If you’re new to cigars and in that exciting (but overwhelming) phase of discovering new brands and new flavour profiles, then I am here to help.
You’re asking yourself questions like Cubans vs New World? How much should I be spending on this? Which cigars are genuinely great price/quality and which are all hype?
As I write this, I am sitting in my garden, puffing away on a Joya de Nicaragua Torpedo https://thesmokingjacketshop.co.uk/shop/joya-de-nicaragua-clasico-torpedo-1-single/ and I am reminded of that feeling of being on holiday when the morning air is fresh and crisp but the sun is shining. My journey with cigars has been very fortunate in that I have been able to try lots of different cigars with my job. This article includes all the tips I’ve picked up along the way through my decade long foray into the cigar world.
Cuban vs New World
Personally, for a beginner, I would recommend starting with New World Cigars. By “New World” I mean cigars that come from Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Honduras (these being the most popular places). The reason being, the quality of the majority of cigars from these places are tremendous and the price is still very reasonable (compared to Cubans). However, if price is of no consequence and you are determined to start with or only smoke Cubans (a real shame but I have heard many people say this) then there are some brands which make cigars which are lighter in strength.
How much should I be spending on this?
How long is a piece of string? This is a hobby that the more you get into it, the more you can spend and there is no limit. Especially when you start factoring in accessories.
In the U.K. we are cursed with a high tobacco tax and so prices of cigars will be higher than, well, the rest of the world. I would suggest that you spend no less than approximately £10 (for a robusto size). Obviously if you are buying a smaller stick with less tobacco and that’s your size preference, then under £10 is fine. I say this because you have to remember that within the price of the cigar you are paying for
1) the actual cost of making that cigar
2) the shipping cost,
3) tax, tax, tax
4) the importer’s and the retailer’s margin.
If you’re paying less than a tenner, not much has gone into the quality of the cigar. It is also worth noting that with premium, hand-rolled cigars, which would be my suggestion to stick to, that an inordinate amount of craft and labour has gone into the cultivation of the cigar. From planting the seeds to fermenting the leaves to blending and rolling, almost 300 pairs of hands have been involved with getting that cigar to you.
Suggestions to get going
I prefer a lighter smoke to something “knock-your-socks-off” full bodied so here are my recommendations of things I really like. This list is by no means exhaustive and the more I sample the more I’m sure there will be additions! Cigars, much like wine, you only know what you like by sampling. Learning what you don’t like is as important as learning what you do like. Taste, at the end of the day, is entirely subjective. So here are my suggestions and let me know what you think and how you get on in the comments. If you have had something you think was a great smoke, especially for a beginner, then let us know!
- Quai D’Orsay Corona (Cuban) https://thesmokingjacketshop.co.uk/shop/quai-dorsay-corona-1-single/ or the Quai D’Orsay 54 if you’re after a longer smoke https://thesmokingjacketshop.co.uk/shop/quai-dorsay-no-54-1-single/
2. Joya de Nicaragua Classico Selección B (Nicaraguan) https://thesmokingjacketshop.co.uk/shop/clasico-seleccion-b-1-single/ or the Torpedo for a longer smoke https://thesmokingjacketshop.co.uk/shop/joya-de-nicaragua-clasico-torpedo-1-single/
3. H. Upmann (Cuba) cigars are a cuban brand with a lighter flavour https://thesmokingjacketshop.co.uk/product-category/cigars/cuban-cigars/h-upmann/. I particularly love the Connoisseur A https://thesmokingjacketshop.co.uk/shop/h-upmann-connoisseur-a-1-single/
4. Hoyo de Monterrey (Cuba) is another cuban brand that is often regarded as a cigar ideal for beginners. Start out with the Epicure 2 https://thesmokingjacketshop.co.uk/shop/hoyo-de-monterrey-epicure-no-2-1-single/ . The San Juan is so wonderfully aromatic so is one to try https://thesmokingjacketshop.co.uk/shop/hoyo-de-monterrey-le-hoyo-de-san-juan-1-single/
5. Casa Turrent Origines Miami (Mexico) is a great cigar with a light to medium body. Whilst visiting the facility in Mexico I had 2 of these bad boys back to back! https://thesmokingjacketshop.co.uk/shop/casa-turrent-origenes-miami-mexico/.
6. Gilbert de Monsalvat Classico Robusto (Nicaragua) https://thesmokingjacketshop.co.uk/shop/gilbert-de-monsalvat-classic-robusto-1-single/ is a light, easy smoke to get started with.
7. Casa Turrent 1880 Claro (Mexico) https://thesmokingjacketshop.co.uk/shop/casa-turrent-1880-claro-1-single/ is a light to medium smoke and holds a place in my top 5 smokes. It is creamy, complex and great value for money.
8. Davidoff Signature Petit Corona (Dominican Republic) is a fantastic quality cigar, as are all Davidoff’s. The Signature range is light and flavourful with a slight sweetness. https://thesmokingjacketshop.co.uk/shop/davidoff-signature-petit-corona-1-single/
9. Flor de Oliva Robusto (Nicaragua) https://thesmokingjacketshop.co.uk/shop/flor-de-oliva-robusto-1-single/ has a slight sweetness and some creamy notes without the bite.
10. El Rey Del Mundo Choix Supreme (Cuba) https://thesmokingjacketshop.co.uk/shop/el-rey-del-mundo-choix-supreme-1-single/ is a light Cuban cigar.
So here are 10 choices to get you started. I really hope this helps point you in the right direction. As I’ve said above, this list is not exhaustive and there are lots of other options that are great cigars for beginners in the U.K..
Here is The Cigar Newbie Sampler to help you along your way 🙂
Happy Smoking and Long Ashes!