How To Choose A Cigar: Five Simple Tips
Conquering the unknown is not easy. When it comes to spirits, restaurants, cities ... and cigars ... we all have our favorites, and trying something new is an unnecessary risk. I know what I like, after all, why would I stray from it?
Well, there are plenty of reasons to try something new, the best being that your next favorite may not be on your radar yet. I'm about as guilty as can be in the cigar shop. I have my favorites, and I tend to stick to them. But, on the rare occasions when I break out and try something new, I'm happy I did.
The hard part is deciding what to try. You may not realize it, but you're surrounded by a wealth of information at home and in the cigar shop. All you have to do is use it.
1. Talk to your tobacconist
This is the easiest and most effective way to get advice. Just ask the professional that you are bound to see when you go to buy a cigar. Most tobacconists – employees at larger, established specialty shops – know the product they carry well. Tell him what your tastes are, and you'll be surprised at the recommendations you receive.
Gallery: De La Concha Tobacconist
2. Do research, read reviews
You shouldn't base your decision entirely on cigar reviews – the writer's tastes may differ from yours – but, this is a great way to get a broad view of the cigars that are out there. You may find a few brands that are new to you or get insights into construction issues that could taint your experience (this is a real pet peeve of mine).
3. Ask your friends
Other cigar smokers can be a wealth of information. When you sit down in your local smoke shop for a stick, talk to the people around you. They may have unique or unusual favorites of which you're unaware. Tap this collective expertise to expand your horizons.
4. Go to a few events
In addition to being a lot of fun, cigar events can be a great way to become familiar with the newest releases. Usually, there's a rep from the company on hand to explain the cigar and help you decide whether it's a good fit for you. And, you can usually take advantage of promotional pricing at these events.
5. Smoke around
Try a few different brands rather than stock with your usual favorites; you may stumble upon a cigar that becomes your new mainstay. One of my smoking buddies decided he would not smoke the same cigar two days in a row until he'd been through every brand in the shop. As he came to the end of this quest, he found himself eager to return to a handful of brands – none of which were in his original rut.
Bonus: harness the power of social media
There is a large cigar presence in the social media world. De La Concha has a Facebook page, and Camacho Cigars is incredibly active on Twitter. In fact, Camacho runs trivia contests with some great prizes.