Tagged: cigar samplers

During the Holiday Season it’s so hard to keep from tripping over ads and articles on “Great Gift Ideas!” I figured I might as well get in on it too, with my own guide to finding the perfect cigar gift. So, I’ve kept it simple. Here are five great gift ideas in five respective categories and various price points, that you can hint at to your wife, girlfriend, best friend, business colleagues or, you can tie a string around your finger like Uncle Billy in It’s a Wonderful Life, so you can remember to buy them for yourself. These are just suggestions, there are plenty more great gift ideas and deals to be found as well. I left the prices out, because they are subject to change and may even be on sale or include offers.

cigar gift

Cigars: “Father & Sons” Buying Guide #11 Sampler

A sampler always makes a great gift. Here’s a dynamite collection for the cigar smoker who’s just starting out or has been smoking cigars for decades. I like this sampler because it’s got lots of cigars (16 in all!), big brand variety, and the price is extremely reasonable. Plus, they’re all made by the best in the business like The Fuentes, Eiroas, Garcias, Ozgeners, Toraños, Padróns, Perdomos, and Plasencias. Ranging from mild to muscular, these are “must-smokes” no cigar smoker should be without.


Xikar Xi2 Fiberglass cutter

Cutters: Xikar Xi2 Fiberglass Cigar Cutters

CLACK! That’s the sound of a Xikar Xi cutter opening. When it comes to cutters, I’ve seen more Xikars in the hands of cigar smokers than any other make. That’s because they’re cool-looking, ultra sharp, guaranteed for the life of the cutter, and most importantly, they work! The Xi2 fiberglass series is very affordable, and the tear-drop shape provides maximum grip strength for the cleanest cuts ever – even up to a 56 ring. Don’t fiddle with the cheapo cutters. Get yourself or your giftee something they’ll appreciate for years to come.


Vector Heatran Triple Flame Lighter

Lighters: Vector Heatran Triple Flame Cigar Lighter

I recently purchased this Vector Heatran lighter for myself and I love it. IMO, Vector has proven to be one of the more reliable makers of cigar lighters, and this triple flame is especially good for toasting and lighting cigars from a 50 to 60 ring gauge. It comes in several colors, is very affordable, and it has a fuel viewing window, which I would suggest you look for in any cigar lighter you buy. It really comes in handy. This lighter also has a handy cigar punch on the bottom, in case you forget your regular cutter.


Deauville Tobacco Leaf Inlay Humidor

Humidors: Deauville Tobacco Leaf Inlay Cigar Humidor

Here’s a humidor that says, “I love the leaf.” The tobacco leaf on this well-made, dark maple humidor is bordered by hand inlays, that add an attractive touch of class to this case. Features include Spanish cedar lining, brass hardware, quadrant hinges, a large rectangular oasis foam humidifier, brass/glass analog hygrometer, top tray, plus a lock & key with a yellow tassel. Its affordable price and 125 cigar capacity also make it a great value. Cigar smokers always need more room eventually, and this humidor will allow you or your giftee’s collection to grow without having to buy another humidor sooner than you wanted.


Cigar & Accessory Kits: Horn of Plenty Super Sampler

cigar gift set

For the cigar smoker who wants it all, THIS is a very cool gift at a ridiculously low price. Perfect for the new cigar smoker, this item comes with just about everything but the kitchen sink. You get our bestselling Capri humidor plus 20 cigars chosen from among the world’s best-known brands such as Alec Bradley, CAO, E.P. Carrillo, Oliva, Macanudo, Romeo y Julieta, Tatuaje, Cohiba, and too many more to mention. But that’s not all! You also get a guillotine cutter, torch lighter, seasoning kit, humidifier, humidifying solution, and much more. This is a fantastic gift idea valued at over $296, for way less than you’d expect to pay.


So, check your list twice, take a look at these items, and browse around. There’s something for every cigar smoker at affordable prices, and you can do all your cigar gift shopping without having to deal with mall mania.

Happy hunting!

Note: Thanks for visiting our 2011 holiday gift guide – but you need to get with the times! Check out our cigar gifts guide for over 15 ideas perfect for any cigar smoker on your list!

Famous Smoke Shop


The world's fastest, friendliest, and best place to buy cigars! Since 1939, Famous Smoke Shop has prided itself on offering the freshest, largest selection cigars at the most competitive prices, and customer service that can't be beat.

Smoking Guide
summer cigars sampler pack Buyer’s Guide Sampler #1410 Super Summer Smokes
at 1 Low Price!
Better than a bottle of sun block, and much tastier, too, this month’s Buyer’s Guide Sampler #14 includes 10 of the bestselling Summer cigars at a great price. Handcrafted by the leading manufacturers, these “boys of summer” cover the entire range of strengths, a big variety of wrappers, and a good assortment of shapes. So, grab a beach chair, a cooler, your cigar cutter & lighter and ride this big wave of flavor. Certain to make all your Summer days bright, sunny, and delicious, order yours now while they last.

Buy Now
A $59.32 value

601 Maduro BP (Blue) Robusto Maduro
Baccarat Rothschild
Famous Nicaraguan 3000 Grande Robusto
H. Upmann Vintage Cameroon Belicoso
Antano 1970 Gran ConsulLa Floridita Fuerte RobustoOliva Serie G RobustoPerdomo 10th Champagne RobustoRomeo y Julieta Reserva Real ToroTatuaje Havana VI Nobles

Hot Fun In the Summertime

By Gary KorbAhhh…Summertime. Baseball, beaches, mini-golf, adventure parks, barbeques, cold beer, iced-tea, convertibles, motorcycles, camping, the din of the neighborhood ice-cream truck combing the streets, and of course, great cigars to while away the hours of those long summer days and warm summer nights. This is the time of year that cigar smokers, especially those who’ve had to wait out the winter, can take advantage of some great deals and stock up. Plus, there’s nothing like being able to sit outside with good friends and share the pleasure of smoking your favorite cigars. 

So, is there such a thing as a “summer cigar.” Maybe…maybe not. According to a recent CigarAdvisor.com survey, Do the cigars you smoke change depending on the season?, about 73% responded that they did not change the cigars they smoke. Perhaps a summer cigar is a cigar that’s longer than what you normally smoke because you have more time for cigars like Churchills, Presidentes, Torpedoes, etc. during the summer months.

I’m pretty certain that a lot of cigar smokers have specific cigars that they prefer only for the beach, the golf course, or sitting out by the pool, whatever. But even if most cigar smokers prefer to stick with their regular cigar regime year-round, chances are they’re also looking for something new and different to smoke. That’s where summertime can also play an important role in educating your palate. When you’re more relaxed it’s easier to appreciate the nuances of your new discoveries. I hope you find some great new cigars this summer to add to your regular rotation. In the meantime, see you in September!


Are you a “fast smoker?”

Do you find that you smoke through your cigars rather quickly? If you notice that your cigars often turn bitter, it could be that you’re puffing too hard and/or too fast. If so, here’s a good solution: SLOW DOWN! A good rule of thumb is to puff on the cigar about once a minute. I refer to this as letting the cigar “smoke itself” between puffs. It helps the cigar burn cooler, and helps you appreciate the cigar’s aroma, too. Taking fewer puffs can also help make more full-bodied cigars a little more manageable. Finally, allowing even more time between puffs during the last third will also help keep your cigar from turning prematurely bitter.




Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

Smoking Guide
CI-FAM-GUIDE12 Buyer’s Guide Sampler #12

12 of the best cigars you
should be smoking

Our Famous Buying Guide sampler #12 consists of “Sleepers,” or great cigars that tend to fly under the radar. The names alone tell you this mouthwatering set is in a league of its own. You get 12 cigars in all, some which you may have missed over the years, plus some new discoveries. Valued at over $69, this “underground” collection is designed to edify your palate and open your mind. Order yours now!

Buy Now

Alec Bradley Overture Robusto
Conuco Robusto
Capoeira Professor
Carlos Torano Signature Robusto
El Cobre Double Fuerte 5x50
El Triunfador #4
E.P. Carrillo Encantos
Famous Nicaraguan 6000 Robusto
H. Upmann Vintage Cameroon Robusto
La Floridita Fuerte Robusto
Perdomo Patriarch Robusto
Famous VSL Nicaraguan Robusto
Sleeper Cigars – What’s up with that?
By Gary Korb

As I define them, “Sleepers” are good cigars that have caught the attention of a few, but for the most part have been overlooked by the majority of cigar smokers. There could be any number of reasons these cigars have gone unnoticed, but rather than speculate as to why, let’s focus on how to find a good Sleeper cigar. (Of course, you could order this month’s cigar Buying Guide sampler #12.)

Shameless self-promotion aside, cigar samplers are most often the source of a good Sleeper, since many cigar samplers have a few “unknowns” among them. It seems that cigar smokers tend to compromise when it comes to variety samplers, too. They’ll take a couple of unknowns because, 1) most of the cigars in the pack are those that they already recognize, and 2) the pack is usually discounted enough to justify the purchase. Ironically, this is usually how they find that outlying Sleeper, too.


Experienced cigar smokers know they can find good cigars at well below prices they would pay for luxury-priced selections. That alone speaks to something I’ve pointed out time and again: experiment, experiment, experiment. That said, price isn’t always the issue. As you experiment, you may just as easily find a $10 Sleeper as a $3 Sleeper.


Another thing Sleepers have in common is, most of them are made by many of the world’s leading blenders. If a cigar smoker has enjoyed certain name brands in the past, they’re more likely to try a stick made by say, Pepin Garcia, Nick Perdomo, Rocky Patel, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, or Carlos Torano, to name a handful, even if the cigar is a private blend.


Finally, by finding these undiscovered gems, it’s very likely you’ll tell your friends, and in turn, you can actually help the brand find an audience.



How much of a cigar’s cap should you cut?

You only need to slice off the cap itself, about 1/16th of an inch, and generally no more than 1/8th will do it, and should result in a little round disc. Even if you don’t get the entire cap, as you smoke the cigar and the head gets more saturated, it will open wider naturally. If you feel it necessary to cut a little deeper for draw purposes, note that triple capped cigars tend to hold up better because they also protect the cigar’s shoulders. Moreover, never clip a cigar below its shoulders as the wrapper may unravel on you.




Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

Brazilian 6-pack #1 cigar samplersCigars are sold in a number of ways. You’ve got your boxes, bundles, singles, and your cigar samplers. The latter has become the most economical way to buy cigars because you don’t have to commit to a full box, and five cigars is a comfortable enough amount to determine whether the brand in question is worth investing in a box or bundle, whatever the case may be.

Famous Smoke Shop has had a successful cigar sampler program for a number of years. The bulk of the 5-Pack cigar samplers generally comprise same-size cigars from one particular brand, whereas Variety type cigar samplers offer a mix of brands that can range from as few as three to as many as 24 different cigars, and even more with some samplers.

Recently, Famous Smoke Shop introduced a new 6-Pack Samplers program that offers the best of both worlds at very budget-friendly prices. As the name conveys, each sampler includes six cigars in total, presented in three different pairs of nationally recognized brands. Among them, household names like Arturo Fuente, Macanudo, Cohiba, Montecristo, Rocky Patel, Perdomo, Romeo y Julieta, CAO, and many more. Created to appeal to the entire spectrum of cigar consumers, the samplers are categorized by leaf type, strength, and country of origin, plus a few coffee-flavored cigar samplers. Not only do they offer a variety of cigars, but many 6-Pack Samplers include cigars of different sizes and shapes.

Cameroon 6 Pack #2 cigar samplersFor example, the “Cameroon 6-Pack #2” includes a pair of Nub Cameroon 464T’s, Cohiba Robustos and Hemingway Signatures. The “Full Body 6-Pack #1” includes Joya De Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Gran Consuls, Camacho Triple Maduro 50/4.5′s and Oliva Cain Serie F 550 Habanos. The “Dominican 6-Pack #3” includes Montecristo White No.2′s, La Flor Dominicana Mambises and Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Presidentes. The “Coffee 6-Pack #1” includes Tabak Especial Negra, Tatiana Mocha and Java cigars.

Those are just a few examples, but there are many other 6-Pack Sampler categories such as “Criollo,” “Mild,” “Mild Maduro,” “Brazilian,” “Corojo,” “Broadleaf,” “Nicaraguan,” and even a “Bestsellers” 6-Pack.

“We really went all-out in trying to match up the best cigars in each category,” said Famous Smoke Marketing Director, Mike Vandenstockt. “This new sampler program will not only satisfy the cigar smokers who are looking for the big name brands at reasonable prices, but they’ll also be able to sample them in a whole new way.”

The Famous 6-Pack Sampler program is sure to get a lot of attention from newer cigar smokers, who love experimenting, now that it’s so easy for them to find cigars in different wrappers, sizes, and strengths, as well as specific countries of origin.

Famous Smoke Shop


The world's fastest, friendliest, and best place to buy cigars! Since 1939, Famous Smoke Shop has prided itself on offering the freshest, largest selection cigars at the most competitive prices, and customer service that can't be beat.

cuban heritage cigars
CI-FAM-GUIDE10 Buyer’s Guide Sampler #10
A “fair and balanced” sampler! 15 of Cuba’s best legal cigars, and more.One of THE BEST collections we’ve ever assembled for our buying guides! An affordable 15-cigar sampler featuring classic “Cuban Heritage Cigars” brands that were taken from the island and made abroad after the Communist Revolution. It includes names you know and love, like Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, H. Upmann, Trinidad, Gispert, Punch, Cohiba and many more. Get yours now!
$59.95Buy Now
* While supplies last! A $102.56 value
Cohiba RobustoFonseca 5-50Gispert RobustoH. Upmann Vintage BelicosoHoyo De Monterrey Sabrosos MaduroLa Gloria Cubana WavellMontecristo #2 TorpedoPartagas RobustoPunch RothschildRafael Gonzalez RobustoRomeo y Julieta BullySaint Luis Rey Rothchilde (no cello) MaduroSan Cristobal SupremoSancho Panza ValienteTrinidad Toro While you’re at it, add this to your order and SAVE!

BK-PRL-2005HAVAPerelman’s Pocket Cyclopedia of Havana Cigars – Third Edition
A $12.95 value! Now only $1.00 with your Buyer’s Guide Sampler purchase!
Perelman’s Pocket Cyclopedia of Havana Cigars Third Edition provides complete coverage of Cuban brands, shapes, sizes, history and more! One day, you might just be in a position to buy some genuine Cuban cigars. Get this guide and be prepared. A must-have, especially if you travel extensively.

How Castro created a new cigar industry
By Gary Korb

The names are familiar. Cohiba, Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, H. Upmann, Hoyo De Monterrey, Punch, Partagas, and more, all of which are identified with Cuba’s “Golden Age,” when cigars were king and Havana was the brightest star in the Caribbean. Then, in January 1959, came the ultimate buzzkill. Fidel Castro and his Communist regime force Batista out, and shortly thereafter begin nationalizing the tobacco farms. Families such as the Tora?os, the Plasencias, the Perdomos, Olivas, Padr?ns, and others had little choice but to leave their native country, some with nothing more than the shirts on their backs and some loose change in their pockets. Generations of master tobacco growers and cigar makers were uprooted taking their talent, and thankfully, their seeds, not only to the United States, but to other Caribbean nations such as The Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua. However, these weren’t any ordinary ?migr?s; they had an undying passion for what they did.

They had the last laugh, too. Not only did they build a new cigar industry, but they took it to new heights. Today they all produce cigars that have not only equaled the quality and flavor of Cuban cigars, but far exceeded their expectations. As a result, many of the classic brands listed above have been reinvented, and in most cases become as lauded and coveted as their Cuban originals. But don’t thank Fidel. Thank the families who, through their sheer determination and innate resourcefulness found a way to continue their fine tradition of growing great tobacco and producing great cigars.

How to help keep your cigars from turning bitter in the last act

Some cigars start out great, but turn bitter near the end. Often it’s just the nature of the cigar, but if it happens a lot, it may be more about your smoking technique. Cigars naturally build up bitter-tasting tars as they burn. If you draw too hard and/or too often, even more tars will build up in that last section. So here’s one solution: When you get down toward the band, let your cigar rest longer between puffs. About two minutes should do it. By taking it slow during that last act, you’ll preserve more of your cigar’s core flavors, and get more cigar for your money, too.




Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

Hayward TenneyI recently overheard a dubious piece of advice to a budding cigar smoker: “Pick a cigar that matches your body type,” the would-be advisor pontificated, “this way you won’t look silly. Big people should smoke big cigars, and small people should smoke small cigars.”

Yeah, no.

This is terrible advice. It’s nearly impossible to make every shape taste exactly alike, not that this would even be a good thing. Different shapes have different flavors; they feel different in your hand; they can even vary in strength. Don’t believe me? Head over to our Test Flights cigar samplers page and see for yourself!

If I heeded the aforementioned advice, I’d be stuck smoking Flor de Oliva Super Giants. But I LIKE that a Lancero generally produces more of the wrapper’s flavor in a stronger-tasting smoke, while a fat 60 ring Toro will burn cool with a more balanced, milder flavor. There’s a time and a place for every vitola available today.

As you buy more cigars, you’ll probably find yourself gravitating to a particular vitola, regardless the brand. For me, it’s Corona and Corona Gorda. Others appreciate the way a torpedo concentrates the flavor. Still others prefer the myraid transitions of a Double Perfecto.

Whatever your preference, it’s important to remember that each vitola has its own merits. Short on time? Try a Petite Corona. REALLY short on time? Go for something even smaller! Need an all-day burner for the golf course? Reach for a Double Corona or Presidente. After dinner drinks? A Churchill offers exceptional balance in hand and an inimitable elegance. Just closed a big deal? Try a fancy figurado like a Pyramid, Salomon, or Diadema.

Robustos have somehow come to dominate the American cigar-scape. And I know many a cigar smoker who will stick to Robusto, because they’re the default. But if you’re serious about enjoy cigars…and let’s be honest, you wouldn’t still be reading if that weren’t the case…branch out and try a new vitola or two – even in a blend you’re already familiar with. Odds are, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Hayward Tenney


When he's not busy writing, editing, smoking cigars, or raising his many, many children, Hayward "It's Lou, not Hayward" Tenney spends his days combating confusion about his real name (it's Hayward, but please - call him "Lou") and mourning the matrimonially-induced loss of his moustache (what's he gonna do with all that moustache wax he made?).

Cigars at Famous Smoke Shop come in so many different configurations that you could easily find yourself overwhelmed. That’s especially true of our sampler programs, each of which is driven by its own unique concept.

In this next series of blogs, I’ll explain how these sampler programs work, what the benefits are, and hopefully, make the case for you to give them a try.

Samplers by Strength Samplers by Strength is one of the coolest programs we’ve come up with recently. The idea is simple: cigar samplers are arranged by strength into an easy-to-use interface.

Start by deciding what suits you best: mild-bodied, medium-bodied, or full-bodied cigars. From there, you can scroll through until you find a sampler that suits you, and even sort them by popularity, price, and name.

They come in a wide range of prices, from the Famous Mild Body Sampler ‘N’ to the Famous Full Body Sampler ‘J’. There are currently 5-cigar and 10-cigar samplers available.

Because our crack team of cigar-lovers created samplers with cigars that “make sense” together, the benefit of Samplers by Strength is twofold:

  • You have a sense of what to expect, even from cigars you’ve never tried
  • You can focus on trying cigars that are “right in your wheelhouse”

We’ve already heard a chorus of praise from our customers. Go ahead…check out the Samplers by Strength page, and let us know what you think in the comments section.

Famous Smoke Shop


The world's fastest, friendliest, and best place to buy cigars! Since 1939, Famous Smoke Shop has prided itself on offering the freshest, largest selection cigars at the most competitive prices, and customer service that can't be beat.