Cigar 101: The Basics for Beginners
Cigars are complex and fascinating, bursting with flavor and aroma- ideal for leisure activities, social functions, or winding down after a long day. Curious to know more? Keep reading to learn about tobacco’s finest rolled product: the cigar.
What is a cigar?
A cigar is made from tightly bound tobacco leaves that have been cured and fermented. The tobacco leaves used in cigars are usually better than those used in cigarettes. They’re often aged for several years to improve their flavor and aroma. Cigar makers roll each cigar using a tobacco filler, a tougher leaf as a binder, and wrapper leaves to give it its unique taste and appearance. The size and shape of cigars vary. Some are small and thin, while others are big and thick. They’re generally categorized by their shape and size, as well as their strength and flavor.
A Brief History of Cigars
Cigars have been cultivated and smoked in ancient cultures throughout the Americas for thousands of years. People in the Caribbean and South America were believed to have first cultivated tobacco and smoked it for medicinal and religious purposes.
Cigar smoking originated in Mexico and Central America in the 10th century. Mayas rolled tobacco leaves into cylinders and smoked them, early forms of cigars. The Natives introduced colonizers to tobacco smoking when they arrived in the New World in the late 15th century. From there, tobacco and cigars spread rapidly throughout Europe and the rest of the world.
The Evolution of Modern Cigar Smoking
Cigar production expanded in the early 19th century, and new methods were developed. Countries like Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Honduras became major producers of high-quality tobacco during this time. With the development of advances in technologies, such as mechanized rollers, cigar production became more efficient and larger.
Smoking cigars became increasingly popular among the upper classes as a symbol of wealth and sophistication. Smoking clubs and cigar lounges began to appear in major cities, offering cigar enthusiasts a social setting to share their passion.
There was a boom in cigar popularity in the 20th century, with many famous celebrities smoking and endorsing them. Cigar smoking has declined because of the health risks associated with nicotine and smoking. However, cigar culture still thrives today among true connoisseurs and occasional puffers, complementing leisure activities and lounge life, where enthusiasts enjoy the aromas and flavors and the social aspect of smoking.
What are the Different Types of Cigars?
Many different types of cigars are available on the market, each with its own characteristics and flavors. Cigars can be categorized into the following types:
General Cigar Types
- Mild cigars – Light tobacco, mild in flavor and strength, suitable for beginners or those who prefer a lighter smoking experience.
- Medium-bodied cigars– A blend that falls somewhere between mild and full-bodied, suitable for those wanting a more complex smoking experience.
- Full-bodied cigars – Made with robust, full-flavored tobacco offering intense flavor and strength.
- Flavored cigars – Tobacco infused with vanilla, chocolate, or fruit flavors for a sweeter, more aromatic experience.
Specific Cigar Types
- Figurados – Shaped like a torpedo, providing a unique smoking experience, as the shape affects how smoke is drawn through the cigar.
- Churchills – Long and thin in shape, with a 7-inch length, and named after British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who was a notorious cigar enthusiast.
- Panatelas – Long and thin, around 6 inches long, great for those looking for a light and delicate smoking cigar.
- Robustos – Shorter and thicker at 5 inches long, offering a quicker smoking experience without sacrificing flavor.
- Coronas – Similar to Robusto cigars but thinner, these cigars typically measure around 5 1/2 inches, offering a quick smoke without sacrificing flavor.
- Cigarillos – 3-inch long cigars that are an excellent choice for a quick smoke and are available in various flavors and strengths.
How to Know Which Cigars to Buy
Choosing a cigar is a personal preference, and what works for one person may not work for another. The best thing to do is experiment with different cigars to find the ones you enjoy the most. But how do you know what kind of cigar to try yourself? Here are a few key things to consider when picking what to puff on.
Strength, Flavor, and Size
There are different strengths of cigars, from mild to full-bodied. If you’re a newbie, start with a smooth or medium cigar. A full-bodied cigar might be more your style if you’re an experienced smoker. Cigars have different flavors depending on the tobacco and how they’re made, so you’ll want to consider what tastes you prefer. There are some cigars that taste earthy and woody and others that taste sweet or spicy. It’s always a good idea to try different flavors to see what you like.
You’ll also want to consider the cigar size, as they vary from small cigarillos to long Churchills. When it comes to cigars, the size matters, so try different sizes to find your favorite
Brand and Price Point
Many cigar brands exist, some more popular than others. Find out what people like best by reading online reviews. If you’re unsure what to buy, you can always ask other cigar smokers or an expert at your local smoke and cigar shop for recommendations. Price is another important aspect of cigar brands. Cigars can cost anywhere from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. There’s no rule that says higher prices mean better cigars, but you should set a budget and look for cigars within that range.
Where to Buy the Best Cigars
From brick-and-mortar cigar shops and clubs to online retailers and direct-from-manufacturer, there are several options for buying cigars, both online and in person. If you’re local to a World of Smoke and Vape location, especially in Florida, stop by one of our many stores. You can talk to us about our premier cigar collection, and we’ll help you pick out the right stoagie in the shop for you!