Have you ever noticed how many things are seasonal? Fruits and veggies, sports, ice fishing – even beers are seasonal. You might opt for an IPA or a refreshing pale ale during the summer, and a Porter or Stout during the winter. Could the same be said for premium cigars? Why not?
Using the beer example above, bolder cigars would be smoked during the late fall and winter months, while lighter-bodied cigars would be smoked during the late spring and summer. As always, it’s a matter of personal preference. So what cigars are best for smoking during different times of the year? To tell the truth, I’ve never thought about it all that much; I just smoke whatever I feel like regardless of the season. Moreover, I would guess most cigar smokers have a similar routine. Then again, there are cigar smokers who like to change things up every now and then; if not seasonally, then perhaps for a couple of weeks to a month. I tend to move back and forth from full-bodied to milder cigars. Yet, this is something I do year-round, so it’s not “seasonal” in my case.
For the sake of argument, let’s say that most cigar smokers do smoke milder cigars in the Spring/Summer months and robust cigars in the Fall/Winter months. Here’s the logic: again, going back to the seasonal beer example, during the summer, you tend to smoke more cigars. Therefore, one might prefer to smoke more mild cigars than full-bodied smokes, whereas during the winter months, one might prefer a stronger cigar. Why? It all comes down to the amount of nicotine one can handle, or for that matter, prefer. Generally speaking, smoking one or two full-bodied cigars in a sitting during the winter, would be equivalent to smoking four to five mild-to-medium-bodied cigars in the summer.
Then what about those who live in states like Florida, Arizona, or southern California? It would be unfair to assume that cigar smokers in those parts of the country are smoking mild and medium-bodied cigars year-round, because it’s not true. I think this “seasonal cigar” theory may apply more to occasional cigar smokers like those who smoke a few cigars a week. True-blue cigar smokers smoke cigars of every strength, and I think it’s fair to assume in their case, that they smoke whatever they like depending on their mood. After all, you’re always going to have cigar smokers who prefer mild and medium-bodied cigars year-round, while the same can be said for those who prefer the hard-core, headier cigars, regardless of their locale.
If you think there is any validity to this theory (or not),
or this is something that you practice, please be sure to leave a comment. In the meantime, I think I’ll do a survey about this on CigarAdvisor.com and find out what the real deal is.
Imagine walking into a smoke shop (for argument’s sake, let’s call it “Leaf“). You’re greeted by the friendly folks at the retail counter. You wade past wood shelves neatly lined with humidors, pull open a heavy wooden door, and proceed into the 2,000 square foot humidor.
“Can I help you find anything?” the clerk behind the counter asks.
As you ponder the myriad of cigars before you, how are you feeling? Confident? Confused? Excited? Overwhelmed? There’s no right answer; but I’d like to address a couple cigar misconceptions I’ve noticed are held by many beginner to intermediate level cigar enthusiasts.
The first misconception is that many cigar smokers focus too much on wrapper color. Believing that the wrapper color is indicative of the cigar’s strength, the tendency is to reach for an extra-pale shade grown wrapper. This is one of the cigar misconceptions that can cause a smoker to take a pass on a stick they might really enjoy.
While there may be a slight correlation between strength and wrapper color, it’s unreliable at best. The color of a wrapper has more to do with the actual flavors of a cigar than with its strength. That comes from the filler blend, and the ligero leaves, in particular. Located at the top of the tobacco plant, these leaves receive the most nutrients and sunlight, and are therefore the strongest and fullest-flavored.
The second of the cigar misconceptions I’m addressing today is that smaller cigars are less potent. Anyone who has ever smoked a fresh Fuente Fuente OpusX “Power Ranger” can tell you this one is dead wrong. Sure, a smaller vitola may look less imposing, but its diminutive diameter makes for a stronger smoke.
Counter-intuitive? Sure, but if you think about it, the smaller ring gauge means that you are smoking a greater ratio of wrapper leaf to filler blend. The result is more concentrated flavors than offered by its larger-ring counterpart. While a Churchill may have more total tobacco than a Lancero, its milder-tasting smoke may be easier on the novice- or occasional-smoker’s palate.
One final word: there’s no substitute for experience, but good advice goes a long way. Never be afraid or embarrassed to ask for advice from the guy or gal behind the counter. High-quality smoke shops like Leaf take pride in training their staff to cater to your taste preference and experience on a personal basis.
I promise this is relevant to cigars, so please…bear with me.
The Loudness War has seen recorded music compressed into oblivion, forsaking dynamic range (the difference between quiet & loud parts) for apparent loudness throughout any given track. The resulting records pack more punch, but are fatiguing to listen to.
In the classic Mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, guitarist Nigel Tufnel is proudly displaying his assortment of guitar amplifiers. Among them is one particular model whose knobs all go up to 11, for when they need that extra punch (“It’s one louder than 10, innit?”).
Haven’t cigars basically done the same thing? It used to be that Punch, Hoyo de Monterrey, and La Gloria Cubana were strong, full-bodied cigars. Besides ample strength and body, these cigars had tons of nuance. But these do not compare in strength to La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero or Camacho Coyolar Puro, let alone the newest crop of full-bodied cigars that feature ultra-strong blends: Cain F, Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Dark Corojo, EO Brands’ La Bomba, among others.
Don’t get me wrong…I enjoy a really strong full-bodied cigar now and then. I really do (I’m smoking a 601 Green as I type this). And I grant you that everything becoming more extreme is sort of a sign of the times. But where do we draw the line?
Have cigars forsaken character for raw power? Have your say below with a comment!
Cigars 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.
For 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.