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Discussion: Advice to New Cigar Smokers

Discussion: Advice to New Cigar Smokers

Happy Monday, folks!  

Hopefully everyone had an amazing Mother’s Day and is getting ready to dive into another fun-filled week with a few cigars at the ready.  

One of the things that we’ve been asking recent interviewees (for another Opinion Post) is what sort of advice they would give to new cigar enthusiasts.  

If you were starting cigars all over again, what would you want to know? 

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If I were to write an entire post on things I wish I knew from the beginning, I’d probably go over some of the essentials such as:  

  • Slow and steady is how we get the most out of a cigar
  • Samplers are the best way to maximize your education and budget into new brands or sizes
  • Cut as little as possible off the cap; less is more
  • Always withhold judgement of a cigar/wrapper/brand until you’ve tried it

But, if I could only give one piece of advice, I think I’d go a different way.  I’d encourage everyone that’s new to cigars to take a deep dive into the hobby itself and emerge with newfound appreciation and satisfaction.  

 

Interview with Klaas Kelner of Davidoff Cigars

Read our Interview with Klaas Kelner

 

For the better part of a decade, I smoked whichever cigar was on special and refused to open the double doors to cigar knowledge.  As we’ve discussed before, I didn’t see the value in different cigars and mostly wanted a brand that I could trust at a price point that I had been conditioned to assume was fair. 

The act of smoking a cigar itself was my relaxation, and my ignorance kept me blind to one of my (now) favorite aspects of our hobby… Flavor!  By expecting most cigars to taste similar to each other, I guaranteed that result for myself with poor storage, a lack of variety in my purchasing decisions, and a general unwillingness to learn.  

I find that the more I know about cigars – the process, the people, the hobby – the more that I enjoy a cigar at every level.  I can’t imagine being in the dark ever again, and I love jumpstarting a thirst for cigar knowledge in someone sooner rather than later. 

Tell Us!  Which advice would YOU give to someone just getting into the hobby?  

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Comments
5/13/2019 3:06 PM
Take it slow and figure out what you like before jumping into a box that you may grow out of quickly!
5/13/2019 3:24 PM
I would suggest thinking quality over quantity. Stay away from cigarbid and focus on finding what you enjoy instead of just building a large collection of stuff you won't even want to smoke a year from now. I would rather have 20 cigars from Roma craft, DE, and Foundation than 200 cigars from 5 Vegas, HC, and Alec Bradley.
5/13/2019 3:36 PM
Instead of buying multiple 25 count humidors, buy one large nice one. Don’t mix your infused cigars with your regular ones in the humidor. Stay away from analog hygrometer’s. Finally, make sure you sample a cigar before you invest in a box.
5/13/2019 3:42 PM
I would like to have known to only buy singles for a while. It might be a more expensive at first but will prevent you from buying too many sticks that you dont like.
5/13/2019 5:01 PM
Don't bother with wooden humidors.  Go straight to tupperdors and Bovedas.
5/13/2019 6:53 PM
Find mentors who are generous with their time, advice, wisdom, and occasionally a cigar or two. There are lots of guys who are glad to help you dive farther into the hobby, help you pick cigars that match your palate, and teach you things. But you've got to be receptive to it and find those awesome guys.

(Then, once you've learned from those great stewards of the cigar hobby, pass it along to another new guy.)
5/14/2019 4:34 AM
The biggest things in my opinion are: Smoke around. Try various things, from various companies and farms. Meanwhile, learn about tobacco and learn about the blends you are smoking. Having some knowledge on tobacco, and learning which tobaccos are in cigars you like or don’t allows you to make more educated decisions and avoid displeasure with a cigar. Also, to go along with this, find a press release or interview with the person responsible for the cigar if you can and listen to what they wanted to get out of this cigar. Steve Saka is very good at explaining these things. You will see the cigar for what it is meant to be and have a greater appreciation for it.

And to piggy back on Joseph, focus on quality. When you’re smoking around and starting to better interpret flavors, try different price points, super premiums vs catalog brands and you will start to see that you can’t beat quality. And you learn to appreciate a higher priced cigar.
5/14/2019 5:43 AM
Don't go big too fast!  Take your time and figure out what you like before jumping into a big humidor or boxes of cigars.  Set a time aside for enjoying your cigar where you can explore the cigars profile.  I would definitely seek out a local cigar lounge and engage in conversation.  Most of all, smoke what you like and how you like.
5/14/2019 5:47 AM
I wish someone would have told me to find a more experienced smoker and smoke with them often and just let them pick what will be smoked. Compare tasting notes with them and enjoy the whole process.
5/14/2019 9:05 AM
Smoke slowly, have a palate cleansing beverage on hand (sparkling water, La Croix, etc), buy samplers early on to find out what you like, and ask questions at your local cigar shop.
5/14/2019 9:35 AM
Try singles and all different types.  This is where a good tobacconist is helpful.
5/14/2019 10:32 AM
Easy answer. Relax and enjoy yourself. Don't stress getting in a rush trying to find want you like, it'll come to you as time goes by. Just work on trying as many different kinds as you can till one really hits you, then run with it.
5/14/2019 5:51 PM
1. Tupperware, Boveda and Digital hydrometer
2. Samplers with variety or variety singles from a B&M
3. Speaking of B&M, go there and talk to people. Invaluable.
4. Flavors will come in time, looking at a flavor wheel while smoking as well as writing down any tasting notes helps
5/14/2019 8:13 PM
Keeping a spreadsheet, or any kind of record, of what cigar(s) you enjoyed that day is something I wish I'd started doing earlier. I thought I'd remember what I thought about each smoking experience, but nah, that really hasn't been the reality.

It may be too much hassle for most folks, but a few years back I started dating things upon acquisition. Sometimes just the date, but other times with more info, such as SBCOTM, or the B&M shop they came from. That's one of the reasons I leave the cellos on when they have them, to have a place for the info sticker.

Give things you didn't like the first time a second and third chance. Your taste will most likely change as you experience new things. Also there is a mellowing aging affect that some cigars undergo that may tame a wild stick to be more to your liking after time in the humidor.
5/15/2019 9:25 AM
Smoke as many different cigars/brands as you can to see what you like and don't like.
Also know that an expensive cigar can be bad and a cheap cigar can be good.
5/15/2019 9:47 PM
First suggestion would be to set up a humidor, even if its just a Tupperware with a Boveda. Since dried out cigars that crack or fall apart will deter anyone from the hobby. Then I would suggest to educate yourself on the difference in strength and body and to try some of each, many new smokers assume they should start with the most mellow cigar possible, i know i did but i quickly found myself puffing too much trying to get flavor and not truly enjoy the cigar. Last suggestion would be to get a good cutter, sure the cheap ones you get for free sometimes can get the job done but they also have the potential to ruin a cigar if they are dull and crush your cigar instead of cutting it.
5/16/2019 4:53 AM
Never smoke on an empty stomach.
Toast the cigar first.
Take your time!
Maybe a puff every minute or two.
Concentrate on flavors.
Retro hale a tiny bit.
If ordering on-line,
Let your cigars rest for a couple weeks minimum before you smoke them.
5/16/2019 7:25 AM
I wish I would have gotten into it deep like I am now. Now I have a box of some cigars I thought I would like as my go to smoke. My palate has changed and now I give those to guests who don't normally smoke as they're a Connecticut blend. They're still good to me, I just wish I would have bought more samplers in the beginning.
I'd also suggest a tupperdor to myself! My first humidor was miserable at keeping humidity in it and I think I smoked bad cigars due to it, now that I have a tupperdor the smokes are always how they should be.
5/16/2019 8:16 PM
Always try new things! When you think you’ve found your perfect cigar, try something different. Something completely different... you may be surprised at how your pallet can change or maybe find something you missed.
5/17/2019 4:06 AM
Cigar size is extremely important, bigger doesn’t mean better.  Get a tool like the perfect draw to get your cigars to draw the way you like.  I thought some cigars weren’t good, just because the draw wasn’t good.  Now I can make every cigar draw the way I like, and then evaluate them based on flavor.
5/18/2019 11:42 AM
Singing with the choir, here. Go to a B&M no matter how intimidating and start asking questions and listen to what they say. Start slow. I always bought things because they were on sale, now I hand those out to buddies.
5/19/2019 7:55 AM
I found using a punch to be more consistent then a cutter.  I'm new to the hobby so it's a lot less stressful to use a punch than to try and get a good cut.

Once I get into it a bit more I'll bring a cutter into the mix and see how it goes.
5/19/2019 5:43 PM
Hey Matt you should check out the Cuban Crafters Perfect Cutter, it makes making a cut so simple, its impossible to make a bad cut with it. Its the only cutter I use now.
5/20/2019 5:06 AM
Congrats David!  "Try singles and all different types.  This is where a good tobacconist is helpful."

Thanks everyone for joining the discussion!