Quality Cigars: What to Look For

Foods & DrinksFood

  • Author Meggan Werkheiser
  • Published April 5, 2010
  • Word count 786

Whether you are looking for a thoughtful gift for someone special, or a treat to savor for yourself, buying a quality cigar merits a careful selection process. Like most of the finer things in life, there are countless factors involved in choosing a quality cigar. Brand, country of origin, age, construction, flavor, and aroma all combine to create a truly distinct cigar with unique characteristics.

For the novice, it can all be quite overwhelming. So how can you be sure you purchase a quality cigar? This helpful primer provides important tips and considerations, and will help you make a wise choice the next time you are ready to buy quality cigars.

Even cigar experts have different opinions on what type of cigar fits them the very best. And while everyone’s palate and preferences are different, there are two key components to look for when you’re searching for a quality product – tobacco quality and cigar construction. Even with only two critical components, it is still a lot to shuffle through considering the number of cigars on the market is baffling. And just like wine, it’s a mistake to judge a cigar by price alone.

To begin, it’s important to understand the production of the cigar. The production tells the cigar’s story; how it will taste, how it will look and where it originated. It can even tell you the draw of the cigar when you smoke it. You also want to concentrate on the filler, or the contents of the inside of the cigar.

If you notice that the cigar has been made with fewer leaves, it generally indicates that you will smoke it easily, which usually does not mean high quality. When you are able to smoke through a cigar at a faster pace, this is sometimes caused by too many air pockets in the filler.

On the other hand, you do not want your cigar to have too much filling either. When it does, it is much more difficult to have a relaxing, smooth smoke. Too much filling of a cigar is usually caused by a less-than-top-quality rolling method.

When you are considering the tobacco, it is necessary for a good cigar to be of the highest quality. You should know as soon as you take your first puff. If you notice that it burns your mouth or has a harsher feel, then the tobacco is not what you’re looking for in a good cigar. These less-than-popular stogies are usually found at drugstores or gas stations. They tend to include unpleasant substances such as glycerin, saltpeter, and other irritants. Try to steer clear of these low-quality brands.

In order to find top quality, you should seek cigars that are 100 percent tobacco only and list the ingredients right on the packaging. There should not be anything to hide if they are top quality, however in some cases even the tobacco percentage may be based on reputation. These types of cigars can be found at your local tobacco shop or even a cigar specialty shop.

The clerks or tobacconists should be able to answer any and all questions you may have, especially if you are unsure of the tobacco percentage. Understandably, you may feel a little overwhelmed and intimidated the first time you walk into a specialty shop and see their well-stocked cigar humidor. A humidor is a case or closet that preserves the integrity and optimal level of moisture for the cigars. But it is important to keep an open mind and explore your many options.

When you visit these stores, make sure you look carefully at the cigars that peak your interest. A good cigar will have a little give in it. When you squeeze the cigar gently, check that it is firm with no noticeable bumps and its wrapping is still in fine condition without any discoloration. You want to make sure that the cigar is smooth because any lump or defect is a mark of poor construction, which will mean a less than ideal draw when you inhale. Also, make sure to double check that the end of the cigar has an even color throughout.

So when you decide it is time to check out a reputable online cigar retailer, cigar specialty shop or local tobacco store, keep these factors and considerations in mind. Don’t forget to look for cigar construction details and top of the line tobacco quality, and never feel embarrassed to ask for help.

You will feel better you asked when you are enjoying a smooth inhale of that top quality cigar. And as any cigar aficionado will confirm, this careful and meticulous selection process will prove well worth your time and effort.

Meggan Werkheiser is a freelance writer who writes about luxury items such cigars.

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