Reading Time: 2 minutes Looking for a good cigar? It’s a lot easier when you can browse around a cigar store and get all touchy-feely with them. But what about buying cigars online? There’s a lot of space between you and those cigars. So how do you pick a winner?
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We recently published a guide to cigars for beginners that we hope will help novice cigar smokers become more knowledgeable about the world of cigars. The cigars guide is also available in downloadable PDF format – http://www.famous-smoke.com/cigars-guide.pdf.
This guide is broken down into 6 parts:
- Parts of a Cigar
- Shapes and Sizes
- Next Steps
Please share this guide with your fellow cigar smokers and friends who wish to gain a basic understanding of cigars.
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Tonight, after dinner, I enjoyed the Famous 70th anniversary Private Selection Rocky Patel cigar. I am a big fan of Rocky Patel and frequently enjoy the Vintage 1992. I was excited to try this particular smoke because it is a new one to me. I went through the rating’s categories to give a final rating for this stick. Here is how I rated the cigar.
Before I lit the cigar I examined the look and feel of it. It was generally smooth with tiny veins from the wrapper. There was not any bumps or lumps, and did not have big chunk veins which most likely means it was rolled with a top quality leaf. The manufacturer probably took the time to remove the big veins from the leaf. The stick was kept in my humidor that had a humidity reading of 69% and 74 degrees Fahrenheit. The stick was spongy feeling and not at all hard.
After examining the cigar, I then cut and lit it. I used a guillotine cigar cutter to make a straight cut. It was very easy to cut. When I was lighting the stick, I used a butane torch lighter. I do admit that I coughed a few time while lighting it because the first few puffs were a bit strong. Most cigars seem strong at first when they are being lit. I did not assume the rest of the smoke would be as strong after it was initially lit.
I could tell the burn of the cigar was going to be good because it was easy to light. Indeed, I was right. The burn of this stick was very even and consistent. The draw was not tight at all. The ash stuck together which also backed up the evidence of a good burn.
The flavor of this cigar was strong. It was a stronger than what I usually smoke, but well nonetheless. The flavor of it lingered on the tip of my tongue and stayed on my lips. It was mildly spicy too. There were hints of leather and oak in the flavor. The aroma was pleasant and not overbearing. The character of the cigar changed as I smoked it. It was more robust in the beginning and became smoother later on. I also did not notice the taste of tar buildup as I got further down the stick.
I should also mention that I smoked this in the evening after I had eaten dinner. This could have affected how I rated the flavor and aroma of this one. I was drinking water and did not pair it with scotch, brandy, or wine. A lot of smokers pair their cigars with a good scotch.
I would give this cigar a final rating of 88 out of 100. It was an above average cigar that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Reading Time: 2 minutes A cigar lounge is a great place to smoke where you can meet other cigar lovers and learn more about them is at a cigar lounge. It is a place to learn about the culture of smoking, etiquette, and immerse yourself with knowledge about cigar brands, flavors, trends, and family names.
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There are many different types of cigars ranging in size, shape, filler, and taste. This is why the smoking culture is so unique. You simply cannot say that all sticks are the same. Every one you smoke will be different and unique in flavor. Some of the differences will be very subtle and some will be more distinct because of the different fillers and binders used. However, one difference between a good stick and a great stick is whether or not they are hand rolled or machine made. Could this possibly make such a distinctive difference? Ask any connoisseur and they will say it does.
There are ways in which you can determine if the stick is handmade or machine made based on the look of the cigar. Looking at the outer construction of the cigar, the wrapper, will show and tell you a lot about the stick. The wrapper from a handmade stick is very smooth and tight. It will also be a little bit oily when you touch it. When you smoke a handmade one, it will have a very even burn because the wrapper is stretched and wrapped so tightly.
Machine made cigars‘ wrappers will be a little different. They are duller looking in appearance. Machine made sticks do not have all natural wrappers because the materials have to be able to withstand the power of the machine. A machine made cigar will not taste as good because of the way it is wrapped.
The filler of cigars give it their distinct flavor and it is where most of the flavor is drawn from. This is one of the most distinct characteristic traits of a handmade and machine made cigar. The fillers in both types are very different. Handmade cigars have high quality fillers that run the entire length of the stick. Machine made ones use lower quality fillers that consist of chopped up tobacco that usually includes the stem and other undesirable scraps. The draw and burn quality of a machine made stick is really affected because a long filler is not used.
When you are purchasing cigars, there are giveaways that will help you in determining whether the stick is handmade or machine made. Because the quality and the time it takes to produce a handmade stick the price is more expensive. It is better to spend the extra amount on a good quality smoke. Machine made cigars are also packaged quite differently. They are usually sold in cellophane wrappers and can be found in most convenient stores. If you are interested in smoking a good cigar, never buy one from a convenient store. You can purchase premium cigars at smoke shops both online and in person. Ask any connoisseur and they will tell you to smoke nothing but handmade.
Reading Time: 2 minutes The man, the legend, the cigar maker, the cigar. Don Pepin is not only the brand name of quality premium sticks, but he is also the front man for the company El Rey de los Habanos, Inc.
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The art of growing tobacco and leaves and rolling cigars has been around for thousands of years. The knowledge has been passed down from generation to generation. A father gives his son his first stick as a passage into manhood and acceptance or they teach their daughter how to roll or smoke a fine crafted stick. Families have been hand rolling and producing some of the finest smokes and the business and industry has become a family one. A lot of sticks you see are named after the families and sell the most in the industry. Here are some famous cigar families.
A well known brand and family is the Fuente family who makes Arturo Fuente cigars. The company is run by grandson, Carlos Fuente Jr. and his two daughters. The family has been making hand rolled sticks since 1916. Arturo grew up in Cuba and learned how to cultivate tobacco with his father. He then learned how to hand roll and immigrated to Florida to roll sticks in America. He continued to produce the finest of cigars. His son Carlos followed suit and lived in the cigar factory with his parents. He was literally born into the industry and learned from his father. He then passed on his knowledge to his son Carlos Jr. Carlos Sr. moved the family to the Dominican Republic where they have a famous tobacco plantation where the best tobacco and leaves are cultivated.
One of the oldest American cigar families is the Newman Family. J.C. Newman started hand rolling cigars in 1895 and the brand has had continued success. His mother paid him to be an apprentice and learn all about the industry in Chicago. He hand rolled sticks for another company until he was laid off, and then his entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and started his own company. J.C.’s story is truly one of the American Dream. He was an immigrant who started and maintained one of the most successful American cigar companies. His two sons joined the business after serving time in the military. Their sons also entered the business, so three generations of Newman men were running the operation.
Years down the road after the two companies had their own success; the Newman and Fuente families joined forces and produced top selling premium cigars. The Newmans have also bought and sold other cigar names; yet work closely with the Fuentes. Not only do both families hand roll some of the best sticks, they also share their success with a charitable organization they founded. They founded the Cigar Family to showcase their talents and the charity is called the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation.
Reading Time: 3 minutes There is more to a cigar than just smoking it. The making of the cigar itself is an art form in its own right. Smoking a cigar involves all of your senses, and most important including taste. All cigars have their individual tastes, smells, and textures. There are some that you will hate, others that you can tolerate, and some that will become your favorite. You can tell which ones you like by rating them. Rating a cigar lets you explore the many aspects of it such as taste, burn, tobacco, and other things. You should rate everyone you smoke because even the same type of cigar can taste different because external factors can affect how you feel about it. Here is how you rate cigars.
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A Maduro wrapper is one for those who prefer a more robust or flavorful smoke. The wrapper of a cigar is the outermost leaf and hence provides much of the flavor of the stick. Those who prefer a more robust, or stronger, cigar often choose what is called a Maduro wrapper, which defines much of the Maduro cigar’s character and flavor. However, some cigars are called Maduro based on the dark color of the outer leaf or wrapper alone, when in fact the wrapper is not a Maduro at all. In other words, while the Maduro is typically a dark leaf wrapper, all dark leaf wrappers are not Maduros.
While the filler and the binder also contribute to the flavor of the cigar, a Maduro, which is Spanish for ripe, wrapper will typically provide a more robust experience than lighter wrappers, regardless of the filler or binder.
The leaf is usually matured in sunlight, causing it to release or sweat the oils from the leaf. The increased exposure to sunlight and the resultant sweating of the Maduro oils also creates sugars within or upon the leaf, which some aficionados will refer to as sweet. However, this particular leaf is not to be considered as sweet, as the flavor is typically robust and full. Many would categorize it or call it strong.
As the Maduro wrapper is typically thicker than other leaves, and contains more veins, it will be a slow, enjoyable burn, depending upon the quality of the filler and binder. Take your time with this one and savor the complexity, aroma, and flavor. You will really enjoy the complexity of this smoke.
For the novice, one way to identify a Maduro will be a dark color, veiny, and oily in appearance and even feel. If kept in a well maintained humidor, it will have a nice aroma. The leaf should wrap the entire cigar without a break, but of course that is true with any hand rolled cigar, Maduro or otherwise.
For someone who is new to smoking cigars, the Maduro wrapper may not be right for you. However, if you want to dive right in, there are many very fine Maduros and your local tobacconist will be happy to assist you with this more robust smoke. Shy away from the cheaper ones, it is worth your money to get a fine smoke which will last you a minimum of a couple of hours.