Cigar smoking is a wonderful pastime akin to enjoying a fine wine or a gourmet meal.
If you are a beginner and want to explore, getting started can seem daunting. Many of us don't want to seem ignorant and are afraid to ask questions which make us seem unqualified to enter this "secret world" which was once seen to be the reserve of aristocracy and villains in Hollywood movies. Well, I say, no more. In an age where information is at our fingertips 24/7, we can read until our eyes bleed about the technical etiquette of cigars and scroll through millions of carefully curated Instagram posts of "Edicion Limitada" Cuban cigars and Grand Reservas, but the only way to really learn and enjoy cigars is to sample a wide range.
We might be tempted to think, "I should start with 'the best' and I remember my friend said Cohiba, so I'll get that". While, yes, a Cohiba is a very exquisite cigar, its also a very full bodied cigar and this may not be where you want to start on your journey. The size of the cigar you choose also has a great impact on your experience.
The blend of tobaccos used in a cigar, of which there are numerous, will determine the flavours and strength alongside the size of the cigar also impacting the strength (the fatter the cigar, generally the less intense it will be because the smoke is less concentrated on the palate and it burns a little less quickly than a thinner cigar).
Tobaccos from different regions, much like wine from different countries, all have unique and complex notes. The blends created by the Master Blender of the Cigar House will be carefully chosen to create an experience. By this, some cigars will be great for a morning smoke and some will be more more appropriate for after dinner paired with a whisky (or your tipple of choice!)
I learnt this lesson in the Dominican Republic whilst visiting La Flor Dominicana's tobacco fields. I was feeling the effects of the red wine from the night before and decided I wanted to try a cigar called "La Volcada" which is very powerful and full-bodied. It is a delicious cigar and I have managed to enjoy one at a more appropriate hour but at 11am, it really did knock me to the floor!
With The Cigar Sampler subscription box, we are trying to curate a selection that will give you a rounded experience, each month, with cigars from different countries, different sizes and different flavour profiles. Hopefully, you'll find new flavours you love and want to explore.
This was me having to sit down with La Volcada!