how to choose a cigar at your local cigar shop or cigar lounge

How To Choose A Cigar

A good cigar is that most luxurious pastime that is like no other indulgence on the planet, yet the process of finding that perfect cigar can be a bit like searching for the mythical city of gold, El Dorado.


It is true one may never find that perfect smoke, but the search is one heck of a rewarding journey. Yet even before we start to peruse the local cigar shops for the ideal smoke, we should formulate an idea of what exactly we are after.


Unfortunately for many of us, our moods can change as quickly as the wind changes direction, so having a plan before heading into your local tobacconist may not always deliver your original choice, but it will definitely help make the cigar selecting process a quicker and more satisfying experience, hopefully avoiding that age-old malady of staring at the wall unsure of what to pick.


Flavor and body are of course the biggies. We all want great tasting cigars, but from there on everyone has their own ideas of what constitutes great taste or whether a cigar is mild or strong.


Oh sure there is plenty of information out there to give a rough idea of what a cigar will be like, but we really don’t know until we fire up the cigar.


Many a cigar enthusiast has listened to many sources say a cigar was mellow only to discover, at least to them, that the cigar was gut-wrenchingly strong. So keep in mind throughout the process that choosing a cigar is not a science, it is most definitely an art, a subjective journey wrought with pitfalls, yet one that will prove the most gratifying excursion of all.


So with that in mind, here are just a few tips to get you in that happy cigar place.




Environment, the time and place you plan to smoke, is as important as the cigar itself, for without the proper setting, the cigar experience can be tragically frustrating.


Always try to plan for a location that is nothing but relaxing. Find an enjoyable cigar place that you can unwind rather than get wound up. It may sound obvious, but it can be tough to do and there is nothing worse than being unable to detach from the rat-race, unable to lose yourself in all of the cigar’s glorious goodness.


Trying to light up Cuban Cohibas while stuck in traffic probably won’t yield the same tantalizing results as resting in an easy chair with a glass of Bourbon. So if at all possible, know the time and place that you will be enjoying your smoke.


It really will go a long way to delivering the most satisfaction imaginable.



And the next consideration is that most prickly of concepts: Time.


More time is the one thing that most cigar lovers could use, as it often hampers the ability to enjoy a cigar all the way down to its last nuggets of flavor. So here we especially want to choose a cigar to fit the time.


Do not, for example, try to fit a Cuban Cohiba Esplendidos into a 15 minute smoke break. It just defeats the purpose of relaxing, of savoring all of the nuances a cigar has to offer.


Although relighting a cigar is not as much of a deadly sin as some make it out to be, it is best nevertheless to avoid it, so pick a cigar that will fit the time.



That of course leads us to the topic of size. Cigar sizes are all over the map as far as length, diameter and shape, so this will definitely take some trial an error to find what works best for you.


The beauty (or frustration for some) of many cigars is that different sizes of the same blend may impart different characteristics, making the experimentation process all the more enticing.


With the great myriad of cigar sizes, there will be one to suit whatever the occasion or amount of time.




This is one of the trickier aspects of cigars as it greatly depends on the individual’s definition of body.


For one may define a Cuban Montecristo No. 2, for example, as a fairly mellow smoke, another might deem it impossibly full-bodied. So usually when we here “medium-bodied” or “medium-to-full bodied” and the like, we are just getting more of a range that the cigar might run.


This also is linked to the atmosphere. Where you are smoking and what you will be eating or drinking will greatly affect the level of pleasure of the cigar. There will be exceptions, yet always strive for “like” pairings.


Milder fare pairs with a milder cigar, a robust libation that matches an equally rich cigar, and so on. This will take time, but it will prove well worth the effort once you strike that perfect balance in body that suits your tastes.




Flavor is, of course, the one thing that generally falls as our deciding factor on whether or not a cigar is worthy.


A cigar can be perfectly suited for the time and atmosphere and have the ideal character, but if it doesn’t taste good, it is over before it began. So taking the time to savor and to note every nuance of a cigar, whether it is your everyday smoke or whether you are having it for the first time, will help develop a vocabulary that you can lean on whenever you are in search of something new.


“Coffee, cedar, spice, toffee, licorice” and so on… These are all terms that your local tobacconist understands and so they can assist in pinpointing the flavors you enjoy, helping steer you towards a more delicious smoke.


In the end it is experimentation that will pay the biggest dividends. So ask yourself “Where are the cigar shops near me?” and then head on in.


Ask questions, soak up as much info as you can, experiment with various types of cigar sizes, types and flavors. The more you try, the more you will be able to better define each of the parameters, whether it be size, body, taste, etc.


There is no right or wrong way to choose a cigar, you need only decide what kind of cigar you want, how big you want it to be, how much time you have to smoke it and where you will be to enjoy it.


So let the search for that perfect cigar begin!


Thanks for reading!


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