In order to know how to buy fine cigars, one must know what defines a fine cigar. A cigar has always been, to man, one of life's most simple luxuries. To determine the characteristics of a fine cigar, remember that the higher cost of a cigar is not the definitive characteristic. Some of the most exquisite cigars as defined by a cigar aficionado can cost only around $5. So, before going off as some would say, "half cocked", to understand and buy a fine cigar, look for the following characteristics or qualities when buying or preparing to buy your fine cigar:
- Look for cigars that have been crafted and rolled by hand. Since most are made in Cuba or rolled in Cuba, a hand crafted or hand rolled cigar will bear the Spanish insignia of "totalmente a mano" or the English version of this is " totally by hand." This insignia will be on the cigar as a band or it will be on the box or maybe on both the box and the cigar. Most cigars are manufactured in Spanish speaking countries. However Cuba is the country that manufactures and produces the majority of the finer cigars.
- Steer clear of cigars that bear the insignia "hecho a mano" or "envuelto a mano." Both of these insiginias mean the cigar was manufactured by machine or crafted by machinery. These are not the finer, handcrafted cigars. They are mass produced in large quantities.
- Check for the origin of production. Cigars produced in the Vuelta Abajo region of Cuba are considered the best in the world. They use plants grown from Cuban seeds.
- Look for specific brand names. Padron, Partragas, Macanudo, Cohibam, Davidoff of Geneva are the very best brand cigars sold. If you want the finer brands on the market, these name brands are the ones to look for. These brands are well crafted and have complex, rich flavors.
- Purchase cigars based on size. The time you give yourself to finish smoking a cigar is the determining factor for the size. Sizes vary by brands. Allowing your cigar to go out is considered poor taste.
- Cigars are manufactured in two shapes only. Any other shapes are either hard to find or not manufactured. when purchasing a cigar, either purchase a straight or tubular shaped cigar which are widely available. Or purchase Figurados. Figurados are considered irregulars.
- Age and vintage. Vintage refers to the year the tobacco was harvested from the field and age is the time frame in which the cigars have been kept. When looking for the finer cigars, look for a vintage brand. Vintage brands are brands where the tobacco was harvested together in one year. All other tobacco may have been harvested in separate years but compiled together. Aged tobacco refers to tobacco and cigar storage period. Cigars can be stored for ages. The older, the better.
- Color and flavor. The darker the wrapper, the deeper the flavor. Flavor is described as ranging from sweet. smooth and heavy to rich. Determining which of the finer flavors peaks your fancy is based on you. It may take sampling them all before determining which is your favorite.