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How To Pick A Good Cigar For Beginners: What to Look For and What to Avoid

how to pick a cigar

Cigar smoking is a centuries-old tradition that is enjoyed by people from all walks of life. Whether you are a seasoned aficionado or a beginner, selecting the perfect cigar can be a daunting task. With so many different types of cigars, brands, and flavors to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

In this post, we’ll be exploring the art of selecting a good cigar. We’ll take a look at the key factors that you should consider when picking a cigar, including the wrapper, the shape, the size, and the flavor profile. We’ll also provide you with some tips and tricks for identifying a quality cigar, as well as some common mistakes that you should avoid.

Whether you are looking to increase your self-confidence with your cigar selection skills or just want to choose and enjoy a good smoke, this guide will help you to choose the perfect cigar for any occasion. So sit back, light up, and let’s get started on our journey to finding the perfect cigar!

Importance of Choosing The Right Cigar

Choosing the right cigar can take a pleasant smoke session and turn it into a memorable experience. Taking the time to learn how to choose the right cigar will pay off many times over!

Let’s start with the different parts of a cigar. A cigar consists of three main parts: the filler, the binder, and the wrapper. The filler is the tobacco that is inside the cigar, the binder is the layer that holds the filler together, and the wrapper is the outermost layer that you see and touch.

There are two main types of cigars: machine-made cigars and hand-rolled cigars. Machine-made cigars are made by, you guessed it, machines, while hand-rolled cigars are made entirely by hand.

Cigars can also be categorized by their strength and flavor profile. Mild cigars are generally milder in flavor and strength, while full-bodied cigars are stronger and more robust. Within these categories, there are also cigars that are spicy, earthy, or sweet.

Finally, cigars can also be classified by their country of origin. Cuban cigars are the most famous and are known for their rich flavor and strength, but cigars from other countries like the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua (and of course, the Cayman Islands) are also popular and well-regarded.

Honestly, there are many different types of cigars out there, so the best way to find the right one for you is to try a few different kinds and see what you like!

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Good Cigar

An important factor in determining the quality of a cigar is the wrapper. A high-quality wrapper will be smooth and free of veins or blemishes, with a consistent color throughout. The wrapper can sometimes have a nice oily sheen to it, which indicates that the tobacco is of high quality.

The brand and country of origin are also both great indicators of the quality of a cigar. Brands that have been around for a long time and have a good reputation for quality are usually a safe bet. Similarly, cigars from countries with a long history of tobacco cultivation, such as Cuba or the Dominican Republic, are often considered to be consistently good..

A well-constructed cigar will have an even and firm feel, with no lumps or soft spots. The cigar should also be rolled tightly enough that there are no air pockets, but not so tightly that it’s difficult to draw smoke through.

When actually smoking a cigar, there are a few characteristics that can help you determine if you’ve found the right cigar for you.


Cigars come in different strength levels, ranging from mild to medium to full-bodied. The strength level refers to the intensity of the flavor and the amount of nicotine in the cigar.

If you’re new to smoking cigars, it’s a good idea to start with a milder cigar to get used to the taste and the sensation of smoking. Mild cigars tend to be smoother and less intense, making them a good choice for beginners or for those who prefer a more mellow smoking experience.

As you become more experienced with smoking cigars, you may find that you enjoy cigars with more body and flavor. Medium-bodied cigars can be a good choice for those who want a little more kick without being too overpowering.

Finally, full-bodied cigars are the strongest and most intense, with a rich and robust flavor profile. These cigars are best for experienced smokers who can handle the strength and intensity of the smoke.

Remember, selecting the right strength level is a personal choice, and what works for one person may not work for another. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different cigars to find the one that suits your taste and preferences!

Cigar Shapes & Sizes

First, let’s talk about size. The size of a cigar is typically measured by its length and ring gauge, which is the diameter of the cigar in 64ths of an inch (because apparently, cigar makers love fractions). For example, a Corona cigar will have a smaller number for its ring gauge, while the larger Robusto cigar will have a larger gauge.

A smaller cigar generally will burn faster, making it a good choice if you’re short on time or don’t want to overwhelm your senses. A larger cigar, on the other hand, will burn slower and should be enjoyed when you have the time necessary to enjoy it.

Now, let’s talk about shape. Cigars come in a variety of shapes, including the classic cylindrical shape, as well as more unusual shapes like the torpedo or pyramid. The shape of a cigar can affect its flavor and draw, as well as its overall appearance.

When selecting a shape, it’s important to consider the size of the cigar as well as your own preferences. Some shapes may be more comfortable to hold or easier to smoke, while others may have a more unique or distinctive flavor profile.

One tip for selecting the right size and shape is to experiment with different cigars and see what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to try something new or unusual – you never know what hidden gems you might discover!

Choosing the Right Cigar for the Occasion

Choosing the right cigar for a given occasion can be a matter of personal preference, but there are some general guidelines to consider. Here are some tips to help you choose the right cigar for a particular occasion:

  • Consider the occasion: The type of cigar you choose may depend on the occasion. If you’re celebrating a special event, you might want to choose a premium cigar. For a more casual occasion, a less expensive cigar may be more appropriate.
  • Pairing with food and drink: Consider the type of food and drink you’ll be consuming with the cigar. For example, a full-bodied cigar may pair well with a glass of red wine or a steak dinner, while a milder cigar may pair better with a lighter meal or a glass of white wine, or even sparkling water.
  • Consider the time of day: The time of day can also impact the type of cigar you choose. A lighter cigar may be more appropriate for a morning smoke, while a stronger cigar may be better suited for an evening smoke.

If you are participating in something with new acquaintances, these are great pointers. If you are with good friends who have their own tastes as well, it’s probably best to get some input from everyone. Don’t be afraid to ask! If there are one thing cigar lovers like more than cigars, it’s talking cigars!

Proper Storage and Preparation of Cigars

Properly storing and preparing your cigars for a smoke is a key factor once you know how to pick a good cigar. Want to make sure your newfound favorites don’t dry out before you get to them? Just follow these tips!

Storing Cigars

When it comes to storing cigars, it’s important to maintain the proper humidity and temperature to keep them in top condition. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Use a humidor! A humidor is a specialized box designed to maintain the ideal humidity and temperature for storing cigars. If you plan to store cigars long-term, investing in a humidor is a good idea. Maintaining this humidity is a huge factor. The ideal humidity for storing cigars is between 65-70%. 

Don’t forget to keep the temperature consistent as well! The ideal temperature for storing cigars is between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Fluctuations in temperature can cause the cigars to expand and contract, which can damage them.

Don’t have a proper humidor? No worries-use a “Tupper-Dor.” Yes, a resealable plastic Tupperware type of container, along with one of two Boveda moisture packets works just fine! Just find a container with the smallest amount of space, but fits your cigars. Add the moisture packs and store in a cool place, out of direct sunlight. Problem solved!

Preparing Cigars

Once you have your cigars stored properly, it’s time to prepare them for smoking. Here’s the definitive way to prepare and smoke your cigar:

  1. Cut the cigar properly: Before smoking a cigar, you’ll need to cut off the cap. Use a cigar cutter to make a clean cut just above the shoulder of the cigar, being careful not to cut too much.
  1. Toast the foot of the cigar: To prepare the cigar for smoking, hold the flame of a lighter or match to the foot of the cigar and rotate it slowly until the tobacco is evenly toasted.
  1. Smoke slowly: Cigars are meant to be enjoyed slowly, so take your time and savor the flavor. Puff slowly and evenly to avoid overheating the cigar, which can cause it to become bitter.

By following these tips for storing and preparing cigars, you’ll be able to enjoy a high-quality smoking experience every time.


Don’t be intimidated by the many different types of cigars, brands, and flavors available. Instead, embrace the journey of discovering the perfect cigar for you! Rather than seeing all these different characteristics as homework to do, consider them new lands to explore! Life is about the experience, and there is a lot to be found within the world of cigars.

Insider hint: Locate and visit your closest brick-and-mortar cigar retailer. Introduce yourself and ask questions. Proprietors are eager to share their knowledge and support, ensuring you have a great experience. Who knows? Your neighborhood retailer could become your newfound friend and mentor, assisting you in your continued enjoyment of premium cigars. 

If you’re looking for a unique collection of cigars to begin your journey, Cayman Cigar Company has a stellar lineup of premium, artisan cigar collections. Choose Cayman Cigars to support the family farms and growers that make our special smoke sessions possible!


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We are currently offering special pricing and packaging on our hand-rolled Coronas. This limited opportunity is a great way to savor the unique flavors of our cigars and support our charitable mission.

Don’t miss out, as once these Coronas are gone, they are gone for good!

Corona Special Pricing offer is for US residents only.

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