Cigars in the box

How to choose a cigar? Part 2.

So, continuing our topic of choosing cigars for the beginner.


The cover sheet and the color

There is a huge misconception that the darker the cigar, the stronger it is. This is not true. The darker it is, the richer and more intense its flavor will be.

It is accepted to distinguish 7 main colors of the cover sheet, each of which has a certain flavor and can affect the impression.

- Double claro. This is a light green to yellow color.

It is also called Candela. The color is achieved through high processing temperatures and a fast drying process of the outer leaf. These vitolas are characterized by a moderate aroma and sweet flavor.

- Claro. Light shade of brown, with a milky hue.

A fairly classic color for a vitola. Considered neutral, because it produces almost no flavor.

- Colorado claro. Sandy brown hue.

Smooth flavor. Interestingly, until 2017, the Partagas brand only used these sheets. But in 2017, the brand introduced the Maduro line with the cover sheet of the same name and the limited edition Partagas Serie E NO. 1 Limited Edition 2017.

- Colorado. The shade is dark and reddish.

Very aromatic, most often an indicator of well-aged vitolas.

- Maduro. Black and brown.

Typically used for strong Havana vitolas, suitable for the experienced smoker.

- Colorado maduro. Dark brown shade.

Gives even fuller flavor than maduro.

- Oscuro. Black Cover Sheet.

These cover leaves are usually from Nicaragua, Brazil, Mexico. Cigars are extremely strong and have a strong flavor.

The color and quality of the cover leaves depend directly on the variety of tobacco, the place where it grows, the peculiarities of its processing.

Smell also plays a role when you want to choose a cigar. An unlit vitola emits different aromas: fruity, spicy or herbal. Your nose should be able to sense the strength of these aromas, thus allowing you to determine which cigar you are going to smoke. But it is worth keeping in mind that it will not always taste exactly the same as it smells when you smoke it.

Size and shape

The size is simple. The length of the vitola and its diameter affect the smoking time. So if you're planning to smoke a cigar at lunchtime with a cup of coffee - choose the ones that are shorter and thinner. And if you are in the mood for a long pleasant evening - then longer and thicker.

The most popular formats are:

- Robusto - smokes about 40 minutes;

- Torpedo - 40 - 50 minutes;

- Torro - 1 hour - 1 hour 10 minutes;

- Bellicoso - 40 minutes;

- Figurado - 1 hour - 1 hour 20 minutes.

We indicated the average smoking time. For different manufacturers, even for the same format vitolas may differ in length. Depending on the format, the taste may vary slightly, but in general remain recognizable.

You can also pay attention to the twist, because it affects the smoking experience. Twist can be tight, medium or loose. Twist affects the speed of smoking, draft, quantity and quality of smoke. But there are no recommendations for beginners, you have to try different ones.


How to avoid fakes?

Only Cuba is counterfeited because demand always exceeds supply. The only way to reinsure yourself is to buy cigars in certified stores and ask for certificates of conformity, which prove that the cigars were brought into the country by the official supplier and exclude the possibility of counterfeiting.


How to avoid bad vitolas?

You can recognize a bad cigar by its appearance. Here are a few characteristics.

- White spots on the cigar

White moisture spots are a sign of good maturation and they only give cause for concern if they are too numerous: they are caused by excess moisture and can be easily cleaned.

- Bugs.

Cigars with round little holes should also be avoided. These are made by bugs, and this indicates that the tobacco has not been carefully disinfected. Such a vitola is considered tainted.

- Cigars with mold.

It is also best to avoid vitolas that are marked with green or yellow chlorophyll stains. Chlorophyll has a negative effect on flavor characteristics.

A quality vitola should have a silky, oily cover sheet. Dull, lacking luster, it will most likely turn out dry. Dry cigars should not be smoked. Firstly it will have no flavor, and secondly, the "dry" storage evaporates flavors and deteriorates the chemical composition of the leaf.

To understand the condition of a cigar, you can squeeze it lightly. A normal vitola can be squeezed completely, after this it returns to its normal state, like a spring. But the obvious crunch when you squeeze it indicates that it has dried out. But don't over-press the cigar, so as not to damage the cover and break its structure.

Sometimes there are "dead cigars" - these are formerly dry cigars that have been restored by over-watering, in which case the cover sheet will be slightly wavy, and the bottom end is often damaged.

*Vitola - a cigar before a ring is put on it.

Back to blog

Leave a comment