As some of you know I am a real cigar-lover. I started smoking cigars when I was 20, they were quite popular in Britain at that period of time. Since then I smoke cigars regularly and know a lot about them. Today I would like to give you some pieces of advise on how to choose a perfect cigar.
Selecting a cigar might become a challenge when there are hundreds or even thousands of options in front of you. Which colours, shapes and sizes are better? Are there any signs that can indicate the quality of a cigar? You will find all the answers in this article.
The most obvious feature of a cigar is its color. Usually it indicates the cigar flavor: the darker it is, the more possibly it will be sweeter and stronger. Dark wrappers usually have been longer at the plant or have been raised at higher altitudes. The additional sun exposure makes them oily and sugary. Cigars of a lighter color would be more appreciated by new smokers. Here are some main types of color:
It has greenish wrapper and is light in flavor. This cigar has had limited aging.
The light brown cigar, considered mild.
The wrappers are from light brown to brown color. They are most likely to be sun grown, which means they were not protected from sun like shade grown leaves. The flavor is smooth, but is stronger than shade grown leaves.
The color is brown. Such cigar is a bit stronger than the Claro, but also mild.
Dark brown with a perfect aroma, considered medium to strong.
It is a strong cigar that has very dark brown color, sometimes even black.
There is no absolute standard for cigar sizes. Sometimes one producer’s “Churchill” may be the same size as another’s “Double Corona”. However, there is some common measurement of them. Once you get to know all, you will be able to define each cigar’s size. For example, next time you notice the box says “Robusto”, you will understand that there is a collection of short cigars inside.
All you should know about the size is that it is measured by length (in inches) and ring gauge (diameter), which is 1/64 of an inch. The other important thing to remember is that it takes more time to smoke longer cigars. So, if you are a new smoker, opt for a short one. Here you can see the most popular sizes:
- Robusto (4 1/2 x 50)
- Corona (5 3/4 x 42)
- Toro (5 5/8 x 46)
- Panatela (6 1/2 x 35)
- Double Corona (6 1/2 x 48)
- Churchill (7 1/4 x 48)
- Gran Corona (9 1/4 x 47)
For every day I prefer Robusto or Gran Corona. For special events, I do prefer Toro or Churchill.
There are two common shapes: Parejos and Figurados. Parejos are cigars that have a classic shape: one end open, one end rounded and should be cut before smoking. Most cigars have this shape.
Figurados are cigars of any other shape. Usually, have a bullet shape and form a sharp point at the closed end. Some specialists claim that Figurados have a fuller flavour and produce more smoke, but as an occasional smoker you won’t notice any difference.
Examine the quality:
Check the wrapper
There should be no gaps, tears or cracks. The smooth and flawless wrapper indicates professional craftsmanship.
Pay attention to the colour
The whole cigar should have the same colour, no darker or lighter places. Any spots of mould are also unacceptable.
Don’t purchase a dry or too soft cigar
Take a cigar and squeeze it, it should have some give. If it crunches and feels dry, stay away from it. It means a cigar is under-humidified and will burn too hot if you smoke it. If it is very soft or squishy, it is over-humidified and not appropriate for smoking too.
Check a tobacco fill
Roll it between your hands and feel every inch of it. There should be no empty spaces or bumps.
You can imagine how good a cigar will taste, if you smell it. Place it closer to your nose and give it a whiff. If it smells nice, it more likely has a good taste too. If you don’t like something in its aroma, leave it.
Store cigars properly
In the conclusion, I would like to remind you that all cigars need proper care. They can dry out or absorb the moisture if you store them wrong, so you should always use a humidor.
From my point of view, the best is to keep 69% relative humidity, set temperature to 18C and keep a humidor in a darker place. Storing cigars during trips may become a challenge. I travel a lot and usually take with me a mobile humidor and use Boveda, which is some kind of a bag that keeps humidity at the needed level.
All these rules will help you keep the best flavor and quality of your cigars and you will be able to enjoy them any time.
Alessandro Rocco Pietrocola is an entrepreneur and investor based in London and operating mainly in Europe, Asia and Oceania with main focus on UK, Baltic Countries, Russia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Middle East and New Zealand as area of interest! At the moment is the CEO of Astorts Group. He is an UK FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) Approved Person and is has great experience as director of regulated companies. He uses to dedicate part of his life to inspire others and help them achieve the most out of their life. Since he was 20, he had successfully founded and managed several companies operating in the field of management consulting, wealth management and fintech. He loves travelling, he is a cigars lover, an amateur golfer and a dapper man.