Cigar on his birthday

I remember as a young man I would see my father have a cigar on his birthday. One day I decided to get one. I was lucky enough to pick a very goon one on my first time out, but most people are not so lucky. Like most people trying a cigar for the firs time, I was confused, shy, and somewhat overwhelmed. Years later I find myself working at a local cigar shop, seeing people just like me. Some people are afraid to ask questions, whereas others do not even know what to ask. Here are a few tips to introduce the beginner to the world of cigars.

Prices can vary

First things first – money. Look at what you are willing to spend. Cigars can range from $4 a stick, to $750 a stick. Prices can vary based on brand, tobacco, and state. Remember, more expensive does not always mean better, so do not get that into your head. It is like food; a personal taste. But when it comes to states, each has their own tax. Florida, for example, has no tax on cigars (except standard sales tax), whereas Minnesota has a 70% wholesale tax. So, be sure to check your state for their tax rates. It can make a huge difference.

Check you state tax

For this, I will use Cohiba as an example. this is a well known cigar, and pricey. If you get it from cigar.com, you will pay just under $15 for a Robusto sized smoke. Mind you, they are located in Pennsylvania, a state with no cigar tax. In Minnesota, it is closer to $20-$25 (have to include store markup). Now, most cigars are cheaper than Cohiba, so I hope I did not scare you off. Check your state tax as to know what to expect. So, when you see online prices, you can adjust. Honestly, I just add one to five dollars on average. I come up pretty close, because online sites have markups too.

Finding a local cigar shop

The next thing to do is to find your local cigar shop. Remember, places that sell everything pay less attention to their cigars, for they make more off of other things. Cigars are not high in importance. You want to find a shop that focuses on pipes and cigars. Their cigars will be better maintained and so are the humidors they are stored in, and you are more likely to get better help if you need to ask for it. Also, they usually have lounges to sit in. Unless it is a nice day outside, nothing beats a comfortable lounge.

The darker, the stronger

When in the store, look at cigars with lighter wrappers (the outside of them) for those tend to be more mild. This is not always true, but typically it is. The darker they are, the stronger. Starting off with something mild is a wise idea. Also, I would suggest a rounded capped end, and not a torpedo. If you are new, and have an extra three dollars, you can buy a punch and use that on rounded end, whereas clipping a torpedo takes some skill, and if you mess up the whole thing comes apart. Now, if you happen to have a good shop near you that is just for pipes and cigars, you probably do not have to worry, they will have the tools and staff to show and help you.

Now you ask questions

Now you have a few picked out as your final choices. Time to ask questions. Ask how the burn is, how the draw is, and what it tastes like. this helps narrow it down. Plus, all of them are in the price you are willing to pay, which give him less of a chance to get you to buy something too expensive.

Sit back and relax

After all is bought and paid for, you can get the cigar punched, or clipped, and light it up. Be sure to light evenly, for you do not want to mess up the burn. Find a chair, sit back and relax. I find a book is a great thing to bring. Puff about once a minute (more often on thinner ones) and just soak in the flavor. When you are finished, just put it in the ashtray and let it go out on its own. Nobody needs the mess.

A relaxing activity

After all is said and done, you will wonder why you didn’t start this relaxing activity sooner.