet in the cigar world, which can be a very confusing one to the uninitiated.

Categories include:

Cigar Lighter

Cigar lighters, but they should be “torch” lighters that burn butane. No cigarette lighters or others that use lighter oil. No Zippos here, either, unless you buy a special torch insert for them that use butane. And, yes, buying an extra can of butane with your purchase is a good idea. Just be aware that you have to ship butane via ground carrier, but unfilled lighters are fine for next-day or second-day air cargo, if you’re buying at the last minute.

Here’s our top 5 cigar lighter:

Also you can check the article on best cigar lighter..

Cigar Cutter

Cigar cutters, piercers or scissors. All of these take care of the end of the cigar that goes into the mouth, as stogies need to be opened in some form or another to be smoked. The most-important factor here is to determine what kind of implement your loved one uses. If they specifically like cutters, you should try to find out if they like the guillotine style, or if they like what’s called the wedge or “v-cut.” Also, while cutters and scissors are similar in terms of how they work, a cigar connoisseur generally likes one or the other. And piercer fans generally don’t get into cutters or scissors.

Here’s our top 5 cigar cutter:

Also you can check the article on best cigar cutter..

Cigar Ashtrays

Ashtrays. Cigar-specific ashtrays can be mini-works of art in and of themselves. They can run from kitschy (we have a “Big Butt Cigar Co.” ashtray at the Stogie’d offices) to ornate to just plain great looking. You’ll know them when you see them, too. Cigarette smokers don’t get this kind of respect from ashtray makers … and they shouldn’t really.

Here’s our top 5 cigar ashtrays:

Also you can check review of these cigar ashtray..

Finger cases. These are usually made out of leather, and are designed to fit anywhere from three to five cigars. If you’re going to go this route, we suggest finding out your cigar lover’s favorite size of stick, and then asking for the proper size of case to fit the stick. If all else fails, buy the one that holds the longest and fattest cigars.

Humidors

Humidors. These keep our stogies all snug and ready to smoke. Basically, they keep cigars at an optimum temperature and humidity. Humidors can vary widely in quality and price; if you’re looking for a gift, a traveling humidor might be the way to go. They’re small, not that expensive and they’re usually something not owned by every cigar lover. And even if they do have a travel one, they’ll always take another.

Here’s our top 5 cigar humidor:

Clothing. Cigar-related clothing, whether it be logoed with a cigar maker’s brand (a.k.a. schwag or tchotchkes), from a high-end clothing line (Tommy BahamaNat Nast), or something that just looks good from most any level of department or clothing store, is almost always a safe bet with the cigar lover.

Charter Oak Review

Charter Oak Review

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: 2016 IPCPR RELEASES

First a little introduction: My name is Peter and I’ve been smoking cigars 19 years. I am a native of NY and as such I am sarcastic and acerbic. If you don’t agree with me then say so and stand by your convictions when challenged. If not, then shut up and go away. I tend to be pretty picky about what cigars I like and have yet to find a reviewer whose pallet is similar to my own. As such I don’t really read a reviews tasting notes. I go by the overall score. Keep that in mind when reading my thoughts on cigars. I might hate it but I’m not you. Try it for yourself.

Now here is a little of my approach to judging cigars. The nature of a handmade product is that there will be deviation from the standard. With a single cigar you don’t know if you’re smoking the deviation or the standard. So in order to have an informed opinion at least three samples need to be smoked. That said first impression are important. The cost of cigars is ever increasing and the consumer has a wide array of choices. If that first smoke isn’t any good I’m probably not going to give it another try.

For that reason, I try to take care to properly store my cigars before smoking and forming an opinion. This doesn’t just mean keeping them properly humidified and at the right temperature. It also means letting cigars I have had shipped to me sit in my humidor for a week prior to smoking. As well if I pick up something at my local shop that is a few days off of the truck I’m going to let it rest for a week. Now I do cheat from time to time on those releases I’ve been dying to try. In these cases, I smoke the first one as soon as I can get it onto my grubby little hands but don’t formulate a solid opinion. I wait until after resting and then smoking the others I’ve bought to do that.

In part one of my FIRST IMPRESSIONS I’ll be giving you my thoughts on three new releases from Nick Melillo’s Foundation Cigar Company. The Charter Oak Connecticut Broadleaf, the Charter Oak U.S. Connecticut Shade and the Tabernacle. Foundation Cigars Charter Oak Broadleaf

First up is the Charter Oak Connecticut Broadleaf in the 4 ½ x 50 Rothschild vitola.

Blend information

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Binder: Undisclosed

Filler: Undisclosed

Factory: Undisclosed

Now for my first impressions The cigar starts gritty and earthy. At less than an inch in notes of cedar and unrefined sugar developed. It’s smoking quickly but staying cool The retrohale is very peppery and jalapeno like Ending of the 1/3 and the strength & body are dialing back back from Medium+ to Medium – The retrohale has deeply mellowed to gentle earth and oakiness At the halfway point and there are notes of oak, earth, and a slightly bitterness The burn rate slowed significantly at the halfway point Entering the 2/3 with lots of gentle bitterness The whole of the 2/3 is oak and bitterness. It needs a sweet component to balance it out The retrohale has a generic woodiness and the spice has all but gone away The 3/3 is much of the same but less distinct. very boring This is a solid value prices smoke that is worth a revisit for a full review

Next I smoked the Charter Oak Connecticut Shade in the 4 ½ x 50 Rothschild vitola.

Foundation Cigars Charter Oak CT ShadeBlend information

Wrapper: U.S. Connecticut Shade Grown

Binder: Undisclosed

Filler: Undisclosed

Factory: Undisclosed

It starts with notes of hay, coffee and cream, lots of cream The retrohale has the same hay with some sweetness, cream and pepper spice Bottom of the first inch, very nice cinnamon finish on the pallet Bottom of the 1/3 generic wood, retrohale is nice and sweet Surprisingly this US CT is smoking slower than the Broadleaf.

At the halfway point and it’s all about the retrohale, crème brulée baby Entering 3/3 and the flavors have mellowed out to light sweet cream with a touch of bitterness on finish The retrohale is short and sweet and oak notes

This is a very impressive little smoke. I am very surprised at how creamy it was considering it US CT wrapper and not the sweeter Ecuadorian variety This as a cigar to smoke again

 

Finally, I smoked the Tabernacle in the 7 x 40 Lancero vitola. Foundation Cigars Tabernacle

Blend Information

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Binder: Mexican San Andres

Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan

Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez, Nicaragua

Start out rich and with notes of raisin, chili spice and that broadleaf tobacco sweetness. Early on I got a weird but not unpleasant French fries note. The retrohale is tons of cocoa Bottom of 1/3 with lots of sweetness and earth. The retrohale tastes of cinnamon graham cracker The hallway point and it pretty much the same as the start and it is so good Entering final third and still the same. But damn it is good Last inch and there are earthy touches of sweetness. This Tabernacle Lancero really surprised me. I am not Lancero goy. But I really enjoyed this one.

“What’s Your Best Cigar?”

“What’s Your Best Cigar?”

Ask any B&M cigar store owner how many times someone’s asked the question “What’s your best cigar?” and I bet you’ll hear a wide variety of answers that boil down to this: A LOT.  They’d probably be able to throw in some other subjective adjectives that can be substituted for best like favorite, strongest, or mildest that are commonly asked as well.  I witnessed this very exchange happen last week and it got me to thinking.  I know, that’s probably not a good thing, but oh well…

As a cigar blogger (albeit not a regular one lately), I take my cigar smoking seriously.  I try to thoroughly evaluate any cigar I smoke so that I can properly transcribe my evaluations and observations to you my readers.  I give you my opinion on cigars based on the experiences I’ve had with the cigars I’m reviewing.  And the truth of the matter is that my opinion is just that, an opinion.  I try to remain as objective as possible and tell you about objective characteristics like burn, construction, wrapper appearance and the like.

But, does it taste good?  What is the aroma like?  Is this the best cigar I’ve had or is it just so-so?  I can answer those questions for myself and describe them to you, but can’t answer for you.  I like full-bodied cigars.  You might not.  I think that thinner ring gauges hold more flavor.  You might disagree.  I might like woody flavors whereas you like more spice.

So, if you ask me what my best cigar is, I’m going to give you my opinion.  If you ask me what my favorite cigar is, you’ll get my favorite answer for that day/week/month; however long my current favorite remains my favorite.  And, if you tell me what you like, I can guide you to things I think you might enjoy based on my experience and knowledge.

But, if you’re looking for the best cigar, you’re going to have to find that one for yourself.

If you already know, tell me what your best cigar is and why…  Maybe it’ll help others find theirs.

How To Choose Your Cigar

How To Choose Your Cigar

Choosing your cigar carefully is important for pleasurable cigar smoking experience. 

There’s a cigar and there’s a cigar. There are excellent handcrafted cigars and there are cheap garbage imitations out there. Before you try and learn the proper way on how to smoke a cigar, it would be helpful to have some basic ideas on how to choose a good cigar.

With cigars, you get what you pay for. Most of the convenience store cigars that are available are cheap imitations – machine-made and filled with shredded tobacco leaves. I wouldn’t recommend buying any of these to anyone, they taste so awful you’d never forgive me for the rest of your cigar-smoking days. If price is an issue with you (and it better be, it’s easy to blow $100 on a superior cigar), try to find the samplers and clearance sales from reputable cigar houses online. You’d be amazed at how affordable the good cigars are in the range of $2 to $7. With $15, you will most certainly be able to find an excellent cigar for your first smoke.

The best cigars are handcrafted works of art. Most of the famous cigar-makers are based in countries like Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and of course, Cuba.

Although in recent years, many cigar products coming from these countries are machine-rolled, a lot of reputable houses and families still proudly produce hand-rolled superbly-blended cigars. To many of them, producing a good cigar is a matter of family pride, tradition, and honor. A guide on how to smoke a cigar will not be complete without a rudimentary working knowledge of the cigars coming from these countries.

As you begin your journey into the wonderful world of cigars, it is sound idea to befriend and work with a reputable tobacconist in your city. Congenial and always eager to welcome new enthusiasts, your tobacconist can share with you expert advice and recommendations (on how to smoke a cigar and how to choose your cigar) and will help you steer clear of low-quality stuff.

We have noted in an earlier post that beginners are best off to begin your cigar-smoking experience with mild cigars. Some people who are unlucky to smoke an ill-chosen cigar the first time around, will find the episode unpleasant and will probably stay away from cigars forever. This is unfortunate since they are poised to embark on an adventure of discovery and pleasure, but for that ill-chosen first cigar. So you want to learn how to smoke a cigar? Choose your first cigar with care.
Cigars come in different sizes and yes, a cigar’s name is indicative of its size. Again cigars are measured by inches in length and ring gauge (1/64th of an inch) in diameter. Remember, the longer and bigger the ring gauge of a cigar, the stronger and full-bodied it probably is. This is because the maker has more room to introduce more and different leaves into the cigar to enhance its taste and texture.
The size of a cigar is written LXRG or length (in inches) x ring gauge. Thus the size of a Churchill is written as 7×50 or 7″ long by 50/64th of an inch thick. Below are the names of cigars that indicate dimensions:
    • Presidente (Longer and thick)
    • Churchill (long and thick)
    • Toro (shorter and thick)
    • Robosto (short and thick)
    • Rothchild (shorter and medium width)
    • Corona(medium length and width)
    • Lonsdale (long and thin)
    • Panatela (long and thinner)
    • Torpedo (long and thick with the cap coming to a point)
    • Piramide (long and medium width and gets narrow in the head and ends with a small round cap)
    • Triangulo (similar to the Piramide but the cap is pointed)Belicoso (similar to the Torpedo but shorter)
    • Perfecto (varies in length and width but both sides of the cigar are closed)
    • Diadema (a Perfecto that is at least 8” long)
  • Culebra (three panatelas twisted around each other and must be separated before smoking).

The Churchill by the way, is in fact named after former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who in his days, was often seen to smoke this type of cigar. The torpedo (which is thick in the middle and tapers off at both ends) and the piramide (which is thick in one end and tapers of in the other) are the types frequently seen in popular illustrations and portrayals of cigar smokers.

In my very first post on how to smoke a cigar, we have discussed that the most common way to determine a cigar’s strength is by looking at the wrapper. This is the outermost cigar leaf wrapping the filler and the binder and the darker the wrapper is, the stronger the cigar will be.

    • Double Claro – (also called Candela or American Market Select)- has a light green to greenish brown color and very mild-flavored.
    • Claro – has a light tan wrapper and a smooth, mild flavor. Made mostly from shade-grown tobacco leaves, an example of which is the Connecticut Shade wrappers, which are said to be among the finest in the world.
    • Natural (also called English Market Select)- light brown to brown. And has 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. More texture and veins than other wrappers
  • Oscuro – the darkest maduro wrapper, oscuro is almost black and is stronger than the lighter maduro wrappers
If you are buying the cigar personally from a cigar store, try to examine your cigar of choice before making a purchase. Here, the tobacconist can help you make your choice and will allow you to manually examine the cigar. Try to give the cigar a little squeeze, it must be firm but there should be little give. Too hard and unyielding, the cigar is probably plugged, too densely rolled and will be difficult to smoke. Most reputable tobacconists and cigar houses by the way, will gladly replace a plugged cigar. Also, try to feel for very soft and too-yielding spots. These generally will cause the cigar to burn unevenly.Doing it properly will definitely add to the pleasure you’re going to get from the experience.