How to sample cigars

How to sample cigars

Sampling cigars is like trying a box of assorted chocolates — you aren’t committed to a particular filling or recipe, but simply trying to gauge what satisfies your taste buds.

A cigar sampler is no different. You aren’t devoting your loyalties to a specific brand, but using it as an opportunity to find your “perfect” cigar style. Cigar samplers are a cost-effective and efficient way to try a selection of cigars, each offering a different smoke and flavor experience.

Cigars make for great gifts when celebrating landmark milestones and are ideal for stogie newcomers who don’t know the best way to ignite their new hobby.

Are cigars samplers a good deal?

Cigar samplers can save you a good amount of money, often working out cheaper than what you would shell out for each stick in the sampler individually. It’s an effective and thrifty way to build your collection of cigars without blowing your budget in the process.

Cigar samplers aren’t just for beginners — high-end options are also available so connoisseurs can broaden their horizons. Sampler packs are typically sorted by brand, country of origin, flavor, or size, but other criteria may also be used to create a collection.

Cigars vary in many characteristics, including aromas, flavor profiles, intensity, shapes, and sizes, while not all manufacturers use the same method for curing their tobacco. Whether it’s the subtle, earthy flavor of Nicaragua’s rich volcanic soil or the aromatic, creamy nature of Dominican tobacco, cigar samplers help you develop an appreciation for many cigar types.

Benefits of sampling cigars

There are numerous advantages to purchasing a cigar sampler, especially if cigar smoking is your new favorite pastime. With thousands of options to choose from, knowing where to start with your stogie selections can be daunting. However, a cigar sampler can benefit smokers at every level. Here are just some of the reasons cigar samplers are good investments.

Allows beginners to focus on flavors

The beauty of sampling cigars for beginners is you go in with a clean slate. You don’t have favorites and will have no preconceived judgment when trying each cigar.

Rather than opting for a specific brand based on reputation or a recommendation from a friend, you can instead focus on what the cigar flavor wheel has to offer and which cigars deliver the flavors you enjoy. Naturally, your favorite brands will stem from the sampler route.

Save money

Cigar samplers save you money by exposing you to a large number of cigars that would cost you more if trying them individually. The law of probability suggests that you are bound to find a minimum of one or two cigars in a sampler you gravitate towards.

A sampler also means you must invest more time in the process, as each stick is designed to offer a different smoking experience, giving you the most out of your precious dollars.

Exposure to new cigars

Many connoisseurs stick to their favorites and restock their humidors with tried and trusted smokes for years. There are a wealth of cigars and cigar brands to discover, meaning many slip under the radar.

A cigar sampler creates excitement by introducing newcomers and seasoned smokers to stogies they haven’t heard of or wouldn’t have looked at twice. After all, there are always smaller cigar brands that will have evaded you, yet are a perfect match for your preferences.

Great gift idea

While cigar samplers are undoubtedly a brilliant introduction to cigars for beginners and a new experience for seasoned smokers stuck in a rut, they are also great for parties, weddings, and other special occasions.

Cigar samplers usually come in beautifully presented boxes, making them an easy yet thoughtful gift to show your loved ones how much you care about them.

How to find the right cigar

The enjoyment of sampling cigars begins long before you take your first draw — it starts when you first lay your eyes on the wrapper. Cigar wrappers come in all shades, with each color an indication of the strength of the cigar. The darker the wrapper, the longer it has been fermented, meaning it should have a more intense taste.

With their creamy aroma, Connecticut Shade wrappers give cigars a mellow and sweet flavor that’s perfect for beginners, as they don’t want to be overwhelmed by a powerful blend.

Next, get a feel for each cigar. Does it feel comfortable between your index finger and thumb? Box-pressed cigars and classically rolled stogies will all feel different in hand, but all cigars should feel firm with a slight bounce (similar to how your finger feels when you squeeze it). Cigars that feel soft or cushiony indicate dampness, while stogies that are brittle or showing signs of flaking are a sign the cigar is too dry.

The tactile feel of a cigar will contribute to a positive experience — sometimes removing the paper band can also enhance how the cigar feels in hand.

When you’re a newcomer to the world of cigars, it’s good to try different cigar sizes from different regions with varying flavor profiles, that are ideally all light strength. Before you light each cigar, note its aromas and take some cold draw (pre-light) puffs to prepare your palate and gather a preview of the stick’s flavor profile.

Once you’ve toasted your cigar, you can take your taste buds on a journey to discover nuanced flavor notes. Other factors will also impact your experience, such as the speed at which you smoke and the temperature of your surroundings. As you sample different cigars, you will develop a sense of your likes and dislikes, but remember that expanding your palate requires patience.

To find the right cigar, you must expose yourself to different blends to determine which ones sing sweetly to you. From this, you can pledge allegiance to a particular brand or tobacco type, with many cigar makers offering samplers that contain several of their star (and most popular) cigars.

How to choose the right cigar

Always slow-burn your way through a cigar sampler. Take your time with each cigar and pay attention to its subtleties.

Sampling cigars is an excellent doorway into cigar smoking, providing convenience and value by allowing you to see what different countries, regions, and tobacco blends offer.

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