10. Smoke a fair variety – It is really easy for some to get stuck in a “rut” of sorts when it comes to cigars. Honestly, I certainly did. Once I found about 10-12 cigars I really liked, I stuck to them for almost a year. Personally, I was a bit overwhelmed with the vast selection and really didn’t want to waste money on a cigar I didn’t like. Looking back, I wish I had branched out a bit more and explored the different vitolas, wrappers, brands etc. There are so so many great cigars on the market, now especially.
9. Take reviews with a grain of salt – This may come off as a bit of strange advice since I do reviews as well. But there are pros an cons to reviews. The good being, they are a really good way to experience a cigar from someone else’s palate without making the investment. However, if a reviewer does not like a cigar, please do yourself a favor and don’t let that stop you from trying it. If it is a blend you are curious about, go for it! You may find a new favorite and learn something about your own palate.
8. Invest in proper lighter, cutter and storage – This is probably one of the most important things I can recommend and you don’t have to spend a fortune. You can get a great butane lighter for about 20 bucks, same with a cutter. Don’t break the bank to do so, but having good quality accessories can make your smoking experience even better. As far as storage goes, every B&M has travel caddy’s and desktop humidors. Think about the frequency of your purchasing and smoking habits when trying to determine your storage needs. When I first started smoking cigars, I was stopping at my local B&M about twice a week for 5-7 sticks so I was fine keeping them in my desktop humi. After several months, I started purchasing boxes and samplers off CBid and made myself a coolidor, which is a very inexpensive and effective way for storing cigars. Here’s a little how-to video. Of course, if you have the budget, there are larger stand up humidors available as well
7. Document the cigars you smoke – I may sound like a lot of extra work, but it doesn’t have to be and can actually be a very valuable record t have as you smoke more cigars. It is a good way to learn about what you like and don’t like. You don’t need to write paragraphs, just simple notes like where you got it, what you ate/drank, what the weather was like if you were smoking outside, if you were alone or not and of course tasting notes. I wish I had done this a lot sooner than I did. But once I began it really helped me understand what I liked and why a bit more. You can find journals especially for this purpose online or in shops and often they have glue dots for placing your cigar bands on the notebook pages. You can always use any notebook, document it on your blog, create a spreadsheet etc. I have seen a lot of different methods used.
6. Learn about the cigars you smoke – This point is loosely linked with my previous tidbit. But if you pay attention to wrapper, binder, filler combinations as well as country of origin and different vitolas, it can actually really help you find other cigars you may like, if they have similar traits. Plus it is just fun. Creating a great blend is just as much art as it is science.
5. Ask Questions – Again, walking into a cigar shop to pick your first cigars can be very overwhelming, so don’t be afraid to ask a friend or a shop employee for help. I was so fortunate to have my best friend there to walk me through my first experience and I walked out with about 8 cigars that I wound up loving. The women and men that run each B&M are used to these questions and educated as well as experienced. So don’t be afraid to ask any question you may think of. Also, tell them what you have and have not liked about the cigars you have smoked, that is some key information in helping find new cigars to try.
4. Don’t ever think you know at all – I’ve only been smoking cigars for about 7 years, which is a toddler compared to most. I learn something new every day and I love it. I know people that have been smoking cigars for 20-30 years that still find new things and experiences to dig in to and research. It is a wonderful industry and methods and technology are always changing. You can have some really fantastic, eye opening experiences. I think the biggest for me was when I realized the effect the wrapper had on the cigar, which ultimately led to this fun Hybrid Journey I have embarked on, just to push my knowledge and personal experience that much further.
3. Don’t take it all so seriously – At the end of the day, smoking cigars is supposed to be a relaxing and fun ritual amongst friends. You may just want to pull out a cigar and enjoy it without much other thought, so go for it (I totally just wiped out all my other points with that one ). I certainly am just in it for the fun, I mean, come on, I infused a cigar with bacon flavored bourbon, just for the heck of it. I don’t even take myself that seriously. Just relax and smoke.
2. Accept that you more than likely will get sucked in – I’m serious, start a budget and stick with it. I can almost guarantee you will attend an event and want the swag that comes with a box purchase. There are a lot of damn cool cutters, lighters, ashtrays, shirts, hats etc that re up for grabs as a thank you from the manufacturer. Truthfully, its not worth zeroing out your account for. If you can only afford one stick for now, just purchase one stick. Oh man, my mother would be so proud…
1. Enjoy Yourself!!:) – ‘Nuff said!