For the adventurous, trial and error might not be a bad way to go to test a variety of smokes, but it can be expensive. It can also lead to a lot of bad cigars that kill your desire before it gets started. But the novice cigar buyer can rely on a plethora of clues to help select a good cigar rather than simply rely on trial and error.
When heading out to buy that first cigar, you will probably want to head to a quality, local tobacconist or cigar shop rather than buying a pack from behind the counter at the drug store. Those aren’t cigars as much as pressed tobacco. It’s not a good start.
A cigar shop provides you with an expert at your disposal to answer questions and provide guidance. Any decent shop has a good variety of choices in sizes, shapes, taste, and price ranges. You are likely to find something that works for you.
A good tobacconist asks questions to determine your likes and dislikes rather than trying to sell you a particular brand. He or she can also help you choose gifts for your best man, for a groom, or for guests at a bachelor party or another celebration.
Be wary if a tobacconist steers you toward only expensive brands. More often, the costly cigars are special editions that have been prepared for the connoisseur. As a beginner, you might not have the chops to enjoy those special blends.
If you have done a little research or have friends’ recommendations, you might already have a few names in mind. The brand is a good clue along with any stamp that indicates the cigar was handmade. While the word “handmade” (or “hecho a mano”) does not guarantee a great cigar, the odds are much better than with a machine-made cigar. Machines use tobacco shreds and leftovers rather than quality rolled leaves.
Consider the construction of the cigar. How does it feel to the touch? Apply the “pinch test” by lightly squeezing the cigar between the thumb and forefinger. The cigar should feel firm, not hard or squishy. Try pinching a few times along the cigar because the construction should be consistent throughout the cigar.