Smoke The Very Best
Cigar…and the very first image that pops instantly in your head is of a fine-dressed man with a nicely rolled, perfectly packed, cylindrical cigar jutting out of his lips with a wisp of smoke twirling in the air. In an age where the distinguishing line between man and woman diminishes with each passing day, the cigar remains the last stronghold of a gentleman. Sure, cigarettes are cool, if you are a boy or a lady. (And when did we start smoking those dammed menthol cigarettes). If you need to smoke, and if you are a man, then it should be a cigar. Period.
If you think we are exaggerating, take a look around. What do you see men of a certain class and stature smoking after a meal, or during a game of golf, or after a round of the finest single malt. The cigar. Not only because it reflects the good life, it tells the world you have stepped in to the shoes of a man from the sneakers of a boy.
I remember back in the day as a wee lad myself, rolling out to the convenient store with my one 18 year old friend and having him buy us a pack of cigars while we hid around the corner. Oh the glory of it all. Back then I didn’t know the basics. I couldn’t even tell you the difference between a Dominican and Cuban (seeing as I could afford neither).
Times have changed though – let’s discuss.
Before we proceed to choosing the right cigar for you, it is imperative that you know the hows-and-whys of a cigar. The more you know, the easier it is for you to select you perfect smoke. Let’s begin:
A Cigar is not a Cigarette
Pretty dumb, we know; but there are some of us out there who have (and will in future) confuse the two. The essential difference between the two is a cigar is wrapped in tobacco leaf or a material that contains tobacco, while a cigarette is wrapped in paper. Moving ahead…
Three essential parts
Any cigar is made up of the following: The head, which you cut with a guillotine and put in your mouth; the foot which you light; and the wrapper, which is the most important element of a cigar. We will tell you why in a bit.
Dominican v Cuban
The best cigars in the world are produced from these two nations. Personal tastes aside, Cuban Cigars are considered to be the best money can buy. The reason being their full, smoky flavor as compared to their Dominican counterparts, which is more spicy in its taste. Cuban Cigars are produced to meet very high standards set by the government. The tragedy is that you do not get original Cuban Cigars in our local markets. Most of them are counterfeit, or rolled by immigrants who do not possess the specialized skills of the people back home.
Choosing Your Cigar
Now, to brass tactics. There are a few things that will help you handpick a fine cigar. Before that, here’s an inside tip. Remember the point about the wrapper we made earlier in the piece about how it is one of the most important aspects of a cigar. Here is why: a wrapper can tell you almost instantly if the cigar you are looking at is a good draw. Check the wrapper for an even tone of shade (light or dark), and for luster and sheen. Avoid cigars if their wrappers have tears in them.
The other things you need to check for are
Cigars come in many shapes and sizes. Corona, Churchill (no prizes for guessing who it is named after), Presidente, and the list goes on. Find a shape you are comfortable holding, and comfortable puffing. The way a cigar feels in your hands is key to your smoking and puffing experience.
If it smells good to you, it probably tastes good as well. After you remove the wrapper, run the cigar close to your nose and breathe in. Experts tip: Close your eyes when your breathe in. The smell will provide a perfect curtain raiser to the flavor and intensity of the cigar.
There are a few ways to apprehend the consistency and quality of a cigar through touch. We like to suggest using your index and middle finger to run through the length of the cigar, with the thumb running on the opposite side. The ‘3D Approach’, as we like to call it, relays comprehensive information about the consistency and make of a cigar. There should be no gaps in the tobacco filling, no spots, and no divots. The cigar should also not feel dry or flake when touched.
Before you walk into a cigar store read up on the latest happenings in the cigar world. Magazines, such as Cigar Aficionado, will enlighten you on the popular brands and the latest rankings. A cigar’s rank can help you select a smoke that will be one of the finest experiences of your life.
The Final Tip
Select a cigar that has a mild or medium flavor as opposed to a rich, fuller option to start your journey into the good, manly life.