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Beginner's Guide to Choosing Your First Cigar

Beginner's Guide to Choosing Your First Cigar

Embarking on your cigar journey is an exciting adventure, filled with many choices and considerations. Selecting your first cigar is an important step in becoming a cigar aficionado. This guide is designed to simplify the process and help you make an informed choice that will enhance your initial smoking experience.

Understanding Cigar Sizes and Shapes

The size and shape of a cigar can greatly affect its flavor and how long it takes to smoke. Here's a breakdown of common terms you'll encounter:

  • Length and Ring Gauge: Cigars are measured by their length in inches and their diameter, known as the ring gauge (1/64th of an inch). A longer cigar or one with a larger ring gauge will generally burn slower and cooler, potentially offering a smoother experience.
  • Common Shapes:
    • Robusto: Usually 4.8 to 5.5 inches with a ring gauge of 48-52. A popular choice for beginners due to its manageable size and satisfying flavor balance.
    • Corona: Typically 5.5 to 6 inches with a ring gauge of around 42. This shape offers a shorter smoking time and is considered a standard size that delivers pure tobacco flavor.
    • Toro: Measures around 6 inches with a ring gauge of about 50. It provides a longer smoking experience without being too large for beginners.
    • Torpedo: This shape tapers at one end, which can offer a more concentrated flavor and an attractive aesthetic.

Choosing the Right Wrapper

The wrapper not only influences a cigar’s flavor but also contributes to the overall smoking experience. Here are a few common types:

  • Connecticut: Light in color and flavor, Connecticut wrappers are ideal for beginners due to their mild and smooth taste.
  • Habano: Darker and richer, Habano wrappers offer a bit more spice and are suited for those looking for a bit more intensity without overwhelming strength.
  • Maduro: Very dark and typically sweet or even chocolatey. Maduro wrappers are thicker and oilier, providing a rich taste that can be more suitable for slightly experienced smokers but still approachable for the adventurous beginner.

Strength and Body

Understanding the difference between strength and body is crucial when selecting your first cigar:

  • Strength: Refers to the nicotine content and its impact. It can range from mild to full. Beginners might want to start with a mild to medium strength to avoid an overpowering experience.
  • Body: This describes the richness and complexity of the flavor. A cigar can have a full body with a variety of flavors even if it isn't particularly strong in nicotine.

Tips for Buying Your First Cigar

  • Ask for advice: Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations at one of our shops. Describe what you enjoy in other taste experiences (like coffee, beer, or wine), and let the tobacconist guide you.
  • Start with a single: Instead of buying a box, buy a few different single cigars to try out various sizes and flavors.
  • Consider the occasion: If you’re choosing a cigar for a special occasion, you might want something unique like a torpedo shape or a slightly stronger blend to make the experience memorable.


Choosing your first cigar should be a delightful exploration of taste and tradition. By understanding the basics of size, shape, wrapper type, strength, and body, you can make a more informed decision that suits your personal preferences. Remember, the journey of enjoying cigars is personal and subjective. Take your time, experiment with different options, and most importantly, enjoy the process. Happy smoking!