Note: Smoke responsibly. Smoking cigars, even if you do not inhale, still causes cancer and is all sorts of bad, just like cigarettes, even if one does not inhale.
How To Smoke a Cigar
Where to Buy Cigars
Note: Prices below are just a ballpark figure or taken from SeriousCigars.com.
Padron 1926 Maduro Torpedo $12 — Recommended to get the 1926 Maduro Sampler from Serious Cigars ($62 for $70 worth of 1926 singles, smoke the smallest one first, the #6)
Padron 1964 Maduro Imperial $11
Ashton VSG Illusion Robusto $10
Arturo Fuente Opus X Perfecxion No.2 $14
Litto Gomez Diaz Small Batch No.3/2 (Toro) $16
Oliva Serie V Melanio $13 (rated as one of the best Cigars by Cigar Aficionado, more mild / less strong)
Viaje Exclusivo (DES, OR Robusto, Corona Gorda, Tower 45th) $11
Tatuaje Black Label Petit Lancero $8.50
Arturo Fuente Hemingway Classic/Signature Sun Grown $8-10 (Signature is biggest/best of the Hemingways)
Arturo Fuente Anejo (Shark or #’s like #55)
Arturo Fuente Don Carlos #3 $8.60
La Flor Dominica Grand Maduro or Cabinet No. 1 (Cameroon or Maduro) $8-$10
Padilla 1932 (Lancero) $7.5-$12
E.P. Carrillo Core Line Maduro (Encantos) $7.70
Arturo Fuente Flor Fina 858 Maduro $5 or Sun Grown (Natural is not great, these both are more a great starter smoke as compared to the classy more-earthy-strong-flavor, more heavy connoisseur smoke of a Padron 5000 Maduro). A longer Hemingway Short Story for the same price.
Padron 5000 Maduro $6.80 (I would get the Londres smaller size over this one unless you absolutely need the size)
Oliva Serie G Maduro Churchill $4.50 or for a bump up Oliva Serie V Lancero or Maduro $6-7
Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story maybe Maduro $5-$6
Don Pepin Cuban Classic (also called Black Label) Perla 1952 (small size) $4.55
Super Budget $2-4
Oliva Flor de Oliva Gold $2.70 A great cheap starter smoke.
Padron Londres Maduro or Delicias Maduro $2.50/single (better than the Padron 2000/3000/4000 Maduro $3.30, they’re all the same just different sizes and Londres is a great value for size and flavor)
La Herencia Cubana
Cerdan Chamberlain Toro
Cupido Criollo Doble Natural or La Carolina Gran Robusto (both from CubanCrafters.com)
(both worth it)
Also See: Cigars-Review.Org Top Rated Cuban Cigars
Age 8-9 months from box date
Keeping your Cigars (Humidor or Cooler/Coolerdor/Coolidor)
Cigars must be kept humidified between 60-70%. The great humidor craftsman (creating humidors worth thousands of dollars), Arlinn Liss, states that anything beyond a cooler (coolidor) for keeping your cigars is a luxury; just stay practical. A cooler holds rock solid humidity, and you should place full cigar boxes in it, so they are buffered against any humidity swing from opening. A desktop holding singles can’t do that. The coolidor is easier to maintain than a wooden humidor and you just have to open it at least once a week to let fresh air in.
Creating your coolidor:
Buy a cooler such as: Coleman 28 Quart Party Stacker $20 [Amazon] OR Coleman 33 Quart Party Stacker $29 [Amazon] (I’m not a big collector)
OR for even bigger the Coleman Marine (possible Xtreme) 50+ Quart lines: [Amazon]
Clean cooler out with soap and water (even if new) and let dry.
Add empty cigar boxes to inside the cooler. These boxes should be from unflavored cigars and can be found, usually for free, from your local cigar shop. These will protect the cigars and absorb humidity, in turn helping maintain the humidity. Can also use slightly-open ziplock bags for the extra cigars that won’t fit in the cigarboxes.
For humidifying, the best method is to use HeartFelt Beads – 65% and a mesh bag, as they are super precise and instead of having to refill a humidifier with water every week, [Heartfelt Guide and a FAQ]. Once your beads arrive, place them in the mesh sock bag and tie the sock closed tightly. Using distilled water, wet the beads with a spray bottle or splashes (don’t drown them in a container because it will wash off the salts the beads have) and try to make 80-90% of the beads clear (doesn’t have to be exact). You will know when to water the beads because they will get bright white (completely dried out) and are clear when full of distilled water. Don’t try to get them all clear because if you do they cannot absorb any sudden rise in humidity in your humi. Shake off excess water and place in humidor/coolerdor.
(optional) Digital Hygrometer ie Caliber IV Digital Hygrometer [Amazon]. While the Heartfelt beads should keep it perfectly at the correct humidity, a digital hygrometer is good (and a cheap one is good enough) to keep the humidity measured (in case your humidor box isn’t airtight), analog ones suck. [link for hygrometer calibration]
Note: All cigars benefit from “resting” for months/years, given properly kept.
The Heartfelt beads are better than Boveda packs, Xikar humidifers, Avallo or Cigar Oasis electronic humidifiers. They will last decades. Also, You don’t need a fan to occasionally sift the air unless you have a huge coolidor (size of a refrigerator). Don’t worry too much about keeping the cooler open while you admire your cigars, cigars are resilient in the short term.