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.