New Smokers' Questions
How do the packaged cigars that I can buy form the drugstore or the magazine store compare to THE GOOD STUFF?
Most packaged "drug store" cigars include non-tobacco ingredients such as paper, saltpeter (for even burning) and PG or Glycerin (to prevent them from drying out). Quality cigars contain only tobacco. Most quality cigars contain top-of-the-line leaves, and are made with long-filler (the leaves run from end to end. "Good" cigars are generally only available from tobacconists.
Are Mail-Order cigars ok?
Many cigar smokers use mail-order houses for their discounted prices. The problem with this is that there are very few mail-order suppliers who will let you purchase singles - and who wants to spend $100 for a box just to try a new smoke? This is one of the best reasons why you might want to frequent your local tobacconist. There you can get good advice, buy singles, and see and smell the stogies you're purchasing.
What about "old" cigars? Should I buy "fresh" ones?
Tobacco used in premiums is aged 18 to 24 months before rolling. Some manufacturers age rolled cigars an additional year before even shipping them to the distributor. as long as they are stored properly, there's no such thing as an "old" cigar. Many people prefer "vintage" smokes.
Cigars are never "fresh" in the proper definition of the word. All reputable tobacconists will store them properly, at approx. 70 deg, 70% humidity. Always have cigars shipped overnight or 2nd day to prevent their drying out in transit.
If a cigar is properly stored in a humidor, how long will it last?
Indefinitely. Many people still have pre-Castro Cubans (yum!) I've heard of pre-WW2 smokes which were GREAT!
If a cigar dries out, is it possible to get the taste back?
If you let a cigar dry out it'll certainly damage it, but it can be recovered (somewhat) by s-l-o-w-l-y re-humidifying it in a proper humidor. It'll never be quite the same, but cigars will re-humidify far better than others
Besides being a suitable way to transport cigars, are those glass (or metal) storage-tubes ok to use? For how long?
As long as the cigars were properly humidified before the tubes sealed, they should last for a long time. Open it up to smell the tobacco though, and you'll be letting in dry air (which will slowly dry them out). Tubes with cork stoppers also will slowly exchange moisture with the "outside" air. I really can't recommend these tubes for long-term (over a year) storage.
What's the difference in taste of cigars from different countries?
Each country's cigar production has its own taste and character. Cigars are made all over the world, with tobacco grown in different soils, cured by different processes, and rolled with different techniques. Too many to discuss here (unfortunately), so let's stick with some general guidelines for some of the more popular Caribbean countries.
These are not hard and fast rules, but you'll have something to go by when you're faced with a humidor full of cigars from which to choose.
Cigars from Jamaica are usually considered mild.
Cigars from the Dominican Republic are mild to medium in strength.
Cigars from Honduras and Nicaragua are stronger and heavier smokes.
And cigars from Cuba are considered to be some of the richest and creamiest in the world!
Also remember that the larger the diameter (ring gauge) the richer and fuller the flavor, and the longer the cigar, the cooler the smoke. New smokers might want to start with any cigar made by Macanudo or Arturo Fuente. Just pick one that is a size you like and enjoy it. You might also try one with a "maduro" wrapper (which is dark and rich tasting).
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