Cigars 101

Cigar Recommendations: Good “Start Here” Cigars – Part 1

We’re often asked for cigar recommendations…but these are a little different. If you’ve never had the chance to try any of these brands, these lines make great introductions to the nuances and blending characteristics of their manufacturers; so if you want to try something new from these manufacturers, these make for great start here cigars.

601 Blue Maduro Toro

601 (Blue) Maduro Toro – The “Blue” line is the most “user friendly” of this all full-bodied brand, and one of dozens of cigars on the market blended by Don Jose Pepin Garcia. The Toro offers gobs of complex flavor, nice length, a wide, 54 gauge ring, and not as heady as the 601 Red or Green. The box press shape also gives it an appealing, candy bar-like chewiness.

Acid Blondie

ACID Blondie – Far from your average primo, but so many cigar smokers are curious about this unparalleled brand, I had to include it. Blondie is a 4″ x 38 Petite Corona with a lush Connecticut wrapper. It starts out very sweet and blooms into a full-flavored smoke laced with creamy-honey flavors and a piquant, herbal-botanical aroma. One thing about ACID cigars, you’ll either love ’em or hate ’em, but those who love ’em are extremely loyal to the brand.

Alec Bradley Maxx The Fix

Maxx The Fix by Alec Bradley Corona – During the past three years Alec Bradley has released mostly full-bodied cigars. But for the cigar smoker who wants to “get into” this brand, the Maxx Fix Corona is the perfect start here cigar for it’s shape, smoothness, complexity, high quality and reasonable price.

Arturo Fuente 8-5-8

Arturo Fuente 8-5-8 Flor Fina Maduro – Most new cigar smokers learn about Arturo Fuente cigars pretty quickly since their reputation precedes them and they’re fairly priced. At 6″ x 47, the 8-5-8- Flor Fina offers excellent proportions. The smoke is nutty, creamy, relatively mild, and the Maduro wrappers are sweet as sugar. Often hard to find in-stock, too. Try one and you’ll know why.


CAO Italia Largo – I chose this cigar because it’s medium-bodied, and a great example of the kind of complex, full-flavored tobacco blending that CAO does best. The smoke is thick, creamy and loaded with earthy, woody and sweet spice elements. Plus the balance is perfectly aligned and the 6½” x 50 Toro shape allows for a long, enjoyable experience.

Carlos Torano Exodus 1959

Carlos Toraño Exodus 1959 Torpedo – This is The Toraño Family’s flagship line, and for good reason. The 1959 series offers a 5-nation blend that’s ultra-creamy, chewy and brimming with nutmeg, coffee and cocoa bean essences. Plus the box-pressed figurado shape keeps the cigar well packed for a flawless burn and firm ash.

Davidoff Grand Cru #2

Davidoff Gran Cru No.2 – Some cigar smokers tend to flinch at Davidoff prices, but they tend to pay for themselves in pleasure. At 5 5/8″ x 43, the Gran Cru No.2 is a gorgeous-looking Corona and a fine example of what to expect in a Davidoff blend. The smoke is medium bodied offering a rich cedar wood bouquet, plenty of depth, and an eloquent aroma.

Gran Habano #1

Gran Habano No.1 Connecticut Gran Robusto – I tend to recommend this cigar often for new smokers who are still into milder fare, but want more flavor. The 6″ x 54 Gran Robusto has a Nicaraguan core which gives it a lot of depth, while Ecuadorian Connecticut wrappers give it a mild, creamy edge with a toasty, nutty and caramel toffee-like finish. Just one caveat: the wrappers are extremely delicate.


I hope you get to try some of these cigars, and in a couple of weeks I’ll present Part 2 covering eight more cigars from K to R.

To move on to Part 2 click here.

Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for 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.

Show all Gary Korb's Articles
top cuban sandwich mixed filler cigars cacover

2018 CA REPORT: 10 Of The Best Cuban Sandwich Cigars

Referred to in the trade as a “Cuban Sandwich,” these are handmade cigars rolled with a blend that consists mostly of short and medium length filler tobaccos. And guess what else? A lot of these cigars are every bit as flavorful and satisfying as long filler cigars. So, let’s look in more detail. . .

Read More
5 things you need to know about Culebra cigars CACover

5 Things You Need to Know About… Culebra Cigars

Culebras: those snaky-looking cigars, entwined in a set of three. Hard to find and rarely made these days, but they sure are fun to smoke, especially with two friends. Culebra cigars also have an interesting back story. We dig into what makes these time-honored cigars so unique, and demonstrate how to smoke them.
Read More
Cigar Smoker OCD CACover

2018 CA Report: Cigar Smoker OCD Habits Revealed!

Every avid cigar lover acquires a little cigar smoker OCD when it comes to enjoying a smoke. We polled our smoking buddies to find their behaviors and habits (along with our own) for storing, cutting, lighting, or smoking cigars. Do you do some of these things? Read the article - you may even learn a few good tips!
Read More
Exploding Cigar Trick

Exploding Cigar: The Oldest Trick in the Book

The exploding cigar is the oldest trick in the cigar lover's big book of pranks - see what happens when we get our hands on firecrackers and some 60-rings!
Read More