Getting Started-Choosing Your Cigar

"When it comes to choosing your cigar, there are several things that you will want to keep in mind, all which play a part in your decision. First, the size and shape of the cigar. Second, the color of the cigar. Third, the length of time you wish to smoke along with when and where you will smoke, i.e. after a meal, at the end of the day, etc. Lastly, the price you will pay for a cigar.

Let's begin with size and shape. Contrary to popular belief, there is no correct or absolute guideline for choosing the right sized cigar. I have heard, and even read, that large people should not dabble with small cigars, while smaller individuals should not smoke larger cigars. Folks, there is no right or wrong size or shape to choose. You choose what you like and feel the most comfortable with. A cigar is not going to know who is smoking it! You should be content with your choice for that particular smoke. Women, this goes for you especially. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you smoking a Robusto or Double Corona. Everyone should go with what they feel comfortable smoking. Again, there is no rule that says you should or should not smoke a certain sized cigar because of who you are and/or your size. Therefore, get to know the various sizes and discover which one is right for you. Below is a brief list of cigar sizes and shapes which are most common.

Panatela (length: 41/2-7 inches, ring: 32-39)

Lonsdale (length: 61/2 inches, ring: 42-44)

Petit Corona (length: 41/2-5 inches, ring: 40-43)

Corona (length: 5-6 inches, ring: 42-44)

Churchill (length: 7 inches, ring: 47-49)

Robusto (length: 41/2-51/2 inches, ring: 50)

Double Corona (length: 71/2-8 inches, ring: 48-52)

Belicoso (length: 5-6 inches, ring: 50)

Pyramid (length: 6-7 inches, ring: 50-56 at the foot of the cigar)

As you can see, the length of a cigar is measured by inches. The ring size of a cigar is measured in 64ths of an inch. Therefore, a cigar with a ring size of 52 is 52/64ths of an inch in its diameter or thickness. Below is a ring size chart to help you get an idea of the various sizes of cigar diameters.

Next, let's consider color Basically there are seven colors of cigars. These deal with the wrapper. In general, the darker the color of the tobacco, the stronger the flavor might be. However, just because a cigar is dark on the outside, does not mean it will be a strong cigar. If the filler of the cigar is made with darker tobacco, then it may very well mean that this particular cigar will, in fact, be strong. Darker tobacco is due to the fact that the tobacco leaves have spent a longer time on the tobacco plant itself, allowing it to mature a little longer by added sunshine. These leaves are also taken from the upper part of the plant where they will receive more sunlight. The sunlight in turn causes the leaves to produce oils in order to protect the leaves. Therefore, if a manufacturer produces a cigar with strong or darker filler tobacco and a darker wrapper as well, you can assume that you will end up with a rather strong cigar. On the other hand, you might have a maduro (darker) wrapper with much milder and lighter filler tobacco on the inside which will prevent the cigar from being super strong. As you begin to experiment, you will discover the subtleties that can be found in cigars. This will also allow you to begin appreciating how much work and effort goes into blending a cigar. After all, this effort of knowing just what and how much tobacco should go into a specific cigar is the secret of creating that taste we like so much. Quite a work of art wouldn't you say! Below is an illustration of the seven basic colors of cigars.

Now let's consider the length of time you plan to smoke as well as when and where you will be smoking this particular time. If you are going to have ample time to enjoy your cigar, then you might consider a larger or thicker cigar, something like a Robusto or Churchill. The larger the ring size on a cigar, the longer it will last. Couple that with extra length like a Double Corona, and you're in the market for a nice, long, enjoyable smoke. If on the other hand you are not capable of spending an hour with your cigar, then maybe something a bit smaller might be in order, say a short Panatela or a Corona. For me, one of the more important factors is going to be how long I wish to enjoy my cigar. On an average I will normally smoke a Robusto for about 30 to 45 minutes or more. When I want to settle in for the long haul, it's time for a Double Corona. I can keep these babies going over an hour most of the time. In addition to how long you wish to smoke, we also need to look at where and when this wise and wholesome ritual is to take place. Are you going to enjoy a cigar after a nice big meal? Are you going to sit down quietly by yourself with a spirit? Are you going to join friends at a cigar friendly establishment for a cocktail? Factors like these do need to be considered. Therefore, before you buy a box of cigars, think about where and when you will be smoking them. Think about the length of time you normally will be smoking. Think about how strong you want your cigars to be.

Lastly, one needs to consider the price of their cigars. The range in cost is from about $2.00 to $28.00 each. Amazingly, some of the less expensive cigars prove to be the most enjoyable. While at the same time, some of the more expensive cigars are certainly well worth the money in my opinion. Here again, everyone is different. The bottom line is this, how much do want to spend on your cigars? Before you answer that question, listen to this. There are great bargains out there. Not every premium cigar has to cost an arm and a leg. I'll admit, some do. If you choose to purchase those, then you have to be the judge of whether they are worth it. I have learned that there are some cigars that I believe are really worth the extra cash. For the most part though, I smoke a medium priced cigar more often than any others. Believe me, there are lots of well priced cigars out on the market. If you think the low end is too high, consider what you are getting. A cigar is a work of art. On average, a premium cigar is going to take at least three years to produce. It will be completely hand made from start to finish. Including the leaves before it is rolled, a cigar will be touched by hundreds of hands before it is touched by yours. But probably the best part of this journey is in the fact that every step will be a labor of love for all those involved. From the farmer who plants the seeds, to the people who put them in the boxes, and everyone in between. Therefore, when you choose your cigar, be sure to take the time to appreciate the love and care that went into it. That will make your labor of love in smoking it all the more meaningful." ~Holy Smoke