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Discussion: First Cigars

Discussion: First Cigars

I consider myself very lucky every time I get the opportunity to introduce someone to the cigar hobby.  There’s something magical about sharing that first cigar and imparting some tips and tricks that you’ve learned over the years.

Which brings me to today’s discussion question:

What’s your go-to cigar to share with someone for the first time? 

Myself, I usually try and keep it simple with an easy going cigar that still shows them the potential of our hobby. While I don’t necessarily want to get them started with expensive choices, I do want their first time to enjoyable so they come back for another. 

A couple weeks ago, someone joined me in the smoke pit that had smoked cigars before but never liked anything.  What he described sounded like it tasted like an ash tray to him, and I really can’t blame ‘em for not pursuing cigars further if that was their impression. 

I ended up starting him with the OneOff Robusto, something that had just enough punch to break through his coffee while illuminating the classy side of cigars in general.   

Afterward, I asked his thoughts.  He said it definitely tasted different than what he smoked before, and that he didn’t know cigars could actually have good flavor.  I think he’s ready to try the rest of these now! 

How ‘bout you?  What do you hand out these days to newcomers, and how’s the reception been? 


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1/10/2019 5:26 AM
I think something simple and not too big like an H.Upmann Half Corona or Hoyo De Monterrey Petit Robusto on the Cuban side. Whereas maybe an arturo fuente hemmingway short story or AJ Fernandez Last Call on the NC side.
1/10/2019 5:46 AM
A Padron 2000, usually in Maduro. I think it's a great cigar for a novice or even an experienced smoker.
1/10/2019 5:50 AM
For first time smokers, I tend to ensure I pair it well, to help bring home the experience, and to take off the "edge" of just smoking a cigar.

I will usually lean towards a medium bodied smoke, such as a Warped Villa Sombra, Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story, which I think pair perfectly with coffee or something like Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask.
1/10/2019 6:04 AM
I'd be looking for something that has some taste, is cheaper and lower in nicotine....Something like a MF Connecticut jumps to mind...I wouldn't want someone with zero Nicotine tolerance losing there lunch first time out.
1/10/2019 8:03 AM
I always hand out EP Carrillo’s La Historia. Even new smokers can pick flavors out of La Historia even if they can’t retrohale yet. Also, the aroma and presentation are impressive to even the most experienced smoker.
1/10/2019 11:14 AM
For folks interested in learning about cigars, the Davidoff Grand Cru #4 is a perfect starting point. The flavors are soft, yet complex. The vitola leaves them wanting more if they enjoy it, but won't require too much of their time to smoke. And most importantly, by starting them off on a high note, you will secure a solid smoking buddy for years to come. To establish flavor variance, their second cigar would be a Padron 1926 Principe maduro. The richness and pepper of the Padron and the soft caramels of the Davidoff would give them each end of the spectrum.

Competing for second place in the 1st cigar category are the Warped La Colmena and the One Off corona. Both for similar reasons as the Davidoff.

The ideal vitola is the corona or robusto--the "Goldilocks" size, in my opinion.
1/10/2019 11:58 AM
As someone who has recently gotten into cigars myself I look back and cringe at all the great cigars I gave my friends when I was starting out. I ordered a bunch of samplers and passed out all kinds of fun Warped, Oliva, Padron's and other $10 or so sticks. Most of those ended up being smoked for about 20 minutes and then left in my ashtray.

Now when I bring "party favors" I stick with real cheap sticks/ones i get on sale. My favorite to give out is the Estelli Norteno's or Acid Kuba Kuba's depending on if they want flavors or not
1/10/2019 12:26 PM
I have found the Undercrown Shade to be a solid cigar to start new smokers on. Rich taste and not too harsh on the palate. Also, isn't a bank breaking cigar that will upset you if they don't like it. I've gotten 5 guys at work into cigars with the Shade.
1/10/2019 2:24 PM
Although I am no longer a fan of the infused cigars, I find an Acid Kuba Kuba is a terrific cigar to offer someone just 'starting out' or smoking for a special occasion. I think we all have smoked an infused cigar early in our 'careers'.
1/10/2019 9:44 PM
MONTECRISTO WHITE SERIES- This is my favorite cigar to share.

CAMPESINO BUEY MANSO - This is a great beginner cigar in my opinion.
1/10/2019 10:34 PM
I was recently in this situation - my wife’s brother had never tried a cigar and wanted something that “didn’t taste like charcoal.” My options were limited at the time (we were on a family vacation), so I bought him a Macanudo Cafe Hyde Park - a super smooth, super mild cigar that slowy shows more notable flavors as you smoke it. It’s definitely not my favorite, but I think it’s mildness ensures the newbie isn’t overwhelmed. In the end, he loved the smoke and wants to try something more complex when he visits me and my humidor.
1/10/2019 11:41 PM
If I want to ruin somebody, an Upmann Connie 1 is where to start. Otherwise on the NC side, fuente hemingway, eastern standard, Charter oak, Warped MdT, illusione R
1/11/2019 5:15 AM
I think the Herrera Esteli brand is great for new smokers. In strength/body it’s just north of most Connecticut wrappers and shares a lot of the same flavors. But it’s peppery, sweet, and surprisingly complex. A great smoke for someone new to the game.
1/11/2019 5:55 AM
The ideal first cigar would be far from my first few cigars (RyJ 1875 NC, Cuban Rejects, and Quorum). I personally would start someone with the Eastern Standard Marble House or the Quesada 40th Petite Bellicoso. Personally both of those had some solid easy going flavors with a short burn time so it won't knock them on their ass.
1/11/2019 7:12 AM
Perdomos are pretty mild. Camacho BXP (box pressed) Connecticut’s are pretty good also.
1/11/2019 9:05 AM
Illusione Epernay is good one that fist time smokers can usually enjoy and is also a great cigar.
1/12/2019 4:53 PM
I think it’s really important to qualify someone, by asking questions to see what they would enjoy - someone who drinks coffee with tons of cream and sugar may not like the same thing as someone who drinks espresso straight for instance.

I would start with something that has a lot of good flavor, like a Crowned Heads Jericho Hill for instance - that won’t be either ultra mild (boring) or super strong. Some other suggestions; My Father Flor De Las Antillas, Warped La Colmena, Avo Domaine.
1/12/2019 7:36 PM
Something light to Medium.  Warped Villa Sombra is always a good one.
1/12/2019 7:50 PM
It really depends, but often I reach for a clone of whatever I a having at the moment so they can talk to me about the cigar. If I have a heads up, I often find them something they've heard of or something otherwise familiar.
1/12/2019 8:01 PM
Asylum 13 The Ogre 880
1/13/2019 9:17 AM
Congrats Hobart!  Many thanks to everyone for joining the discussion!
1/15/2019 3:37 PM
It's their first cigar. You have 2 goals: Flavor and not making them throw-up. A cigar with an excellent wrapper, bold flavor without being overly strong.  Something smooth, rich and a smaller ring size but decent length.  I would go with the cigar I am going to smoke this evening.  The Warped, La Relatos.  La Relatos is a perfect smoke for such an occasion. It's a Petite-Lancero so low nicotine count and most beginners smoke fast.  A solid favor ride from beginning to end with no funk.  *Not uncomfortably large in the mouth. Whether your a seasoned vet taking it slow, or a new smoker just getting to know, La Relato: the way to go...
1/21/2019 9:53 PM
I personally started out on Macanudo Petite Cafes. There's a lot to like about that cigar for those starting out with cigars. I'd probably go with the Duke of Devon which is sized at 5.5 x 42 or the Petite Corona at 5 x 38. They have a Connie shade wrapper, a Mexican San Andreas binder, and Dominican and Mexican fillers. They have a mild yet flavorful profile and won't break the bank. All in all, a pretty nice place to start!