It’s the perfect gift, right? It speaks of class, luxury and good taste. But which cigar should you pick?

Or is this your first time venturing into this new hobby?

I’ll help you. It took me a few years to discover what guidelines to follow. And I don’t want you to flounder around. You—or your friend—should enjoy the characteristics of the best cigars as soon as possible.

Here’s what I found out. Read them and then go shopping!

Some Tips

Know What It’s Made of

Let’s start at the beginning. Understanding the anatomy of a cigar will help you ask the right question in the store. You can then determine which of the many options you really want. A cigar has:

–        Head: The end you put in your mouth.

–        Foot: Where you light the cigar.

–        Filler: Tobacco inside the cigar.

–        Wrapper: The exterior layer also made from leaves.

Now let’s see what these different parts should contain.

Pick the Right Features

There’s a lot to consider when you start shopping. Make sure you allocate enough time so you walk out of the store with the best possible option.

Size

You can pick from little cigars to long, thick ones. The size doesn’t relate to its quality, but to how long you want to smoke it and how much flavor you’ll experience. Little cigars are known to offer more flavor, but they don’t last as long.

Shape

The way cigars are rolled determines their shapes. Hold different ones in your hand and find a shape you’re comfortable with.

Color

Cigars’ colors tell you a lot about what you’ll taste. It’s worth getting to know what characteristics are matched to what hues. Then you’ll automatically know which ones you’ll prefer when you discover a new brand or batch:

–        The entire cigar must be of one color. If it’s spotted it’s low in quality

–        Wrappers’ colors show you how the cigars are flavored and how strong they will be.

Shade names used include:

o   Claros which is the lightest wrapper and refers to lighter tastes

o   Colorados

o   Maduros

o   Oscuras which is the darkest color and will encase full bodied cigars

Gauge

You have to balance the comfort of holding a cigar with its thickness. A thin cigar may feel good in your hand, but it will burn up quick.

Moisture

You can test a cigar’s moisture level in store. If it crackles in your hand it means the leaves are very dry. They may break up while you’re smoking the cigar. You want one that’s still slightly moist—leaves are placed in wrappers while they still contain moisture—and has been kept in a humidor to keep it in this condition.

Price Range

It’s best you decide how much you want to spend before you start shopping. Cigars differ in price based on quality, popularity and availability. And there’s no reason to break your budget to get a limited edition cigar. There are plenty of quality options in every price range. Price doesn’t prove worth. How the cigar is put together does.

Look for Quality

How do you know if you’re looking at a quality cigar? You can’t exactly smoke it in the store before buying it.

But there are many hints to help you determine its worth:

–        What do other people say about it?

–        Is it part of an established brand?

Huge manufacturing companies put effort into protecting their reputation by ensuring quality in both premium and basic cigars.

–        Press on the cigar lightly. If it’s of the same density throughout it’s packed well.

What Type of Smoker are You?

Your friend’s favorite cigar won’t necessarily become yours. Find cigars in line with your preferences:

–        Light

–        Medium

–        Full

These are clearly marked on cigars and mentioned in reviews, because this is one of the most important features smokers base their decisions on.

Points of Interest

This is a lot of information, right? But that’s what makes cigar smoking so tantalizing. No two experiences are really the same. And there’s always something new to explore. New cigars are released on the market or you discover how it enhances a certain pastime such as time around the campfire.

I will give you some of tips. I only realized some of these facts after much experience. It will help you make even better decisions when picking that gift:

–        At what time of the day will the cigar be smoked? While strong aromas are ideal to unwind with at night you may simply want a mild undertone when you take a lunch break.

–        How long do you want your cigar to last? If you’re planning on smoking one during a smoke break at work, it’s best you consider little cigars. Some of them can be smoked within 15 minutes so you don’t have to throw precious tobacco away. If you plan to smoke leisurely after dinner you need a longer cigar. The wider its diameter the longer time you’ll have to enjoy it.

–        Don’t purchase an entire box of cigars if you’re unsure about their quality. Rather try singles of different brands so you can find one you want to invest more money in.

Cigars Everyone Loves

If you’re still undecided I have the perfect way to get you started. A few brands have managed to create quality cigars that almost any smoker loves.

A mean feat, right? But the mix of flavors are loved by many palates and they’re not too strong so they won’t scare you off:

–        Arturo Fuente Curly Head

–        Olivea Series G Churchill

–        Montecristo No.4 Double Corona Connecticut

These are some of the best cigars in the world. The benefit of smoking these is you won’t be demotivated by low quality aromas. And some of them are competitively priced. It’s better to invest in these than a cheap cigar that will spoil the experience forever.