Cigars 101

Cigar Recommendations: Good “Start Here” Cigars – Part 2

Liked the first list? Then you’ll like what’s in store here for even more cigar recommendations. Again, if you’ve never had the chance to try a cigar made by any of these brands, these in particular would make for a great introduction to what the manufacturers’ tendencies are when it comes to nuance and blending. So here we go, with more good starter cigars…

Aurora Preferidos Connecticut No.2 –  This entire line is one of my favorites for their spicy, full-bodied flavor and retro-looking shapes. Though I’ve tried them all, there’s something about the Connecticut that blows me away. I think it’s the 5-year aging on the wrappers that tames the hearty Cameroon, Brazilian and Dominican core. Whatever it is, they are delectably earthy, woody, ultra-smooth and have a great aroma, which makes them the ideal starter for this series. If the box price intimidates you, try the 5-pack.


La Flor Dominicana Reserva Especial El Jocko Maduro – La Flor Dominicana makes a lot of lines and they’re all pretty stupendous, but I picked the 4½” x 32/54 Reserva Especial El Jocko Maduro as a starter for two reasons: 1) The shape is really cool, and 2) for its complexity. The smoke is perfectly balanced, ultra-smooth, and loaded with creamy, nutty, and spicy flavors. Plus, the Maduro leaf adds just the right amount of sweetness to the mix. It’s listed as mild, but it’s really a full-flavored treat. Not cheap, but well worth the investment.


Oliva Serie O Toro – Oliva also offers a variety of lines, but I picked the 6″ x 50 Serie O Toro to start because to me it defines what Oliva cigars are all about. The blend is all-Nicaraguan tobacco, aged 5 years, with a medium to full body. The wrappers have a beautiful sheen to them, too. The flavors are earthy, toasty, and woody, with some spice notes and a semi-sweet finish. I’ve never had a bad one, and they’re pretty affordable, too. Start with the Serie O and you’ll have a better appreciation for cigars like the Oliva Serie V.


Padron 2000 (Natural) – No list of cigar recommendations is complete without it, and most of you reading this have probably smoked at least one Padron cigar by now. But by the rare chance that you haven’t, they are truly in a class by themselves, offering a flavor profile that’s been often imitated, yet never duplicated. At 5″ x 50 the 2000 is a good size for discovering this earthy, all-Nicaraguan blend sought for its thick, creamy smoke and cocoa-coffee bean character. The maduro is a little sweeter and less rustic looking, but I suggest the natural to start. One other nice plus is you get 26 cigars in a box.


Perdomo 10th Anniversary Criollo Robusto – Normally, I would have said to start with the 10th Anniversary Connecticut for its milder character, but the Criollo is a real standout, about a notch fuller in flavor, and it’s a puro. The wrappers are flawless and from the first puff you get gobs of rich, creamy smoke. Flavors of almonds, coffee, cocoa and nutmeg abound. An utter delight that I’ve recommended on numerous occasions. They also come in a box of 25.


Plasencia Reserva Organica Corona – I chose this cigar because I think there are a lot of cigar smokers who are really curious about organic cigars, and they don’t get much better than this. Created by Nestor Plasencia Jr., they’re Nicaraguan puros of the highest order, since they’re grown and cured “the old Indian way.” Mild to medium in body, they have a much purer tobacco flavor with a primarily woody character. At 6½” x 44, the Corona is really more Lonsdale in shape, but it’s also one of the highest rated sizes. If they’re out of stock, go for the Robusto.


Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 Toro (Natural) – This really is “the definitive” Rocky Patel starter cigar, because it’s the cigar that helped put Rocky over the top as a serious contender in 2003. Box pressed, like most of Rocky’s up-market cigars, the 10-yr-aged Ecuadorian Sumatra wrappers dovetail with the 7-yr-aged Dominican-Nicaraguan blend for a perfectly-balanced smoke that’s earthy, toasty, and nutty with a creamy medium-body. Nice aroma, too. If you like this blend, you’ll have an appreciation for everything that followed.

I hope you get to try some of these, too. If so, please write a short review by clicking the Write Review link for those particular cigars.

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.

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